Because it’s Budapest

I spent 6 days in Budapest in August 2014 and was compelled to return to this cultural capital just a couple of weeks ago for another couple of days. It is always a good indication when you enjoy an experience, that you choose to return on a future vacation. I often hear from operators on the Great Northern Peninsula that before the season begins they have bookings from past guests that are coming back to experience more of this special place, we get to call “home”.

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My first evening in Budapest, I walked by the breathtaking Parliament building and viewed the Palace and Fisherman’s Bastion on the Buda side of the river since I opted to stay on the Pest side of the city. Since I did not have a reservation, I was given the option of a 45 minutes time slot to enjoy a meal at a highly ranked traditional restaurant near where I was staying. Although, it was highly ranked by TripAdvisor, I opted to go to another restaurant. I feel sometimes these review sites can be a real curse at times, as they tend to create over capacity as tourists flock to those highly ranked spaces. There is certainly value in being reviewed and ranked by such sites.

I walked to a place called “Dracula” which was decorated with bats and themed to reflect cuisine from Transylvania. I ordered up the famed goulash soup, a traditional dish and an espresso, skipping dessert. The service was exceptional and the food extremely well prepared. The soup reminded me just how my grandmother use to make it.

One piece of decor captured my attention. It was the red sign that instantly made me smile – Praha or Prague. More than 7 years ago, living, studying and experiencing this city forever changed my life. It is where I met my European friends in which we have our annual reunions, it open my eyes to so many different cultures and where I fell in love only to return many many times and hope to have many more returns. Prague will always have a special place in my heart.

My morning included a nice breakfast of meats, cheese and pastry before I would walked many kilometers to do some shopping near the chain bridge, stopping to view the bronze shoes on the Danube (a memorial to the Jews killed in Budapest in World War II). In the afternoon I would finally tour the Parliament building (after-all this was my third trek and well lets say I have an interest in politics). The structure was as impressive inside as it was outside. The interpretative tour was of exceptional quality and well worth the entry fee (Note: EU citizens pay 1/4 of those outside the economic region pay).

That evening I would attend a jazz concert and listen to the up and coming stars. There were many concerts at this cultural facility, built only a decade ago. I really feel the nightly entertainment offering in Europe, whether large or small venues creates high-value for the tourist visiting. After the concert, I would return to my favourite restaurant in Budapest – “The Spoon”. It is a riverboat that has exquisite views to the Royal Palace and food to match. It is always nice to end a vacation on a high note – Budapest certainly would not disappoint.

From the starry nights to the early morning walks, I was in good company. Until the next visit, I’m sure the Spoon will be there waiting too!

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore (MHA, The Straits-White Bay North)

That evening I would attend a jazz concert and listen to the up and coming stars.

Happy 150th Birthday Sir Dr. Wilfred Grenfell – A True Hero of the North

I would like recognize the larger than life man who made big things happen in small communities – Sir Dr. Wilfred Thomason Grenfell, born February 28th, 1865. It’s been 150 years since the birth of such a visionary!

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Since 1892, Dr. Grenfell has impacted the lives of those on the Great Northern Peninsula and Labrador through the Grenfell Mission, which provided the first permanent medical services throughout the region. It established the first hospital in Battle Harbour (the unofficial capital of Labrador).

In addition to advancing the medical administration, headquartered in St. Anthony, the mission worked to make social changes and reduce poverty through advancing education, agriculture, textiles and industrial projects. A number of schools were built, a lumber mill was established in 1908 in Canada Bay to create year-round employment, farms developed and co-operatives created to reduce the reliance of merchants and their crippling credit-system for fishers.

To stimulate industrial development, mission workers also organized the local handicraft industry enabling residents to sell hooked mats, knitted goods and other items at North American retail outlets. People would save their silk stockings and send them to Labrador or the Great Northern Peninsula for the women to make and sell Grenfell hooked rugs. There is great pride taken in displaying the Grenfell rug which the handicraft group has been proudly producing for a century! There is also the Grenfell cloth, making the traditional “Grenfell” coats people proudly wear in the 21st century.

