Trinity Loop: An Abandoned Amusement Park
The beautiful town of Trinity is located about three hours from St. John’s, on the Bonavista Peninsula. It is well known as a “Must See” for visitors and tourists to this province. With beautiful sea breezes, colourful picturesque historic buildings, old-fashioned street signage marked in calligraphy, and fresh Atlantic seafood, this quaint town is quite deserving of the title.
I originally came across a post online, when researching places to visit in Newfoundland, it was about an abandoned amusement park called, Trinity Loop. After reading the article and viewing their photographs, I knew I had to see it with my own two eyes. The Trinity Loop is a great place to visit when you are in the Trinity area. It is a quick drive from town, there is lots to explore, spooky photo opportunities, old train cars and it may even give you the heebie geebies with its ghost town feel.
Here is a little bit of back story, of how this old gem of a tourist attraction became a hidden dilapidated ghost park.
Before the amusement park was even a thought, the Trinity Loop referred to the interesting railway that was built by J.P Powell in the early 1900s. For 90 years the Newfoundland Railway was a vital way of transporting people and services across the island. In an effort to incorporate the town of Trinity into the railway, the company had brought on a clever engineer to design a route that could overcome the steep hills surrounding this coastal town. The track was looped around a nearby lake, now called Loop Pond, which allowed the train to slowly reduce elevation.
This particular design became known as the Trinity Loop.
When the railway closed down in the 1980s, the town of Trinity purchased the loop, and sold it to Francis Kelly to restore and develop. He turned the area inside the loop into an amusement park which included boat rides, a swimming hole, a ferris wheel, mini golf, live entertainment, swing sets overlooking the lake, a petting zoo, pony rides, a museum, a railcar restaurant, cabin accommodations, and of course a working train that ran through the hills along the original loop track.
In February 1988, the Trinity Loop was registered as a heritage structure helping to preserve its history and structure from drastic change.
The park was booming, attracting multiple tourists and locals alike. Quite a few people I talked to in town, revealed that the park was a favourite amongst the locals. Many can recall going there as small children or teenagers, and can regale you with countless stories. It was free place to go swimming and people enjoyed the fact that the restaurant was nice and close. With the option of dining out on the deck or inside a real train car.
The amusement park operated successfully for a number of years but as time went on, peoples interest in the Trinity Loop slowly seemed to declined. A local women mentioned to me, that at one point in time the owner decided to put in bar to serve liquor and beer. After that it completely ruined the family dynamic of the place, it became more of a party place.
In 2004, the park was shut down and after the owner defaulted on payments, the land was transferred over to the provincial government and has since been considered crown land.
It is a serene drive from the quaint town of Trinity, a winding paved road leads you down into a beautiful forested setting. As you wander through the now crippled remains of the, “Trinity Loop” you cannot help but imagine what once was. The setting would have been absolutely breathtaking, set back into a green sprawling forest with rocky cliffs jutting out in the distance, and a large central flowing body of water. The amusement park would have been in a large clearing, next to the pristine crystal clear waters where everyone would enjoy a cool dip during the summer months. You can almost hear the foot steps and squeals of delighted children, long since gone. Looking up at the shell of the old ferris wheel, you can only imagine what the views from the top could have been, perhaps a complete birds eye view overlooking the entire park.
The accommodations were placed further back into the forest, still within walking distant of the park however far enough away for some privacy. They would have been charming little cabins, fully furnished, and complete with even a little kitchenette. The cabins appeared to have been built near the time of the parks closure. With building supplies and electrical code from the year 2004. These once cute cabins now lie in disrepair, with windows smashed, doors ripped off, walls kicked, broken pieces of china littering the ground, and mattresses slashed and thrown outside.
I was told that the vandalism happened almost immediately after the park was closed. The Trinity Loop was once considered a heritage structure, so how come it was allowed to be vandalized into complete disrepair. Why was there never anything done to prevent vandals entering this area. Especially, since it was transferred over to the provincial government and became crown land.
Vandals were not the only ones to reek havoc on the Trinity Loop. Hurricane Igor blew through the province in September 2010, earning it the title as the most destructive tropical cyclone to the hit the island. The storm was especially devastating for the Trinity Loop, it completely changed the landscape. Extensive rainfall caused the river flowing through the park to wash away nearly one hundred feet of tracks and deposit rocks and sediment over many remaining features of the amusement park.
While conversing with the locals of Trinity, you can tell that the state of the park completely saddens them. Not everyone has given up, there is a huge number of people on the island who would love to see the train carrying people around the loop again and the amusement park running. Several people over the years have shown interest in purchasing the park, but because of all the back taxes owing on the property no one has been successful.
There used to be people here, young and old. It was filled with so much laughter and squeals of delight. This was a place where memories were forged. Families spent quality time together, children learned to swim, teenagers worked their first jobs, couples went on first dates, and maybe even a few first kisses happened at the top of the ferris wheel. No one can fully know what the future has in store for the Trinity Loop, but it will always remain the the minds and hearts of the people who have made memories here.
Location: Trinity Loop, Trinity, NL A0C 1K0
Caution: If traveling with kids, I would recommend keeping a close eye on them. Serious damage has been done to the remaining sections of the park, by both nature and vandals. There are some serious hazards here: including broken glass, shards of metal + wood, broken floorboards, walking obstructions, train cars in different levels of deterioration, rusted equipment, and loose gravel on the hills.
Things to Bring:
- Comfortable Shoes: preferably closed toe, as there is debris that litters the ground.
- Camera: A wide angle lens + macro lens were perfect for capturing these images.
- Water and snacks
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