Dannyville is
all the rage.  It’s all the townies talk
about; the outports, too. 

Newfoundland, now, more an idea than a place, readies itself.  Though baymen are scarcer than cod fish, hundreds
of communities wait to be emptied.  There
must be a few residents left, capable of raising a mortgage, that resettlement,
the moratorium, Fort McMurray or the Avalon Peninsula has, so far, failed to
dislodge.  All of them will be needed to
populate the already iconic enclave; though, it is still barely a concept even
among the somnolent planners at City Hall. 

The City of
St. John’s has already discarded its zoning manuals as a compliant, though
otherwise uninspired Mayor,
and unanimous Council move, with deliberate
haste, toward an approval process that, prior to ‘Dannymania’, always moved at
something less than a glacial pace. 

Over the
decades, the City has missed several opportunities to grow; though Mount Pearl
and other towns have done little to distinguish themselves.  The seat of Government, once a suckling on an abundant
fishery and now offshore oil, has been kind to St. John’s; its
perceived greatness thrust upon it.  Like
the expectant and the spoiled, it does not govern with the confidence of past
achievements.  Its chief regard is for its
entitlements so long embraced they just seem

Danny is
one of the City’s very own.  He
understands entitlement. Entitlement is not about being deserving; nor is it about destiny or rights.  It demands only an attitude. It is, of
course, that attitude which gives support to the long held view that rural
resettlement ought never to have ceased when Smallwood gave it momentum, in the
1960s and 70s.  Many townies believe an exit ramp ought never to have been permitted until the displaced hit the
overpass, at Kenmount Road.

Danny’s Plan
is huge; its proportion makes every modern developer a carpetbagger.  Andy Crosbie, Craig Dobbin, Ches Penney and
Garland Clarke, all have been penny ante
players.  Dannyville is, well… iconic;
just like its namesake, the eponymous former Premier. 

The baymen
had better get on; they now have a new destination, virtually next to Paradise.

Baymen are outliers,
of course, people whose intransigent ties and cultural traditions pull hard and
keep them close to home. The hope is that those who have so far stayed, will be eager to connect
with the many who broke away; that they will join the toiling masses of
bureaucrats, trades people and service providers already lined up to buy a plot
in Dannyville.  Thousands of their
compatriots have already taken mortgages in every town, from Bauline to Bay
Bulls. The Towns emulate the insular Capital City, too, or at least as best
they can; those who came from outside the “Overpass” don’t think much, anymore,
of what they have left behind. 

residents will come from South East Bite, Lumsden and Petite Forte, from
Croque, Brent’s Cove, LaScie and Francois and a host of other villages whose
names are quaint and whose inhabitants speak a common language.  In recent times, the place-names have been livelier
than the villages that give them residence. 
They not only suggest a context that is the history of the whole
Province; they imply a profound sense, less, perhaps, of premonition, than
outright warning.  Culture, traditions,
even the graveyards speak to humanity’s need to belong; in a bayman, it is
every bit as rooted and ingrained as his sense of survival.   

What he
doesn’t understand, but is destined to discover, is that Dannyville does not as
much offer an antidote to his innate fear of separation whether from family, culture
or identity; Dannyville is the antidote.

For the
preponderance of fisher people, the fishing industry has all but disappeared;
yet, they still like to go out in boat and catch one for ‘the pot’.  The huge sheds, the old ‘stores’, are now less
a place for nets and gear as much as they are a shelter for the trike, the
ski-doo and as a hang-out, away from the Missus. Life is not overly generous
but it is still pretty good, though their friends tell them they would be
happier elsewhere. 

They are
not people of the ‘pay-cheque’.  They can get by even when times are tough.  Nor do they queue at the bank machine, each
pay-day, like those who will populate Dannyville.  Still, the allure of riches stirs them to bewilderment;
it confuses the souls of even the most grounded.  What is worse, the magnetism of ‘the man’ is
stronger than the pull of a dozen generations. 

Danny doesn’t
understand them but he needs them just the same. He might be a ‘townie bully’,
not to be trusted in the ‘corners’, as his hockey buddies speak of him in an
undertone of criticism that seems valid enough; though it feels unpatriotic in
a way.  They know that, if they are overheard,
it will deny them his friendship. 

