Building and renovating in Newfoundland can be tough, but the people are tougher. The island is often hit by blasting storms but blessed with beauty beyond your imagination. Take a sneak peek at the challenging terrain that third-generation builder Randy Spracklin and the team faced on season one of Rock Solid Builds.
Published January 20, 2021, Updated December 3, 2021
Picturesque Brigus, Newfoundland
Most of the action on Rock Solid Builds takes place in and around the small town of Brigus, Newfoundland. One quick look at this view of the town is enough to make you want to pack up your bags and head to “the Rock” (as the island is often called). The red berries in the foreground of this shot are called Dogberries. Local folklore has it that if there are a lot of dogberries in the fall, there’s a hard winter ahead. Folklore proved true in January 2020 when the biggest storm of the century hit Newfoundland.
Winter in Brigus
The same view of Brigus during winter may discourage the faint-hearted from visiting, but there is no denying the incredible beauty of this land. Winter isn’t the best season for builders but Randy Spracklin and his team will amaze you with their ability to (mostly) defy the power of the island’s legendary winter storms.
Pictured here is Brigus Harbour, with the town in the background. History thrives in this community, which started as a fishing village in the early 1600s. It’s known for its stone walls, narrow streets, historic architecture and rich culture. In the early 1600s, the Spracklin family owned half of the harbour. Randy’s family roots go back centuries and he figures his family has built or renovated more homes in the town than they haven’t.
Dock on the Bay
Looking out from a residential area of Brigus, you can see the stark landscape in the background. In the foreground are the wharfs where homeowners tie their boats. If a homeowner has a larger boat, they will often anchor it further out in the ocean and tie their dinghy to the wharf as a way to travel back and forth.
This view from Brigus Bay gives you a good vantage point to see Molly’s Island. Across from the island is the famous Brigus Tunnel, which was built through solid bedrock to create easy access to unload boats. In the past, goats and sheep were kept on the island to graze on the grass.
If you drive northeast from Brigus, at the end of the road you will land in an area known as Frog Marsh. This secluded inlet of Frog Marsh is a popular place for residents (and a few knowledgeable tourists) to relax and enjoy the sounds of the ocean.
Brigus Bay Lighthouse
Lighthouses dot the coast of Newfoundland. The one above is on the north side entrance to Brigus Bay, and has been functional since March 1, 1885. A lighthouse keeper lived in a residence at the base of the tower until 1931. It’s 113 feet high (34 metres) and the tower is made of cast iron. The red and white colour scheme is similar to many cast iron lighthouses built in Newfoundland during the 1880’s. These iconic buildings were meant to withstand the extreme conditions of the Newfoundland coast. The tower is a recognized federal heritage building that can be reached by a 5.8 kilometre hiking trail – perfect for anyone looking for a scenic workout.
The community of Adam’s Cove wakes up to this spectacular view every morning. Looking out over the ocean, residents can enjoy whale watching from their front doors, and on some occasions, get a real treat when Humpback whales breach.
Green Point Lighthouse
The Green Point Lighthouse in Port de Grave was built in 1883 and continues to guide ships into the southern entrance of Bay Roberts, which is 15 minutes from Brigus. It stands 56 feet high. Just like the Brigus Lighthouse, at one time it had a residence for a lighthouse keeper and is made of cast iron. Unlike the Brigus lighthouse though, you can drive to this location and take in the ocean views. It’s a registered heritage site, according to Parks Canada.
Fishing is a Way of Life
Fishing is a big part of life in Newfoundland. Here, a boat is entering Brigus Harbour with its catch. During the various fishing seasons, boats will bring in cod, squid, crab and capelin. Whales and puffins travel to the waters off of Newfoundland’s coast to feast on this capelin.
Looking across Brigus Bay over the rocky coast, you might be able to see the Brigus Lighthouse. On the left side of the photo is a boat docked at the town wharf, and the hill behind the wharf is a hot spot for blueberry picking. A four-day blueberry festival is held here every year, typically in mid-August. The streets fill with residents, tourists and the smell of baked goods. It’s something you don’t want to miss.
This small inlet in Brigus Bay is known as Brigus Gut. It’s sheltered from the elements, allowing boats to dock here year-round.
Randy and his team work mostly on the Avalon Peninsula where waves crashing on the rocky shores is a common site. The Avalon Peninsula is the most easterly part of Newfoundland, where over half the island’s population lives. In total, there is about 29,000 kilometres of twisting, gorgeous coastline. Be sure to check out more of this spectacular part of Newfoundland on Rock Solid Builds, as Randy and his team face the worst that nature can throw at them.
Meet the Team
We thought we’d throw in one final beauty shot from Newfoundland: The amazing Rock Solid Builds team. From left to right it’s Paul Earle, Randy Spraklin, Scott Spracklin (Randy’s dad) and their newest team member Nikki Spracklin. We have more information on all of them on our Cast page. You’re going to be seeing a lot more of them on HGTV Canada.