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!