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!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Happy Two-Month-aversary to us!

Well, it has been 2 months to the day since The Placentia Blog was officially launched (October 16), and what an excellent month this last one has been.

I have to thank all the members of the community, both those living here and those living abroad, who have viewed this blog and passed it along to their friends and loved ones. As a result of this, I'm extremely happy to report that traffic to this blog has increased 432% from the previous month --- from 227 in the first month to 980 in the second one!

Since we began, 652 unique visitors have visited this blog 1,207 times. Almost 65% of of the visits come from Newfoundland. 22.36% come from the rest of Canada, 10.52% from the United States, and just 2.32% from other countries.

So, if you have a friend or loved one from Placentia who's living away --- be it Ireland, Korea, Dubai, or points inbetween! --- why not send them this link? Similarly, we'd love to hear from any Placentia people in unusual locales. Email, tell us who you are, what you're doing, and send us a photo of the place!

Just like the One-Month-aversary, I'm going to celebrate with a photo of Placentia, our "pleasant place" (as it translates). This photo was submitted by Mr. Harry Smith. It shows Placentia gut and Jerseyside in the background. As always, click to view a larger version! Both Mr. Smith and I surmise it was taken in the late 1800s or early 1900s, but we have no more information than that. If anyone can tell us more about the picture, again, please email!

Thanks everyone --- here's to a happy holiday season and a great 2008 ahead!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Royal Canadian Legion Poster Poem and Essay Contest

The Placentia Blog is pleased to announce the winners of the Royal Canadian Legion's 2007 Poster, Poem and Essay contest.

In the interests of space, we have the 1st and 2nd place winners from Kindergarten and Grades 1, 2, and 3 below. As always, click on an image to view a larger version.

More winning posters will be posted over the course of the weekend. Congratulations to everyone!

Above (in order of appearance)

Kindergarten: 1st place Shaylyn Toole, 2nd place Mackenzie Kerrivan.
Grade One: 1st place Mackenzie Leonard-Power, 2nd place Emily Brown.
Grade Two: 1st place Abigail Gambin, 2nd place Hannah Duke.
Grade Three: 1st place James Newhook, 2nd place Amber Culleton.

More Winners

Grade 4, 5, and 6 Poem/Essay: 1st Place Samuel Zachary Newhook, 2nd Place Tyrone Kelly.
Grade 4, 5, and 6 Colour Poster: 1st Place Brandon Collins-Brewer, 2nd Place Nicholas Leonard-Power.
Grade 4, 5, and 6 Black & White Poster: 1st Place Caitlin C. Lundrigan, 2nd Place Patrick M. R. Pearson.
Grade 7, 8, and 9 Poem/Essay: 1st Place Brandon William Young, 2nd Place Dominique Kelly.
Grade 7, 8, and 9 Colour Poster: 1st Place Vicky Foley, 2nd Place Matthew Power.
Grade 7, 8, and 9 Black & White Poster: 1st Place Samantha Hancock, 2nd Place Maggie Ward.
Grade 10, 11, and 12 Poem/Essay: 1st Place Mallary A. S. McGrath, 2nd Place Lyndsey Buckmaster.
Grade 10, 11, and 12 Colour Poster: 1st Place Bradley A. M. Power, 2nd Place Rebecca Ann Conway.
Grade 10, 11, and 12 Black & White Poster: 1st Place Joshua P. J. Coffey, 2nd Place Allyson Roche.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Bread Oven and Phil Meade

In the latest edition of Downhome Magazine (formerly The Downhomer), on page 82-83, Placentia's own replica of a French community bread oven gets a look in (for more information on the oven and to see a picture of it, look at its profile on the Doors Open Placentia site).

The article also includes a summary of the history of beautiful Rosedale Manor (built 1893), as well as a small biography on Philip Meade and Linda Grimm, who operate it as a Bed and Breakfast.

There's two nice pictures of Phil (who is also, by the way, a professional pastry chef) by the outdoor bread oven, which is in full flame. The old Placentia waterfront is visible in the background.

