NL GenWeb Place Information

West Coast - Codroy District


People descended on the beautiful spot from all over -- from Cape Ray to the south and Bay of Islands to the north. Some came from as far away as Canada and a goodly number of American tourists were also there. The occasion was a summer picnic at Codroy Valley at a site known as Islandview which lies almost at the head of Grand River. Rev. Dr. Charles O'Regan, the parish priest of the area, was in charge of the arrangements for the picnic. The funds raised were to go for the erect ion of a new public hall and school room at Codroy. Islandview got its name, apparently, from the fact that a short distance further up the Grand River at a widening, the stream was studded with islands of all shapes. It was described as a " post card scene as only could be viewed in the Codroy Valley."

The site contained a large field and a new dwelling owned by a Mr. Doyle who had invited Father O'Regan to hold his picnic there. Arrangements were made with the Newfoundland Railway to have " excursion fares " for people from Port aux Basques to Bay of Islands who wished to attend the event at Islandview. One visitor from Bay of Islands who went to the picnic described the train ride as being made " heavenly because of the breath-taking scenery along the way." He described the railway cars as being "palati al." The day of the picnic opened dull and fog-tipped hills gave warning that rain may not be many hours distant. But the sun broke through the haze and fine weather blessed Father O'Regan's picnic.

There were over 200 persons present for the event, but Mr. Doyle's commodious grounds were by no means overcrowded. The priest and his assistants were kept busy from the start of the event. The ladies in charge were described as " looking well in their cool summer gowns." Bunting was profusely draped from pole to pole and the flags were displayed to the greatest advantage.

Hot dinners and tea were served in Mr. Doyle's new residence. Lemonade, cake, candy and "and other good things" were dispensed from tents by the ladies. Dancing stands were erected here and there around the grounds and many found amusement in dancing to bagpipes. Some were fortunate at the wheels of fortune, while others regretted their bad luck. Among the other activities indulged in by the west coast residents at that August picnic 77 years ago were football, "pugilistic exhibitions" and tug of war.

A shooting match attracted considerable attention. The object was an animated moving deer set up at 200 yards distant from the marksmen. The honors were taken by clergymen. First prize went to Rev. Dr. Kieran; second prize to Rev. Fr. Kiely and third place went to Dugald Gillies. An open air concert was held at 4 p.m., at which performers were received with hearty applause. Mr. J. Fitzpatrick of Codroy was described as being "intimitable." Others who went to the stage to entertain were Miss S. McLellan, Mis s S. Doyle, and Mr. E. Rennie. Tea was served at 6 p.m. and after that all the articles not disposed of during the day were auctioned off. Field games then occupied the attention of all until 8 p.m.

When the receipts of the day were tallied it was found to the gratification of Father O'Regan and his committee that $400.00 was in the kitty. That went with the $100.00 previously raised for the building of the two-storey public hall and a school room. At that time there were six schools in Codroy under the supervision of Father O'Regan and the government grants were not sufficient to maintain them in a state of efficiency. Following the picnic the crowd left beautiful Islandview, many getting aboard the t rain for their homes in the various settlements along the coast.

For the interest of the senior citizens of western Newfoundland who may remember some of the people who attended Father O'Regan's picnic, here, in part, is a list of those who went to Islandview:

Rev. William Kieran of Philadelphia
Dr. Baggs and his wife from Canada
Rev. J. Kiely of Cape Breton
Dr. Grant, Mr. & Mrs. John T. Keating, Miss McCourt from Channel
Mrs. Stephenson from Port aux Basques
Mr. & Mrs. E. Rennie from Cape Ray
R. Furneaux from Rose Blanche
Dougland McIsaac from Kippens
Rev. J. Joy, Mr. & Mrs. M.F. Abbott from Port aux Basques
M. Hayes and Miss Barry from Stephenville
Rev. Fr. McNeily from St. Georges
Mesdame's Sullivan, Berteau, Mr. M. Neily & Mrs. White from St. John's
Rev. M. O'Rourke from Stephenville

I thought a column about a picnic in a sylvan glade would be appropriate for mid August. Does Islandview still exists? Are picnics still held there?

The above data was written by unknown high school students from a school in the Stephenville area in 1978, transcribed by Brenda Janes and posted to the Internet in July 1999 by Stephen Baker.

© Brenda Janes & NL GenWeb

Codroy District