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Holy Cross Park

The Holyrood Swimming Park is well known throughout the Avalon Peninsula as an excellent place to bring your family for a day of swimming, sunbathing and picnicking. Located about 1 km from the Conception Bay Highway, Maher’s river provides clean and safe swimming for young and old alike. A shallow area of the pool is available for the very young children. During the summer months, park attendants are on duty at the front gate daily from 10:00am-7:00pm. Canteen and bathroom services are also available during operating hours.  Admission fee to the park is $2.00.

Beginning in July, Holy Cross Swim Park will have live entertainment from 2:00pm-4:00pm every Saturday! Be sure to check www.holyrood.ca for updates on scheduled acts.

We are now taking group bookings! Contact holyroodswimpark@outlook.com or recreation@holyrood.ca for more information.


Salmonier Nature Park

The layout of the Park is based on a nature walk. The animals are in large natural enclosures scattered along the park trail, which allow visitors to see animals that are part of their natural surroundings, not divorced from them, and which also encourage visitors to feel they are part of these surroundings. Salmonier Nature Park takes people into the landscape where the animals are displayed in settings that are as natural as possible.

Aside from the 40 hectares of the park containing the nature trails and animal displays, there is an additional 1415 hectares which is undeveloped. This area, which abuts the Avalon Wilderness Reserve, includes mature boreal forest, barrens, peatlands and the headwaters of Salmonier River. Within the park, 84 species of birds, 15 species of mammals and over 170 species of vascular plants have been recorded. The area affords splendid opportunities for field research in a well protected and managed environment.

Average annual visitation has more than doubled in the last four years, with an average of 40,000 visitors per year, approximately 5,000 of which consist of school groups in the Spring and Fall. The final report of the Newfoundland and Labrador Product Market Match Study indicated that Salmonier Nature Park was second only to the city of St. John’s as one of the top five tourist attractions likely to generate overnight in-province travel.

The role of the park is to help visitors gain an understanding and appreciation for wildlife and the natural community it inhabits. This role is based on the premise that it’s difficult to appreciate that which you don’t know.

Holyrood Festival Grounds

The Holyrood Festival Grounds is a busy area in both winter and summer months. Neighbouring the Marina, The Festival Grounds plays host to the popular SquidFest each year in July. For complete details on SquidFest please visit www.SquidFest.ca. The Festival Grounds acts as a great place to bring a picnic and enjoy the view of the Holyrood Harbour. During the winter, these grounds host the Crystal Carnival Chill-Zone. An outdoor skating rink that residents and tourists enjoy daily. If there is a Firework display in Holyrood, this is the place to watch them!

BlueFin Trailer and RV Park

Awake to the cry of the loons as they take their morning swim along Four Mile Pond and unwind to a breath-taking sunset over the hills. We welcome you and your family to come visit us at the BlueFin Trailer and RV Park, Holyrood, Newfoundland
Read More about BlueFin Trailer and RV Park.

Father Duffy’s Well

There are many holy wells in Europe, Especially in Ireland. These holy wells were the places, where, down through the centuries, pagans were baptized by the saints who converted them. Eventually, some holy wells were ascribed certain healing powers.

Newfoundland has its own holy well. It is found on the Salmonier Line and has been an important part of Holyrood’s history over the years. Father Duffy’s well is really not a well at all, but a spring of fresh water flowing out of the ground. Nowadays the spring has been harnessed into a metal pipe which makes the water brackish to the taste, not fresh and tingly as the name spring suggests.

The area where Fr. Duffy’s well is found is off a small roadway on the Salmonier Line about ten miles from Holyrood. There are a few picnic tables there now and there is a sign saying “Father Duffy’s Well Provincial Park.” These things somewhat distract from the ambience of the well and its surroundings, and if you go there now you might be disappointed – unless you know about Father Duffy that is.

Father Duffy came to Newfoundland as a newly ordained priest from Ireland. That was in September, 1833. He was recruited to Newfoundland by Bishop Fleming. He first served as curate in Ferryland parish which went all the way from La Manche to St. Mary’s. The zeal and enthusiasm with which Fr. Duffy approached his work was noticed by the Bishop. After two years he appointed Father Duffy first parish priest of St. Mary’s.

In St. Mary’s, Father Duffy was loved and respected by the people of the parish, because, he involved himself, not merely in their spiritual lives, but in all matters connected with their well being. He was involved in agriculture and in matters connected with the fishery. He worked to try and break the pattern of the fisherman’s perpetual debt to the local merchants.

The church in St. Mary’s was far from the community and it was a hardshipfor the people to get to it. It was also in need of repair. Fr. Duffy decided that the best thing to do would be to build a new one on the beach where it would be nice and handy for all the parishioners. But the site he chose didn’t suit the manager of the Slade Elson’s store and fishing premises on the beach. John Hill Martin was not only the store manager, but also the magistrate and local MHA as well. He had a great deal more power than Fr. Duffy and threatened to stop construction of the church. While the argument over the church was going on, the house was called in session and Martin had to go to St. John’s. While he was away, Fr. Duffy had the church built. When Martin came back and saw the church standing where he said not to put it, he was furious. He went so far as to take Fr. Duffy to court.

Fr. Duffy had to appear in court in St. John’s. On several occasions he walked the whole distance to St. John’s only to be told that his case had been postponed. This happened to him many times and he simply had to walk all the way back to St. Mary’s again. Finally, one day Fr. Duffy was acquitted of the charge.

On his many travels to appear in court in St. Johns, Fr. Duffy used to stop off and rest in a little clearing where there was a steady spring of fresh drinking water. The clearing was small, surrounded by trees and bushes and not far enough off the road to take him too far out of his way. Fr. Duffy could have a long drink of cold water and lie down on a grassy spot and rest his tired feet. The area was just secluded enough and very peaceful. He could listen to the birds in the trees as he rested and hear the tiny babble of the spring water on the rocks.

Other people soon learned about spot and stopped off there on their way back and forth the Salmonier Line. The spring always supplied cold, fresh drinking water. Some people actually ascribed healing powers to the well and the popularity of the spot grew and grew.

Soon it became the spot to visit and even to stay and picnic. People who never knew Fr. Duffy began to stop there. They knew that this was Fr. Duffy’s Well. News of Fr. Duffy’s well became so widespread that it became an historic landmark. The provincial government eventually designated it a provincial park.

Fr. Duffy played a large part in the life of the St. Mary’s area but he left his mark on the Holyroood area on the very first day he stopped and rested and drank at what was to be known ever after as Father Duffy’s Well.