June 12, 1997
(Tourism, Culture and Recreation)
Official opening of Colony of Avalon Centre
The Colony of Avalon Centre at Ferryland was officially opened
today by Sandra Kelly, Minister of Tourism, Culture and
Recreation, on behalf of Brian Tobin, Premier of Newfoundland and
Labrador, and Paul Mills of the Atlantic Canada Opportunites
Agency, on behalf of the Government of Canada.
Best known as the settlement started in 1621 by Sir George
Calvert, First Baron Baltimore, the Colony is a complex heritage
site of international significance reflecting the presence of
Beothuk and European cultures.
$1.8 million is being invested in the Colony of Avalon project
through two federal/provincial agreements. The
Canada/Newfoundland Strategic Regional Diversification
COOPERATION Agreement (SRDA) is contributing $805,000 to the
tourism infrastructure, primarily the refurbishment of a former
school that will serve as a Centre to house an artifacts
laboratory, interpretive exhibits, and collection storage area.
An investment of $1 million from the Canada/Newfoundland
Agreement on Economic Renewal focuses on continuation of
archaeological work at the site.
Premier Tobin said: "The Colony of Avalon is one of the
prized historic resources of our province because of the site's
diverse history which encompasses the influence of the Beothuks,
Portuguese, French, and English whose pasts are connected with
the area. The preservation of the archaeological integrity of the
site coupled with the development of interpretive features
heralds a new dimension in community economic development of the
tourism sector on the Southern Shore."
Paul Mills, Vice-President of the Atlantic Canada
Opportunities Agency for Newfoundland, said: "Cultural
diversity is the hallmark of the Canadian mosaic and Newfoundland
and Labrador's heritage is steeped in a variety of cultural
influences that make it a jewel in the Canadian crown. The people
of Ferryland are commended for successfully developing the
tourism potential of their area while protecting the cultural
fabric of their colourful past for the enjoyment of Canadians and
visitors to our country, especially during the year of the Cabot
Speaking as Chairperson of the Colony of Avalon Foundation
Inc., Jerome White emphasized the importance of the
archaeological site and Centre to the people of Ferryland:
"This project is a beacon of hope for the people of
Ferryland. Through hard work, we are diversifying our economy and
building our future on the strength of our unique culture and
heritage. We are enhancing Ferryland for the benefit of residents
and visitors alike by making it an anchor attraction for the
During 1996, over 10,000 visitors registered at the site and
the economic impact on local businesses was substantial. Over the
past five years, between 50 and 60 people have been employed each
season, 95 per cent of whom are residents of the Southern Shore.
The Colony of Avalon
- - Site is one of the richest sources of artifacts from
early European settlement in North America. The findings
to date constitute perhaps the best preserved colonial
site in British North America and the potential for
long-term archaeology is as great as at any colonial
site. Excavations have also uncovered evidence of Beothuk
habitation dating from around the time of the first
- Other excavation efforts have
uncovered evidence that Ferryland was one of the oldest
seasonal fishing stations. The presence of a large stone
flake indicates that Ferryland developed into a major
- The foundation of structures uncovered date
primarily from the 17th century and reveal that the site,
known as the Colony of Avalon, was a significant centre
- Artifacts from Europe, the eastern seaboard of North
America and as far away as Africa have been identified.
- There is also evidence that the citizens suffered
attacks by French and Dutch raiders. The Colony had to be
rebuilt several times.
- To date, a blacksmith shop, sea wall, well and stone
road, along with thousands of artifacts have been
painstakingly uncovered and identified.
- It will be some time before the entire settlement,
situated around what is locally known as The Pool, is
completely exposed and such important structures as Lord
Baltimore's dwelling remain to be discovered.
- - The Colony of Avalon project is implemented by the
Colony of Avalon Foundation Inc. in partnership with the
Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation who provide
advisory services for development and archaeology.
The Colony of Avalon Foundation is a community-based,
not-for- profit organization dedicated to preserving,
investigating, and developing the rich heritage of the
Avalon Peninsula's southern shore.
- Funding from the Canada/Newfoundland Agreement on
Economic Renewal is derived from the $23 million
allocated for the tourism initiatives. The tourism
component focuses on various initiatives throughout the
province that contribute to the creation of solid
industry infrastructure and an environment conducive to
private sector investment in the tourism sector.
