Colston’s Cove Steps Now Open

On the anniversary of John Guy’s last day in Harbour Grace – October 7, 1612 – we’re pleased to announce the recently restored steps to Colston’s Cove are now open! They’ll remain open until late fall, close for the winter, and reopen spring 2020.

According to Guy’s October journal, he and his men “land[ed]…salt upon the highest part of the ground and there put it in a round heap and burned it to preserve it. The quantity of salt was fifteen tons.” Guy christened this beach Colston’s Cove, after his brother-in-law, William Colston.

In W.A. Munn’s history, he notes this beach was later known as Bradbury’s Cove:

“We now come to where Isaac Bradbury had his fishing stage, right in front of where we now find the Methodist Church stands at the present time. This property was purchased from the Garland family. The Bradbury family had aristocratic connections in the Old Country, and have always held a high name in Harbour Grace. Bradbury’s Cove is still known by that name, although the fishing stages have vanished long ago. Tradition says that this was originally Colston’s Cove, and this name dates back to 1610 when William Colston was right hand man with our first Governor John Guy…and where the salt was landed in 1612.”

Harbour Grace Notebook: September


Follow the Harbour Grace Notebook series with the hashtag #hgnotebook on FacebookTwitter and Instagram

2 Sept. 1889: The first Immaculate Conception Cathedral burns. Although valued at $350,000 in 1889, the church carried no insurance for damages.

3 Sept. 1799: Father Patrick Phelan drowns off Grates Cove; he is later buried at Bennett’s Lane Roman Catholic Cemetery, Harbour Grace. He would be one of the cemetery’s earliest internments. Phelan, a Franciscan or Friar Minor, headed the Harbour Grace mission under Bishop James O’Donel (O’Donnell), travelling around Conception Bay to deliver mass to its Catholics. Although the date of his arrival is unknown, Phelan was in Harbour Grace by 1794, making two visitations to his parish annually.

3 Sept. 1856: Harbour Grace Turf Club holds a meeting at Connell’s Hotel. The Club names Capt. Samuel Gordon chairperson, J. Fennell secretary.

3 Sept. 1906: Sir Thomas Roddick marries his second wife, Amy Redpath, in Chislehurst, London.

4 Sept. 1860: Volunteer Fire Brigade reorganizes: a new fire bell is erected, and a new engine purchased. Henry T. Moore, Michael Hartery and others are appointed to the committee.

5 Sept. 1830: Beginning of Harbour Grace Volunteer Fire Brigade.

5 Sept. 1927: Pilots Terrence Tully & James V. Medcalf arrive at the Harbour Grace airstrip in their plane, the Sir John Carling.


James V. Medcalf and Terrence Tully, pilots of the Sir John Carling

7 Sept. 1927: The Sir John Carling leaves the Harbour Grace airstrip. Pilots Duke Schiller and Phil Wood arrive at the airstrip in the Royal Windsor.

9 Sept. 1935: The Northrop Alpha, a pleasure aircraft piloted by Frederick D. Lee, arrives in Harbour Grace.

11 Sept. 1854: Harbour Grace’s ‘Beacon Light’ first exhibited.

11 Sept. 1935: The Northrop Alpha leaves Harbour Grace for Saint John, New Brunswick.

12 Sept. 1927: SS Kyle recovers the wreck of the Old Glory, with the crew nowhere to be found. Fred Koehler, instrumental in creating an airstrip at Harbour Grace, was on board.

13 Sept. 1851: Magistrate Robert John Pinsent lays the cornerstone at the Temperance Hall on Victoria St.

14 Sept. 1614: Henry Mainwarring, a pirate who frequented Harbour Grace’s shores, leaves Newfoundland.

14 Sept. 1927: Royal Windsor leaves Harbour Grace for Windsor, Ontario, its planned transatlantic flight cancelled after the fates of the Old Glory and Sir John Carling.

15 Sept. 1936: Beachcraft newsplane, carrying Carl Chader and passengers, arrives in Harbour Grace to cover the rescue of the Lady Peace, then stranded in Musgrave Harbour. Also, the Great Silver Fleet aircraft arrives in Harbour Grace as part of the rescue. It is the largest plane to visit airstrip in its nine-year history.

16 Sept. 1936: Beachcraft aircraft, with pilot Johnny Schobe, arrives in Harbour Grace and leaves the same day for Musgrave Harbour.

18 Sept. 1936: Lady Peace aircraft, piloted by Dick Merrill and Harry Richman, arrives at Harbour Grace from Musgrave Harbour, having been rescued by Ed Rickenbacker, the famed World War I flying ace.

