Many people don’t realize it, but Springdale is not only historic, but famous. Here, you will learn of the many famous faces that have graced our town. From a recipient of the Order of Canada to Hollywood movie stars, Springdale has already had it’s respectable claims to fame, even beyond the local level.
Harvey Clarence Grant
Harvey Clarence Grant was born on July 24, 1892, on the north side of Halls Bay, NL. Grant was one of six children and moved to Springdale at an early age. He married Nellie E. Weir of Twillingate, NL on June 5, 1915, and had seven children. Mrs. Grant fell to blindness at 41, due to a brain tumor. Her blindness became a turning point in Grant’s life.As a result he devoted more time to community work with his wife’s approval and support. She died in 1964 at the age of 69.Grant began work in the lumbering industry and spent nine years as a fox and mink rancher. Later, he returned to lumbering until his retirement in 1965.
Grant has a long record of outstanding community service. He was Springdale’s first mayor, and held the position for twenty years. He also served as one of the founding five men that lead the formation of the Newfoundland Federation of Mayors and Municipalities. Despite his lack of formal education, he spent more then two decades as a school board member, and served as a chairman of a committee whose function was to explore the possibility of an amalgamated school in Springdale during 1959.
November 17, 1965, brought the official opening of Grant Collegiate, a Springdale high school named in his honor. Grant passed away August 1, 1983, at the age of 91. His house remains today as a tribute museum to a very outstanding citizen in Springdale history.
Brian Peckford was born in Whitborne, NL in 1942. He was educated at Marystown, Lewisporte, and then Memorial University of Newfoundland. After graduating from Memorial University of Newfoundland. in 1966, he became a teacher at Grant Collegiate in Springdale. While in Springdale, Peckford became active in politics and joined the Liberal party. He later changed his political standing to be part of the Progressive Conservative party. In 1972 he successfully ran for the district of Green Bay.
When he was the Minister of Mines and Energy in 1976, Peckford was involved in a stand-off with oil companies and the federal government over the development of offshore oil which later resulted in a better deal for Newfoundland.
In 1979, when Frank Moores announced his retirement as Premier of Newfoundland, Peckford became a candidate for the party leadership. He won the leadership, and two months later led the party to a victory in the provincial election. As a premier, Peckford appointed the first female to the cabinet. In the same year, he publicly confirmed the existence of the Hibernia oil field off the coast of Newfoundland, and during his administration he revived two major industrial plants: the Corner Brook paper mill, and the Come-By-Chance oil refinery.
In 1982, the P.C. party swept the provincial election, taking 44 of the 52 seats. He remained premier of Newfoundland and Labrador until January 21, 1989, when he resigned. Peckford has been honored with several awards, including the Vanier Award as an outstanding Canadian youth. He was made a member of the Queens Privy Council of Canada, and was awarded an honorary LL.D. (Doctor of Laws) by Memorial University of Newfoundland.
Natasha Henstridge was born in Springdale, NL in 1974. She lived in South Brook until her family left for Fort McMurray, Alberta, when she was five. At age 14 she won second place in a local beauty contest (Casablanca model agency’s Look of the Year), and moved to Paris, France to become a fashion model. As a 14 year old she began to land huge modelling deals, and at age 15 was a featured cover model for French Cosmopolitan magazine.
Not long after, Henstridge began to acquire an interest in acting. She was chosen out of hundreds of actresses to star in Species, her first major Hollywood role. Other roles soon followed, with her featured in such movies as Maximum Risk, White Dunes, Adrenaline: Fear the Rush, and Species II: Offspring. She has also guest appeared on The Late Show, Saturday Night Live, The Outer Limits, and South Park.
Henstridge was briefly married to actor Damian Chapa for less then a year before getting divorced. She currently resides in Los Angeles, CA with her son Tristan River Henstridge Waite.
Jessie Brooks was born in Lushes Bight, NL, in 1905. She was the daughter of Peter and Janet Brooks. In 1929, she moved to New York, NY; where she studied hairdressing. In 1934, she moved to Springdale and married Ralph Young. During the first meeting of the Springdale branch of the Jubilee Guild, Young was elected vice-president. She served on the executive for eight years, until 1942, when she began a 22-year-old term as president.
Young was one of the signatories of the agreement that joined the Federated Woman’s Institute of Canada (F.W.I.C.) with the Jubilee Guild.
Young was also a dedicated worker for over fifty years. She taught typing and music, served as an organist with the United Church, and worked with the Red Cross. The federal and provincial Women’s Institutes presented her with Life Memberships in 1954 and 1977. In 1967 she received a Centennial Medal. In 1980, she received an honorary membership in the Newfoundland and Labrador Association for Adult Education. In that same year, Young received nomination and success as the 1980 Citizen of the Year for Springdale. This was the first time that Springdale officially recognized her years of unselfish service to the town. Young was honored once again in 1992, when a new Women’s Institute branch in St. John’s, was called the Young Branch, established just one year before she passed away.
Edith Manuel was born on Fogo Island, NL in 1909. She worked for many years as a nurse’s aid in Twillingate, NL, and then went on to Englewood Hospital School of Nursing in New Jersey, USA to study. She graduated in 1931 and returned to Twillingate where she assisted Dr. John M. Olds as an operating room nurse.
In 1941 she moved to Springdale with her husband, a member of the Newfoundland Ranger Force. As a district nurse in Springdale, Manuel was the only trained medical officer in the area. Although she retired in 1951, she continued to offer her expertise to the community through churches, the Red Cross, and hospital volunteer work. Manuel also instructed people in basic medical care and first aid.
She was chosen Springdale Citizen of the Year in 1984 and was made an honorary member of the Newfoundland Nurses’ Association in 1989. In 1990, she was also awarded the Order of Canada, an award which recognizes outstanding achievement and public service by Canadian citizens. She is the only citizen of Springdale to have ever received this honor.
Roger Simmons was born in Lewisporte,NL in 1939. He studied at the Salvation Army College for Officers, Memorial University of Newfoundland, and Boston University. Simmons began his career as a teacher and Salvation Army Officer in St. Anthony. Later, he moved to Springdale, where he subsequently became principal of Grant Collegiate; as well as superintendent of the Green Bay Integrated School Board.
Simmons was elected MHA for the district of Hermitage in 1973 and for Burgeo-Bay D’Espoir in 1975. In 1979 he resigned his provincial seat to run in a federal bi-election, and was elected in Burin – St. George’s.
From 1980 – 1982, Simmons served as parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Environmental Affairs and as a Secretary of State for Science and Technology. In 1983, he was appointed Minister of State for Mining. He was defeated in the 1984 federal election, but reappeared on the provincial scene with a 1985 win in Fortune-Hermitage. He also served as an interim Leader of the Opposition. In 1988, Simmons returned to federal politics and was elected.