Bay Bulls - Newfoundland and Labrador

Route 10
Coordinates: 47.3159° N, 52.8152° W

It is believed by some that Bay Bulls is a corruption of the French Baie de Bois, which means "Wooded Bay", others believe that it may be a reference to the Common Dovekie, also known locally as a "bull-bird".

One of the oldest communities in Newfoundland and Labrador, French fishermen used the harbour in the 1500s, but by 1635 English fishermen were spending their winters in the area.

Interesting Facts
  • 1635, one of the first settlers is an English fisherman, Thomas Cruise.
  • 1696, Mombeton de St. Ovide de Brouillan, the Governor of Placentia attacks Bay Bulls from the sea.
  • 1696, H.M.S Sapphire is burnt at her moorings to prevent her from falling into the hands of the French.
  • 1774, John Dingle comes to Bay Bulls as a physicians apprentice.
  • 1796, after unsuccessfully trying to attack St. Johns, French soldiers led by Admiral Richery, turn south and attack, burn and take prisoners in Bay Bulls.
  • 1844, first Roman Catholic school opens in Bay Bulls.
  • 1921, Sisters of Mercy open a convent.
  • 1945, following WW II, a captured German submarine (U-boat) is towed into Bay Bulls harbour.
  • 1975, H.M.S Sapphire is declared a Provincial Historic Site.

Today the community of some 1200 souls nestled in the quasi mountainous terrain of the Southern Shore still retains much of the flavor of its color-full heritage. The influence of the first predominately Irish and English settlers is still evident in the speech, mannerisms, and customs of the area.

Just minutes from the capital city of St. John's, the much prized harbour has been the site of numerous marine conflicts and pitched battles which can be attested to by the shipwrecks at the bottom of our bay and the cannons on our headlands. With the recent down turn in the traditional fishery the community.

The tourism sector plays an important role in the community and some 25,000 people visit us every year to sail on boat tours, kayak or simply hike the numerous trails in the region. The much prized deep and sheltered harbour has been the site of numerous marine conflicts and pitched battles which can be attested to by the shipwrecks at the bottom of our bay and the canons on our headlands. The secret seems to be getting out and Bay Bulls is rapidly becoming a tourism hotspot for people wishing to experience pristine seascapes as well as icebergs, seabirds and whales in season.

Since incorporation in 1986 the town maintained a stable population base while retaining much of its original character. The community boasts all the amenities of a modern town while keeping intact its traditional connections to the fishery and agriculture.

Diversification into manufacturing, service industries and tourism, coupled with our safe harbours' proximity to transportation hubs, world markets and the offshore oil and gas fields have Bay Bulls well positioned to take advantage of the opportunities of the future.

Genealogy Information

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