But, boy,
did he ever tell off that crowd in Ottawa. And, didn’t he say “we won”!  We don’t quite know what we won, but if Danny
said it, by Christ, it had to have been big…it had to have been huge…because
Danny is huge. He’s smart and successful and the richest man in Newfoundland,
or, so they say…so, Dannyville has to be huge, too, and successful and perhaps,
we should have a piece of what Danny has…who knows, whatever it is, might rub

Even the
older ones have been thinking silly stuff, lately. Why, just the other day,
Skipper Jerry Seymour was up on Deadman’s Rock. 
He was shouting into the breeze and you could hear him, perhaps, as far
away as Cape John.  The old man was
saying: “Why shouldn’t I leave this ‘hole’ anyway. I’m sick of the goddamn
ocean.  All I wake up to is rocks and
hills and trees and more ocean.  I’m just
surprised there isn’t trees over the bloody ocean”, he fumed, to no one in

I had
expected Skipper Jerry to end his boisterous and seemingly senseless, but lonely rant, right there.
But, he had more on his mind that day; a lot more.

“Sure, the
Missus was saying, just the other day”, he continued, “she was tired of all the
higgledy piggley of the place; up over cliffs and down over the rocks.  You can’t even walk on a straight road if you
wanted to go over and see Mary Jane.  To
go up to Uncle Jack’s, I can’t just stroll over.  Oh, no! I got to pay a price to walk over
there. I can’t just mind my own business; I can’t even glance. I’m forced to
look at the two Methuselahs, just a few hundred yards offshore! God, the memories from that place, the stories we
use to tell; Ned and Bill and Pad…jesus, they were the best. Used to be some
good salmon on that spot, he added, almost wistfully. 

“And, if I look over my shoulder, I see the
place where ‘Billy broke the jar’.  Must
have been some shaggin’ crock of ‘shine for everyone to remember a place like
that…that must have happened a hundred years ago.  Well, I’m sick of it all, anyway….I

“Yes, all I
see is fog and there’s neither fish in the water, for jesus sake, and speaking
of water, you can’t even get a cup to
drink, there’s a boil order on every other day…and the kids, the half dozen
that are left, they got to get on that bloody school bus, day in day out. I bet
they’ll have a school right in the middle of Dannyville, right next to the
Walmart.  Danny would think of that.  I know he would.

“And, in
Dannyville I wouldn’t have to see where Billy broke the goddamn jar, would I?
He’d have some nice straight roads and the beach wouldn’t be a sidewalk, where
the waves wash up hundreds of sea shells and god knows what else; some of it is
unimaginably nice, though. 

“I won’t
have to watch that friggin’ seal lollygagging, with her two pups, as if Brian
Watson had given her enough stamps to get her through the winter.  And, I won’t have to look at any more shaggin’
icebergs; though despite the cold wind they send into the Cove, some of them
are some nice.  Yes, my son, they have a majesty that ought to be reserved for
Jesus, himself. 

“Sure, Dannyville
will have nice concrete sidewalks with fire hydrants…but, I s’pose if Rover
pissed on those he get shot faster than Skipper Jim Shea can run for his remedies”,
Jerry laughed heartily at his own humour.   

“And, there
would be nice lawns and streetlights. 
We’d never hope to get any of those in this Cove. Yes”, he declared with
an affirmation that had all the force of an insect attacking an old sound bone:
“Think I’ll go and check out Dannyville”.  Jerry shook his balding head, the hair or what
was left of it, showed plenty of grey, as he compressed his weather beaten face
in his two hands.  He held it there for
what seemed an hour as if he was reliving his whole life right there on
Deadman’s Rock.

his hands gave way and Jerry stood erect, like I saw him, sometimes, at
funerals.  Not ready to keep his silence,
he spoke as if he needed to complete his narrative aloud, as if a public
testimony would assuage what he was about 
to do. “Guess, I had better ring up Susie”, he declared.  “She’s married to that feller with the Bank,
in St. John’s…see if he’ll give me and the Missus a mortgage. I’ll get me
pension cheque next week; he’ll be looking for the stub and proof, I guess,
that I makes fifteen thousand in a good year. 
S’pose, if we don’t like it, we can always come back home; we won’t be
prisoners there”.

That’s the
thing about Dannyville.  Staying does not
have to be permanent. 

