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Arnold’s Cove is a community situated on the eastern side of Placentia Bay. Its land mass can best be described as a peninsula extending out into a small bay from Southern Harbour to Bordeaux Head at the mouth of Come By Chance Bay. The eastern part of the harbour extends over a sand bar into a shallow bay now designated as a bird sanctuary. The southern part of the harbour contains the original cove where people lived and is the main port.

Arnold’s Cove elders tell us that the community was  named after Captain Arnold who settled there in the early 1800s. In Newfoundland's first census in 1835, the communities of Arnold's Cove, Bordeaux and Come by Chance were combined to give a total population of forty-two.


By 1845 the number of houses in Arnold’s Cove was five, consisting of twenty-eight people. At that time there were four acres of land in cultivation yielding forty barrels of potatoes. There was at least one planter and six fishing boats in Arnold’s Cove.

one teacher. Of the total population, two were in office or shop work, two in government service, thirty-eight fishermen, twenty-seven women engaged in curing of fish, and eighteen otherwise employed. Shipping included one thirty-ton vessel engaged in the fishery, and twenty-seven smaller boats engaged in the onshore fishery.

By the turn of the century, the Newfoundland Railway had come into being. It was three miles distance by road from Arnold's Cove and thus, many inhabitants of Long Island and Merasheen Island began to use the port of Arnold's Cove as a gateway to the railway. A small community sprang up near the railway track which is still known today as Arnold's Cove Station. People who settled there were men who found work on the railway and found it convenient to move their families closer to their work. They came from various communities around the island. The Bollard, Culleton, Rose, Warren and Brenton families formed a viable, cozy village complete with church, school and cemetery. 

When the first world war came along Arnold's Cove saw eleven residents swept off to fight for the allies. Four of the eleven men lost their lives in battle. After the war the town erected a war memorial to honor the brave soldiers. 

The opening of the Walwyn Cottage Hospital in Come by Chance in 1936 further enhanced Arnold's Cove's importance as the gateway to the mainland for residents of the islands of Placentia Bay. Ocean traffic from places such as Spencer's Cove, Kingwell, Tack's Beach and Bar Haven became an everyday occurrence and many residents of Arnold's Cove took advantage of the booming demand for "bed and breakfast" accommodations. 

Meanwhile, the population of Arnold's Cove was undergoing slow but steady growth as families from the islands began to voluntarily immigrate here. By 1950, the population was approximately 165 and it continued this rate of increase until the mass resettlement of the 1960s.



Soon after Confederation the Provincial Government decided that providing public services for the many hundreds of isolated communities around Newfoundland was not practical. They began a centralization program in 1950 to encourage people to move to places where public services already existed. This program began with a $400 grant to each family who moved and by 1958 the grant had increased to $600. 


This period saw the abandonment of thirty-one communities in Placentia Bay such as Iona Islands (Rams), Haystack, Sound Island, and Crawley's Island.


The 1960s saw the acceleration of the process started by the Smallwood Government in the 1950s resulting in the abandonment of many Placentia Bay communities 160 years after the first English and Irish settlers moved there. The new resettlement program called The Fisheries Household Resettlement Program was a Federal-Provincially funded program used to speed up the process started fifteen years previous. Now the government became more organized in its approach. Petitions to leave were encouraged by program information officers, and cash incentives were increased to average $2500 per family. Between 1966-1969, approximately 1000 families from twenty-nine communities in Placentia Bay resettled. By 1969, 122 families had been moved to Arnold's Cove. 

- Excerpts from Arnold's Cove, A Community History - Ken A. Tulk 

For an interactive resettlement experience, download the Stories of Resettlement App from Apple or Google Play app stores. The app offers a guided tour through Arnold's Cove to learn more about the houses that were moved here from the Placentia Bay islands during the resettlement program of the 1960s.

Stories of Resettlement.webp
Stories of Resettlement.webp




The first recorded names were shown in a church report in 1849. They were John and Jonathan Boutcher, Ambrose Guy, and Phillip, Richard and William Hollett. 

Jonathan Boutcher is credited with the leading role in the establishment of these first public structures and a church bell, which serves as a monument to his effort, can be viewed with its inscription in the town's oldest existing cemetery. Until the mid-1880s, inhabitants of Arnold's Cove used the services of Harbour Buffett for burial and a clergy stationed at Harbour Buffett visited at intervals to perform baptisms and marriages. 


In 1857 Arnold’s Cove had a population of forty-eight, three of whom were born in England, the rest in Newfoundland. The cove had seven houses, eight families, four stores, barns and out-houses. In that year 760 quintals of fish were cured, and 170 pounds of butter manufactured.


The first recorded businessman in Arnold’s Cove was Johnathan Boutcher, a trader, who moved from Kingwell circa 1850. He slowly built up a mercantile business that included a large wharf which had a general store on one side and a fishing premises on the other. He carried on a trade with the local fishermen and maintained schooners and a mill.


The first fishermen in Arnold’s Cove, as in all other settlements in the bay, fished predominantly for cod, using hook and line. By 1860 trawls were being used in the bay. This meant an increase in production because fishermen could leave the trawl lines out to fish while they were at home.


In the 1870s the lobster industry spread to Newfoundland from Nova Scotia. Placentia Bay became the first area to have a lobster factory when a man named Oates started one in Long Harbour. In 1901, there were eleven lobster factories operating in Arnold’s Cove. In addition to canning lobsters, the fishermen of Arnold’s Cove fished for salmon in nearby Come By Chance, which added a new dimension to their canning business.

Statistics on education in Arnold’s Cove did not appear in the census records until 1884. At Arnold’s Cove in 1884, twenty-one people were attending school (total population was eighty-nine). In 1911 the school building and grounds were valued at $300. It consisted of one room that could accommodate up to forty pupils, having one female teacher. That year all twelve pupils attending school were female. In 1920 a new one room school was constructed. Thirty-five students attended school all between the ages of five and fifteen years.


The population of Arnold’s Cove continued to grow at a slow rate. In 1921 it had a population of 185 made up of thirty-four families. The school was listed as having

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