There are many legacy pieces that remain with the International Grenfell Association with more than 100 years of activity and giving back to local causes in the form of education and community development. The Grenfell Memorial Co-op is 101 years and counting and the Interpretation Centre displays a collection of books, medical supplies and other records that attracts thousands. The hospital and outer buildings signal the impact the administration had on the local economy and society.

Dr. Grenfell received many honours in medicine, in academia and medallions. Today Memorial University -Grenfell Campus, Corner Brook is named after the legendary figurehead. As well, the Route 432 on the Great Northern Peninsula is named Grenfell Drive.

I get inspired when I think and learn about more about the undertakings of Dr. Grenfell. He is one of my role models, as he had a vision to diversify an economy, empower individuals and meet the needs of people serving so many communities. The Great Northern Peninsula is a better place because of him, he has created quite the legacy.

Dr. Grenfell is a household name on the Great Northern Peninsula and Newfoundland and Labrador. More must be down to recognize the significance of his work, the role he played and how the influence of one man forever changed the fabric of the Great Northern Peninsula. His vision had radically changed and developed the economy and the way we think – we know that more is possible because he gave us hope! Let’s keep building on Doctor Grenfell’s vision!

Happy 150th Birthday, you truly deserve the recognition!

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA (The Straits-White Bay North)

Reconnecting in Geneva, Switzerland

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I love the country of Switzerland – there is something of their fine quality chocolates, wines, cheeses, watches and well just about everything, not to mention having a best friend live there. My first trek to Switzerland was in 2007, which I spent a lot of time on trains to places like Bern, Zurich, Lucerne, Lausanne, Geneva, Interlaken and other countryside views. I would return in 2009, 2010, 2014 and 2015.

I flew from Nice to Geneva in the early morning and arrived at my hotel at 9 AM. The hospitality was incredible and I was able to check in right away. This is not a common occurrence for most accommodators. I was pleasantly surprised to have a nice bath. It actually brought back memories of how from Northern Ireland I flew into Geneva to connect back to Prague and the plane had mechanical problems, so the airline put us up in 4 Star Swiss Hotels despite the flight only cost $40 CAD. The room then had a big bath, after spending most of the year in Europe at apartments and hostels with only showers, the R&R was really welcomed.

Geneva has the famous jet d’eau and is home to so many world agencies like the Red Cross, UN Palace is home to 200 agencies and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). On previous visits, I have toured these facilities and opted to tour a new section of the city, visit the museums, park and just escape the chill of the air.

At the train station, Rivella (a trademark soft drink that is made from milk whey) was launching a new product and giving away their green light flavoured beverage. It was quite refreshing!

One thing about exploring a city, is you never really know what you will find or where the experience will lead you if you say yes and just dig in. I got a little lost along the way and glad I did because I ended up finding large checker and chess boards placed near the park. What really caught my attention was the little bit of ice placed outside where mostly children and a few adults were skating. I thought about the missed opportunity in Monaco, and could not pass up another so I purchased by skate rental for 2 Swiss Francs and off I went.

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I had so much fun skating, I wish I did it more. There is something energizing about having the blades to the ice, picking up speed and not falling flat. It was a wonderful way to spend time in the afternoon.

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Geneva, although a short part of my vacation, it was one of the highlights. That evening will be forever be remembered from the traditional Swiss restaurant, lovely risotto, perfect port and the ability to get lost in conversation. The starry sky and the chilly air kept for a close connection. Geneva brings beautiful memories and the morning would take me back to Budapest!

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA (The Straits-White Bay North)

Another French Shore and Moments in Monaco

The Great Northern Peninsula is home to the French Shore in Newfoundland & Labrador. It has a strong connection to the French from the past and some names are very present today. The Town of Flower’s Cove was formerly named “French Island Harbour”, where names like Croque, Grandois, Conche, St. Lunaire-Griquet, Quirpon, L’anse aux Meadows, Port au Choix and others scatter the coastline. There are still French ovens along the shores and many yet to be discovered stories remain untold. There is so much more we could do, to make “Petit Nord” or the Great Northern Peninsula gain a tourism boost from our French histories from Quebec, NB, St. Pierre-Miquelon and France to name a few. I encourage you to visit www.frenchshore.com.

