Main Brook is located on the east coast of the Northern Peninsula, one hour south of St. Anthony. Unlike most other communities on Newfoundland’s GNP, Main Brook was built upon the logging industry rather than the fishery. Beginning in the 1800s, this region was settled by the English who were drawn to cod and salmon fishing grounds as well as the regional forests for lumber. Of these resources, it was the lumber that prevailed and helped to establish the settlement. The town of Main Brook was officially founded in the early 1920s when a sawmill was built in the area, transforming it into a productive logging community. By the late 1940s, the Bowater Company had set up a lumber-shipping depot in Main Brook and the community began to grow. Residents who worked for Bowater supplemented their income by fishing for salmon, capelin, cod and herring. This time of growth and stability was halted in the late 1960s when, due to poor markets coupled with changes in technology, Bowater was forced to close its doors.
Although the Bowater closure occurred several decades ago, the company lives on in Main Brook’s collective memory. While other companies have moved into town over time, Bowater remains a distinctive reminder of when Main Brook was in a state of growth rather than decline. Nowadays, Main Brook’s economy is predominantly based on ecotourism, recreational hunting and fishing, mussel farming and handicrafts. Such handicrafts include traditional steamed-birch snowshoes, wood model making, and various textile traditions such as quilting and embroidery.