Today is our last day on our adopted home of Newfoundland, “The Rock”. We leave Nfld. On another Marine Atlantic ferry from the Port terminal at Argentia Nfld., aboard the M/V Atlantic Vision. This is a 16.5 hour overnight transit out into the North Atlantic Ocean and back across the Cabot Straight to North Sydney NS. We enjoyed a very nice buffet supper and had staterooms for a good nights sleep. This was much like a mini cruise.
Before boarding we had a few hours to tour the area. In the small town of Placentia we found a couple of very interesting museums and a National Historic Site called “Castle Hill”. The Placentia area was known as “Plaisance” when the French first occupied Castle Hill from 1662 to 1714. Having had to defend this settlement against the British several times they moved to “Fortress Louisbourg” in Nova Scotia, (a future stop for us). By 1714 the British had taken control of the area naming it “Placentia” and developing it into a major British trade center and fortress.
Archaeologists have discovered artifacts from both the French and British occupations from as early as the 1600’s. This is another interesting historical site to visit. A Irish settlement also developed here in the 1700’s. We saw more records of relocation during consolidation of communities in this area.
At the O’reilly House Museum we learned of another occurrence of forced displacement that occurred after the Atlantic Charter was signed by Churchill and Roosevelt in 1941 at nearby “Ship Harbour”. The arrival of US and Canadian military caused many families to be forced from their homes and property in order that installations and infrastructure could be built. This was a major hardship for the area residents for the WWII war effort.
In Argentia we found a road around the ferry terminal and industry security fencing on the site of the old Argentia Naval Air Station. This was a major naval air base used to provide air cover against German submarines and aid shipping across the North Atlantic. We had fun driving on all the old concrete runways and taxi ways, (no potholes). Nancy became alarmed when Mel wanted to explore the old WWII ammo and weapons bunkers and firing positions. Mel didn’t. The only building still standing is a abandoned hanger that cannot be economically torn down due to the amount of asbestos inside.
Argentia is the other ferry terminal port where Mel was involved with the installation of radar reflectors for precise positioning of the Marine Atlantic ferrys in the mid 80’s. (ref back to travel to Port Aux Basque, July 4 entry).