Holyrood, located at the head of
Conception Bay, is just a half hour drive from St. John's along the TCH, and 28 miles from St. John's along the more leisurely route of the Conception Bay Highway. Holyrood
is renowned for its postcard prettiness, its beautiful harbour and marina and
well kept homes. Holyrood incorporates the convenience of urban living with
the traditional setting of rural Newfoundland.
Holyrood was known as "Hollyrode" in 1689 when John Thornton, Hydrographer, charted the trading part
of Newfoundland. "Hollyrode" is interpreted by some historians to mean
"Holy Cross" from the ancient Anglo-Saxon word "rode" meaning "staff or cross." Like most of Newfoundland, the community's past and
future is linked to the ocean. The fishery played a vital role in the settlement
of Holyrood, and the community was renowned for the squid and caplin fishery.
The first settler, according to oral tradition, was Martin O'Neil, who arrived in 1689. The census of 1760 lists that there were a dozen resident families, and in 1830 an Imperial Act provided funding for construction and repair of a road from
St. John's to Holyrood. With construction of the Newfoundland Railway, the town
was linked by rail with the first train passing through the community in 1892.
The twentieth century has seen continuing growth of the town, with the first
cold-storage plant built in 1916 and still in operation today. The Rubber Plant
which opened in 1954 was the first of its kind in Newfoundland, and had a varied
history before it finally shut its doors in the late 1960s. The Golden Eagle
refinery was officially opened in 1961 and employed 86 people when in full production.
The refinery closed in June, 1983, but the storage tanks are still in use with
a small staff employed. The smokestacks of the Holyrood Generating plant at
Duff's are a well-known landmark of Holyrood. The Generating Plant employs up to 100 full-time employees, and at peak times an additional 40 part-time employees.
Driving down into the town along the Holyrood Access Road, visitors will notice
Holy Cross Park, with its outdoor swimming pool, picnic areas and nature trails.
Driving through Holyrood, the Main Beach area is a good spot to stretch your
legs, and to admire the beautiful natural harbour and the boats bobbing in the
distance. Nature enthusiasts can explore around and within Holyrood along its
rivers, and catch glimpses of moose, hare or fox and many varieties of birds
depending on the season. George's Cove Peak, known for its cross atop the hill, rewards the hiker with a panoramic view of the harbour.
North Arm River, cutting through Holyrood, is a licensed salmon river. For
the sports-minded, the open waters of Conception Bay beckon with cod and giant