It brings me back to the summer before last, when I was lucky enough to go down to the oven when Phil was baking bread. It tasted so amazing, fresh out of the oven with partridgeberry jam on top.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Christmas Parade in Placentia

As mentioned in a previous entry, the annual Christmas Parade happened in Placentia this past Sunday. There were some phenomenal floats and plenty of community participation. If you missed it, well, we've got a little virtual parade ready to roll here, courtesy of Chris Newhook's photographs.

If you have any more pictures of the parade and you wouldn't mind sharing them with the world, please email them to and we will put them up here!

As always, please click an image to view a larger version.

Monday, December 10, 2007

21 Reasons to Move to Branch - Addendum

We've had a surprising number of visits yesterday and today from people who have done a google search for some variation of "21 Reasons" and Branch, Newfoundland. I'm sure this is in response to the national CBC piece that aired yesterday (see previous entry).

We may have missed the crest of the wave, but I wanted to offer these searchers a little more help.

If you want to know more about Branch, there is a short wikipedia article on the town, although the longer article on the Cape Shore (the region which Branch is part of) may be more informative to you. There's a good account of life in Branch in pre-Confederation NFLD here.

If you would like to contact Branch's mayor, who was featured in the documentary "21 Reasons," please email the blog and we will pass you along to her.

Unfortunately, I have no pictures of Branch to hand, but here are two that were posted to public Facebook groups, so hopefully the owners won't mind a tiny bit of friendly piracy (this blog does not generate any income, FYI), so the sudden influx of visitors gets an idea of what the place looks like. Permission is pending from the people who uploaded these photos to facebook, but in the meantime, if you own either image and want it taken down, please let us know and we will comply ASAP.

The third photo is of the cliffs at Cape St. Mary's, very near to Branch, and was taken by the Placentia Blog's maintainer, Michael Collins.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Branch on National CBC Radio

Sorry for the short notice, but I had no idea of this until a few seconds ago. And it's on in a few minutes!

Sometime between 10:30 and 11:30 this Sunday (the 9th), The Sunday Edition (a nationally broadcast CBC radio program) will feature a documentary about Branch and its mayor, Priscilla Corcoran Mooney. 21 reasons to move to Branch, heard from Victoria to Iqaluit to St. John's!

If you miss this, don't despair. You can listen again on CBC's website. I'll post a link once they upload today's show (usually it happens a few hours after it airs).

EDIT: It hasn't appeared on yet, and, looking at The Sunday Edition's main page, it seems not all segments of past shows are available to listen to again. We'll have to wait and see if "21 Reasons" (the documentary on Branch) is put up for internet listening.

In the meantime, here's how it's described on the site:

Branch, Newfoundland is the kind of small fishing outport that is considered an endangered species. Twenty years ago, Branch - and hundreds of villages like it - were prosperous fishing communities. But since the collapse of the cod stocks fifteen years ago, the citizenry of Branch has shrunk from about six hundred to just half that. People have been fleeing outport Newfoundland and Labrador as quickly as water running down a drain. On top of that, the entire province is in a population crisis. It's people are aging more quickly, and its birthrate is falling faster, than any province or state in North America.

But Branch has a secret weapon: it's mayor - Priscilla Corcoran Mooney. She's a 31 year old social worker, business owner and probably the youngest municipal leader in Newfoundland and Labrador. And Priscilla has a radical plan.

She's determined - government demographers be damned - to increase the population of Branch to five hundred people. Heather Barrett went to Branch to find out how. Her documentary is called "21 Reasons".

Friday, December 7, 2007

Old Pictures of Placentia

Several people have submitted old photos of the area recently, and I'm very happy to post them here for public viewing and comment.

They're all new to me. It's amazing to wonder how many other old photos there might be tucked away in private collections. If you have a photograph of Placentia pre-World War II, you should have copies made for safe-keeping, and maybe consider donating a copy to the Archives (located at the Placentia Public Library). Old photos are treasures!

As always, click on the image to view a larger version.

The first comes from Harry Smith. It shows people drying fish on Placentia beach. I've never seen this before, and it really drives home how different it is to read statements like "the expansive beach at Placentia was used to dry fish" versus actually seeing it done.

