Community Leaders, Ideas and Innovation changing our Rural Landscape

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A community is built and shaped by the people that live, work and share common interests and goals. On the Great Northern Peninsula we have strong communities and leaders that have big ideas and use innovation to create new jobs, opportunities and experiences.

Glacier Glass, Englee, NL is shining example of a newly founded social enterprise that meets those interests and goals for local residents, the greater region and those visiting to experience and take away a little piece of the rock at the end of the winding Route 433. This initiative is placing Englee on the map as a destination, if you want a unique and authentic rural experience.

Last night, I had the opportunity to participate in a Glass Art Class (3 Hours) hosted by instructor Doris Randell at the Glacier Glass studio. I am a complete novice when it comes to glass art, but I have always been interested in making things by hand, learning the traditional way of doing things but also willing to try a new approach. We opted to make a poinsettia designed dish for the holidays and a set of coasters with our supplied materials. It brought back school year memories of arts and crafts as we took the scissors to cut the pattern to trace on the glass. Next came the fun, but intimidating part of cutting the glass. Like riding a bike, one starts with the training wheels attached and Doris had us scoring the glass with scrap at first as practice to breaking our pieces for the dish. Each piece got easier as we felt more comfortable working with the material and it was quite fun learning how it was made and doing it for yourself. There are many steps beyond the cutting and breaking of glass, there is some shaping with the grinder and some colouring to add detail. Doris is an incredibly talented community developer, crafty and certainly puts off a phenomenal class! Click on the photo gallery below to see a bit more of the process:

I look forward to seeing the end result after the product has been fired up in the kiln!

Local area residents participated in a several week long program and learned this particular craft making incredible product. The concept of training local people to make unique glass art products, has proven its worth that we are open to trying new initiatives in our small communities and that we have hidden talents we may never have had the opportunity to exhibit. Glacier Glass now gives anyone the opportunity to participate in a class, make their own product at a rate of $75.00 a session. If anyone would like to book a session, please contact 1-709-866-2711 for more details or visit Glacier Glass on Facebook.

Also their shop has a number of exquisite pieces for retail if anyone is interested in a special gift. Lots of unique Newfoundland & Labrador items available, holiday and special occasions too!

There are many opportunities to expand to wholesale, expand into various retail outlets, continue training sessions and offer learning vacations to those wishing to come, stay and experience all the Great Northern Peninsula has to offer!

The Great Northern Peninsula is poised for growth because we have exceptional community leaders, ideas and innovation that continue to make big things happen in small communities. Our rural landscape is changing and we are the catalysts changing that landscape!

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North
@MitchelmoreMHA

A Puffin Playing by the Sea – The 12 Days of Christmas in NL

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The Great Northern Peninsula continues to showcase the many talents of the people with connections to this place we call home. Gina Noordhof, has spent her lifetime involved in the tourism and hospitality industry from the early years of helping her mother, Bella at the Vahalla Lodge B&B in Gunner’s Cove. As the youthful age of 21 she established the Norseman Restaurant and Gaia Art Gallery at L’anse aux Meadows, which is home to North America’s only authenticated Norse site, which has been given World UNESCO status.

I’ve been impressed by Noordhof and the quality experience she is able to provide visitors at her fine dining restaurant, nightly entertainment, traditional artworks and unique lodging of heritage home rentals or a bed and breakfast experience.

During a visit to her restaurant early this summer, an employee showed me a copy of her draft version of her book “A Puffin Playing by the Sea” – The 12 Days of Christmas in Newfoundland & Labrador. I was greatly impressed by the creativity of utilizing our provincial bird to create a character and illustrate the carol with local icons such as the mummers, norse, lighthouses, seals, fiddles and more.

The book provides a perfect balance for the child as a keepsake of Newfoundland & Labrador to be captivated by the illustrations and authenticity of our traditions, culture, heritage and history. As well, the columns to the right provide details and images that would appeal to adults and give insight to who we are as a people and a snapshot of the past, as well as showcase our unique nature and natural beauty.

Gina’s involvement with the Canadian Tourism Commission Board has certainly proved beneficial as she shared her knowledge and experience but also saw an opportunity to create a series of books. Her first focuses on Newfoundland and Labrador, but she plans to replicate this concept across all provinces. It is a wonderful gift, perfect for the holidays. Priced at $16.95 Canadian one can get a copy by contacting Gina Noordhof at puffinchristmas@gmail.com. Books are also available at a number of local businesses on the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula. Visit http://www.valhalla-lodge.com/puffin.htm for more details on how to purchase, includes Free Shipping if mailed within Canada.

It is wonderful to see such entrepreneurial activity being pursued right here to advanced the economy and experience of the Great Northern Peninsula and Newfoundland & Labrador.

Many of our people are doing incredibly big things and sharing who we are with the world. Congratulations Gina and thank you for the copy! I wish you much success on your future endeavours and look forward to writing about more of our authors like Earl Pilgrim and Megan Coles in future posts.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North
@MitchelmoreMHA

Any Mummers ‘lowed In? and 5th Annual Mummer’s Walk Announced!

