Colliers was settled only in the latter part of the 18th century, relatively
late compared with towns such as Cupids and Carbonear. While the first settlers
were fishermen, by the mid-19th century farming was the main economic activity,
as the many meadows in the area attest today. However, little farming is carried
Conception Harbour also moved from farming to fishing in the 19th century.
However, Bacon Cove, now part of the town but located on a short peninsula to
the north, was founded before 1700, and was burned by the French in 1697.
There has been a garden party in Conception Harbour every summer for more than
In Avondale you’ll find an old Railway Station that has been converted to a
museum, although there’s a train and some tracks remaining.
Harbour Main-Chapels Cove-Lakeview is an amalgamated town comprising the three
formerly independent settlements in its name. Harbour Main is an old town,
possibly founded by the French in the 1640s. Chapel’s Cove was settled in the
19th century and Lakeview in the 20th. By the late 17th century Harbour Main was
an English fishing station, and was twice sacked by the French during the
colonial wars. In the late 18th century it was settled by the Irish, and thus
became a Catholic community in an almost totally Protestant bay, Conception Bay
being at that time part of what was termed "the English shore."
Because of its religious affiliations, the electoral district of Harbour Main,
of which the town was the nomination centre, voted along the same lines as the
more Catholic districts of the Southern Shore and St. John’s.
Holyrood is one of the original tourism destinations in Newfoundland and
Labrador. Although the origins of its name and the date of settlement are in
dispute, the natural beauty of the area has been noted for centuries, and the
arrival of the railway in the late 19th century made it a more accessible
destination for people travelling overland from St. John’s, who had been driving
the dusty roads from the capital since the 1830s. The first hotel was built in
the 1860s, and while the train is long gone, the area remains an attractive
destination, mainly for day-trippers going "around the bay" for a drive. A
popular spot is the riverside Holy Cross park which features an in-river pool.
Holyrood is also known for its marina and annual summer Squid Fest.
A string of small bayside communities between Seal Cove and Topsail was joined
into Conception Bay South in 1971. Today it is the fourth-largest community in
the province. Many people have moved there for the magnificent view of
Conception Bay, especially in recent years as modern highways now connect the
town to St. John’s. Commuting distance to downtown St. John’s is less than 20
minutes for many residents.
This was once a major farming area, supplying meat, milk and vegetables to the
city, but most of that is fading away. City residents also built summer homes
One of the neighbourhoods is Kelligrews, home and inspiration of the famous folk
song The Kelligrews Soiree by Johnny Burke, a lively compendium of hijinks and
unusual cuisine featured at a traditional community party. The real joke,
however, is that almost all the characters mentioned in the song were from St.
John’s. The soiree is held each year.
The town is one of the few to have a geological attraction, namely the trilobite
fossil beds along the Manuels River Linear Park. The fossils found here are
similar to those found in southern Spain and Portugal and northern Africa, but
different from those found in western Newfoundland. This was a key in
establishing the theory of plate tectonics, or continental drift.
The town also has a
marina at Foxtrap, site of a famous 19th century "battle,"
and is home to the Royal Newfoundland Yacht Club at Long Pond. A popular seaside
attraction is Topsail Beach in the east end of town. Conception Bay is a good SCUBA diving
area, especially around the ore carriers that were sunk by U-Boats just off Bell Island
during World War II
Just over the border is Paradise, the fastest growing town in the province with
a population of about 15,000. The Angels Road in the community is named not for
heavenly creatures, but the Angel family that once had a summer home here. The
trail around Neil’s Pond is a good place to stretch your legs.