Friday, April 25, 2008

Apologies to correspondents

Hello all,

As it seems to have become a pattern, it should come as no surprise --- the blog has had another relatively fallow period. These seem to happen when I reach a busy patch in my own life, which gets me out of the habit of regular posting, which in turn means when I do have free time the Placentia Blog always gets put to the backburner.

I must apologize to correspondents, though, who have been sending along wonderful pictures and tidbits of information since about this time last month, almost all of which have gone unacknowledged, unposted. is not my personal address, but that is a poor excuse. I do humbly apologize.

Over the next few days, I will work through the built-up postings and put them here. Thankfully, most of them are not time-sensitive, and are as pertinent and interesting now as they were several weeks ago.

John C. Ralph, from Oshawa Ontario, has been sending along many wonderful things, including many excellent pictures, particularly of the Cape Shore, a regional the whole province knows and treasures (well, they should treasure it).

Spring finally seems to be upon us, and soon enough all that yellow dead grass will be replaced with the kind of stuff we see in this photo, sent to us by John.

As always, click on a photo to view a larger version.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Joy Norman on CBC tonight!

Tonight, 7:30 pm, on CBC Television, Joy Norman will be featured on the program A Tradition of Song. It was taped in Quidi Vidi late in 2007. The show will run for the next 6 weeks, and Joy may be on other episodes, as well!

Joy Norman's official website.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Placentia's Stuart Simpson Wins Memorial University's "Rant Like Rick" Contest

Winners of the Rant Like Rick Contest.

One of the 3 winners is Placentia's (well, Point Verde's) own Stuart Simpson, well-known locally for his acting and general community spirit (Stuart is currently student president at Laval High School).

You can view Stuart's rant here (scroll down; he is the 3rd one listed).

The site says:

If there’s one thing Stuart Simpson has, its passion. Passion for music, passion for acting, passion for writing, and passion getting involved. It’s no wonder this Placentia, Newfoundland and Labrador native was a natural fit for the Rant Like Rick contest. A two-time acting award winner, Stuart says the contest was an innovative and fresh opportunity to use his talents to express his opinion and earn money for tuition. Stuart’s passionate rant focused on the growing popularity of Facebook, and how the social networking site seems to be consuming his peers, “whenever anyone is within three feet of a computer they are nearly on Facebook, and even when they’re nowhere near a computer, they’re thinking about Facebook,” says Stuart. Stuart’s antidote to the Facebook epidemic is to get offline and get involved. In his free time, Stuart enjoys writing, reading, and drawing, serves as President of his high school student council, and is a member of his high school’s drama club..

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Placentia to be featured on CBC this Monday

This Monday, Placentia will be featured on CBC Radio's Morning Show. I'm not sure what or who else will be featured, but I know local musicians and artists Kevin Collins, Larry Foley, and Bill Rose will be on.

Unfortunately, I don't think the Morning Show's website mentions any specific info (I just had a quick perusal, but of course I might have missed it). If anyone has more information please leave a comment on this entry (I've had to put a spam filter on, a sign of the blog's success I suppose, but don't let that deter you).

I have also heard Radio Noon may be doing something . . . ? I have been away this week and haven't been keeping up. I'll post again when more information comes my way.

In any case, 94.1 fm is the frequency CBC is broadcast from, right here in Placentia. Be sure to tune in on Monday!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Placentia Twice on tomorrow's Weekend Arts Magazine

Weekend Arts Magazine Saturday and Sunday from 6-9:30 am.

This week on WAM, host Angela Antle talks to Winterset Award nominees: Paul Rowe, Kathleen Winter and George A. Rose about their books and what the nomination means to them as authors. As well Russell Wangersky, the award winning writer and Telelgram editor has just written a book chronicling his love of fighting fires and the emotional toll it has taken on his life. And Placentia's Bill Hogan talks up the cultural revitalization of his town.

Also, many congratulations to Paul Rowe for his Winterset nomination! That is major news, and it's sure to bring more attention to Paul's excellent book, The Silent Time.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Sheila's Brush: Swept up a Storm!

