From Quidi Vidi to Octagon Pond

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Steve Bartlett’s feature in The Telegram June 17 relating to Prof. Charles Danielle and his Octagon Castle was most interesting. It brought to mind a little known association that the Octagon Castle had with Danielle’s Oriental Palace, another bizarre building which he built on the north bank of Quidi Vidi in 1893. Although he named it the Royal Pavilion, in newspaper advertisement he described it as the “Magnificent Oriental Palace.” Its interior was decorated in oriental style. And magnificent it was!

Its ballroom accommodated 1,500 people, the kitchen had four large ranges and as his advertising said. “The attendants will be attired in oriental costumes and in harmony with the general surroundings — that none but Danielle’s has ever yet gladdened the eyes of Newfoundland with.”

This Oriental Palace had much more in common with the Octagon Castle than just having been built and operated by the professor. In fact, and in the unique unconventional style of Danielle, the buildings were one and the same. This transformation came about just two years after the palace opened through action taken by Danielle in his angry response to a dispute with Joe Ross whom he had leased the land from.

A fuming Danielle disassembled the Palace board by board and had it carted by train from the railway station at Fort William off Cavendish Square to Rocky Pond, now called Octagon Pond.

There, he reassembled the palace in octagon style and named it Octagon Castle. Octagon Castle was destroyed by fire in 1915.

Jack Fitzgerald

St. John’s

Organizations: Royal Pavilion, Palace board

Geographic location: Newfoundland, Fort William, Cavendish Square Rocky Pond

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  • Jules
    June 21, 2013 - 14:49

    Jack never gives his sources - that is why readers must always question where fact begins and fiction ends in his writings. I say this as someone who is an actual professional researcher. I think he is doing some good work - but it would be so much more valuable if it was properly sourced. As it stands, we have read everything he writes as pure fiction, knowing that it was inspired by history but possibly very made up after that.

  • PETER WELLS
    June 21, 2013 - 11:27

    Jules, it's very difficult to add all those references you are looking for, but if you are all astute they are easyily gotten from The Rooms or MUN Library. I have been doing a talk on this for 15 years at the Paradise Municipal Day, and at Paradise Schools. It's easy to attack Jack when when you don't know yourself what you are talking about, go check the facts, and don't be an armchair critic. The simple facts are that what Jack cites are actual facts. Rememer, this is a letter, not a university paper written for submission.

  • Jules
    June 20, 2013 - 21:58

    Nothing like a few uncited facts, without references, solid evidence... to back them up. Hey Jack? It would be lovely to know if your assertions have any validity behind them - to help figure out where the line is between fact and fiction.