On a recent vacation, I’ve visited a part of France in which I’ve always wanted, which included Nice, Cannes, Antibes and also the micro country of Monaco. I still have to get to Marseilles, given I’ve likely watched the movie, The Count of Monte Cristo more than any other.

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A long-weekend spent in Southern France with my European friends certainly recanted many good memories since we first met in the Czech Republic in 2007. It is amazing how quickly time has passed since our university days. One thing that hasn’t changed is our desire to continue our reunions, we’ve travelled again to Czech Republic, Canada (Edmonton, BC, Ontario, Newfoundland & Labrador), Switzerland, Cuba, Ireland, Denmark, Mediterranean sailing (Sardinia & Corsica) and France.

So from Milano to Nice we had driven by car, taking in all the sights of the countryside from waterfronts, to mountains to the many road tunnels. Our flat was very centrally located but like many older buildings in France it was without an elevator. It was a task taking all the luggage up 5 flights of stairs. I could only imagine what bringing groceries or getting furniture to that floor must be like.

There was a great vibe in Nice, given their “Carnivale” was taking place just in the main square. I truly enjoyed visiting the markets, eating the handcrafted chocolate cake, visiting the pubs, hearing the music and of course enjoying the amazing French cuisine.

I loved the morning brunches. The food was much better than the weather, as the rain foiled many of our daily plans and ended up cancelling the carnival parade. Our spirits were not dampened and we enjoyed all the outdoor views we could gain and may our way to Monaco. There was incredible vernacular architecture around the city that caught my photo lenses attention – from churches, hillside row houses, the Rothschild villa, marinas, casinos and more. There were old classic cars and many high-end Maserati, Ferrari, Porsche and Lamborghini that would drop your lower jaw as they whizzed by as we drank a Monaco beer at the cafe outside Monte Carlo casino.

I tried to convince my friends to go skating on the outdoor ice surface. Since that was an epic fail, we opted to visit the casino in our suits and ties, have a martini like Bond in his movie “Casino Royale” and try our luck at “roulette”. After watching the game for a bit, it was evident we were out of our league as those around the table were placing hundreds of dollars on the table at a time. After things quieted down we placed a couple of small bets, I bet on red a couple of times and it returned me a few dollars more than I started so my friends and I opted to get out while we were ahead given the odds.

A return to nice landed us at Ma Nolan’s Irish Pub for a meal of fish n’ chips. This brought us back to our Irish escapades in 2010. The music was a lot of fun and the beer a good variety. I did not steer away from my lovely pint of Guinness.

The following day we would visit Cannes, where the International Film Festival is hosted. It is a very picturesque city from the waterfront, the tower, the little winding streets and the murals on buildings. My lunch in Cannes was superb at this little cafe – I’d go back just for the chocolate crepes.

My friends and I spend much of the spare time playing this card game called “Bang”. Despite, all the rules written in German it provides a level playing field for even the non-German speakers with an opportunity to win. The game involves outlaws, a sheriff and a bounty hunter. Just like the old wild west, the rules are simple – the outlaws win if the sherriff is dead, the bounty hunter wins if all are dead but the outlaws must go first and the sheriff wins if all are dead. With additional players there are multiple characters, including the addition of a deputy sheriff and it creates more fun and excitement. Each character has certain powers and every game is completely different. We have likely played a hundred games in the last few years. It is like my love for Rook at home!

A visit to another French Shore and Moments in Monaco were amazing times with my best friends! Until our next reunion, I’ll be living rural!

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA (The Straits-White Bay North)

Expo 2015 in Milan, Italy!

Expo 2015 or the World’s Fair will be held in Milan, Italy – Canada’s fourth largest trading partner. It is unfortunate no Canadian city was successful in securing the Expo 2017 as a means to celebrate Canada’s 150 birthday!

