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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 bluefin tuna.



Page contributed by: Barbara McGrath
Page transcribed by: Ivy F. Benoit (January 2001)
Page revised: August 2002 (Terry Piercey)

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