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Interesting Facts about Bide Arm and Hooping Harbour

The earliest census of Hooping Harbour dates back as far as 1856.

The last baby dedicated in Hooping Harbour at the Apostolic Faith Church was Wallace Floyd Randell on June 22nd, 1969 by Rev. Booth Reid. Wallace is the son of Emma and the late Wilfred Randell.

The last marriage in Hooping Harbour was Benson and Betty Randell’s

Summer Days

Fishermen in Hooping Harbour sold their fish by cantles. A cantle held 212 pounds of fish and later dropped to holding 100 pounds of fish. Cantles were sold for $2.00 each.

Codfish was sold for as little as 5cents/lb and salmon for 10cents/pound.

When women weren’t helping with the fish they spent their time spinning their own wool from the sheep they kept. They’d prepare the wool and start in knitting mitts, socks, and sweaters for their family for the upcoming winter.

They also spent their pastimes croqueting, hooking mats for the Grenfell Mission and visiting with friends and family for an afternoon cup of tea.

Winter Days

Men spent their winter days cutting wood and logs by using pit saws and axes. They would either walk to get the wood or go by dog team.

The wives packed a weeks allowance of food for their husbands and they’d walk, with their food on their backs, to North East Cove to cut wood, logs and to saw lumber with their sawmills.

Wood was becoming scarce during the last years in Hooping Harbour. The men had to go up to steep cliffs to cut wood. Some had to tie themselves on to the cliffs and hang out over. This became very dangerous and some even fell from the cliffs.

Children growing up in Hooping Harbour had little time for fun and games. Each one had their daily chores to complete to help provide for the whole family. This was a part of their everyday life.


Early years in Hooping Harbour they had a one-room school – The United Church School. Later years a new two-room school was built.

The school curriculum was called “The Royal Reader”

Oil lamps were used as a source of light and each day the children had to bring wood to school to heat to keep them warm throughout the day.

The United Church School had classes from Kindergarten to Grade 9. To complete High School students had to move to Englee.

Many rarely went to school past grade 6. They finished school at a young age to work and help provide for the family.

During recess children would have molasses bread, dried squid and sometimes they would make coco-malt as a special treat.

Basic Needs

Shopping was done through catalogues, mainly Eaton’s.

Majority of families bought material and made their own clothing.

Families had gardens in which they would grow a winter’s supply of vegetables. They were kept in a cellar during the winter months.

Many families also had their own livestock that consisted of pigs, hens, sheep, and goats. They’d get a supply of pork, eggs, wool and milk from their livestock.

Business that Existed in Hooping Harbour

John Reeves – Operated by John Randell.
Ches Pittman’s – Operated by Jesse Randell
Cassell’s General Store – Owned and Operated by Winnie Cassell

Food and supplies to stock the businesses arrived to Hooping Harbour by schooners.

Some of those schooners were:

  • Northern Ranger
  • The Kyle
  • The Sagona
  • The Bonavista
  • The Springdale
  • Glenco
  • S.S. Cull

Development of Public Services

A road was developed in Hooping Harbour around 1965. A D7 Tractor was brought to Hooping Harbour by boat and was operated by Wilfred Randell and Woodley Randell

A 16 Armstrong generator was installed in Hooping Harbour around 1957. A group of 8 men purchased it together through a company named Clayton’s Construction.

Following the installation of the generator Wilfred and Woodley Randell wired the houses of Hooping Harbour to provide electricity.

Ambrose Randell was in charge of starting up and shutting down of the generator on a daily basis. Around 10:55pm each night he would give a signal just before the generator was shut down. He’d haul the lever down until the generator almost shut off and put it back on again. The people of Hooping Harbour would then know that the generator would be shutting off in five minutes for the remainder of the night.

Several years after the installation of the generator Hooping Harbour was set up with Hydropower, known then as Power Commission. This dramatically changed the lives of Hooping Harbour residents.

For the first time they had powered appliances such as washers, ovens, kitchen fridges, irons, kettles, etc.

It wasn’t until the last years in Hooping Harbour that homes were outfitted with water and sewer systems. Up until this time they used ‘slop buckets’.

Postal Service

Florence Randell was the Postmistress in Hooping Harbour for 34 years.

During this time a stamp cost three cents, and a card was one cent. It would cost nine cents to register a letter.

She was paid $25.00 every three months for working as a Postmistress.

Early years a man walked from Hooping Harbour to Harbour Deep to pick up the mail and brought it back to Hooping Harbour on his back.

Later years, a plane landed on the pond with the mail and Maxwell Newman would go by dog team or foot, pick up the mail and deliver it to Florence at the post office.

The Big Move

Not all families of Hooping Harbour wanted to resettle. Hooping Harbour was their home and there they were close to the rich fishing grounds.

After the resettlement six families stayed behind for one last winter in Hooping Harbour.

Churches in Hooping Harbour

The first church was the Church of England – United Church.

In early years, church services were held at the school. It was called a school chapel.

A small United Church was built years later.

Around 1960-61 the Apostolic Faith Church came to Hooping Harbour. It came under the guidance of Mr. Stanley Hancock and Mr. Gideon Hancock. This church had a concrete basement and steps. The steps are still in Hooping Harbour today.

Some of the clergy that served in Hooping Harbour are; Job Randell, Jesse Randell, George Compton, Booth Reid Sr.

Life After Resettlement

Development of Bide Arm Life in Bide Arm was extremely hectic after the move.

There was no road to connect Bide Arm to the surrounding communities. Their main source of transportation was boat.

The residents of Bide Arm had little financial assistance for the repairs needed to their home and the process necessary to set up in Bide Arm. To a certain extent, the development of public services, such as water and sewer, was done at their own expense.

In the beginning, Bide Arm residents had to go to Roddickton to get their mail. Later, Maxwell Randell was hired to open a post office at this home in Bide Arm. With the help of his wife, Winnie Randell, they operated the post office out of their home for 13 years.

To travel from Englee to Bide Arm George Compton brought people so far as the guard rail in his taxi. Once they got there he blew his car horn for someone to come across Bide Arm in boat to pick them up.

Residents from Fox Harbour, Labrador moved to Bide Arm in July of 1969 to work with Mr. Reid to help with development of Bide Arm services. They were paid $1.50 per hour.

All the development work was done by hand. Big ditches were dug with pick and shovel. Water was obtained from a spring behind Edmund Cassell’s house until a water system was installed.