20 Sept. 1842: Diomede Falconio Born in Pescocostanzo, Italy, in the region of the Abbey of Monte Cassino.


Thomas Eakin’s portrait of Diomede Falconio (Source: National Gallery of Art)

20 Sept. 1936: The Great Silver Fleet and Lady Peace aircrafts leaves Harbour Grace for New York, USA.

21 Sept. 1833: First Presentation Sisters arrive in St. John’s. Sisters from the Order would come to Harbour Grace in 1851.

21 Sept. 1837: Rev. William Ellis dies at Harbour Grace. He is the first British Methodist missionary to die and be buried in Newfoundland.

23 Sept. 1930: Errol Boyd and Harry Connor arrive at the Harbour Grace in the Columbia. This trip would be the plane’s second to Harbour Grace in two years. (Originally the plane carried Broadway actress and socialite Mable Boll to Harbour Grace in 1928.) More info: Harbour Grace Airport Trust Co. Logbook

25 Sept. 1730: George Garland is appointed Justice of the Peace for Harbour Grace.

29 Sept. 1879: John Munn dies in Southport, Lancashire, England, at age 72.

29 Sept. 1881: Bishop Ronald McDonald arrives in Harbour Grace.

Harbour Grace Notebook: August


Follow the Harbour Grace Notebook series with the hashtag #hgnotebook on FacebookTwitter and Instagram

1 Aug. 1901: Judge Thomas R. Bennett dies at Harbour Grace.

1 Aug. 1933: Bellanca aircraft leaves Harbour Grace for New York, USA.

2 Aug 1880: Sir Thomas Roddick marries Urelia Marion Fraser McKinnon in Montreal.

2 Aug. 1866: Thomas Harrison Ridley hosts a gala at Ridley Hall to celebrate the landing of the cable in Hearts Content.

2 Aug. 1930: City of New York aircraft, piloted by H.J. Brown and John Henry Mears, arrives in Harbour Grace

8 Aug. 1927: Work begins on construction of the Harbour Grace airstrip.

8 Aug. 1933: White Eagle aircraft, piloted by brothers Benjamin and Joseph Adamowitz, arrives in Harbour Grace. The plane later crashed on takeoff.

10 Aug. 1916: Death of Julia (Parsons) Gordon, proprietor of the Gordon Lodge. She is buried at the United Church Cemetery, Harbour Grace.

14 Aug. 1575: Robert Hayman baptized, son of Nicholas Hayman and Alice Gaverocke. More info: Dictionary of Canadian Biography.

14 Aug. 1819: Sir Henry Pynn present at a meeting of the Outinian Society, nineteenth-century society for singles. Pynn would meet his wife, Cecilia Jackson (later Lady Pynn) here. He later married her in 1821.

14 Aug. 1852: Mutual Insurance Society established.

15 Aug. 1731: Rev. James Balfour born in the parish of Banchory-Ternan, Scotland. More info: Dictionary of Canadian Biography.

15 Aug. 1874: Temperance Hall, called “the most sightly and ornate of our modern wooden structures,” formerly opens in Harbour Grace.

17 Aug. 1944: Third ‘Great Fire’ of Harbour Grace.

17 Aug. 1944: Harbour Grace United Church, fourth Methodist church, burns during third ‘Great Fire’ of Harbour Grace.

18 Aug. 1832: First ‘Great Fire’ of Harbour Grace. Flames were spread quickly by the wind, soon reaching a building which had gun-powder in the loft. The explosion which followed sent embers in all directions causing fires to break out in several other locations. This fire was devastating, and it almost destroyed the entire business community, as only three mercantile establishments survived. Also claimed by the fire were several retail stores, the Episcopalian Church, three hotels, a dozen public houses, and 100 homes. Over 600 people were left homeless. The fire notably burned the Anglican Church and Robert Crocker Bray’s house.

19 Aug. 1861: Harbour Grace Volunteer Regiment assemble on the Parade Grounds, near Military Rd. 62 officers and men are present.

20 Aug. 1862: Volunteer Rifle Corps have special turnout; prizes are awarded.

21 Aug. 1993: Spirit of Harbour Grace donated to the Town of Harbour Grace by Roger Pike.

23 Aug. 1829: Robert Stewart Munn born in Bute, Scotland. More info: Dictionary of Canadian Biography.

24 Aug. 1932: Green Mountain Boy aircraft, with pilots Clyde A. Lee and John Bochon, arrives in Harbour Grace.

25 Aug. 1932: Green Mountain Boy aircraft leaves for Oslo, Norway.

26 Aug. 1874: Dr. Dearlin lays report of the Select Committee in relation to the proposed railway to Harbour Grace on the table of the House of Assembly .

