The name Sunnyside is a bit of a stretch in a province known for its fog—but everything is relative. Sunnyside is, in fact, on the sunnier (north) side of the harbour, making it a better place to dry fish. That was an important consideration for early settlers.
Sunnyside was settled in the late 1800s. Most of the early settlers moved here from nearby communities in Trinity Bay, Conception Bay, Placentia Bay or from the St. John’s area. A few came from Labrador. More recently, people have moved here from many areas of the province and from outside Newfoundland.
Sunnyside is one of four communities on the Isthmus of Avalon, a scenic strip of land that connects the Avalon Peninsula (where St. John's is located) with the rest of the island. Anyone travelling east-west must pass between the communities of Sunnyside (in Trinity Bay) and Come By Chance (in Placentia Bay). Both communities are just a short drive off the Trans Canada Highway.
Sunnyside stretches for 8 km along the bottom (south end) of Trinity Bay. Although there are many new houses, you can still see the old pattern of homes built near the water with wharves, stages and fishing flakes at the water’s edge.
Near the end of the road is a hiking trail that takes you to the top of Centre Hill, the highest point in eastern Newfoundland. Part of an old mountain range, the hill itself was once a volcano. Centre Hill Hiking Trail takes you right to the top, where you can enjoy a spectacular view of Trinity Bay, Placentia Bay and part of the Burin Peninsula.
Sunnyside’s population is less than 500. The community was incorporated in 1972; it has three churches, a community centre, a playground, a grocery store, a post office, a town hall and several small businesses.
Fishing was once a major part of the economy but that has all changed. Now, people work locally in the oil industry or commute to jobs in Arnold’s Cove, Clarenville or Goobies. Some go away to work in Alberta or Labrador.
There are three oil-related industries nearby – the oil refinery in Come By Chance, the Newfoundland Transshipment Terminal at Arnold’s Cove and the Bull Arm Fabrication Site, only 3 km from Sunnyside. The communities of Arnold’s Cove, Come By Chance and Sunnyside form a triangle of deep ice-free harbours ideally located to serve the offshore oil industry by sea and land. Tankers bring crude from offshore oil platforms and deliver refined oil to Europe, North America and elsewhere. The Trans Canada Highway is an important land transportation route for people and supplies. .
These oil-related industries provide local jobs, business opportunities and an influx of workers that boost the economy of the region.