Fogo Island: “Maine on volume 11”

FAN Editor

This week on 60 Minutes, correspondent Jon Wertheim takes viewers to Fogo Island, a remote island off the northeast coast of Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada. About 90 square miles of scattered fishing villages, the island is just slightly larger than Des Moines, Iowa in size. But its charm conjures another comparison.

“It’s like Maine on volume 11, almost indescribably quaint and gorgeous,” Wertheim said.  

The people of Fogo Island are largely descended from British and Irish migrants. The Emerald Island’s lingering influence is evident, heard in both the residents’ brogue and the music they play at shed parties, lively gatherings complete with crab, beer, and dancing.  

Though the island’s sights and sounds recall an earlier time, Fogo is now trying to reinvent itself, as Wertheim reports. For years, the island’s economy revolved around cod fishing. Today there is a luxury inn acting as an economic engine that has also begun to change the character of the island. 

To experience Fogo Island up close, visitors must be willing to work for it. The trip for Wertheim and his 60 Minutes crew required multiple flights and a long drive, including a stop in Gander, the town featured in the Broadway musical “Come From Away.” 

“Just statistically, I can tell you most of the viewers will never have been there,” Wertheim said. “And at the same time, there’s a lot of story that I think will ring familiar to a lot of people in a lot of different communities.” 

The video above was produced by Will Croxton and Keith Zubrow and edited by Will Croxton.

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