26 Aug. 1927: Work finishes on Harbour Grace airstrip. William S. Brock & Edward Schlee arrive at Harbour Grace in the Pride of Detroit.

2009932 - Pride of Detroit

Pride of Detroit in Harbour Garce

27 Aug. 1769: Sir Henry Pynn born.

27 Aug. 1903: John Shannon Munn donates Shannon Park for recreational sports (V05 N4)

27 Aug. 1927: Brock & Schlee leave Harbour Grace in the Pride of Detroit.

28 Aug. 1816: Church of England church in Harbour Grace burned. Arson suspected, and the magistrates offer 100 guineas for information.

28 Aug. 1832: Governor Henry Prescott lays the cornerstone at St. Paul’s Church.

28 Aug. 1932: Sikorsky Amphibian aircraft, with crew of Ralph Wickford, William Calder, and Louis L’Esperance, arrives in Harbour Grace

29 Aug. 1932: American poet Elizabeth Bishop walks from Brigus to Clarke’s Beach, Bay Roberts, Spaniard’s Bay and Harbour Grace. She lodges at the Cochrane House, Harbour Grace, run by Rose “Rosie” Archibald.

Elizabeth Bishop

Legendary American poet Elizabeth Bishop

29 Aug. 1950: Rev. Walter H. Macabe dedicates and opens the present-day Coughlan United Church , the fifth Methodist church in Harbour Grace.

30 Aug. 1932: Sikorsky Amphibian aircraft leaves Harbour Grace for New York, USA

30 Aug. 1830: Foundation stone of courthouse laid by Magistrate Thomas Danson, Chief of North District.

30 Aug. 1844: Teachers at the Mechanics Institute in Liverpool, England, toast John Irivng Roddick before he leaves for his next appointment: Headmaster ofthe Harbour Grace Grammar School.

31 Aug. 1788: First official Methodist church opened in Harbour Grace by John Stretton, on his own property on today’s Stretton’s Hill (“at the foot of Stretton’s Hill”).

31 Aug. 1852: Town first lit with gas.

Photo of the Day: Lady Peace Arrives at Harbour Grace, 1936

On September 18, 1936, the Lady Peace aircraft arrived at Harbour Grace from Musgrave Harbour at 7:00 p.m. NT. Its pilots, Dick Merrill and Harry Richman, had crashed landed in Man Point Marsh in the latter community and were rescued by Capt. Ed Rickerbacker, the famous World War I flying ace. Also at the airstrip were The Great Silver Fleet, a Douglas DC-2 aircraft, and three news planes from New York and Boston; this number – five – was the largest concentration of aircraft at the airstrip in its nine-year history.

This post is part of the Harbour Grace Notebook series. Follow the updates on social media with the hashtag #hgnotebook

Photo of the Day: Joseph Ross’s Store, Water St

201905201 - Cropped

Pictured: Joseph Ross at his storefront, a grocery located across from Bannerman St, Harbour Grace, adjacent to the east of the old post office. A prominent landmark business in downtown Harbour Grace, Ross’s store is visible in many photographs profiling the Water Street area in the early twentieth century.

Photo courtesy of a recent donation to the Conception Bay Museum archives.

New Event Listing: Guided Hike to Gibbet Hill


Event: Guided Walk to Gibbet Hill with author Patrick J. Collins

Join Patrick J. Collins on a guided walk to the site of one of Harbour Grace’s most gruesome incidents, Gibbet Hill. Learn about the principal actors in this sordid tale, the hanged man Peter Downing, the duped maidservant Ellen Coombs, and the treacherous criminal who escaped scot-free, Patrick Malone. Also, Collins will speak about his latest book, The Secret of the Fairy Ring, a story of one girl’s encounter with fairies and her family’s fight with a recalcitrant Harbour Grace, in the shadow of building the community’s first aerodrome in 1919.

Copies of Gibbet Hill, The Secret of the Fairy Ring, and Collins’s other books will be available for purchase.

Date: Sunday, September 22, 2019

Admission: $5.00 per person

Location: Hike starts at the intersection of Kane’s Rd and Lady Lake Rd, Harbour Grace, NL (GPS Coordinates)

Time: 2:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.