Event: Haunted Harbour Grace


A frightful fundraiser for our museum! Walk through the haunted streets, hear horror-filled stories, and meet gruesome characters from the past…

Two dates available: Friday, October 22 (rain date: Saturday, October 23) and Monday, October 25 (rain date: Tuesday, October 26). 

Tickets $15.00 each. Limited number available. Purchase tickets at the Harbour Grace Town Council Office, Conception Bay Museum, and Butt’s Esso Carbonear. For inquiries, email conceptionbaymuseum@outlook.com.

Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. 

Time: 7:00 p.m. start

Date: Friday, October 22 (rain date: Saturday, October 23) and Monday, October 25 (rain date: Tuesday, October 26).

Location: Conception Bay Museum, Harbour Grace, NL

Tickets: $15.00

Introducing Our First Virtual Tour QR Code

Here’s the first of our ‘virtual tour explainers’ for our grounds. Just open up the camera function on your phone, point your phone’s camera at the QR code, click the link, and watch the quick video. In the video, one of our volunteers will take you to Bannerman River and explain the history of the old Riverhead Mill.

We hope to add a few more video explainers inside the park and, with the help of the Town of Harbour Grace, expand this series to include other historic sites in the Heritage District and community generally.

Thank you to board member Christina Cox for her work producing this first entry in the video series.

Summer Update: August 16, 2021

Just a quick programming update from us at the Conception Bay Museum.

Sunday, August 22, 2021, will be our final day for general tours of the Musuem with our summer student guides. While this summer was a bit different – as expected – we appreciate everyone who stopped by to visit and receive a tour from our student guides. We truly appreciate your continued interest in our wonderful Museum.

And now, the reason for this early closing: We’re happy to announce we’re doing a complete remodel and renovation of our popular ‘Aviation Room’ this fall. Unfortunately, the Museum will be a bit of a mess during this process and really not suitable for public viewing. However, this new exhibit will be worth the wait and hard work – trust us! Stay tuned for updates along the way!

Just a reminder that our final Lunchtime Concert in the Park is this week, Wednesday, August 18, starting at 12 p.m. On deck are Paul Stevenson and Honourable Pam Parsons!

And finally, don’t forget our final show of the summer, a ‘Night Concert by the Sea’, scheduled for Wednesday, August 25, with a rain date of Thursday, August 26. The park will be lit, the street will be closed, and on deck to perform are Abigale, Gord Harris, and Chad Hunt. Tickets are just $10.00 and can be purchased in advance at the Museum, Rorke Stores in Carbonear, and at the gate. We hope to see you there!

Thank you everyone for your continued support this summer! It truly means the world to our staff and volunteers.

Night Concert by the Sea: Wednesday, August 25

Night Concert by Sea in the Conception Bay Museum Park: Wednesday, August 25

6:30 p.m. – Doors open

7:00 p.m. – Abigale

7:30 p.m.  – Gord Harris

8:30 – Chad Hunt

Date: Wednesday, August 25, 2021 (Rain date: Thursday, August 26, 2021)

Tickets: $10.00 (available at the Conception Bay Museum, Rorke Store Museum in Carbonear, and at the gate)

Location: Conception Bay Museum Park, Harbour Grace, NL

New Welcome Sign on Jamie’s Way

Our new sign has been erected on Jamie’s Way as you enter Harbour Grace! Thank you to Jerome McCarthy, Tony McCarthy, and Dave Bishop for their work installing this. Special thanks to Pam Edwards, our photographer, and Brenda Hunt-Stevenson, Committee Chair. Also, thank you to Kelly Fowler of Avalon TrimLine, who designed and printed this beautiful sign. We love it!

Volunteer Week: Message from the Chair

As Chair of the Board of Directors of the Conception Bay Museum, I want to extend a huge thank you to our Board and the many volunteers who assist with the running of this institution.

