Finding the Grand in (and around) Grand Falls-Windsor

In the third year of medical school, there are opportunities to travel all around the island completing rotations in various specialties. For six weeks, I studied OBGYN at the Central Newfoundland Regional Health Centre. It was there that I worked with some of the best medical professionals this province has to offer. I cannot say enough good about the people that I met and the experience I gained. To make things more interesting, this location on the island was fairly new to me. 

The last time I visited Grand Falls-Windsor was in 2013 when the Eagles played Salmon Festival. Other than that, I have only ever drove through en route to the west coast. It was definitely a foreign experience for me to be in a different part of the province in the dead of winter, particularly without my neighbour who often does my snow clearing (bless him). My usual summer gear was quickly replaced with a new pair of snow shoes and a whole lot of windshield fluid. 

Obviously I could not hit everywhere in my travels, and winter activities are varied from those available in the summer. There were [unfortunately] no salmon caught on the Exploits River during this trip. Amongst all of the studying and learning, however, the following became some of my favorites:

Third Place Café

This underground shop was my go-to coffee heaven. Their menu switches up daily and I can only rave about their lamb curry chilli, eggs benny and, of course, Taco Tuesdays. The staff are all exceptionally kind and attempt to promote other local businesses in their space as much as possible. They sell local products, host pop-up shops for vendors, and have an entire table dedicated to local business cards. The sweetest!

Common Grounds

An equally good cup of java and the best atmosphere for kicking back and doing some reading. They have the greatest chocolate cake with buttercream icing I have ever had. On my last day, I took it to-go and ate it in my lap on the ride home. I’m not proud of it, but it happened. 

Juniper Kitchen & Bistro

See pictures below as they speak for themselves. Hands-down the best place to have a nice dinner in the area. I highly recommend testing the french onion soup as well as the cod cakes. Any and all of their cheesecakes were my favorite for dessert.

Cod Jigger

This little joint has the best FEED in town. You know what I mean. I’m not sure that I have much else to say except the fact that they suggest you add dressing to your poutine; my people. 

Classic Theatre

This movie theatre serves as the perfect night out (maybe following some supper at Juniper and dessert at Common Grounds since they are all within walking distance). A couple of movies screen at a time in a space much more quaint than any of those found in larger centres.

From L-R: Fundamentals Fitness, Common Grounds, Classic Theatre, Drug Store, Sienna’s Spa & Salon

Snow Shoes, Skis & Skidoos

I spent many evenings prancing around the trails at the Exploits Nordic Ski Club. These trails are amazing, especially since they are lit at night for community use. Another beautiful area is the Corduroy Brook Nature Trail. Both of these attractions are used through all seasons for both winter and summer activities. The central area is also a great location for skidooing!

GFW Cataracts Hockey Game

A wonderful weekend activity. If you aren’t a sports fan, the rink fries and intermission entertainment are worth going for. 

Local Shopping

One of the first things I do when visiting a new town is scout out local vendors. Lucky enough, there was a market at the legion where many local businesses set up shop to sell their goods. I left Grand Falls-Windosr with bags full of Studs by Sarah, Salt Box Jewelry, and Nan’s Sugar-Free Kitchen. Some other local businesses that caught my eye were Meghan Ashley Designs & Bubble Pixie Soap co.

Botwood Murals

Just a short drive from GFW, Botwood is home to some of the most beautiful murals I have ever seen. The community itself acts as a canvas for the wonderful art which depicts important aspects of our province’s history.


The central portion of the island is the area that I have explored the least. As a result, I used living here as an opportunity to visit multiple other locations in central NL such as Fogo Island, Twillingate, and Moreton’s Harbour (yes that’s right, I went all around the circle).

With warmer weather hopefully around the corner, I would be remissed if I did not mention the fishing, hiking, and river rafting you can avail of in the spring/summer months. As always, the experiences are only as good as the people you are surrounded by. To anyone reading this from the area, thank you for your kindness, generosity, and smiling faces throughout my stay.

As you plan your future central adventures, be sure to include some of those mentioned above – they’re Some Shockin’ Good.

~ Jill

4 thoughts on “Finding the Grand in (and around) Grand Falls-Windsor”

  1. Great story about your adventures in our little town and surrounding area. No better advertising than a true story. Happy to hear that you enjoyed yourself.


  2. Wow Thank you we do have a super town filled with super people! Glad you enjoyed all our town had to offer you! Cathy O’Dell


  3. Wow!!!! What a positively beautiful article. Thanks for doing this. I am a native of Windsor in the GFW. So happy you discovered its beauty.


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