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International trade and sharing of ideas, expertise, showcasing new inventions, facilitate cultural exchange based on a theme, and are used for city, region and of course nation building. In today’s global world, our image on the International scene needs more attention to see the ripple down benefits reach places like the Great Northern Peninsula in Newfoundland & Labrador.

Rural Newfoundland & Labrador has relied heavily on International Trade to see the success we have today, without it where would our salt-cod, seals, whale oil and other natural resources such as minerals and oil have been sold?

I studied International Business in the Czech Republic and I’m approaching visits to 40 countries across the globe. There are immense benefits to diversification, connecting with new people and immersing yourself in the culture to determine what benefits and opportunities exist to do business internationally or attract more direct foreign investment. I was a little early for Expo on my vacation, but I could hardly resist seeing the infrastructure, set-up and participate in an early event!

I took the train and metro to Milan Fiera Rho so I was able to get to my hotel, which I had to walk through the Expo Centre to reach the NH Fiera Rho. It was picture perfect from the room. The Expo centre would not disappoint, nor would a cup of cappuccino and some live music by from a distance, I thought jokingly, “is that my colleague Jim Bennett?” He belted out AC/DC, Guns N’ Roses, Europe and others.

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I’ve been to Milan before, it is quite electric, modern and one of the fashion capitals of the world. This visit was a quick overnight stay because my Swiss friend would pick up myself and our Swedish friend and drive to Southern France to meet our German friend and have a mini-reunion. We have been getting together each year since we first met in 2007, it truly is remarkable to have such wonderful friends.

Although not in the same league as Expo 2015, the St. Anthony and Area Chamber of Commerce and the Town of St. Anthony are partnering to host a trade show in St. Anthony in September. This type of activity will help promote further commerce, create new partnerships and build a stronger business community. I commend them on undertaking this initiative as it is a great opportunity to showcase our business, our people, our communities and other assets. We need more conventions and trade shows being hosted on the Great Northern Peninsula, so let’s keep on building and sharing that knowledge.

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA (The Straits-White Bay North)

A Mountain of Relaxation in San Marino

After leaving Malta, I took a low-cost flight with Ryanair to Bologna for $75, a bus to the Central Train Station for a couple of Euro, a train to Rimini for $20 and then a bus for $7.50 to find myself in what is known as the “Most Serene Republic of San Marino”. San Marino is a micro-country of just 61 square kilometres with a population of just 32,000 people nestled in the northeastern peninsula of Italy near the city of Rimini. This country is noted as the oldest surviving sovereign state and constitutional republic in the world. I spent three nights and two full days in this European country before moving on to my next destination. I would advise that this is sufficient time to enjoy the sights and surroundings.

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I enjoy all the public transportation options that exists in Europe, even in the smallest of countries. This leg of the journey involved planes, trains, buses and automobiles. It was lovely to see the snow-covered Italian mountains from the plane, but a little chilly in Bologna with snow covering the ground. I was very happy that I only have a couple of minutes to catch my train versus waiting in the chilled air of the Central Station. If I had known more Italian, I could have had a great conversation with an older woman who was travelling home after a nice visit with her granddaughter. You can purchase your return bus tickets to San Marino at the Tourist Information Centre for 10 Euro. I basically had a private ride on the bus to my hotel that night, saving the 50 Euro taxi ride. The hotel shuttle unfortunately was not the Lamborghini shown below. It was at the airport and I had to snap a picture. A ride in it would simply be amazing!

