St. Bernard's is a fishing community in Fortune Bay, which is located 5km southwest of Bay L'Argent. Until 1915 it was known as Fox Cove and was likely settled in the early 1810's by the Johnson, Stewart and Whelan families, who were presumably fishermen. The community appears in the first census, in 1836, with a population of 28 residents. As St. Jacques and Grand Bank emerged as bases for the bank fishery in the late 1800's, men of St. Bernard's often made up crews for banking vessels, as well as a few local schooners. By 1921, the population had reached 161.
St. Bernard's became incorporated as a town in the year 1967 and has grown into one of the most populous and prosperous communities in the Fortune Bay East region. Many of the more inhabitants of St. Bernard's have since come from the neighbouring communities, such as Stone's Cove, Grand Jarvis and Langue de Cerf.
Jacques Fontaine, incorporated in 1986, is a fishing community located near the base of the Burin Peninsula on the east side of Fortune Bay approximately 3km east of Bay L'Argent. The origin of the name is uncertain, perhaps deriving from an early French settler, although it appears on many early maps as Jack (or Jack's) Fontaine.
The community appears to have been settled early in the nineteenth century and was first recorded in the census in 1863 as Tank Fontaine with a population of 33 residents. In 1935, there were 125 residents, noting the most common family names as Johnson, Pardy, Allen, Harris and Brushett. In the early 1980's, the population of Jacques Fontaine reached 200, most people finding employment in the inshore and long liner fisheries.
St. Bernard's-Jacques Fontaine.
As you walk through our shaded, winding, ancient streets, take a step back in time and be reminded of an era long past, but not lost in our beautiful town. Stops along the way will let you visit our historic churches, view homes built almost 200 years ago. See the site of "The Vindicator", where the St. Bernard's - Jacques Fontaine newspaper was printed at the turn of the century, the Convent of Mercy, built in 1860, the Orange Lodge, the Jubilee Club (now the library), the meeting place of the "Merchant Princes of St. Bernard's - Jacques Fontaine" from the late 1800's to the mid 1900's.
The communities of St. Bernard's and Jacques Fontaine amalgamated in 1994 to form the town of St. Bernard's-Jacques Fontaine. The current population stands at 700 people and the fishery is still a main source of livelihood for the community.