Unfortunately, Mr. Smith didn't say when this was taken. If anyone knows, or has a tidbit of information about the picture, email us!

The next series are provided by Chris Newhook, and they relate to the previous blog entry about Southeast. As was said in that entry, Southeast Placentia was a popular resort spot for the well-to-do of St. John's (and sometimes further abroad). This first picture is titled "A Morning's Catch," is dated 1892, and is connected to 'Fulfort's' (or, Fulford's) hotel (one of the many hotels that used to be in Southeast). I assume these are vacationers . . ?

This is the same spot, Fulford's Hotel, 33 years later, in 1925. Such a gathering of automobiles was not a common sight in 1920's rural Newfoundland. This demonstrates how popular Southeast was as a get-away for wealthy families of the day. Also, take note of the chicken standing in the lane.

The following shot is of the Riverview Hotel (labeled as 'Fulfort'). Mr. Newhook has kindly transcribed the caption in the upper right-hand corner, which obviously corresponds to the people standing in the garden.

"1 - James Howley
2 - Angela Lannon (nee Folfort)
3 - J. Brancombe
4 - Mrs. N. Fulfort (nee Power)
5 - Ned Fulfort"

It is labeled 'circa 1908.' As with all of the images above, anyone with extra information is warmly invited to email it to --- or write it down and drop it in to the Placentia Library, the blog's headquarters.

The final image comes once again from Harry Smith, and it relates back to a previous entry, showing Mr. Bernard Penney's beautiful hand-carved model of the Jerseyside Placentia train station. This is an image of the station itself, with the coal storage building beside it. I believe the current 'Coalyard' playground on top of Jerseyside Hill gets its name from this?

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Emerald Arm

Ray Miller has been kind enough to send along some pictures of his property in Southeast ('Southeast Placentia,' properly, for those from away). These green grassy summery lawns look especially nice after all the snow and slush we've had over the last few days (Ray informs me the largest lawn area is longer than a football field!). Ray's an artist (more on that in future) and he must draw no end of inspiration from such surroundings. And of course, it's great for weddings or just general portraits.

Considering Southeast's verdant tranquility, it's easy to see why it was the island's favoured vacation spot through to the 1950's (and perhaps later?). I wish I had Olive Power's series of articles on the history of Southeast at hand. The list of luminaries who have vacationed in Southeast (staying in one of several hotels) in the past is astonishing.

Why Southeast? Well, it's sheltered on all sides (so it's always a few degrees warmer!), the arm is usually calm as a pond, and the Southeast River has some of the finest fishing in the province. And let's not forget, before the construction of the Argentia Access Road, the road to Conception Bay and St. John's wound its way along the Southeast Arm, too. Beautiful, tranquil, and accessible.

One has to wonder, if the shamefully neglected Route 91 connecting to Colinet and on to the Salmonier Line were ever properly paved and maintained, would Southeast return to some of its prior prominence? In terms of actual kilometres traveled, that route to St. John's is actually shorter than the Access road. Of course, anyone who has traveled its gravel lengths knows which one is quicker!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

INCO Environmental Information Sessions - UPDATED

There will be an Environmental Information Session on the long-delayed smelter, today and tonight here in Placentia.


According to the Argentia Area Chamber of Commerce, the following Information Sessions will be held:

Tuesday, December 4th (today!)
3:30 pm - 5:30 pm and 6:30 pm - 9 pm at Laval High School

Ship Harbour
Wednesday, December 5th
7pm - 9pm at the Community Centre

Thursday, December 6th
3:30pm - 5:30pm and 6:30pm-9pm at Whitbourne Elementary

A session was also held yesterday, December 3rd, at Long Harbour.

Thanks to Chris Newhook for passing along this extra information!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

The Irish Rebellion!

In today's Telegram, on the op-ed pages, there's a large headline that's impossible to miss:


There are 3 letters underneath it, all in response to an editorial The Telegram published last week, which claimed the connections between Ireland and Newfoundland were widely over-stated and were being emphasized in recent years for mercenary reasons (i.e., we're hoping to cash in on the near-miraculous and sustained boom of the Irish economy).

