Lourdes Land Settlement Site Municipal Heritage Site
Lourdes, Newfoundland and Labrador, A0N, Canada
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Lourdes Land Settlement Site is an open area once occupied by buildings of the local Roman Catholic parish which housed Land Settlement program participants in the mid-1930s. It is adjacent to the existing church and cemetery on the hill referred to locally as “the church hill,” off the road to Long Point. The municipal heritage designation is confined to the now open area of land upon which the former parish hall and related buildings once stood, encompassing approximately 100 square metres.
Lourdes Land Settlement Site has been designated as a municipal heritage site due to its historic and cultural significance.
The Lourdes Land Settlement Site has historic significance because of its key role in the settlement of 27 families at Lourdes in 1934-1936 under the Commission of Government’s land settlement program. The Commission of Government employed land settlement as a development strategy in Newfoundland during the Great Depression, sponsoring eight agricultural communities where settlers were to live and farm cooperatively. While the government Land Settlement program was considered unsuccessful overall and was discontinued by 1942, the initiative at Lourdes may be considered successful in that the majority of land settlers indeed became permanent residents. Families mainly from the Fortune Bay communities of Sagona Island, Miller’s Passage and Harbour Breton were relocated to the mainly francophone and Mi’kmag, sparsely populated Port au Port Peninsula community starting in December of 1934. They were initially housed and headquartered at the area of local Catholic parish property now referred to as the Lourdes Land Settlement Site, while they constructed the new settlement within a radius of about one kilometre from that location.
The Lourdes Land Settlement Site has cultural significance because of its close historic connection to the local Roman Catholic parish, and because of the role the parish property played in the establishment of the settlement. The parish priest, Father Michael O’Reilly, had volunteered Lourdes for consideration as a site for the land settlement program. Only Roman Catholic families were selected to participate. The first arrivals spent their first few days in Lourdes lodging with O’Reilly at the parish rectory while they adapted the parish hall as living quarters. Other parish buildings, including an older school/church and a two-storey former pig house referred to as “the pig’s palace,” were also eventually adapted for accommodations, storage and workshops for the settlers while they went about the work of preparing land and erecting houses and outbuildings. While those original parish buildings no longer stand, their former site is surrounded by the parish cemetery, grotto and current Our Lady of Lourdes Church. The site is considered significant to the community as a symbol of its origins.
Source: Motion of the Town Council of the Town of Lourdes, 2007/06/19
-location at center of historic land settlement area;
-and location in cluster of local Roman Catholic parish properties.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Municipal Heritage Building, Structure or Land
1934/01/01 to 1936/01/01
Theme - Category and Type
- Peopling the Land
Function - Category and Type
- Commemorative Monument
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Town of Lourdes, PO Box 29, Lourdes, NL A0N 1R0
Cross-Reference to Collection