The Grand Hotel San Marino was simply perfect – an amazing view from the balcony of the mountains, delicious food at the restaurant and an extremely help staff. Upon arrival after being awed by the bright lights I decided to check out the restaurant. I ordered the Menu of Tradition which consisted of bread to start, Italian salami with mousse of cheese, potato gnocchi with porchini mushrooms and gratinated green lasagne, the second course claimed a small mix of grilled meat from the territory and seasonal vegetables. Dessert was homemade cake with mascarpone and coffee cream. It was a little overwhelming all the first plates I would eat that night, but I ate like the locals and feasted for quite some time. When I requested my typical espresso, I also received some powdered biscuits. It was unbelievable for 25 euro. Needless to say, I was unable to have breakfast the next morning. On my last evening in San Marino, I decided to return to the hotel restaurant and it was recommended I try to the fish tasting plates, which consisted of Scottish salmon with brioche bread and curls of butter, tar-tare of sea bass marinated in soy and lime, swordfish carpaccio with pink pepper as an appetizer, noodles drawn in bronze with local sepia, clams, mussels and calamari as a first plate, the second catch was an assortment of grilled local sea fish and dessert was a lemon sorbet with a caramelized piece of fruit and a coconut cookie. The food was simply amazing, high-value and very well-priced. I would only imagine as tourism season begins the menus are adjusted.

The morning or evening views were so enjoyable. I just would sit and read and sometimes just stare off into the distance, reflecting upon the Maltese experience, the wonder of San Marino and the next steps of my journey. I would also get lost in local author and Newfoundland and Labrador’s favourite storyteller, Earle B. Pilgrim as I turned the pages of the Day of Varrick Frissell. It was intriguing to read about the tragic event on the sealing ship the Viking of the Great Northern Peninsula that should have brought so much more promise and attention with a film crew getting the last images needed for a film “White Thunder” that would be produced and distributed by Paramount Pictures.  IMG_20150211_145336

I enjoy reading on vacation and this time I decided to take a little piece of home with me. Exploring San Marino was easy by foot, but one has to be prepared to walk up and down multiple stairs or inclines given the terrain of this fortress city.

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There are three towers that are a must when visiting, getting panoramic views, seeing the gardens or visiting the museums. such as the armory in tower two. There is a nature park that allows you to circle around the city and give you a tranquil feeling of being in the great outdoors. I toured the palace and House of Parliament, cathedrals, museums, galleries and shops. I enjoyed a couple of local brews and a nicely prepared diavola pizza. There are more than 20 sites and attractions listed on their map and I was able to see most of them, enjoying the walk down to the Museum of Natural History but taking the cable car back up to the main city.

The San Marino guide was a great publication outlining the area attractions, local business and events. There is still value in print and publication to promote a region to travellers. No question, there were times when I felt I was the only tourist in San Marino, but there were others enjoying the peacefulness of the countryside. Tourism is peak during the summer, but in San Marino they too treat it as a year-round business. It lives up to its slogan of serenity and for me – a mountain of relaxation. If you want a couple of amazing days to rejuvenate, add San Marino to your list.

The next leg of my travels took me to Expo 2015 in Milan, Italy!

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA

Loving the Maltese Connection

Malta is a small island country consisting of a few islands in the Mediterranean sea. The country is 316 sq kilometres and has a population of 416,000, making it one of the most densely populated countries in the world. It’s population is growing and so is its tourism economy, even in winter. I enjoy travelling in the off-season, you get deeply discounted airline tickets from Air Canada, hotel prices are much lower and it is far less crowded providing a more relaxing and authentic experience.

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It was quite an amazing weekend in Malta, gaining insight into the significant history of this regions from the Phoenicians, Romans, Moores, Knights of St. John and the French and British influence that established architectural and historical monuments that date 7,000 years, making them some of the oldest free-standing structures in the world.

I stayed just outside the historic capital of Valletta. which the greater city area is home to about half the islands’ population at the Hotel Phoenicia. It presented fantastic viewscapes of the harbour and was just outside the city gate to all the historic attractions within the Town, making the destination very walkable and tourist friendly.

The grand piano in the main lounge area attracted hotel guests to share their talents. The dining room hosted a local musician playing guitar and the included buffet breakfasts was incredible. The mix of local pastries, cheese, meats and hot and cold foods were just perfect for the taste buds. The bar was cozy and provided an atmosphere that reminded me of Cuba. I took a traditional Maltese nightcap and enjoyed the conversations. Each night there was an activity, including tango dancing. I wish I knew the art of this dance, maybe someday someone will teach me the steps with my two left feet :).

