The following description of Quidi Vidi Village appears in the 1941 edition of the Newfoundland Hand Book, Gazetteer and Alamanac, edited by JR Smallwood.
Quidi Vidi. Pop. 599. An ancient and picturesque fishing settlement a mile or so outside the eastern limit of St. John’s, lying between Quidi Vidi Lake and Quidi Vidi Gut. First settled probably in the early 16th century. Here in the 1650s and later lived the Newfoundland patriot John Downing, the planter who in 1675 went as the people’s delegate to England to procure the rescinding of the Royal Proclamation ordering all settlers to remove from the country. In 1705 it had 20 houses and families. A battle was fought near here in 1762, when the British troops landed at Torbay and marched overland to recapture St. John’s from the French. The French had held the capital for several weeks that summer, and in anticipation of a probable attempt by the British to land their forces at Quidi Vidi Gut (or entrance to the sea) the French barred it by sinking rock-filled shallop boats in it. Nearby the settlement on the lower north side of the lake the U.S. Government is at present constructing an important military base.
the incubation of a plant
Quidi Vidi Village is a small picturesque community located in a sheltered harbour known as Quidi Vidi Gut. Due to its proximity to Signal Hill and the City of St. John’s, Quidi Vidi Village played important roles in both the military and economic history of the region. Today, the Village lies within the City of St. John’s municipal boundary, and while some new developments have occurred, the essence of this outport community is still intact. It remains a small village wrapped around a sheltered harbour with the houses crouched against the rocky hills.
It order to better understand the implications of development in the Village, the City of St. John’s undertook several studies which included consultation, interviews and submissions from area residents and business people. In 2003, the Quidi Vidi Development Plan was released, and as a follow-on to its recommendations, the City acquired the property locally known as Eli’s Wharf in 2006. While the structure and wharf upon which it stood were in disrepair, the City recognized the importance of the location, and felt the property might serve as an anchor location for future development while preserving the unique character of the village.
The local arts community had identified the lack of affordable studio space for emerging artists as a key deficiency in the development of craftspeople in the province. The idea was put forward that the new building in Quidi Vidi Village could serve as an incubator for craftspeople who would later go on to launch their own enterprises in the province. The visitor traffic already present in the Village would benefit by virtue of the presence of a vibrant new attraction, while the building and Quidi Vidi Village Foundation office within, could provide some historical and cultural interpretation of the area. Additionally, a small footbridge was proposed, providing better access to the East Coast Trail and easing some of the longstanding parking issues in the community.
Capital funds were provided for the construction of the facility through a partnership between the City of St. John’s and a federal ACOA Community Initiatives grant. A number of other funding agencies including the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Department of Innovation, Business and Rural Development, the City of St. John’s Economic Development, Tourism and Culture Department and the Royal Bank of Canada Emerging Artist fund have contributed to the project. We are proud to host visitors from within our province and beyond, and to trumpeting the accomplishments of our artists as they produce unique, high quality craft items.
In April 2010, the Federal Government announced an investment of more than $1.5 million to assist the City of St. John’s to redevelop the Tucker Premises in historic Quidi Vidi village into a multi-purpose artisan incubator and visitor information centre. Mayor Dennis O’Keefe joined Minister Peter MacKay for the announcement.
The City of St. John’s has invested $1.1 million in the project. The federal funding was provided through ACOA’s Innovative Communities Fund.
The artisan incubator provides space for emerging craftspeople in the province to cultivate their work. It also supports tourism development by offering visitors a unique experience to view crafts being made on-site by local artists.