In both senses of the word! The actual Sheila's Brush, endured by Newfoundlanders for centuries, sure hit us with a wallop this year, dumping huge amounts of first snow and then freezing rain, with a side serving of high winds.

But this weather didn't stop the other Sheila's Brush (see previous entry). 32 people braved the storm to come to the Placentia Public Library. Bernard Penney, Christopher Newhook, Lucy Duke, Linda Miller, and Jim Pretty all had visual arts and crafts on display, while Marina Gambin, Alice Lannon, Michael Collins, and Christopher Newhook all presented, read, or performed for the gathered group.

The library was transformed with simple but effective decoration and mood lighting. It was an extremely cozy and warm atmosphere -- a good refuge from the storm outside.

We also wish to take the moment to express condolences to Marina and her family for the recent passing of her brother Reginald. We thank Marina for sharing her stories during a difficult time.

Also, thanks to Christopher Newhook, who took these photos. I took some as well, but most did not come out very well.

As always, click on an image to make it larger.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Sheila's Brush: An evening of cultural heritage

I'm pleased to announce the following. Click to view a larger version:

"sheila's blush*, ~ brush; also sheila: fierce storm and heavy snowfall about the eighteenth of
March (England, 1924) "Perhaps the most memorable of those occasions was on the night
of 'Sheila's Brush,' which is to say the 18th of March. Newfoundland has two 'brushes,' Patrick's and
Sheila's; that is to say, storms supposed to be connected with the birthday of St Patrick and that of his
wife... The word 'brush' is not always used, however; you will hear Newfoundlanders say:
'We have our Sheila dis time o' year.'"

Admission is free. At the moment, the lineup includes Alice Lannon, storyteller, Marina Gambin, author, Michael Collins, poet, Christopher Newhook, artist, and Bernard Penney, artist.

It's not meant to be representative or definitive, so other writers and artists shouldn't feel left out. It's our hope to hold more of these in future, so if you're interested come out to Sheila's Brush and let us know.

Lears Cove

Mr. John C. Ralph has been forwarding lovely pictures to The Placentia Blog for a few weeks now, but a combination of technical issues and the maintainer's busy schedule conspired to keep them unposted. Over the next week or so I hope to share them all with you, as they are well worth seeing.As always, click the image to view a larger version of it.

I think this is an excellent shot of Lear's Cove, south of St. Bride's. It really shows how verdant the Cape Shore can be --- quite in contrast to the stereotypical image of Newfoundland as nothing more than a barren rocky isle.

In the 1935 census, Lear's Cove is reported as having 14 residents, with another 11 "reported with Lear's Cove but residing elsewhere" (as to what that means, your guess is as good as mine). Fatima Academy's website also has a page about Lear's Cove. They say the final resident moved out in 1961.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Patrick's Weekend at the Star of the Sea

Where else would you be?

I'm having trouble uploading the poster and also pictures of celebrations past (blogger's fault, not mine), but here's the vitals.

Friday, March 14: Parish Concert at 7:30 pm, followed by a Kitchen Party
Saturday, March 15: THIRD STRIKE
Sunday, March 16: EVEN TIDE, 2-6pm, THIRD STRIKE, 6-closing.

This is also the Star of the Sea's 132 Birthday!!!!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Wind Damage

Last week, you'll recall the we had some savage wind that blew the roof off the mall. Tom O'Keefe was good enough to send in some photos of wind damage in the area. The broken Ultramar sign is even scarier than the mall roof!

Apologies to all: I haven't had a chance to post them until today. They're still something to see. As always, click to view a larger version.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Point Verde School

Keeping with the Point Verde theme of late: Jeananne Ralph (Mott) has kindly sent us this photograph of the old Point Verde School House. It was taken by her mother Ruth Mott (Young) in the late 1930s or early 1940s. As always, click to see a larger version.

It's interesting to see how Point Verde has changed. With much fewer people farming, the open fields and meadows are all growing in.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Great news! Placentia's getting an Arts Centre!

Fabian Manning, Member of Parliament for the riding of Avalon is pleased to announce $895,804 in financial assistance for The Town of Placentia to construct the “Plaisance Cultural Arts Centre” (from a press release dated Feb 20, 2008)

And so it was announced, yesterday at the Star of the Sea, that funding has come through and a new Cultural Arts Centre will be built in the Town Square.