Sadly, none of them are on The Telegram's website, so you'll have to go out and get a copy of today's (Saturday December 1's) paper to read them.

One letter is from an Irishman who is partially in support of the editorial (he seems to have missed the point, for he largely suggests physical differences between Newfoundland and Ireland. While the countryside around St. Bride's and Point Lance comes close, for the most part no one has ever tried to say our rocky isle in the ocean looks like the old Emerald Isle --- our connection is with the people, the culture!)

The other two letters, though, strongly rebut The Telegram's editorial, and they both originate from here, Placentia. We are ground zero and central headquarters for this 'Irish Rebellion,' as The Telegram puts it.

We've always billed ourselves as the French Capital of Newfoundland. Maybe the time has come to claim Irish Capital of Newfoundland as well?

Santa Claus is coming to town!

The Placentia Blog is pleased to report that the annual Dunville Lions Club and Town of Placentia


will be happening on Sunday, December 9, starting at the College of the North Atlantic at 2 pm (floats will begin lining up at 1 pm).

There will be hot dogs and hot chocolate, plus bags full of goodies for the children.

Hopefully, sometime in the coming week, we'll have details about the parade route, and maybe a preview of a float or two!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Folklore and Ghost Stories, Part II

Well, there were a few nice responses to yesterday's post asking about local stories and folklore concerning ghosts, fairies, superstitions, the supernatural, etc. I'm going to post two of them below, anonymously. If you've got more, send it along to --- contributions are the blog's lifeblood!
The first one is with regards to the devil at a dance on Red Island. It's a local story I've heard a few times myself --- does anyone know any more specific details, such as when this was reputed to have happened?

There was a story about a stranger at Red Island who went to a dance and the dancers could not stop dancing after he arrived. It is said that it was the devil. Ask around and you might find out more about this story.


The second concerns the spring or well that runs out from under Cemetery Hill in Placentia (I've always called this Swans Spring). I had heard that drinking from it meant you'd never leave Placentia (or, you're destined to always come back). The rest of it is all news to me! Is there anyone else with info about this spring or well? I know (as PATH's comedic skit 'Dirty Laundry' reports) it was abandoned as a water source sometime in the 19th century, because of fear of run-off from the cemetery.

Have you heard anything about the Old French Well under Cemetery Hill and what some locals have said about it? For instance, I've heard about a French soldier's finger that was cut off and thrown into its depths? And weasels that will spit in your eye if you go near it after dark? And if you drink from it you'll never leave Placentia.... or something like that?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Tales of Ghosts, Fairies, and the Supernatural

Perhaps because I've been reading Wonderful Strange, a collection of supernatural stories from Newfoundland collected by Dale Jarvis (of St. John's Ghostwalk fame), but today I'm wondering . . .

Here in the Placentia area, do you have any stories of ghosts? fairies? unexplained or weird events? Or even just a bit of information about a house that you'd heard was haunted?

Please email them to or drop them off at the Placentia Public Library (the blog's headquarters). If you're afraid of people saying you're foolish or crazy, we'd be more than happy to respect anonymity if it's requested.

I'll start.

I grew up in and around the Burnt Woods in Southeast (Bond's Path). There were a lot of children in this neighbourhood in the 80's and 90's. Some were adamant that the curve of road just past the turn off for Lannon's Place and Burnt Woods subdivisions (heading away from Placentia) was haunted. A ghost was supposed to appear there at midnight every night.

At the time, the only building on that bit of road was the old abandoned (now restored) cabin. The old schoolhouse just before the curve had been recently torn down; none of the new houses that are there now had been built. I'm sure we were just easily spooked kids and these abandoned old buildings, the lack of lights, and the encroaching woods were to blame. I never saw a ghost anywhere near the Burnt Woods, and older folks who I've mentioned it to are not familiar with the story.

Another possibility is that the story began as an easy way for parents to get their kids to keep curfew. I know for sure there were some nights when you'd be flying on your bicycle or running fit to kill yourself, to make sure you got past the curve and safely home before the witching hour struck.

