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History: Town of Bide Arm

Beginning in the late 1800’s and continuing until about 1927 the area presently occupied by the new Community of Bide Arm was a wintering site for many residents of Englee. In October of each year these people piled their possessions aboard boats and transported them to Bide Arm. This was repeated in May when they loaded everything on komatiks (as many as 7 or 8 dog teams were in use at any given time) and returned to Englee to start the fishing season.

Dig in Deeper…

Because there were no stores at the settlement of Bide Arm, everyone brought what they needed in October. If a person “ran out” of supplies, there were no more available. Nothing was wasted. You wouldn’t find many empty cans lying around all winter. There were hard times but they were good times as well. Everybody was happy and helped each other. However, we should be thankful that we no longer suffer the hardships of these early settlers.

In July, 1969, 186 of the 215 residents of Hooping Harbour founded the community of Bide Arm, under the community consolidation program under the leadership of Pastor Booth Reid of the Apostolic Faith Church. They chose Bide Arm over Englee because of building lot shortages there, and the desire to establish an independent community under resettlement.

By 1971 the community was incorporated, had water and sewage, telephone service, a post office, a school for Kindergarten to Grade 4, (with Grades 5 to 11 going to school in Roddickton) and an Apostolic Faith Church. A fish plant was begun in 1969, processing cod and turbot, but has been inactive for years.

In 1994, a moratorium began and forced some of the Bide Arm residents to move away. This was a devastating time for Bide Arm families. Since then more people have come and gone.

Bide Arm to date has a population of 182.

As a child who was born and raised here, I always asked “How did Bide Arm get its name?” I was told that some folks came here and said “I think we’ll bide here in this arm”, and that’s how Bide Arm got its name. – Rochelle Canning, Bide Arm.