The Placentia Area has always had a lot of artistic activity. Think of all the fantastic writers who have come out of here (including Gregory Power, current Poet Laureate Agnes Walsh, Robin McGrath, and many many others). There are, to my knowledge, four active theatre troupes. Think of the visual artists who either come from here or who take inspiration from here. And I haven't even mentioned the army of musicians!

The Arts have long had a prominent place in Placentia. It is wonderful to see them given a proper home.

The Eclipse

The clouds over Placentia parted just in time to give us a beautiful show of last night's Lunar Eclipse.

Local artist Christopher Newhook captured this image. I think it's very beautiful and also well-suited to the times we're in.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Point Verde Girl Celebrates 90th Birthday

Don Ladolcetta was good enough to forward along the following report to the Blog. Joan Greene, his mother, is descended from the family of lighthouse keepers, back before the Point Verde lighthouse was automated. She recently turned 90, and although she's spent almost 57 of those 90 years in the USA, her big birthday bash was decided Newfoundland-themed.

As Don says in his report, photos of the old lighthouse are hard to come by, and these (plus one other he sent which I did not post in the interest of space) are the only ones he could come across. Does anyone else have any pictures of the old Point Verde Lighthouse? I'm sure everyone would be very pleased to see them.

Joan Greene daughter of Joseph and Louise Greene (who were the lighthouse keepers at Point Verde for many years) turned 90 last month. Joan had 8 brothers and sisters in the family including Mary, Bridie, Monica, Angela, Madge, Leonard, Fred, Gussie all of whom grew up in the Placentia area. Joan moved to the US in 1951. Her family threw her a big birthday party where many of the descendants of Joe and Louise Greene turned out. The attached photos are of the lighthouse and surrounding buildings which may be the only photographs of the site in existance because the buildings were torn down quite some time ago. Additional photos are attached of the recent Party activites such as a screechin in for all the Yanks in attendance and playing the Newfoundland Reel on the spoons by Joan and son Don complete with Norwestern headgear. The party included Codfish with scrunchins, corned beef and cabbage, toutons, figgy duff and a variety of other Nefoundland cuisine. A good time was had by all. The Greene family intends to come out to Placentia this coming August for the first ever Greene Family reunion

Friday, February 15, 2008

Oh dear

In case you hadn't heard, part of the mall's roof blew off yesterday. I hear some stores got flooded. It was a pretty vicious day --- about 50 mm of rain fell, and I believe wind gusts were 110 km/h.

It's a hard week for Placentia, I tell you.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Gloomy News

INCO's test plant in Argentia is closing in June.

130 jobs will disappear from the area.

And not a sod turned in Long Harbour, which isn't due to start for another 3 years.

It's gloomy news. Placentia has lost 1,617 people from 1991 to 2006. Many businesses have closed, and I've heard rumours more will soon be shutting.

Personally, I find it hard not to be morose at the news.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Also tonight

Tonight, at 8 pm, there's the Laval Come Home Year fundraising concert at the Star Hall --- but before that, at 6:30 pm, there is:

Computer Safety Seminar

at the Placentia Public Library, in the board room. Michael Collins (me) will give an information session on the basics of protecting yourself and your computer. Topics covered are virus protection (including the free anti-virus programs that are also the best), spyware and adware (what they are and how to get them off your computer), and "phishing" (a relatively new phenomenon, where credulous-seeming messages try to finagle your credit card number from you).

The session should last for 45 minutes or so, so you can easily make it to Laval's show on time.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Another Dance!

By the time February's over, our feet are gonna be some sore. ;)

Jerseyside and Ferndale are having a Come Home Year in 2009 (click for the official homepage), but they're getting the ball rolling in '08, with a

50's / 60's Dance

at the Star of the Sea in Placentia. It happens on Friday, February 15. The band starts at 10:00 pm, and admission is $5. Music will be provided by Lone Rider.

There will be Door Prizes, a Costume Prize (some come in your best retro get-up!), and Elvis Impersonators.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Placentia in Korea

Freshwater's own Cheryl White was recently featured in an article about Newfoundlanders living and teaching in Korea, which is apparently 'Fort Mac for university scholars.' It appears in the Troubador, a publication by journalism students at the College of the North Atlantic.