In the morning, I loved walking the hotel grounds as they had an exquisite garden, fountains, viewing, resting areas, mini-golf and a lovely hot tub and pool overlooking the city. The service was of very high-quality and I would recommend this stay to others wishing to visit the island of Malta.

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Malta has established its tourism industry with many guides, maps, options and packages to experience their space. Although I only had 4 days here, it was simply not enough time to go to the other islands, I was able to capture significant highlights and make memories that will last a lifetime. It may be my love for island cultures, or just the magic of what was experience, but Malta is definitely one of the highlights of my travels.

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Valletta has UNESCO status, a very common feature to the Great Northern Peninsula, with two sites (Gros Morne National Park and L’Anse Aux Meadows Viking Settlement) and third across the Strait of Belle in Southern Labrador (Basque Whaling Station). A walk through the historic city is maintained by a fort structure to see the architecture, the tiny streets, police of quads, preparation for Chinese New Year, outdoor concerts and more. A tour of the Palace Staterooms and Armory is a top attraction and so was the co-cathedral of St. John. An International Piano Competition was being held on the dates I was there, so an opportunity to hear up and coming as well as current stars play works of Mozart, Beethoven and other legends. Some things did remind me of home though, I ate at the Office restaurant, a car had posted “MHAs” and the Canadian flag was clearly flying at a Demajo House.

As a rural Newfoundlander, I like exploring and visited Floriana. There were many parks, flowers, water towers, churches, monasteries and walking trails. I enjoyed seeing the port and all the activity happening around the waterfront. There were many stray cats around this city and actions have been taken to build homes and provide food and water. After a stroll through Floriana, I visited the Museum of Archaeology, which was just fascinating. The displays were bright, well presented and it was very kid and family friendly. A walk to the another side of the city provided a snapshot into some of the more modern buildings and the pleasure craft of the sea. There is something about having good timing, because en route to the restaurant there was activity at St. John’s co-cathedral and a concert was to happen at 8 o’clock. There is nothing like the acoustics in one of the most beautiful churches in all the world. Another amazing night in Malta!

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On Sunday, it was decided to take a “Hop-on Hop-off” bus as the best means of transport to see multiple attractions in and around the region. They had two routes, red and blue. For obvious reasons, I took the red route as it provided the maximum value and took you to the Hypogeum, Temples, Blue Grotto and many more spaces.

The Hypogeum of Ħal-Saflieni is a subterranean structure dating to the Saflieni phase (3300-3000 BC) in Maltese prehistory, located in Paola, Malta. It is often simply referred to as the Hypogeum, literally meaning “underground” in Greek. The Hypogeum is thought to have been originally a sanctuary, but it became a necropolis in prehistoric times, and in fact, the remains of more than 7,000 individuals have been found. It is the only known prehistoric underground temple in the world (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/130).  

The Megalithic Temples of Malta are must see attractions and the 4-D video experience at the museum is simply “wow”. Walking trails, flora, monuments and landscapes also provided a great means to enjoy the beautiful of the island.

It helped immensely that the weather was nice and warm, between 12-18 degrees, undoubtedly this added to the experience.

The Great Northern Peninsula is more than 363 linear kilometres with a population of 17,000 people. This region is a destination for tourists – like Matla, it has an incredible history. All cultures collided on the Great Northern Peninsula from the British, French. Basque, Vikings, recent Indians, Groswater Eskimo, Paleo-Eskimo and Maritime Archaic Indians. In fact, with the only authenticated Norse site in North America, it has the distinction of being the place where the “World Came Full Circle” an event 100,000 years in the making. We have incredible cultural, natural, tangible and intangible assets and have operators that are establishing unique and providing authentic rural experiences. There is an ability to make several connections and draw upon what Malta has done and continues to do to drive tourism as a means for the Great Northern Peninsula to continue to excel.

