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 placentiablog@gmail.com 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 placentiablog@gmail.com 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 CBC.ca, 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