The Matthew Legacy

The Matthew -
A truly amazing journey in time

In 1497, a small wooden ship called the Matthew set sail from Bristol, England destined for the Far East. On board was the Italian explorer Giovanni Caboto with a crew of around twenty men. Within six weeks, they made landfall. They landed, not as intended in the fabled land of Cathay, but on the shores of the New World.

Here, they discovered a treasure that would change the course of history. Come, discover the story of Caboto and his crew.

Something For Every Adventurer

Family Fun

Go onboard and explore a 15th century caravel. It's a day out like no other. Captivating stories are brought to life inside our interpretation centre.

Ship & naval enthusiasts

Feed your passions and love for ships. Experience a working harbour as you take in historic surroundings and marvel at The Matthew.

Leisure & pleasure

Stay for a while and spend part of your day visiting The Matthew. Go at your own pace and enjoy a visit to our gift store.

A Voyage Of Discovery


Crew Members

Cabot sailed under the flag of England from Bristol . The ship, The Matthew,  had a crew of just 19 men. Cabot led a fearful crew, with reports suggesting they never ventured more than a crossbow’s shot into the land. 


Ton Vessel

Cabot’s ship was named the Matthew, almost certainly after his wife Mattea. It was a navicula, meaning a relatively small vessel, of 50 toneles – able to carry 50 tons of wine or other cargo.


Days At Sea

On 2nd May 1497 Cabot set sail from Bristol England. He planned to sail west across the Atlantic and find a route to China and the Indies. His voyage to the New Found Land took him 35 days. 

Heritage Minutes

Historica Canada

Off the coast of Newfoundland, John Cabot and his sailors encounter codfish so thick that they slow the ship (1497).

History Television

History Canada

A reenactment of the voyage across the Atlantic on the Bonavista replica of The Matthew.

Opening Hours


June – September
9:30 AM – 5:00 PM

* subject to change without notice


October – May
Closed for the season or by appointment 


Admission fee

FAMILY (2 adults / 1 or more children) $17.00

GROUPS (10 or more) $7.00


CHILDREN (6-16) $3.00


ADULTS $7.25

SENIORS (65 & up) $6.75

* subject to change without notice

What Our Visitors Say

The Matthew!

We so enjoyed visiting the replica of the Matthew that sailed across from Bristol, England in 1497. This replica was built in Newfoundland by Newfoundlanders! This was one of the best attractions that we did in Bonavista. Our tour guide, Frazer, was awesome, he was so knowledgeable and friendly. Would recommend everyone who visit to do this tour!

Pasadena, Canada
Incredible ship

The detailed information was fascinating to read. The gentleman at the museum was so friendly and knowledgeable. It was quite amazing to see what conditions the explorers lived in when sailing over here. It was definitely worth going to see. The gift shop is also worth a visiting and had very lovely items.

Vancouver, Canada
Well worth a visit

The replica of the Mathew is absolutely beautiful and well worth a visit. You are able to walk freely on board the boat and also learn a lot of the history.

A good choice on a rainy day as the boat is sheltered indoors. Good guides and a good gift shop too 😉

Toronto, Canada

The full size replica of the ship was amazing. We could explore the vessel & ask questions to the educated staff. The ship is in the massive boat house (sitting on a crib above water) that was erected for winter storage but provides year-round storage while the keel is restored. This was a great education for us on European exploration & ship building.

Parry Sound, Canada
Interesting and worthwhile

Walking on the deck gives you a much greater sense of what the sailors would have experienced. We thought the visitor centre was very well done - just the right amount of information without overwhelming. The gift shop has locally-made crafts - some of the finest (and most affordable) we found in all of Newfoundland - definitely take a look here.

Calgary, Canada

Added real history to the area

We were lucky, on a cold rainy day, to spend time learning of John Cabot’s sailing journey with his 3 masted ship, the Matthew, & his 20 men (destination was Cathay) by travelling across the seas to the west...discovering Buena Vista(Bonavista). This was a very good display and presentation. Done in a very real and inviting way. Guided or self-tour both had different area to explorer. Good job overall.

Christel de Vries
Surprised & pleased by the depth and family friendly exhibit

We wanted to learn a little history, and were surprised by the depth and very family friendly exhibit. Because The Matthew replica is under repair, it was in dry dock inside the museum when we visited. However, we were still able to crawl all over the deck and inside the ship. What a way to imagine and try to understand sea travels 500 years ago. Also, a great gift shop of local arts and crafts, all of Bonavista, and of The Matthew itself.

Kingston, Ontario

The Matthew Legacy

P.O. BOX 500
A0C 1B0