Rowsell House Interpretation Center

The Rowsell House Interpretation Center (RHIC) is over 100 years old and was renovated to house artifacts of Harrington and the Lower North Shore.  This magnificent house is a testament that persistence and hard work does pay off.


Harrington residents are proud of their culture and heritage as is apparent in the exhibits that are on display in the Rowsell House.


Visitors can take guided tours of the Rowsell House in English.  The guide will explain about the local artifacts and how they relate to the cultural heritage.  The exhibits that are on display will be of interest to all ages.


Opened from May to September.

A little History

Harrington was first inhabited around 1871 by French settlers; however, it only became an official village in 1890 due to the opening of the post-office. Harrington Harbour was also known by “hospital island”, because it was the first community on the Lower North Shore to have a hospital. 'Harrington' was named in 1831 after the 3rd count of Harrington Charles Stanhope.


French settlers, and then later Newfoundlanders inhabited Harrington to make a living from the cod and seal fishery.  Large families were very common back then, which was a good thing when it came time for chores to be done.  To have water for the homes during the winter months, ice chunks were chopped from ponds and then melted into water.  Wood was cut for the wood burning stoves.  Even though those times were harsh and difficult they got through it.  The initial settlers did what they had to,
in order to survive.


Today, Harrington is know for its boardwalk system to connect houses and businesses - there are no roads so the boardwalk is a unique way to travel across the island.

It's a small island village located in Eastern Quebec, rich in culture and history.


Harrington Harbour is predominately an English speaking community;

however, some residents do speak French.

On the Lower North Shore there are 3 languages and cultures English, French & Innu.

Innu Culture

The rich fishing and hunting grounds of the Quebec Lower North Shore is the reason that people were attracted to the region for at least 8000 years. The Maritime Archaic people were the first known inhabitants of the coast and Harrington.  The Innu came to the region to hunt the seals and walrus, and to fish cod. They are the earliest ancestors of today’s Innu peoples.


 Local archaeological sites also confirm the presence of the Late Maritime Archaic and Groswater Culture Palaeo-Eskimos within the Harrington archipelago.


For the past 2000 years, Innu peoples have lived along the Lower North Shore.

The Innu were nomadic, traveling in small family groups along lakes and rivers to hunt beaver and caribou during the winter months, and in the summer they fished, hunted and gathered berries.


In the 1950s the Innue settled at Unamen Shipu in the community of la Romaine and Pakua Shipi across the river from St. Augustine.


Fishing Culture

As a prominent fishing village, Harrington Harbour was hit hard when the Government issued a moratorium on cod fish in 1992.

This forced fishermen and those who worked in the processing plant  to find another way of life.

That’s when residents branched out to the snow crab fishery. The snow crab industry is now the main fishery in Harrington Harbour,
while other species such as lobster, halibut, turbot, codfish & scallops are also still fished.


The fish plant in Harrington - L.N.S. Community Seafood Coop - is a locally owned Cooperative that now employs over 40 workers during the peak of the fishing season. The community seafood cooperative exports the majority of their processed snow crab to the US.
The fishing season starts in the spring and usually ends in late July or early August.

Architecture & The Boardwalk Network

The boardwalk network that you see today was initially started in the 1960s as part of what was called
"the winter work program".  This program was established to help unemployed fishermen so that they could qualify for Unemployment Insurance, or "pogey" as it was called in the early days.


The 1960s were actually an important decade for Harrington Harbour.  It is not only when the boardwalks were constructed, but also when electricity, telephones and snowmobiles first made its way to the village.

The outdoor hockey rink, as it still stands today, was also built in the mid to late 1960s.


Harrington was first settled around 1871.  It became official in 1890 due to the opening of the post-office. Harrington Harbour was also known by another name “hospital island”, because it was the first community on the Lower North Shore to have a hospital, and got its official name from the 3rd count of Harrington Charles Stanhope in 1831.


Box 147 - Harrington Harbour, QC  G0G 1N0

1 (418) 795-3131


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Harrington Harbour Tourism  Association

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