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Presentation Convent Grounds Municipal Heritage Site

Renews-Cappahayden, Newfoundland and Labrador, A0A, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2006/02/07

View of the Presentation Convent Grounds, Renews, NL. Covent was located on raised section, adjacent to the rectory on the left. Photo taken May 2006. ; HFNL/Andrea O'Brien 2006
Former site of Presentation Convent, Renews, NL
View of the Presentation Convent Grounds, Renews, NL. The bridge in the foreground provided access from the church to the convent and rectory pictured in the background. Photo taken May 2006. ; HFNL/Andrea O'Brien 2006
Former site of Presentation Convent, Renews, NL
Plaque marking the site of the former Presentation convent, Renews, NL. Photo taken November, 2005.; HFNL/Andrea O'Brien 2005
Plaque marking the site of Presentation convent

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/05/17

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Presentation Convent Grounds had been the site of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Convent from 1876 to 1986. The land is located in Renews, NL, and lies adjacent to Holy Apostles Church and in front of the Grotto de Lourdes on Mass Rock. The designation is confined to the green space identified locally as the convent grounds.

Heritage Value

The Presentation Convent Grounds have been designated a municipal heritage site by the Town of Renews/Cappahayden due to their historic, cultural and aesthetic values.

The historical values of the Presentation Convent Grounds lie in their association with the expansion of the Presentation Order in Newfoundland and Labrador. In St. John’s in 1833, the Presentation Order established the first English-speaking convent in what would become Canada. From modest beginnings in St. John’s, the Presentation sisters gradually expanded to rural areas, seeing to the educational needs of generations of young Newfoundlanders. On August 9, 1876, members of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Presentation convent were moved from Admiral’s Cove (now port Kirwan) to Renews, with the construction of a proper convent and school building to follow. The annuals of the convent from 1877 report that, “the Convent School was opened. Sixty five children were in attendance.” By the following summer there were more than one hundred pupils registered. A monument has been erected on the site, acknowledging the work of the Presentation Order in Renews.

The site is also a reminder of a way of life that is quickly changing in communities along the Southern Shore. In this largely Roman Catholic region, many families have relatives who chose a religious vocation. It was a source of great pride to have a daughter in the sisterhood or a son a priest. Presently, is it extremely rare for young people to enter into a religious life and in their daily lives younger generations experience little of the influence of the Roman Catholic faith as their parents and grandparents had.

The Presentation Convent Grounds have cultural value because the site is a physical reminder of the influence of the Presentation Order in the community of Renews and the role it played in the education of the community’s youth. It is a reminder of a time when education in Newfoundland and Labrador was conducted largely under the leadership of religious institutions. On the Southern Shore, where the majority of the population is Roman Catholic, many were taught by members of religious orders. On June 20, 1981, four days after Renews school was closed for summer break, the convent at Renews was officially closed and the keys turned over to the Generalate in St. John’s, the conclusion to more than a century of education in Renews under the guidance of the Presentation sisters. The convent itself was demolished in 1986. The community of Renews places a great cultural value on the green space where the convent once stood, seeing it as a symbol of an earlier time that saw the church involved in many spheres of community life.

The Presentation Convent Grounds have aesthetic value due to their environmental setting. Located at the foot of Midnight Hill and nestled between Holy Apostles Church, the old rectory and the Grotto de Lourdes on Mass Rock, it lies at the centre of a large plot of land recognized in its totality as church grounds. From these manicured, groomed grounds there is an unobstructed view of Renews Harbour.

Source: Town of Renews/Cappahayden Regular Council Meeting Tuesday, February 7, 2006

Character-Defining Elements

All those elements which represent the historic, cultural and aesthetic value of the site, including:
- size, style, location and orientation of monument acknowledging the work of the Presentation Order in Renews;
- open, expansive green space where convent building and yard had been, and;
- unobstructed view towards the harbour from the Presentation Convent Grounds.



Newfoundland and Labrador

Recognition Authority

NL Municipality

Recognition Statute

Municipalities Act

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Building, Structure or Land

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1876/01/01 to 1986/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Building Social and Community Life
Religious Institutions

Function - Category and Type


Commemorative Monument


Religion, Ritual and Funeral
Religious Facility or Place of Worship

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador 1 Springdale Street St. John's, NL A1C 5V5

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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