With its wide beaches and strategic location, Placentia grew as an important fishing and trading centre in the 1800s; but it later became heavily dependent upon employment at the nearby ARGENTIA Naval Base, built 1940-41. With the phase-down of the US base in 1969 and 1974, employment depended on the fishery.
The towns economy was hit hard with the collapse of the COD fishery in 1992 and the resulting closure of fish processing plants, followed by the completed decommissioning of the American base in 1994. This resulted in Placentia merging with the towns of Jerseyside, Freshwater and Dunville, and the former naval base to create one municipal entity (1994). In addition to attracting new industries, Placentia is focusing on tourism. Attractions include the town's historic buildings, including O'Reilly House (1902), which is now a museum, and Castle Hill National Historic Site (designated in 1968).
Author JANET E.M. PITT AND ROBERT D. PITT
Links to Other Sites
Placentia: The Early Years
Excellent site devoted to the early settlement of Placentia, Newfoundland. From Library and Archives Canada.
Castle Hill National Historic Site of Canada
This Parks Canada site is dedicated to the Castle Hill National Historic Site in Placentia Bay, Newfoundland. Includes an interesting commentary about the Treaty of Utrecht and British and French territorial disputes in North America.
The website for the Town of Placentia, the former French capital of Newfoundland.
Francophones of Newfoundland and Labrador
Search for or browse topics and locations at this extensively illustrated online exhibit that explores the enduring legacy of early French settlers and fishers in Newfoundland and Labrador. Features many historic images of the Placentia region. From the Virtual Museum of Canada.
Church Affairs During the French Settlement at Placentia (1662 - 1714)
An essay about early attempts to establish religous institutions under French colonial rule in the Placentia region. From the website "Roman Catholicism in Newfoundland and Labrador."
The French Settlement of Placentia
About the early French colonial settlements in the Placentia region. From the Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage website.
Thalour du Perron
A brief profile of Thalour du Perron, governor of Plaisance (Placentia). From the website "Government House: The Governship of Newfoundland and Labrador."
Atlantic Provinces Chambers of Commerce
The website for the Atlantic Provinces Chambers of Commerce (APCC), formerly the Maritime Board of Trade. Formed in 1896, this organization promotes and supports business and economic development in Atlantic Canada. Click on "Chambers" for links to local Chambers of Commerce.