Now, working at the O'Reilly House last summer, there actually were a number of minor yet unexplained events . . . .

. . . . but I want to hear stories, first. Remember, email them (or anything you'd like to see here!) to or drop them to the Placentia Library.

- The Maintainer
(Michael Collins, if you've been curious who's been running this particular ship)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Railway Station Replica

Bernard Penney has kindly sent along this picture of his intricately carved model of the old Placentia train station.

As always, click the image to view it larger!

Bernard writes: After developing an interest in woodworking and having a special interest in trains, I decided to make a model of the Placentia Railroad Station that was built in 1888 in the Coalyard on Jerseyside. After approximately 720 hours of work this is the result.

It certainly is a wonderful piece of craftsmanship and work of art, reflecting our history and a lost piece of our architectural heritage.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Tourism Associations

Tom O'Keefe has been kind enough to email us this story, which appeared in last week's Charter.

A Perfect Fit: Tourism Associations Merge to Form New Group.

A precis: The Irish Loop and Avalon Gateway tourism associations have merged to form the Southern Avalon Tourism Association. The two organizations, representing the Southwest and Southeast Avalon respectively, still exist as separate entities when it comes to other issues such as rural development, but they've joined forces on Tourism.

Here is the new board of directors for SATA, photographed at the merger. They are (back row, left to right) Billy Luby, Rick Hayden, Margie Hatfield, Jeff Peddle, Chris Mooney; (front row, left to right) Elaine Murray, Stan Cook Sr., Maureen Sullivan, Marjorie Gibbons, Martha Mullowny, and Calvin Manning.

Calvin Manning, executive director of Avalon Gateway, sums up the motive behind the move: "What they're promoting is not that different than what we're promoting. We're promoting coastal scenery, we're promoting our Irish heritage, we're promoting bird watching, whale watching, archaeology – archaeology in Ferryland, archaeology in Placentia.”

Saturday, November 24, 2007


Is "bienvenue a la ville de Plaisance!" the limit of your French? Feel like you should know a bit more, living in the ancient French capital as we do? Well, here's a great chance to knock the rust off your ol' francais.

On Wednesday nights, from 7-9 pm, Margie McFarlane will be leading classes in French. These are open to the public, and happen in Classroom 7 at the College of the North Atlantic's Placentia Campus. The classes are free, but there is a suggested donation ($2), with the money going to L'Association Francaise de Plaisance.

Learning a second language has proven benefits, beyond opening up job opportunities with the federal government and honouring our local heritage. In fact, Being bilingual actually boosts your brain power!

Anyone who is interested in can email Margie at for more information or to register.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Laval Come Home Year 2008

Laval High School is celebrating its 40th and likely final year in 2008 (since our shiny new state-of-the-art high school is due to open its doors in 2009).

Thousands of students (an estimate --- does anyone have an exact figure?) have walked its corridors, learned in its classrooms, and socialized in the Centre Block. To commemorate the massive and lasting impact Laval has had on the community --- and to give it one last hurrah from all its alumni --- 2008 has been designated Laval High Come Home Year.

Festivities will take place July 17-20, 2008. All sorts of events are in the works: concerts, open-houses, walking tours, fireworks, family activities, and more.

The re-union's website has plenty of info for the interested and the curious. They're currently looking for photos from days-gone-by, to post on the site.

Tell your friends!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Skewed weathermaps

If you're anything like me, some maps of Canada can be irksome. Why? Well, because we're so far east here in Newfoundland, they cram us into the upper-right hand corner of the map. You'd swear we were next door to Greenland, to look at them.

Well, the next time you want to give a smug "oh-you-must-be-used-to-the-cold" Mainlander a little trip, ask him which city is further south, Vancouver or St. John's. The answer? Why, our dear old St. John's Town, of course, by 187 kilometres too (so here in Placentia, we're more than 200 km south of that balmy BC metropolis).

Just as a trivia fact, we're also further south than Paris. In fact, the French Capital of Newfoundland (our own Plaisance, naturally) is 179 km to the south of the French Capital of . . . er . . . France.