The Residents
of Dannyville can leave; but, why would they want to.

Des Sullivan
Des Sullivan
St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada Uncle Gnarley is hosted by Des Sullivan, of St. John's. He is a businessman engaged over three decades in real estate management and development companies and in retail. He is currently a Director of Dorset Investments Limited and Donovan Holdings Limited. During his early career he served as Executive Assistant to Premier's Frank D. Moores (1975-1979) and Brian Peckford (1979-1985). He also served as a Part-Time Board Member on the Canada-Newfoundland Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB). Uncle Gnarley appears on the masthead representing serious and unambiguous positions on NL politics and public policy. Uncle Gnarley is a fiscal conservative possessing distinctly liberal values and a non-partisan persusasion. Those values and opinions underlie this writer's views on NL's politics, economy and society. Uncle Gnarley publishes Monday mornings and more often when events warrant.


Bill left public life shortly after the signing of the Atlantic Accord and became a member of the Court of Appeal until his retirement in 2003. During his time on the court he was involved in a number of successful appeals which overturned wrongful convictions, for which he was recognized by Innocence Canada. Bill had a special place in his heart for the underdog.

Churchill Falls Explainer (Coles Notes version)

If CFLCo is required to maximize its profit, then CFLCo should sell its electricity to the highest bidder(s) on the most advantageous terms available.


This is the most important set of negotiations we have engaged in since the Atlantic Accord and Hibernia. Despite being a small jurisdiction we proved to be smart and nimble enough to negotiate good deals on both. They have stood the test of time and have resulted in billions of dollars in royalties and created an industry which represents over a quarter of our economy. Will we prove to be smart and nimble enough to do the same with the Upper Churchill?


  1. yet another imperial fantasy: no less than muskrat falls, if at least without the option for gifting bankruptcy on all of us. A new city – (a new Jerusalem?) for untold multitudes, who will flock there from…where again exactly?

    Not Rigolet, or Rushoon, or anywhere else in rural NL that was reduced to 75/75 status some time ago. 75 residents, average age 75.

    Who will buy these houses, that will be built in the thousands?

    No doubt the same people looking for power, that can't be sold anywhere else. the fantasy people for the fantasy market.

  2. Please forgive, I could not finish the "blog"

    The message you intended was all too clear.

    The one I received, the names, the places, the people make me shiver to the bone – even now as I write my comments.

    Jesus help us!

  3. When the man is dead and buried young people will have sex on the greens of the Woods, at night, dreaming of the Danny Bonus from all those years ago. Maybe a statue of our Danny will be positioned somewhere near the entrance. A high school may even bear his name…. Politicians have a difficult job to run the province, and an even harder one to define their legacy. Danny's legacy is now becoming obvious to Dunderdale. Debt, bad decisions, and an overconfidence which caused reality to be a concept rarely considered. Dannyville will be a tribute to the Great Spender himself. Time will tell if the association will drive up or lower property values.

  4. No need to worry about kowtowing St. John's Council for Dannyland – hopefully most of them will be ousted. STJ still needs a strong mayor candidate (not the toll guy..) so both of the Os are no longer on Council.

    Harbor fence, deregulating zoning laws against the advice of city professional staff, poorest roads in memory, costly convention center renovations, anti development league quashing anything before the 1920s yet allowing 'heritage' buildings to become decrepit rat infested fire and satiety hazards.

    Dannyland is urban sprawl at its finest and NL oil based economy peaked 2005-2009, expect stagnant or declining Avalon economy the next 17 years.

    Canadian housing bubble should pop or be very deflated by the time DL is constructed. 3,000 new overpriced homes in the 350K+ range, who is going to buy them?

    Very few young people still live around the bay, is DL going to be a retirement/resettlement community?

    Unless there is sufficient WATER SUPPLY for DL (water bans in the summer now with 20K more people?) any proposal should be outright rejected.

    Council are ill equipped or informed to make a decision on DL for the entire region/City. Very few if any current councilor will still be in office when danny cuts his ribbon to DL, just like PC MHAs post Muskrat.

    If not for the HoA STJ city council wins the award for most inept government body in NL.

    Did we ever find out who ordered the watering down of the zoning requirements for DL? If a civil servant can be influenced by outside political forces they are in over their head and need to reign or be fired.