Templeman - Ryan Shop

Share this page

P.O. Box 1509  Bonavista, Newfoundland A0C 1B0

+1.709.468.1848

Heber John Abbott House (1869) restored in 2004 and Bailey's Cove Church of England School (1879), both designated by the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Philip Templeman (1860-1926) emerged from the local planter class, like other Bonavista merchants in the second half of the nineteenth century and created one of Newfoundland's most successful fish merchant firms. Philip's father, William, was a planter who, in 1871, expanded his sphere of activity beyond the confines of a single fishing operation to become a trader, providing goods to other fishing crews in exchange for their fish. From the age of thirteen until his father's death in 1878, Philip worked in the family business. In 1884, Philip began a business on his own account at Bonavista, purchasing the harbour front premises of the bankrupted firm of James Saint, adjacent to competitors James Ryan (Bonavista) on the south and Baine, Johnston and Company (St. John's) and William Keough (Bonavista) on the north.

The firm quickly established itself as an able competitor of James Ryan. Typical of outport firms in the early years, Templeman had a connection with the St. John's firm , Goodfellow & Company. The exact nature of the relationship is unclear but, unlike many smaller firms, Templeman appears to have been an independent merchant by 1895, exporting his own fish to market. In fact, with exports exceeding 70,000 quintals annually by 1913, he was one of Newfoundland's largest producers.

In keeping with his competitors, Templeman established a battery of seasonal barter shops and branches to better serve regular clients, and also to generate new business. Over the years,branches were opened in Templeman Harbour, LaScie, William's Port on the French Shore, Frenchman's Island, Grady, and Indian Tickle in Labrador, along with premises in St. John's. Templeman opened a year-round branch in nearby Catalina in 1901.

The Templeman / Ryan Shop of Bayley's Cove (Bonavista) is one of a handful of Templeman structures still standing in Bonavista today and is thought to have been designed, built and managed by Philip Templeman's second son, Harold Templeman, who ran the operation as a barter shop and department store from the late 1800's through early 1900's, before it was sold to Jim Ryan, a distant relative of merchant James Ryan ( Ryan Premises National Historic Site). Jim Ryan and his family operated the site as a grocery and department store for much of the 20th century up until its close in the 1990's. 

The Templeman / Ryan Shop  symbolizes Bonavista's position as one of Newfoundland's largest and most prosperous inshore fishing towns and mercantile centres from the second half of the nineteenth century. Philip Templeman was a prominent businessmen creating one of Newfoundland's most successful fish merchant firms.  Templeman's appointment to the Legislative Council in 1913, where he joined James Ryan and other members of Newfoundland's merchant elite, is a testament both to his prominence in the trade as well as his support of Prime Minister Edward Morris.

The business was also associated with The Philip Templeman / J. T. Swyers General Store, presently repurposed as The Harbour Quarters Inn which borders the Ryan Premises National Historic Site on the waterfront. Initially built for the Bonavista merchant, Philip Templeman in 1910, the Philip Templeman / J.T. Swyers General Store was part of Templeman's expanding business operations. Following Templeman's death in 1926, the business went into serious decline. During the Great Depression of the 1930's, the family sold the buildings to J.T. Swyers. The Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador declared Philip Templeman/J. T. Swyers General Store in Bonavista a Heritage Structure in March 1996.

Both the exterior and interior of the structure is largely original and intact which contributes substantially to the significance of the building. It is one of the best preserved examples of this type of building and is one of a handful of Templeman structures still standing in Bonavista today.

The Templeman / Ryan shop itself is an imposing structure on the Bayley's Cove landscape, with its soaring storefront reaching over 30 feet in height. Today, much of the building’s original grandeur is still present including the decorative eave brackets, spruce clapboard and loading doors on the second floor. Both first floor, nine-pane storefront windows were replaced during the 1980's. All other exterior features are original to the structure. There is also a secondary storage building located on the back of the shop which predates 1920, supported by photographic evidence of the neighbourhood. 

As well, the interior of the structure remains significantly intact with original features present which include; mantels, staircase, trims and the most impressive manager's office. The Templeman / Ryan Shop is one of a handful of Templeman structures still standing in Bonavista today.   

Civic address: 42 Cape Shore Road
Construction: late 1800's

Front and side facade before restoration, 2014.

Templeman's and Ryan's established barter shops, usually near  other competitors, at Cape Shore, Bayley's Cove, Rolling Cove, Mockbeggar, and Canaille, which were all located in the town of Bonavista. There were also barter shops at nearby Elliston, Newman's Cove, and Amherst Cove, as well as others at Musgrave Harbour and Greenspond.


​The Templeman / Ryan Shop is located within a tremendous cluster of built heritage in Bayley's Cove, Bonavista, with easily 25 – 30 homes and buildings which predate 1910  in  the  vicinity,  including