- Funding from the Strategic Regional Diversification
COOPERATION Agreement is targeted toward strategic
development initiatives that are likely to yield
significant economic benefits within the province's
identified regional zones.
CHRONOLOGY OF SITE DEVELOPMENT
- - 1991 - A five-year Agreement signed for Archaeology
research at Ferryland - Administered by Historic
Resources. Southern Shore Development Association
established an archaeology sub-committee to protect the
- 1992 - First excavation done at
the site - 6 weeks work - 2,887 visitors.
- 1993 - Temporary visitors centre established by the
Southern Shore Development Association - 18 weeks of site
work - 6,000 visitors.
- 1994 - 18 weeks of site work - 8,200 visitors.
- 1995 - A Master Plan for the future development of
the Colony of Avalon site was completed and presented to
the federal and provincial governments.
Avalon Tourism Study released identifying Colony at
Ferryland as one of the most important emerging tourism
destinations in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Funding from the Strategic Regional Diversification
Over 10,000 visitors to site.
- 1996 - Funding for the Colony of Avalon site
provided through the Canada/Newfoundland Agreement on
Renovations conducted on former school to accommodate
interpretive exhibits, artifacts laboratory, and
collection storage area.
More than 10,000 visitors to site.
- - The archaeological site currently provides employment
for over 50 people and there is potential for additional
jobs as development continues.
- The Colony of Avalon
site provides increased opportunities for small
businesses such as tour operators, bed and breakfast
establishments, restaurants, crafts shops, gas stations
and convenience stores.
Colony of Avalon
1502 Corte Real brothers explore south Avalon
by 1506 Portuguese seasonal cod fishery
1527 Breton and Norman fishery in the area
1529 "Farilham" named on Verrezano's map of North America
by 1550 Beothuk native people visit Ferryland
by 1565 Britain's west country ports compete in Newfoundland fishery
1585 Bernard Drake attacks Portuguese ships at Newfoundland
1597 Will Sayer of Dartmouth, Devon, fishing admiral at Ferryland
1620 Dutch vessels trading at Ferryland
1621 Sir George Calvert sets up the Colony of Avalon
1621 Captain Wynne's palisade, first documented fort in English
1622 Calvert's Mansion House, first documented house in English
1623 James I, "Grant of the Province of Avalon"
1628 Calvert, now Lord Baltimore overwinters at Ferryland
1628 First Roman Catholic Baptism in English North America
1628-1660 Newfoundland's "First Capital" - Home of Governors of
Sir George Calvert First Baron Baltimore, 1628
Sir David Kirke, conqueror of Quebec (1629-1631), 1638-
John Treworgie, Cromwell's Puritan agent in Newfoundland,
1629 Baltimore finances privateering war with de la Rade
1629 Baltimore and his family depart for the Chesapeake
1631 Death of George Calvert, First Baron Baltimore
1637 Charles I, "Grant of Newfoundland" to Sir David Kirke
1640s First court sessions held in English Canada
1649 Execution of Charles I & flight to Ferryland of his friend,
Lady Frances Hopkins
1654 Death of Sir David Kirke, in a London jail
1654-1680 First Canadian woman to operate a large business: Lady Sara
1660 Restoration of Charles II & of Cecil Calvert as legal
proprietor of Avalon
1665 Petition of Avalon planters to make George Kirke governor
1673 Dutch Admiral de Boes burns buildings at Ferryland
1675 George, David (Jr.) and Jervase Kirke major Avalon planters
1680 Death of Lady Sara Kirke, at Ferryland
1694 Ferryland defended from French by Captain William Holman
Ferryland planters attack Placentia
1696 French Canadian troops burn Ferryland
1697 George and David Kirke die after incarceration at Placentia.
The "Constant Inhabitants of Ferryland" petition William III
for help returning home after exile in Bideford, Devon.
William III's Act recognizes planter property rights.
1698 Ferryland re-inhabited
1709 South Avalon planters defend themselves at Ile au Bois
Colony of Avalon Foundation
Office of the Premier
Canada/Newfoundland Agreement on Economic Renewal
Department of Tourism Culture and Recreation