Placentia, is situated on a large beach near a coastal forest area, and in the early days of the seventeenth century was the French capital of Newfoundland. In 1662, the Colonial French fortified this strategic position, on a summit overlooking the ocean arms of Plaisance, as the French called it. The commanding site is now at Castle Hill National Historic Park.
The following year Fort Royal was begun as the main defence against the English attacks by sea to supplement the defendees of Fort Louis and Fort Le Vieux, both of which have long since surrendered to the elements. From Placentia, the French attacked, captured and burnt down the English capital of St. John’s three times.
After the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713, the British moved into Placentia and during the Seven Years’ War and upgraded the defences to help recapture of St. John’s, taken by the French months earlier. Once British supremacy was assured, St. John’s became the capital of the colony.
The town of Placentia features the community museum in O’Reilly Heritage House, an old church with a stone presbytery, and a government services building with a fine clock from the early 1900s
Atlantic Charter Monument
Ship Harbour, Placentia Bay, Newfoundland, A0B 3E0
This monument symbolizes the drafting of the Atlantic Charter by the British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill and United States President Franklin Roosevelt on a battleship off Ship Harbour Point. Open year-round.
O’Reilly House Museum
Placentia, Route 100
Jun 15 – Aug 30
P.O. Box 233
Placentia, NL, A0B 2Y0
Constructed 1902. Former residence of Placentia magistrates. Registered Heritage Structure and winner of the Southcott Award. Current displays: period rooms, Placentia Bay Resettlement Exhibit, Argentia Room, Basque tombstones, other artifacts.
Castle Hill National Historic Site
Placentia, Route 100 S
P.O. Box 10
Jerseyside, NL, A0B 2G0
709-227-2401 Fax 1-709-227-2452
Today, visitors can stroll along the stabilized ruins on Castle Hill and enjoy the spectacular view of Placentia Bay. In keeping with the military nature of the site, the Interpretation Centre is built into the hill like a bunker. The displays inside tell the stories of the ordinary soldiers and fishermen who toiled here in times past. The hiking trails at the site pass through stands of evergreen trees that fill the air with a rich scent.
Exhibits at the Visitor Centre present the French & English Military history of Placentia. Staff interpret the fortification remains and a play “Faces of Fort Royal” provides a glimpse of life there in the 17th century
Placentia Uncovered Archaeology Project
Placentia, Route 100
Placentia, NL, A0B 2X0
709-227-2072 Fax 1-709-227-2048
Visit French archaeological Sites from the 1600’s including Le Vieux Fort, Fort Louis and numerous sites throughout the Town, View artifacts from the dig at the Leonard J. Milley Cultural Heritage Centre
June 01 – Sep 30