Our mission is to preserve and celebrate the history and culture of our community. We are truly excited to continue our programs this season in the safest possible manner to the very best of our ability given COVID-19 and its restrictions. Please watch for further announcements as we move forward. Decisions on public visitation will be made later. Happy Volunteer Week! Thank you all!

– Patrick J. Collins, Chair

Passport Places: Conception Bay Museum

Happy to announce we’ve recently become one of the National Trust for Canada’s Passport Places in Newfoundland & Labrador!

Whether you are interested in castles, former jails, lighthouses, mansions, train stations or indigenous heritage there’s a Passport Place for you. There’s no better way to discover Canada’s history than in an actual historic place. Discover places that amaze, delight, and inform.

Enjoy FREE admission at these special places with your National Trust membership. Membership starts at only $40. Join today!

Find out more about Passport Places on the National Trust’s website.

Profile: The Waterford Arms, Harbour Grace

Waterford Coat of Arms outside the former Waterford Arms Hotel, Waterford, Ireland. (Source: Link)

As recorded in our ‘Harbour Grace Notebook’ project:

On February 3, 1832, the Association of Fishermen met at William Innott’s hotel, the Waterford Arms, and paraded with flags and banners to Bears Cove, then on to Samson’s Brook (often called Nichols Brook), the band playing their favourite songs the whole way. They circled back to the Waterford Arms, where refreshments were served and twenty-five speeches given. William Talbot stood as the chairperson, Robert Oke as the vice-chair.

Owned by merchant William Innott, the Waterford Arms was a popular hotel and community meeting place in the early part of the nineteenth century. It presumably took its name from County Waterford, Ireland, an area with strong migratory connections to Newfoundland. The hotel stood somewhere near the area of today’s LeMarchant Street (or Gas House Hill). A cooper’s shop stood near the rear of the hotel, as well as a stable built for Innott’s horses.

The will of James Cowan further details Innott’s property holdings in Harbour Grace:

The premises situated at Harbor Grace held under lease by William Innott consisting of the dwelling house and wharf lately held by Denis MacGrath deceased, a dwelling house also, garden in front thereof, and one at back thereof, with a Cooper’s shop in the rear of the Waterford Arms, together with a stable built by the said William Innott near thereto… And lastly I appoint James Bayly Gentleman and William Innott Merchant Executors of this my last will and Testament who shall with their heirs executors and administrators be at all times exonerated and indemnified in any acts matters or things to be done by them in the execution of such duty or trust.

Other groups which frequented the Waterford Arms include the Benevolent Irish Society, who held their annual anniversaries at the hotel every February.

Interestingly, Innott’s hospitality business brought him into contact with Governor Sir Thomas Cochrane. The two exchanged correspondence in the late summer of 1826 regarding the unpaid debts of Judge John William Molloy. A ‘Mr. Stark’ had arranged for several rooms to be rented by Judge Molloy from May 10 to July 13; the latter assured Innott that Cochrane would foot the bill. When the payment of £250 was not forthcoming, Innott promptly wrote the governor. E.B. Brenton replied to Innott on Cochrane’s behalf, stating that the governor was “wholly unacquainted with the circumstances you have state[d], and cannot therefore authorize payment prayed for by your memorial.” In further correspondence between the governor and the judge, the latter’s explanation for the expenses at Harbour Grace were deemed unsatisfactory; pointedly, Cochrane asked what authority Molloy thought he had to mention the governor’s name, or make implications that he could be drawn upon in payment of these expenses. Such “pecuniary embarrassments” occupied much of Cochrane’s time in the summer of 1826 and led to Molloy’s dismissal from office.

Tragically, on August 18, 1832, the Waterford Arms burned in the first ‘Great Fire’ of Harbour Grace, along with Keefe’s Hotel, the Commercial Rooms, and twelve public houses.

After this devastation, a public meeting was held at the courthouse to elect commissioners to planning the town anew. Where the hotel once stood, a firebreak, LeMarchant Street, was constructed.

No photo description available.
Map showing LeMarchant Street, 1879. (Source: Conception Bay Museum archives.)