History of the Communities of the Peninsula


According to Mary Mavis Sheppard, the settlement was first known as Pie Denis, and there were just eight residents in 1891. There was a French fishplant until 1904 when the French Shore was officially abolished.

Some early residents arrived from other parts of Newfoundland. John Maclsaac moved from Moidart, Scotland, to Northwest River, Antigonish County, Nova Scotia. Other members of the family settled at Broad Cove, Cape Breton. One son, Donald, moved to Sandy Point, Bay St. George, with his wife, Mary, six daughters and one son, while two daughters and two sons remained in Nova Scotia. Donald moved to Piccadilly in 1852 where he farmed for 10 years until his wife died and he moved to Port au Port West. McAlpine's 1884 Directory listed James Joy as a merchant. He was born in 1838 and married Mary O'Rourke from Holyrood, moving to Piccadilly in the 1880s and later to Port au Port. John Joy established a business on The Gravels.

The community was abandoned until the 1920s with no permanent settlement until 1932 when most Mi'kmaq French speaking families arrived. Joe Tourout settled in Piccadilly around 1926 with his Mi'kmaw wife Annie (Hinks) from Mouse Island, Port aux Basques. His 126 acres lay west of Camel's Brook. They moved from Ship Cove and had six children, four boys and two girls. Joe's father, Odges (augustus), had come from Paris, France, and settled at Sandy Point. His wife Mi'kmaw Mary Ann (Sheppard) moved with their three boys and two girls to Ship Cove shortly after his death in 1881. Joe Tourout fished for smelt at Piccadilly while logging in the winter. The smelt were taken by horse and sleigh to Stephenville and shipped to markets in Boston and New York; the logs were sold to the West Bay Lumber Company.

By the mid-1900s, the early French speaking residents had moved out and replaced by mainly Mi'kmaq and English settlers, and Piccadilly grew rapidly. Its harbor offered shelter from all but northeast winds. The Abbott & Haliburton wharf is about a mile south of South Head, and was built by the West Bay Lumber Company in 1925. They shipped most of their wood to Corner Brook for shipment to Sydney and Bell Island for mine pit props. In 1932, the North West Products Company took over and extended the pier, building a cold storage and cannery there, and tried to can scallops, clams, eels and blueberries, but markets were poor. They also made fish meal for poultry feed and fertilizer. The meal was shipped to Germany and Egypt, and the fertilizer was famous for its quality. The company also experimented with Irish moss, but, upon consultation, the Halifax research station deemed it to be uneconomical. The pier was later taken over by Abbott & Haliburton, who, by the 1930s, already had plants at Piccadilly and Three Rock Cove.

By 1935, Piccadilly had 140 residents. The Hudson Bay Company had the first licence to ship live lobster to the Boston market. Arthur House started the scallop industry by dragging from a pleasure boat. A man from Digby, Nova Scotia, was brought over to demonstrate the correct technique. Residents packed an average of 200 barrels (3,000 Ibs.) a day. The community was also known for its smelt run. The smelt fishery operated from the 1890s to the 1930s when the price rose to 30 cents a Ib., but dropped in the 1940s. Piccadilly's population had increased to 628 by 1976.

Mrs. Danny Gale was the first postmistress. Our Lady of Fatima Church was built in 1959, and a new church was started in 1977 under Father John Moriarty. There was a fertilizer factory, lobster fishery, scallop industry (with 3,000 Ibs. a day at peak), logging, farming and fishing in 1980. The water tower was built in 1982 to supply the National Sea Products fish plant, whic closed this year. There are now two lobster buyers operating from the wharf. Kendall's Fisheries Limited, started by Matthew Kendall, is the prominent buyer in the area today.

Place names of interest in the Piccadilly area:

South Head

Piccadilly Bay

Piccadilly Head

Piccadilly Head Regional Park

South Brook

Piccadilly Central High School


Reference list

  1. "Decks Awash,"magazine Volume 19 Number 4, published by Memorial University, July-August 1990
  2. Joseph Benoit, and Marc Cormier, "History of the Francophone movement". The Georgian. Stephenville. luly 11, 1978. Comeau, Paul A. 'Port au Port". Student paper. Maritime History Group, Memorial University, n.d
  3. Doucette, Nelson V, "I'attern of settlement in the Port au Port Area of Newfound land". Student paper. Maritime History Group. Memorial University, n.d,
  4. Encyclopedia of Newfoundland and Labrador. Vols. 1 and 2. F-d. J.R. Smallwood. Newfoundland Book Publishers (1967) Ltd. St. John's. 1981 and 1984.
  5. Benwah, Jasen, "Growing up on the Port au Port Peninsula". Stephenville. 2002
  6. Hynes, Sharon. "Port au Port". Student paper. Maritime History Group, Memorial University. 1985.
  7. Lawlor, Kathleen. "A History of the Port au Port Peninsula". Student paper. Maritime History Group, Memorial University, n.d.
  8. Lawior, Kathleen. "A Brief History of Port au Port". Student paper. Maritime History Ciroup, Memorial University, n.d.
  9. Mclsaac, Sandra. Merchants, Mint", and Ffalf-Fenny Lobster. Curran Memorial Library. Port au Port East. 1984. Power, Mike. "The Abbott family". Student paper. Maritime History Croup, Memorial University, n.d.
  10. Quinlan, Sister Elizabeth. "History of Port au Port". Student paper. Maritime History Group, Memorial University. 1972,
  11. Sheppard, Mary Mavis. "The History of Lourdes". Student paper. Maritime History Group. Memorial University. 1972.
  12. Sheppard, Melvina. "The History of the resettlement of Lourdes". Student paper. Maritime History Group, .Memorial University. 1976.
  13. Thomas. Gerald. "Noms de licux et de lieux-dits associes aux Franco-Terreneuviens de la presqu'ile de Port au Port" in 450 ans de noms de licux Fran-cais en Amerjque du Nord. Les Publications du Quebec. Quebec. 1986.
  14. Tourout, Cecil Joseph. "The Tourout Land Settlement at Piccadilly". Student paper. Maritime History Group. Memorial University. 1972. Decks Awash. Vol. 5, No. 2. Memorial University. April 1976.
  15. The Rounder. Rural Development Council of Newfoundland and Labrador. Gander. August 1980.


Dick and Dolly Alexander, Sylvester and Edna Benoit, Joe Arruda. Greta De Louche, Mike Felix, Eileen Hann, Theresa Hann, Lorraine Hoskins, Patsy Jesso, Brian Kerfont, Julie Oliver, Valerie Young, Paula Marshall of the Maritime History Archives, Kitty Power of the Newfoundland Historical Society, Memorial University Photographic Services, staff of the Memorial University Centre for Newfoundland Studies, the Provincial Reference and Research Library, and the Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador.

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Updated on December 15, 2003