If you click below, you'll see a little display I made up, with the aid of Google Earth. (In fact, all of these figures were calculated with Google Earth . . . what a great time-waster!) This is if major Canadian cities were on the same east-west latitude as St. John's.

As always, click to enlarge the image

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Marine Atlantic's Latest Controversy

Only a few months after volunteers got sick in their lifeboats*, Marine Atlantic looks like it's in trouble again.

It turns out their vessel Atlantic Freighter has a bad case of the ol' asbestos. It turns out Marine Atlantic has known this since the early 1990's. The assumption was that the asbestos were safely contained, but it turns out this may not have been the case.

Beyond Marine Atlantic's too-brief summer presence in our community, there is another local link to this story. As reported in the Charter, a Ship Harbour resident and Marine Atlantic employee has suffered prolonged exposure to the deadly chemicals. The Charter reports that the man's doctor predicts a 90% chance that he will suffer asbestos-related health problems in the future.

Marine Atlantic denies any wrongdoing and says previous air quality tests showed no problems. Look for further developments.

*during a mock disaster in the Bay of Islands

Monday, November 19, 2007

First snow of the year!

The ground isn't frozen so it won't stay, but we got our first snow this afternoon, November 19. Lots of people get poetic about first snows, but this light dusting seems a little anti-climatic to me!

Grouse in Southeast

Two big grouse, right out on the lawn!

(click to enlarge)

Sometimes nature puts on an impromptu show; it's one of the benefits of rural living.

As always, if you've got a picture you'd like to share, please email
it to

Friday, November 16, 2007

Happy One-Month-aversary to us!

The Placentia Blog has officially been rolling for a month now! You might note the first post is actually October 3, but I installed visitor statistics software and started promoting the blog on October 15.

In that time, we've had 129 visitors from 8 countries. They've visited the blog 227 times, viewing 435 pages.

Thanks, everyone! Remember to check back regularly for updates! Also, remember, if you'd like to see something here, just email us: --- we're always thrilled to hear from people!

- The Maintainer

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Placentia Christmas Cards

Local artist Chris Newhook has been kind enough to forward to us this display of his Placentia Christmas Cards.

Click to enlarge the image and get a better look!

They feature beautiful wintery scenes from Placentia past and present. Starting in the upper left and going counter-clockwise, we have:

- Placentia Courthouse, 1902
- Mount Pleasant, 1900
- Placentia Church and Convent, 1890
- Orcan River, 1905
- St. Luke's Anglican Church
- Winter View of Placentia from Le Gaillardin
- Santa on Castle Hill
- Lower Road, Dunville
- Ship Harbour

Anyone interested in these cards can reach Chris at

Friday, November 9, 2007

Placentia's Floodplain

Since it's such a rainy day, I thought it might be interesting to take a brief look at Placentia's flood-y history.

Tropical Storm Chantal was a bit of anomaly, as floods go. Up until the 1990's, it wasn't rain that would flood us, it was tide, and it wasn't Dunville or Ship Harbour or Southeast or Point Verde that was at risk, it was the flats of Placentia itself.

Check out this flood risk map, from the Water Resources Atlas of Newfoundland. As you can see, naturally most of Placentia floods approximately once every 20 years; the lighter pink floods once every 100 years. It seems only the area from the Star Hall through to CONA is in the clear. The historic district of town seems to be most at risk.

Unfortunately, Old Placentia's prognosis is not good, from an environmental point of view. According to a Memorial University-run website, although the embankment facing the open sea and the seawall all along the Orcan protects us now,
"it will be increasingly difficult to protect Placentia from floods" "if one of the effects of global warming is a rise in sea-level."

I guess we'll deal with it as we always have done. Placentia has had some terrible floods over the years, and in future entries I'll delve further into this aspect of our history. It's part of the geographical nature of the town --- we're Newfoundland's version of Venice or New Orleans.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Rushoon (courtesy Dark Horse NF & Lab blog)

While the main focus of this blog are the communities from Ship Harbour to Branch (perhaps also Long Harbour and the northern reaches of St. Mary's Bay?), we're always happy to consider Placentia Bay at large. Thus, we were more than happy to receive an email from the maintainer of Dark Horse Newfoundland and Labrador, who has written an informative and enjoyable 'snapshot' of the Placentia Bay community of Rushoon.

