Clarenville and Area Community Profiles


Clarenville is a rapidly growing community of well over 5000 and is a service centre for approximately 40 000. Many of the communities on the Avalon, Bonavista and Burin peninsulas utilize the services offered in the town of Clarenville.

Clarenville's service sector includes two shopping malls, hotels and motels, restaurants, bars, sports stores, hardware stores, flower and gift shops, funeral homes, several banking and financial institutions, churches of various denominations and a wide variety of other businesses and services.

Our major industries include a hardwood plant, a dockyard, and two fish plants. The business sector also includes many smaller enterprises employing anywhere from 2-30 people. Within a 25 minute drive the area has the North Atlantic Refinery and the Bull Arm site where the Hibernia gravity-based structure was recently completed. Bull Arm is currently being used to complete part of the Terra Nova oil development. A few kilometers from Bull Arm is an oil transshipment facility, located at Whiffen Head.

A complete range of professional and public services are available to area residents, such as accounting and legal services, Federal and Provincial Government services, as well as both public and private health care facilities. The G. B. Cross Memorial Hospital is a comprehensive health care facility offering acute and long term care. Services available through the hospital include speech/language pathology, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, respiratory therapy, psychology and psychiatry. Two private medical clinics and private health services in chiropractics, ophthalmology and physiotherapy are available to area residents.

The Clarenville area offers many recreational opportunities. Within the municipality of Clarenville-Shoal Harbour is the White Hills Ski Resort, Clarenville Stadium, the Winter Games Complex and two lit and two unlit softball fields.

Educational facilities include a high school and three feeder schools as well as nursery schools and day-care centres. Post-secondary institutions consist of the Clarenville campus of the College of the North Atlantic and a private school, Keyin College.

Shoal Harbour: Shoal Harbour, with a population of approximately 1600 people, was first settled as a logging community in the mid 1800s and in later years became more involved in the railroad. Some of the first settlers were named Tilley, Butler and Wiseman. In 1971 Shoal Harbour became incorporated and was called the Town of Shoal Harbour. It retained this status until January 1, 1994 when it amalgamated with Clarenville to form a new municipality of Clarenville -Shoal Harbour, with a combined population of 4500. Within the next two years our population increased by nearly one thousand people, primarily due to the Hibernia development.

On July 26, 1933 Italian General Italo Balbo, with a flotilla of 24 seaplanes, was returning from the Chicago Century of Progress Exhibition enroute to Italy when they landed in Random Sound and anchored off Shoal Harbour. General Balbo's group stayed for two weeks and brought world attention to our town. Our school is named Balbo Elementary in recognition of this flight and the main street through the town is also named Balbo Drive.

Shoal Harbour offers many nearby attractions including such outdoor activities as trout fishing and a close up view of a Canada Goose Sanctuary. Just 10 minutes away is a first class downhill ski resort and well groomed cross country ski trails. Terra Nova National Park, only 45 minutes away, offers camping, hiking, golf, saltwater fishing, and whale watching.


Milton is an unincorporated community located on Smith Sound, Trinity Bay, five kilometers from Clarenville. It was formerly named was King's Cove, but renamed Milton in 1910 and had a total population of 55 at that time. The population had almost doubled to about 100 people by 1945 and reached a peak of 258 in the 1960s.

William Cormack, while walking the unmapped interior of Newfoundland, wrote in his journal that Milton was "entirely covered in trees". This statement generated interest and the area began to attract permanent settlements. In 1910, a branch of the Bonavista Railway was built through Milton. As the railway cut deeper into the interior, many people began farming on a small scale. In 1888 one of the first brickyards in Newfoundland was built between Milton and George's Brook. A member of the Pittman family initially managed the brickyard which produced 60,000 bricks annually until it was sold to his brother, Joseph Pittman, who managed and modernized the yard until his death in 1906. During the past several years the brickyard has experienced hard economic times and was recently forced to close, possibly for good.


George's Brook, the second largest community served by our school, is about 7 kilometers from Clarenville It was the first community settled within Smith Sound when John Pelley settled there in 1862 and started a saw mill. The population of George's Brook grew to about 25 by 1884 as more people were attracted to the forestry. In 1888, Charles Pelley established a brick yard managed by a Mr. Pittman and the community took off. Today, George's Brook consists of about 500 people, 230 of which are under the age of 19. The main business in George's Brook is the lumber industry. There are two main natural landmarks: the town's fast flowing brook which runs throughout the community and into the salt water, and "Greep's Nest Hill" which is visible when you first enter George's Brook. This hill is said to have once been the habitat of a rare bird called the Greep. Many of the people living here today are ancestors of the earliest settlers; consequently, the preservation of the past is important to the community.


Harcourt is a small community located to the northeast of Clarenville on the north shore of Smith Sound. It was originally called Sandy Point with a population of 61. Presently, the community of Harcourt has a much larger population of 245.

The first people to settle in Harcourt came from Trinity to work at boat building and saw milling. In the past, most people relied on working in the woods and boat building for jobs. Today, most work in the nearby town of Clarenville.


Monroe is a small community which was originally known as Upper Rocky Brook. The name was changed to Monroe in 1912 to honour Walter S. Monroe, a fish merchant whose firm supplied most of the area's fishermen . The first permanent settler at Monroe was Henry W. Stone. The Stones moved to the area in 1870 to begin a sawmill. Until the 1940s the Stones were involved in a variety of pursuits associated with ship building and the Labrador fishery. Other families moved to Monroe to work in enterprises established by the Stones, but the population did not reach 100 until 1945. Monroe was partially depopulated in 1969, when nearly half the population moved, mainly to Clarenville, where the majority of the community's residents now work.. The population in Monroe today is approximately 75.


Waterville, originally known as Daniel's Cove, is a tiny community located on the north shore of Smith Sound about 15 kilometres east of Clarenville.. It was once a lumbering and fishing settlement but today is predominately a residential area, with most people working in nearby Clarenville. In 1991 the population was about 35 but, by 1996, only 26 people were living in the community.


Gin Cove is a small community 20 kilometres north-east of Clarenville. The name Gin Cove comes obviously from gin; there are (or were) a lot of juniper trees in Gin Cove, and juniper berries are used to make gin.

The community of Gin Cove has had a lot of ups and downs in demographics. With the government's resettlement program in 1963 the last family sold their property. There were no inhabitants until 1982 when a family moved back. Today there are 16 permanent residents and 10 seasonal residents. Now people work outside of Gin Cove while others are retired.


Burgoyne's Cove was recorded as Burgum's Cove in the 1869 census, when 40 residents were reported. Today there is a population of about 165 people. The community is situated in one of the longest stretches of inshore waterways in Newfoundland known as Smith's Sound.

Originally charted by Captain James Cook, the Sound extends in a zig zag for 24 kilometres. A British general, John Burgoyne, who served for several months in Newfoundland in the late 1700s, lent his name to the new community.

The natural advantage of a harbour sheltered from high winds, access to excellent fishing grounds, and good timber stands made Burgoyne's Cove a logical choice for a fishing and logging settlement. In the late 1980s a slate mine producing high quality dimension stone was developed at Burgoyne's Cove with product being shipped to world markets. Despite the high quality of the product the slate mine recently closed due to economic conditions.

Source: Balbo Elementary Development Plan