Bay Roberts

Discover Bay Roberts, Newfoundland Labrador: A Blend of History and Tourism

Bay Roberts, Newfoundland Labrador, is a vibrant town nestled on the northeastern Avalon Peninsula. With a population of 6,012 as of 2016, it is one of the larger towns in Newfoundland and the largest on the Baccalieu Trail. The town's growth is closely tied to its proximity to other major Newfoundland markets, both by road and by water.

The Geography of Bay Roberts, Newfoundland Labrador

Bay Roberts is conveniently connected to Route 1 (the Trans-Canada Highway) via Veterans' Memorial Highway, leading to all points in the province. The capital city, St. John's, is just 90 kilometres away, while Argentia, the eastern terminal for Marine Atlantic's Gulf Ferry Service, is 70 kilometres away.

The town is a hub for major transportation and distribution, providing services for the Avalon Peninsula and surrounding areas. It also boasts a provincially recognized museum, the Road to Yesterday, and the Shoreline Heritage Walk, a 4-kilometre-long trail that celebrates the town's early history.

The Bay Roberts Harbour, Newfoundland Labrador

Bay Roberts offers year-round shipping services through its large port, which can accommodate the largest of ships. The bay and harbour have clear shorelines, without rocks or headland protrusions, making it an ideal anchorage approved by marine insurance companies.

The Rich History of Bay Roberts, Newfoundland Labrador

European fishermen were visiting Bay Roberts as early as the 16th century. The town's large harbour and flat rock beaches were ideal for curing fish. Evidence of these early European settlers can be found in community place names such as Priaulx Hill and in nearby names such as Spaniard's Bay and Port de Grave.

Settlers in Juggler's Cove and French's Cove, Bay Roberts, Newfoundland Labrador

By the late 16th century, Bay Roberts had become part of the English Shore. Over time, West Country fishermen began to settle in the area. The 1675 census records Bay Roberts as "Bay of Roberts," with only two planters residing in the town.

Artifacts in Bay Roberts, Newfoundland Labrador

These early settlers left behind archaeological evidence of their way of life. Clay pipes and other artifacts have been found in places such as Mercer's Cove. A large number of ceramic vessels from a 17th-century shipwreck have also been recovered from the harbour.

French Attacks on Bay Roberts, Newfoundland Labrador

Like many settlements in Conception Bay, Bay Roberts was destroyed by the French during King William's War (1689–1697). However, the town was quickly rebuilt and became an important base for the Labrador fishery and the seal hunt.

Early Town Development in Bay Roberts, Newfoundland Labrador

Business development began with Robert Pack, founder of the firm of Pack, Gosse, and Fryer. The appointment of Robert Badcock as constable in 1730 marked the beginning of the rule of law for the Bay Roberts area. By the 20th century, Bay Roberts was regarded as a wholesale and distribution centre for Conception Bay and Trinity Bay.

The Klondyke Causeway in Bay Roberts, Newfoundland Labrador

The Klondyke, a causeway that connects Coley's Point and Bay Roberts, was once considered to be a "gold mine" to local families that were paid to complete it in 1897. Since 1996, Bay Roberts has celebrated the construction of the Klondyke and the unique bond between the two communities in the annual Klondyke Days festivities.

The Bay Roberts Guardian (weekly newspaper) 1909-1949

The founder of the Guardian was the late Charles Edward Russell, who was born at Bay Roberts in 1877. The Guardian played a very conspicuous part in reporting events of the two world wars, chiefly the events pertaining to the many local volunteers in the various services.

The Western Union Cable Station in Bay Roberts, Newfoundland Labrador

The Western Union Cable Company brought the outside world to Bay Roberts in 1910. The Cable Building in Bay Roberts was designated a National Historic Site in 2008, having already been recognized as a Provincial Registered Heritage Structure.

Incorporation of Bay Roberts, Newfoundland Labrador

The Town of Bay Roberts was incorporated in 1951. Since its incorporation, Bay Roberts has seen many changes, with the number of services greatly increasing from two main businesses to a town whose economy depends upon its service industry.

Demographics of Bay Roberts, Newfoundland Labrador

In the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Bay Roberts had a population of 5,974 living in 2,490 of its 2,803 total private dwellings, a change of -0.6% from its 2016 population of 6,012.

Cultural Activities in Bay Roberts, Newfoundland Labrador

The Cable Building is both a Provincial Heritage Structure and a National Historic Site. The town has one of the finest town museums in the province. The town also hosts two summer theatre productions, "A Time in Pigeon Inlet" and "Saltwater Moon."

Major Awards in Bay Roberts, Newfoundland Labrador (2009-2011)

Bay Roberts won the Newfoundland and Labrador 2011 Tidy Towns Award in the 4001 - 8000 population category. The town also won the National WinterLights Celebration Mentoring Award and Circle of Excellence 5 Star Award for Residential Lighting.