It's a nice article and it's pretty indepth.

Remember, if you've got an article like this one and you'd like to see it here, email and we'll be more than happy to oblige.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Laval Reunion and Fundraising Concert

Laval High School's Come Home Year 2008 is coming up this July (click the link for more information), and just in time too --- it's your last chance to see the old place before it's torn down and a brand new school built in its place. We've mentioned the Come Home Year before, but there's new information to share. First, this logo, by local artist Ray Miller:
Second: There's a fundraising concert scheduled for February 12 at The Star Hall, starting at 7:30 pm. Local talent will raise the roof once again for a good cause!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Art Classes

I'll let the poster do the talking!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

That Far Smarter Bay

Ray Guy (one of many Placentia Baymen of deserved renown) always referred to Placentia as 'that far greater bay' --- but strives to make sure it's that far smarter bay, too. is an information hub for Placentia Bay, right from St. Bride's up to Swift Current and down again to St. Lawrence.

The information available is current and diverse. It has extensive community profiles with exhaustive demographic information. It also has information on shipping, ocean sciences, industrial sites, local committees, and so forth.

For example, buoys are linked to the website and automatically report to it. So, I know that at 10:43 this morning, Maximum Wave Height off Placentia was 3.6 m (11.8 ft), among many other things.

It is sure to be an invaluable tool for anyone active in Placentia Bay, regardless of their field --- but surely its greatest strength is its networking potential.

2000+ visits

Just a little after 3 months after we've begun, I'm glad to say that The Placentia Blog has surpassed the 2,000 visits mark. In fact, as of this post we've had 2,072 visits from 1,016 unique visitors.
63% come from Newfoundland and Labrador. 25% come from the rest of Canada, 10% come from the USA, and the remaining 2% come from 25 different nations, from Brazil to Ireland to Guam (yes, Guam!) to Australia.

Thanks to everyone who reads and enjoys this site. Remember, if there's anything you'd like to see here, all you have to do is email it to --- we're always happy to receive your email!

Picture of Placentia from Graveyard taken from Michael's Panoramio Account

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Free Computer Courses at the Library

As you may know, free lessons with the computer were on offer all this fall at the library, taught by this blog's maintainer (i.e. me), Michael Collins.

This was a contractual job which was meant to end in December. However, more funding was found (I am never sure how that works), and extensions were on offer. So, I'm here at the Placentia Public Library until March!

I'm hoping to offer some new things, but they're still in development. I'm happy to announce that the fall classes will be repeated --- so if you missed them the first time around, or if you'd just like some review, call the library at 227 3621 and put your name down! Spots are limited.

Classes are Thursday Night from 7:00-9:00 OR on Friday Afternoon from 1:30-3:30. Friday's class is a duplicate of Thursday's, so you only need to come to one. Also, one-on-one tutoring sessions are available by appointment, if neither Thursday night nor Friday morning is good for you.

The Classes are:

Week One (January 23, 24): The Basics
Week Two (January 31, Feb 1): The Internet
Week Three (February 7, 8): Word Processing
Week Four (February 14, 15): Powerpoint
Week Five: (February 21, 22): Blogging and Wikipedia
Week Six: (February 28, 29): Google Earth and Panoramio

I hope to see you there!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Eye in the Sky on Placentia

Panoramio is the website where Google Earth gets its on-the-ground pictures (if you're familiar with the Google Earth program, I'm talking about the little blue dots you see when you have the 'geographic web' layer turned on).

Here's a satellite view from Ship Harbour down to Patrick's Cove. To see the rest of the Cape Shore further south, click and drag on the map. There are some really nice pictures of Cape St. Mary's there.

The site is easy and fun to use, and it's a great way for people from away to get an idea of the scenic beauty that abounds in this area.

The pictures are all user-uploaded; Google Earth reviews them and selects which they will use. Accounts are free. 42 pictures I've taken and uploaded are now part of Google Earth; anyone in the world can see photos I took of the bird rock, should they zoom in on Cape St. Mary's. If you see a place that's not represented (such as Fox Harbour, Patrick's Cove, or Cuslett), why not put some photos up yourself, literally for the whole world to see?