First settled around 1830 by a couple of fishermen from England, it gradually grew in size. By 1921 the population was 130, and swelled to 232 by 1945, a good reflection of healthy fish stocks, and source of reliable work.

You can read the whole thing here.

Local Placenames

This is a partial (and perhaps only partially correct) list of local placenames in the Placentia area. If you know any that aren't listed here, or wish to correct one that is, please email, or even just leave a comment on this entry.

Some of them are commonly known, others less so. Many seem to be falling out of use.

Brulee - The marshy area behind the (new) hospital and the mall.

Swans - An older area of town, around the base of cemetery hill. Does anyone know the approximate boundaries of Swans? Does it extend over to St. Edward's School and the Star Hall, or is it just around The Boardwalk bar and lounge?

Sleepy Hallow - The stretch of homes above the Regatta Grounds.

Bond's Path - From Blockhouse Hill to Smelt River. Thought of as part of Southeast by many, but historically a separate community. Older homes seem to center on the brook that flows in the valley before Burnt Woods. Does anyone know the name of this brook? We grew up calling it Bond's Path River.

Crevecoeur - The cliff facing the ocean, just west of Freshwater.

Herring Cove - On the North East Arm, around the turn-off for Ferndale.

Glen's Cove - The landward side of the brackish pond or barachoix (crossed by a causeway) just past Point Verde. This was a community in the past; the old highroad went around the coast and crossed a small bridge at the brook at the base of the cove/pond.

There are plenty more --- this is just a hastily composed collection. Please feel free to add to it, or correct things that are here!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Fall in Placentia

Fall in Placentia

It's been windy and wet today and yesterday, but the weather was glorious earlier in the week. Clear, crisp but not cold --- perfect for a walk on the boardwalk.

This photos is courtesy of Michael Collins, and was taken a few days ago. Click to view a large version.

Remember, if you've got pictures of your own, email them to us at

We welcome all submissions.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Silent Time - Paul Rowe's Book Launch

Paul Rowe reading from his first novel, The Silent Time, at its launch at the Placentia Public Library on the evening of October 29. 55 people attended the free event.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

It's hard not to speed . . .

It sure is hard not to speed on the lovely new asphalt that's just been put down all along the Beach Road and Blockhouse Hill.

I have to confess, sometimes when I glance down I find myself going 70 or more. It's so smooth, it's easy to forget yourself!

I guess we're just reaping the rewards of patiently putting up with all the roadwork this summer. It's going to be lovely when they have the rest of the Town done, I'm sure!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Paul Rowe's Book Launch - TONIGHT in Placentia!

The Silent Time
A novel by Paul Rowe

Paul Rowe's new novel, "The Silent Time," will be launched tonight, Monday October 29, at the Placentia Public Library at 7:00 pm.

Attendance is free!

Paul, a Point Verde native, will read from his book; copies will also be on sale and available to be signed. Coffee, tea, and snacks will be generously provided by the Library.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Farming Placentia Bay

When I moved back to Placentia in August of this year, after two years largely spent outside Newfoundland, I noticed something along the Argentia Access Road that I'd never noticed before.


I know some (or maybe all?) of them have been there for years, but now you can see furrowed fields and emerald green meadows from the highway, if you risk a pause from the eternal vigilance potholes and moose require.

It's a beautiful sight, the rich earth, the grazing sheep. I don't know if farming is on the up-and-up in our area, or if it simply took 'fresh eyes' to notice it, but we've got some of the most fertile parts of Newfoundland in our neck of the woods, and it's nice to see them made use of.

Then, I opened this week's Charter, and this story about agriculture in the Southwest Avalon piqued my interest further. See the photos attached to the story. They do the heart good, don't they?

