Placentia, the former French Capital of Newfoundland has many features of interest to tourists. It has the only lift bridge in Newfoundland. There are old fort sites, a museum, the O'Reilly Heritage House, and a church with a graveyard site that is one of the oldest in Canada. The Placentia waterfront boardwalk, bordering one side of the town, passes under towering cliffs and serves as a boat dock. A meeting place for the local residents who use it for their daily walk. The other side of the town is bordered by beach, which was once used by early settlers to dry fish. The area has hotels, motels, bed and breakfast facilities, efficiency units and restaurants to accommodate visitors
The earliest fisherman in the area, the Basques, in the 16th century named Placentia after their own homeland. It boasts a colourful history under flags of many nations, from the Basque, French and Portuguese fisherman of the 16th century to French colonization in 1662 and then to Placentia their capital, they garrisoned it and built the first hospital in Newfoundland here. When the French ended their occupation of Placentia they then moved to Louisberg, Cape Breton. That ended the many encounters between the French and the English for control of Newfoundland. A visit to nearby Castle Hill National Historic Park, which is situated between the towns of Jerseyside and Freshwater will give a sense of the rich history of the area.
On Canada Day, a folk festival is held on Castle Hill. The annual regatta is held in nearby Southeast Arm each July. The Placentia Area, via Dunville, is the gateway to the Eastern Avalon, and via Placentia and Point Verde, the gateway to the Cape Shore and the Cape St. Mary's Bird Sanctuary.
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