The Weather Network says it's -9 in Argentia (-19 windchill), so here's a shot of sandy sunny Point Lance beach. Stare at it and try to warm up a bit! I took this photo and uploaded it to Panoramio; it's been visible in Google Earth for 9 months now.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Bald Eagles in Placentia Bay

The fact that Placentia Bay has one of the highest concentrations of Bald Eagles in North America comes as no surprise to anyone who's lived in this area. They're a common enough sight for anyone who rambles around this bay.

A few years ago, National Geographic did a story on bald eagles, and, in addition to Alaska, they talked of Placentia Bay as an eagle stronghold.

They even dispatched a photographer here; he spent 10 days camped out on a beach (sadly, the article doesn't say which) during the caplin scull, taking photos. His field notes are available to read on National Geographic's website (click the link).

Also, the Peregrine Foundation has
archived this article
on their website, all about the eagles of Placentia Bay. It says that only 5% of the eagles that have been tagged in Placentia Bay have ever shown up at feeding stations elsewhere. This is a strong indication that the population is year-round, not migratory.

Just to prove the point, here are some amazing photos that were recently forwarded to the blog by local artist Christopher Newhook. As always, click on an image to view a larger version.

Here's what he has to say about them:

Took a drive up to Point Verde Beach (near Glenn's Cove) before Christmas and stumbled upon a flock of eagles, apparently feeding upon something on the beach. There were a total of 6 in the area but I could not get them all in one shot. The best I could do was 5.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Kevin Collins joins the Youtube Revolution

Renowned local singer, songwriter, and performer Kevin Collins has taken his music around the world. Now, his music can make the journey even when Kevin is relaxing in his Point Verde studio. Yes, Kevin Collins is on Youtube, with plenty of music videos available for all the world to see.

Clicking the link above will take you to a list of all the videos that have been posted. At the moment, there are 15 videos available, such as From an Island to an Island or The Golden Years. You might even recognize some faces and places (I know I did!).

Here's a link to Kevin's official homepage. Many thanks to Tom O'Keefe and Ray Miller for forwarding this information on to us!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

French Lessons

French Conversation Classes resume this week!

They are held each Wednesday from 7-9 pm at the College of the North Atlantic, in Classroom 7. The atmosphere is informal and friendly --- just waltz on in and say 'bon soir!' The cost is free, although donations are accepted on behalf of l'Association Francaise de Plaisance.

If you'd like more info, feel free to email Margie McFarlane at J'espère vous voir là! (I hope that means, "I hope to see you there!")

Fallow Period Over!


Well, I'm back. I must apologize for a near silent month. Looking at the visitor statistics, though, a fallow period might even have been healthy for this blog! I hope, once you've discovered it, you'll come back regularly. Let your friends know, too. Updates should be frequent once more --- this site is designed to be something you look at several times a week, as it's always being updated (except when I take some time off!)

In future I will try to make any rest breaks significantly shorter!

This here is a picture of Point Verde, taken by your's truly only a couple of days ago. I can assure you, it was every bit as cold as the picture suggests. It was a pleasant and calm 0 degrees in Southeast that day, but on Point Verde beach the wind off the water was raw enough to freeze the face off ya!

There's a flurry of updates coming down the pipe, so hold on to your hats.

Best wishes for 2008,

-Michael Collins, Maintainer

Friday, December 28, 2007

Christmas Concert and Christmas Eve

Hello everyone!

Sorry for the short hiatus in the blog's posting. Everyone knows how busy the Christmas season can be, and running this blog is a volunteer thing, so hopefully everyone can understand our little lapse.

Just one spot of news at the moment. Tonight, December 28, there is a variety show Christmas Concert at The Star Hall in Placentia. 16 local performers will take the stage. The door is $5, and all the money is going to Jerseyside-Ferndale's Come Home Year.

It promises to be a fantastic show!

In honour of the season, I'll close things off with this photo, by Christopher Newhook, of the Christmas Eve mass at the Placentia Church. As always, click the image to view a larger version.

Holiday tidings to all!