There's an Agricultural Development Session on November 1 and 2 at the Bird Island Resort out in St. Bride's. It's hosted by Avalon Gateway Regional Development Inc. It sounds fascinating and more than a little exciting.

So: how many commercial farms do we have in our area? What do they grow? I'm interested to know. Pop an email to if you would like to share a farming success story with us.

We'd love to hear from you!

Saturday, October 20, 2007


The Placentia Blog is always interested in pertinent links! As is the case with all things (photos, essays, community events, historical tidbits), just pop an email containing the link to and we'd be happy to post it here.

The Placentia Public Library Board's website has useful info about the Library, some nice local photos (including aerial shots), and a great Writers' Corner, where local writers have some enjoyable literary pieces archived.

Recall the implosion of the 'Q' at Argentia, back in 1999? Just like everything else (or so it seems), Youtube's got it.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

An unusual angle

Cape St. Mary's is probably one of my favourite places in the world, and I've traveled a bit. It's a real gem. The shot of the Bird Rock from the other side of the cove is pretty ubiquitous, almost as common as the shot of Placentia from Castle Hill.

But if you continue on the trail a little and follow it around, you get a really unusual angle that helps us see this natural wonder with fresh eyes.

(Photo submitted by Michael Collins)

Population Changes

Placentia's shrinking population is a depressing topic, but I just spent an hour with my nose in the 1935 census, and it's interesting to see Placentia suffered a similar population drop in that historical period of economic woe. In short, we've been through this before.

First of all, the Placentia St. Mary's district currently has a population of 11,115. This is obviously down quite a bit from the 70's and 80's, but look at what happened to the District's population in the early part of the 20th century:

1911: 16,099
1921: 8,504
1935: 8,454

It almost dropped by half. Boggling to consider, isn't it? It's also strange to think that more people lived here in 1911 than in 2007.

Similarly, the Town of Placentia's population declined significantly in the first part of the 20th century.

In 1901, its population was listed as 1,509, and it was the 8th largest town in the (then) Dominion of Newfoundland. By 1935, it was 1,140, and was down to 21st largest.

I got curious as to what they considered "Town of Placentia" to be in 1935 (as you still hear echoes of the amalgamation debates, almost 20 years old now). In the community profiles, they break the communities down as follows:

1935 Populations (in order)

Argentia: 477
Placentia: 469
Marquise: 283
Dunville: 261
Southeast: 216
Jerseyside: 161
Freshwater: 33

So, adding that up, what we consider as the modern Town of Placentia actually had 1,900 people in 1935, good enough for 12th largest town in Newfoundland (provided other places like Twillingate and Carbonear still have their 1935 boundaries today).

The communities they must have added together to get the 1935 population of 1,140 are: Placentia, Southeast, Jerseyside, Dunville, and Freshwater. So, in 1935, neither Argentia nor Marquise (nor Point Verde) was considered part of the town, but Dunville was.

So what about now? Well, the numbers on the other side of the century tell as sad a tale.

1991: 5,515
1996: 5,013
2001: 4,426
2006: 3,898

But we can take solace in the fact that our area has been through a cycle like this before. Hopefully the population will stabilize and begin to grow in the years to come, if promised industrial developments come through and the Province continues its economic upswing.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Election Results in Placentia - St. Mary's

I'm sure everyone knows Danny Williams won a large majority last night, and that our MHA, Felix Collins (PC), was also re-elected, but here are the exact numbers for our district, Placentia - St. Mary's.

Felix Collins (PC): 3086 votes, 79.17% of the vote
Jennifer Coultas (NDP): 812 votes, 20.83% of the vote

According to, the district's population is 11,115 (I wonder what it was 20 years ago?).

If anyone knows the number of registered voters, I'll edit to report voter turn-out in our district. I'm told, unofficially, that 3,896 is about half of what could have voted.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


This is just to see how this thing works.

Hopefully in the near future, this place will be bursting with pictures, stories, recipes, event notices, personal reflections, and more, all about Placentia, all from Placentia people!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

The path leads up! (taken on the Sugarloaf Trail, Ship Harbour)

- Michael Collins