European fishermen were visiting Bay Roberts as early as the 1500s. Fishermen from Brittany and Normandy in what is now France fished the waters off the coast of Bay Roberts in the early 1500s and named the harbour Baie de Robert. They established onshore fishing rooms where they dried and salted codfish. These fishermen came to the area because of its large harbour, and flat rock beaches that they used for curing fish. Evidence of these European people can be found in community place names such as Priaulx Hill and in nearby names such as Spaniard's Bay and Port de Grave.
The Town of Bay Roberts was incorporated in 1951 after Premier Joseph Smallwood suggested that if the Town had its own council, it could take care of paving its own roads. In the time since its incorporation, Bay Roberts has seen many changes. In the past fifteen years, the number of services has greatly increased from two main businesses to a town whose economy depends upon its service industry. Bay Roberts has become the main business centre for a large part of Trinity and Conception Bays. Vast improvements have also been made in the area of recreation with the modernization of the swimming pool and the development of the ball fields and tennis courts.
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