History of “Our Town”
It is not known for sure how McIvers got its name. There is no record of a surname McIver ever living in McIvers. However, it is likely that people with that surname did live here.Some early visitors were the Montagnais Indians, who came from Quebec to trap furs for the French. Later Micmac Indians came from Cape Breton to trap furs as well. Temporary settlers began coming in the late 1700s. Local tradition holds that the first settler in the area, a Mr. Anderson, who fished seasonally did not arrive until the 1880s. However, when Bishop Edward Field visited the Bay of Islands in 1849 a Mr. Park (who was married to an Indian from Burgeo ) lived at” Mac Iver’s Cove”. A man named Blanchard, probably a Frenchman, was another early settler. Thomas Lovell, who supposedly jumped ship to avoid service in the English Navy came and settled in Lower Cove in the early 1860s. The first permanent settlers came from Burgeo and Grand Bank. After a school was built in 1901, some settlers moved from Goose Arm and Red Rocks so their children could attend school. Later in 1935 the census showed that the family names in McIver’s were Beverley, Morgan, Lovell, Park, Blanchard, and Parsons.
McIver’s afforded land to farm and build, while the local waters were fished for cod, salmon, lobster and herring. The fishery was the economic mainstay of the community until the Corner Brook paper mill was constructed in the 1920s. With the coming of the mill, came an increase in population. Now men such as Ricketts, Osmond, and Pitcher came from White Bay and Trinity Bay to cut wood for the mill. From then on, forestry became the economic backbone of McIvers, as the community became almost dependent on the Corner Brook mill. Many of the people of McIvers now became fully employed. They fished from early spring until late fall, when they went into the woods around the community to cut wood for the nearby mill in Corner Brook. In winter, the wood was hauled to the Rattler and McIvers Brooks, where it would be driven to holding booms at their mouths to be towed by tugs to the mill. When spring came they went fishing again. In between the fishing they planted their vegetables for use during the winter. As well they kept animals such as cows, sheep, pigs and hens, which provided both food and some clothing (sheep wool, hides). The result of all of this was they were practically self-sufficient now.
In 1971 McIvers was incorporated as a municipality. With incorporation came improved living conditions. In 1975 a community water system began, which now meant they would have a steady supply of water coming into their homes. No longer would they have to carry water in buckets from nearby wells, which often ran dry. Later a sanitary sewer system was started. Thus began the age of modern day conveniences for the town. Today, in 2017, the town has a population of approximately 600 people. While just a half dozen make their living from the fishery, most of the residents have professional careers or skilled trades jobs, which take them to nearby Corner Brook, or the oil industry of Alberta or here in Newfoundland and Labrador. A large portion of today’s population are retired local people, who were born and raised in McIvers.