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If you get the chance, maybe you too will find love in Malta or on the Great Northern Peninsula.

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA

Lots of Magic Happens When Bright Minds Get Together

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The St. Anthony and Area Boys & Girls Club is a social space that provides a safe environment where our youthful bright minds can get together. Youth get the opportunity to experience new opportunities, overcome barriers, build positive relationships and develop confidence and skills for life.

The Boys and Girls Club has hosted new and existing programs.

  • Cheerleading
  • Boy’s Night
  • Girl’s Night
  • Build Your Own Business
  • Arts and Crafts
  • Baking
  • Music
  • Outdoor Recreation
  • Indoor Recreation
  • Dance

It’s important for youth to have social space to get together to create, socialize and learn. It has been nice to see an expanded kitchen to offer more cooking, baking and healthy food offering at the club. As well, more staff to offer new programs to support physical recreation and active living.

The Boys & Girls Club is an amazing pillar in the community, as dozens of youth participate in daily activities. I’ve seen them showcase what they have learned from guitar lessons, musical performances, dances and even cheers. The community becomes more vibrant when these youth showcase their creative abilities and energy overtakes the room.

At fundraising events the Boys & Girls Club staff and volunteers are selling popcorn, making balloon animals or playing their games, like Plinko with youth. It is wonderful to see people of the region give back to help our bright minds continue to get together. Medical Staff at LG Health in St. Anthony have given back.

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We are so fortunate that we have this space where are youth can come together and learn from each other. If you are a youth on the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula, you can visit one of our four youth centres (St. Anthony & Area Boys and Girls Club, St. Anthony; Youth Centre, Englee; Regional Community Youth Centre, Flower’s Cove; CYN, Plum Point).

A special thank you to all the staff, volunteers, parents, youth and community leaders that continue to give so much. Let’s keep the magic happening as we encourage more volunteers, more support and more attendance at each of our area youth centres.

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore (MHA. The Straits-White Bay North)

Population of Grandois will hit high-water mark in mid-July!

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Most people will never experience the serene beauty of Grandois. It can be found at the end of almost 30 kilometres of gravel road on Route 438. On my visit yesterday, most residents brought up the “winter pavement” they now have given the snow has settled and the road solidly frozen. It was evident that Transportation & Works was working hard to maintain this winding road and from my observation doing an incredible job!

This place is part of the French Shore with a strong connection to the migratory fishery and even current residents have connections to the Grey and Fishot Islands. There are many stories to be heard over a cup of tea or coffee, which will be offered at every homestead, because of the incredible generosity and hospitality of the livyers, to this very day!

Grandois has an historical church with an altar carved from a pocket knife in the early nineteen hundreds, it is certainly a place you will want to visit while in the community. The French connection is ever present with a bread oven at the end of a walking trail. There are rocks remaining in the location where the French dried their fish and a trail leads to rings in the cliff where the French tied up their boats.

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The community is only a fraction of what it was based on the 2011 census, with more lights out as residents move on or sadly pass away. It is difficult to tally and realize vacant properties out number those with permanent residents. It is quite clear many of our rural communities are struggling to cope with an aging population and trying to maintain a strong vibrant community.

I was very happy to be in Grandois – the residents are passionate about the place they call home. It is evident from the photos and views, who wouldn’t fall in love with this special place? There is activity in the works as a Come Home Year Celebration in July will bring people home in droves. A recent project supported employment and saw additions to the Community Hall. I was told at the last Come Home Year, people congregated and filled the Hall well past capacity and even ended up to the roadside.

These are the stories I love hearing, about all the activity, community interactions, the fishery as the boats leave the harbour, the mystery of the re-settled French Islands and the quest for the copper cod. There is hope for this community, since its depletion of its people after the 1992 cod moratorium as there was a mineral find near the community, as well a former marble mine sits idle. As time passes, and with the right investment we could see a small place like Grandois boom with economic activity.

