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O Buona Vista - O Happy Site
Discovery Collegiate
Bonavista, Newfoundland

By Heather (Grade 12)

On May 4, 1497, John Cabot left Bristol, England on the Matthew, in search of oriental treasure in the far east. What was found, however, was New Founde Land.

On June 24, 1497, John Cabot and his crew landed on the rugged shore of Cape Bonavista, jutting out perilously into the cold Atlantic waters off North East Newfoundland, ("O Buona Vista"). In 1997, Bonavista will join the province of Newfoundland and Labrador in celebrating the 500th anniversary of Cabot's historic voyage.

In May, 1997, a replica of the Matthew will leave Bristol, England and arrive at Bonavista, the site of John Cabot's landfall in 1497. The ship will be met by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and other dignitaries from around the world. A flotilla of 200 boats will also greet the Matthew when the ship arrives in Bonavista. This will be the start of a great celebration.

The Ryan Premises in Bonavista, one of Canada's newest national historic sites, will officially open during these activities. The site will tell the story of the East Coast Fishery, in which the town of Bonavista played an important role. Throughout this time, Bonavista will be bustling with wonderful drama, film, theatre and concerts, showing the very best of our provinces talent, culture and heritage.

Many tourist groups throughout North America and around the world have voted the 500th Anniversary Celebrations as one of the top tourist attractions for 1997. In fact, an organization of bus tours in the United States has voted it the number one attraction for next year. All this should guarantee Newfoundland a very busy tourist season as the word spreads about these upcoming events across the island.

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