A Brief Glimpse of Loon Bay
Loon Bay is a fishing and lumbering community at
the bottom of Loon Bay in the Bay of Exploits.
The first record of settlement at Loon Bay
occurred in the 1836 Census when one family of nine was living there.
Eventually some of the winter visitors from settlements farther out the
Bay of Exploits stayed year-round. Family names reported by Lovell in
1871 were Manuel, Mills, Roberts, Peckford and Wheeler, all common
names in Notre Dame Bay in the late 1700s and early 1800s. By 1911 the
population had gradually increased to 144 and has remained fairly
In addition to fishing the local waters for cod,
salmon and lobster, many of these early settlers fished on the
Labrador, nineteen men on three vessels going there in 1884. Some
commercial farming was being conducted by 1884, when three people
reported their occupations as farmers, the number increasing to seven
by 1921. Some produce was probably marketed on nearby islands, where
subsistence farming was often impossible.
Timber stands near Loon Bay which attracted the
first settlers eventually provided the community with its primary
source of employment. In 1890 five people reported their occupation as
lumbering and by 1911 the number was 30. In addition to sawmilling many
of these people were employed by the Grand Falls pulp and paper mill.
Two sawmills were still operating in 1941, but by the 1950s all of Loon
Bay's lumber-men were employed by the Grand Falls mill.
The original English settlers at Loon Bay were
members of the Church of England, but by 1869 there were also
Wesleyans. In 1874 the community also had six Roman Catholics. A school
had been built by 1891 and a church by 1901. In 1990 children beyond
the elementary gardes attended Greenwood High at Campbellton.
Loon Bay in 1990 was mainly a residential
community. Most permanent residents were retired, and in the summer the
population greatly increased when cabin owners made their annual
return. Some workers commuted to larger centres in the area over a road
built in the early 1950s. The fish plant at Comfort Cove processed
local catches and employed some people, especially women. The regional
service centre is Lewisporte, about 18 km. away by road.
Sources of information:
Encyclopedia of Newfoundland and Labrador, Volume
Three, page 372, 1991
Used with Permission