History of Winterland
Winterland (named by the surveyor of the land on which it is located - Mr. Thomas Winter) was one of eight settlements commissioned by the Government in 1939 to get people away from fishing and into farming because there was high unemplyoment at the time.
The people who came to these communities were determined by their religion with one dominate religion for each community. United Church families were chosen by the Government for Winterland. However, Winterland was not as uniform as other communities because it admitted a few non-conforming families. As a matter of fact, only 53% of the population in 1945 was of the United Church faith.
The first settlers totalled 23 families with a population of 92. The largets number of families - ten from Port Elizabeth (formerly known as Flat Islands), nine from Garnish, three from Burin & one from Baine Harbour. The average family size was four & the average age was 32 years.
The settlement was undertaken by the Government so the men of the families came first. There was a bunkhouse supplied by the Government for them to stay in & they were fed by the Government. There was a sawmill & workshop supplied by the Government so the settlers could get their lumber sawed & workshop was used to build windows & doors. At first, half the men went into the woods to cut logs & the others stayed to clear the land to build the houses & grow crops.
The families that came to Winterland in 1939 were granted the following:
- $360 for a house
- $150 to build a barn
- $150 for cattle
- $50 for poultry house
- $2 per month per person
- $20 per month for groceries
After the settlers began growing their own crops, this monthly allowance was cut off. At this time, the settlers built a co-op store & it cosy $57.19 to share into it. The co-op store was managed by Mr. Frank Collins, a settler in the community. The co-op store operated for a number of years before it closed at which time Mr William Moulton, a settler from Garnish, opend a general store. The store supplied what it could but some items had to be purchased in Marystown. Moulton's General Store operated for some 25 years before it closed it's operation.
The first settlers to Winterland were fishermen but when they came to Winterland, they had to try their hand at farming. Each family had approximately eight acres of land to farm.
These people were persistent & gained their livelihood from mixed root crops such as potatoes, cabbage & turnip as well as from livestock farming. At the time, the Burin Peninsula had very little farming settlements. Even with the development of a community pasture in 1969, livestock farming did not prove to be a profitable venture for the farmers. A great advancement for the farmers was the construction of the Agricultural Building. In one half of the building were coolers for the farmers to store their crops in the Fall & Winter until they were brought to market. This Government building has since been passed over to the Winterland Agricultural Society to own and operate.
The population of Winterland increased considerably in the 1950's with the resettlement program of Port Elizabeth. A large number of people came from Port Elizabeth to Winterland because they had relatives living here. The growth of the town has increased steadily to its present population of 374 residents.
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