According to the Canada 2011 Census:
The history of European settlement of St. Anthony reaches back to the early 16th century, when French and Basque fishermen used the well-sheltered harbour as a seasonal fishing station. By the time explorer Jacques Cartier came across the settlement in 1534, he reported it was named St. Anthony Haven.
More people began arriving in the mid-19th century. By 1857, a census found 71 inhabitants in 10 families. By 1874, the population rose to 110, and by 1891, it was 139.
The town grew more rapidly after the arrival of Dr. Wilfred Grenfell in 1900 (see below).
A salt fish plant and cold storage facility built in the 1930s and 1940s were a boon to the local economy.
St. Anthony also became an outpost for the U.S. military. In 1951, a Pinetree Line radar site was built on a nearby hill, and by 1962, there were 250 servicemen stationed there. The site was operated by the 921st AC&W Squadron.
Tourism has become an important industry to the town as fishing stocks dwindled. Tourists come to visit historical sites related to Grenfell, to see the nearby Viking settlement at L'Anse aux Meadows or to see natural attractions such as icebergs and whales.
The Coat of Arms of St. Anthony is not from Letters Patent and therefore not legal.
St. Anthony's most influential historic figure is Dr. Wilfred Thomason Grenfell.
Born on February 28, 1865, in northern England. Grenfell entered the London Hospital Medical School in 1883. While in London, Grenfell heard the American evangelist Dwight L. Moody. The event inspired him to a life of Christian charity.
A member of the Royal National Mission To Deep Sea Fishermen, Grenfell was sent to investigate the conditions of fishermen in the Labrador region in 1892. He was said to be the first doctor to reach the region. He would later establish a string of hospitals, cooperatives and schools for people in remote Newfoundland and Labrador towns. He chose Red Bay as the headquarters of the Grenfell Mission in 1900. However, in later years the focus of the organization became St. Anthony. He began responsibility of health care for the more than thirty thousand residents in Northern Newfoundland and Southern Labrador. This health responsibility was maintained until 1981 when the Government bought the resources and took over responsibility for the health service for one dollar. Dr. Grenfell was most interested in the holistic approach to betterment of the lifestyle of the people of the province. He worked in areas of food production, craft production and sale. Grenfell also worked to provide funds for his religious mission through speaking tours throughout the United States and Europe and he used colorized slides of the people and places he was operating his mission. He began to work from a non denominational Christian belief structure and religious conversion was his goal. Although the religious based mission was successful he was supported by volunteers who gave service to the mission. One notable volunteer was Josephine Colgate of the Colgate fortune. Grenfell died in 1940 and his ashes were interred at Tea House Hill in St. Anthony with those of his wife Lady Anne Grenfell.
St. Anthony experiences a subarctic climate (Köppen climate classification Dfc) with long, cold winters and short, warm summers. However, owing to the strong maritime influence, the winters are less cold than most of Canada at the same latitude, and there is no permafrost especially with snow cover sometimes reaching as high as 276 centimetres (108.7 in).However its winters are still far more severe than Valentia Island off the coast of Ireland half a latitude farther north on the other side of the Atlantic which enjoys the moderating effects of the Gulf Stream. St. Anthony is as much as 11.4 °C (20.5 °F) colder than London on a near exact latitude in an average year. Precipitation, driven the powerful Icelandic Low, is quite high year round, with an annual average of approximately 1,300 millimetres (51.2 in).
Dr. Wilfred Grenfell's work in St. Anthony is commemorated by several historic sites and museums, including:
Other attractions include: