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1956 fred sexton.jpg


circa. 1945


Magistrate House

The Magistrate’s house was constructed in the mid-1940s for the arrival of Magistrate Garland Penny and his wife Elsie. Garland was born in the nearby community of English Harbour, Trinity Bay, Newfoundland, and Elsie were originally from Topsail, Conception Bay South, Newfoundland. Garland, a former schoolteacher, and Elsie were both active members of the community. Both participated in many church-related functions and Elsie was heavily involved with the local Girl Guides. Garland also wrote many articles for the local paper. Many of these articles can be found at the Bonavista library. Magistrate Penny left Bonavista in 1957 and was replaced by Magistrate Brace at that time.

Located on Coster Street, one of Bonavista's municipal heritage district, the home is situated in and around a historically upper-middle-class neighbourhood overlooking Bonavista Harbour pond. The Magistrate's house was constructed by the Government of Newfoundland to be used by anyone in the Magistrate post in the Bonavista area. The position of the magistrate was a well-respected and vital position in many communities and thus a home was built reflecting stature and prominence.

Currently clad in vinyl siding, with vinyl windows and trims the home will go through a significant exterior restoration. Once fully restored the home will see traditional clapboard and cedar shakes reinstated as well as six over one window with wood trims.

The home is currently divided into affordable rental units and will continue serving this purpose for the foreseeable future.  

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