Legend says, “there’s gold in them hills”

I look forward to more stories and celebrating the strength of community in July as the population hits the high-water mark for 2015. Bring on the accordion music and song…

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA (The Straits-White Bay North)

Your Road to Adventure Awaits…

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Those who live on the Great Northern Peninsula appreciate the true beauty, the mystique and charm that comes with Northern living.

I’ve spent a lot of time travelling many countries of the world, mainly visits to capital cities. They have their exceptional offerings, but one can not compare the authenticity of culture and place. I remember saying, “I’ve been to Dublin three times to my Irish friends and they would say, you have never experienced Ireland”. So in 2010, I took them up on this comment and rented a car and drove 1,800 kilometres from Kinsale to the Giant’s Causeway and all places in between. I can now say, I’ve truly experienced Ireland from the farmhouse dinners to the rugged shorelines to the nightly sounds at multiple pubs.

Now, the same is true with Newfoundland & Labrador, if you come and visit the Capital and never make it up the Viking Trail on the Great Northern Peninsula’s tip, you are truly missing a rural gemstone that will provide lasting memories and conversation pieces for a lifetime.

The road to adventure awaits and it can only be found as you travel up the tip! It is the only place in the world, where the human race came full circle for the very first time, which was 100,000 years in the making (Read: Where the World Came Full Circle)

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The Great Northern Peninsula is home to the only authenticated Norse site in North America at L’anse aux Meadows World UNESCO Heritage Site. Only a short distance away is the Snorri and a Viking Village and Port of Trade. Norstead gives everyone the opportunity to interact and live like a Viking! Sagas, Stories and Tales and more are part of the original experience.

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Multiple cruise ship visits make L’Anse aux Meadows their port of call where they are greeted by a giant statue of Lief Erikson. Restaurants, craft shops, coffee shops, lounges, artisans, economuseums, walking trails, campgrounds to vacation rentals, and story boards make for unique experiences.

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The fishing stages, vernacular architecture and sights and surroundings are unique in itself. If you are lucky you will see moose, caribou and other wildlife.

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In Spring and Summer giant icebergs come to shore…only the biggest can be found the further North you go.

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Lighthouses hunters (Cape Norman, Cape Bauld, Flower’s Island), bird and whale watches and those in search of rare plants will want to trek the Great Northern Peninsula. The Burnt Cape Ecological Reserve has 300 species of plants, thirty of which are rare and one unique to the region.

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Images of wildlife and everyday living can be viewed at Town of Englee Municipal Building at their Mat Hooking Exhibition. Also in the building, is home to Glacier Glass, a glass art studio which has handcrafted items that are quintessentially rural.

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Main Brook and Roddickton-Bide Arm is home to excellent fishing and hunting experiences and adventure tourism. While visiting these hubs one can visit St. Julien’s & Croque and see the French Cemeteries and Fishing Stages or explore the tapestry in Conche, which is home to the French Shore Interpretation Centre. There is also a French bread oven in Quirpon and Dark Tickle is home to the Granchain Exhibit.

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We also have unique thrombolites at Flower’s Cove, or “living rocks” that are between 600 million to 1.2 billion years old.

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A boardwalk will take you there, as will a boardwalk take you back to Deep Cove, which is a winter housing Historic Site. In winter the trails are a great place to leisurely ski or snowshoe.

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Dr. Grenfell is a larger than life man and his work is reflective of the economy in Northern Newfoundland and Labrador today from the expanse of medical services, co-operatives, handicrafts and economic development – one will not want to miss the Grenfell experience at the Historic Properties. Fishing Point Provincial Park, Polar Bear Exhibit, Northern Discovery Boat Tours, The Great Viking Feast and the Legion Kitchen Parties are also for the to do list.

Sir Dr. Wilfred Thomason Grenfell

The Iceberg Festival in June and Mussel Festival in August also draw lots of attention and provide fun for the whole family. Let’s not forget the times to be had at the Conche Garden Party and Goose Cove Garden Party.

Wherever the road takes you on the Great Northern Peninsula, the experience will be unforgettable – as the people, culture and place are just that.

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA (The Straits-White Bay North)

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