Newfoundland and Labrador folklorist Dale Jarvis has produced a book documenting a tradition that is very near and dear to my heart with his launch of “Any Mummers ‘lowed In?”

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I first met Dale Jarvis in the summer of 2001 as a participant of Medquest. One of the activities on our list was the Haunted Hike http://www.hauntedhike.com/. These hikes take place between June and September and tell local tales and ghost stories that have quite an impact. It was actually where I met my friend, Amanda who celebrates today. Happy Birthday!

I’ve always had an interest in the concept of mummering or jannying since a very young age. As a young child, I would go door to door in disguise at Christmastime. This continued through the teenage and even today’s adult years. My major paper in Folklore 1000 was on Christmas Mummering and in 2010 my friend Sabrina and I co-founded the first ever Mummer’s Walk in the Straits at Flower’s Cove. It has continued each year at Anchor Point (2011), Savage Cove (2012) and Green Island Cove (2013). We have seen a revival in the region of mummering with more people going door to door, mummer’s dances, mummer crafts, memorabilia and other activities.

It was a pleasure to be interviewed by Dale Jarvis in January of this year, as he was compiling stories, photos and information about mummering in preparation for his book. “Any Mummers ‘lowed in?” was officially launched on October 15th. It is amazing to see this work in printed form, as I received a copy as gift from my friend Krista for my birthday on the 23rd. I have only had the opportunity to read the first chapter, but have skimmed the book, peering at the variety of images, songs and took an interest in the section of the hobby horse. I look forward to reading it in its entirety.

My excitement was greatly peaked when I turned to page 4. I snapped a photo and sent a text to my cousin and said, “remember this?”. We were tiny mummers visiting the neighbours. I believe we told them we were from Sandy Cove or Green Island Brook depending on the house. Likely my mother had already called in advance letting them know we were on our way. The wonderful memories of growing up in Green Island Cove!

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Throughout the book are a number of images of mummers of all ages over the years, including several from the Great Northern Peninsula that include our Mummer Walks and Dances.

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I encourage people to get a copy of this wonderful book, just in time for the holidays! The book is a masterfully done in a way that preserves, shows an evolution of mummering and shares our local knowledge and culture of these centuries old tradition. If you would like to get a copy you can do so direct from Chapters/Indigo or Flanker Press on-line or purchase at many bookstores. Visit http://dalejarvis.blogspot.ca/ for more information about the author, book, up-coming signings and how to purchase.

One thing I’ve come to learn more recently from our interview is Dale Jarvis certainly is a mummering enthusiast, a hobby horse maker and a founding member of the 2009 Mummers Festival in St. John’s. We need others to share in our interest and encourage more active mummering. It truly is a tradition that has been around for as long as anyone in our rural outports can remember. This year I would like to announce that our 5th Annual Mummer’s Walk will be on December 28th at Sandy Cove on the Great Northern Peninsula.

5th Annual Mummer’s Walk

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA

The Straits-White Bay North

@MitchelmoreMHA

STEP Vinland Needs you Ideas!

STEP Vinland Needs your Ideas!

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The Vinland Region of the Great Northern Peninsula has a special opportunity right now to develop a Community Tourism Plan which is profitable, sustainable over time and benefits our communities from Cook’s Harbour to Goose Cove East, as well as the greater regional economy.

 

The Strategic Tourism Expansion Program (STEP) has only been offered once before in NL; investment is in place to undertake STEP and boost tourism visitation and revenues in Vinland.

 

  • Tourism in 2012 was worth $1 Billion annually to NL. Is Vinland working to earn its share? 
  • Gros Morne National Park attracts 150,000+ visitors annually, with L’Anse aux Meadows UNESCO site attracting close to 30,000 annual visitors. What more needs to be done to attract greater visitation throughout Vinland?
  • Visitors to Vinland tend to be older, affluent and well-educated. Are our communities organized to maximize the visitor experience? 

It takes regional commitment by every business and resident to build a Tourism Plan that works.

 

The STEPs program for Vinland is seeking your input.

Think about these questions:

1) What are the goals/ priorities of a fresh Tourism Plan for Vinland?

2) What is unique & appealing about this area for visitors?

3) What can we do to build a winning destination?

 

Email your thoughts and ideas to:
stepvinland@gmail.com by October 31.

 

For more information please contact:

Thresa Burden

Phone: 454-3454

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It was wonderful to see a well-represented group of regional stakeholders interested in advancing the tourism-sector in the Vinland region this past week at the Grenfell Interpretation Centre. I look forward to the outcome of this process. I encourage you to share your ideas at the email listed above.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA

The Straits-White Bay North

@MitchelmoreMHA

Main Brook Research & Development Corporation Building A Diversified Economy

Community economic development should be at the heart of any small Town. The Great Northern Peninsula has numerous development associations (White Bay South, White Bay Central, St. Barbe, Straits Development and Rising Sun), as well as St. Anthony Basin Resources Incorporated (SABRI). These entities have partnered with communities and local groups to create and maintain infrastructure, provide employment, training and the delivery of a number of programs. We need these entities to build stronger economies and communities in our region.

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The Main Brook Research & Development Corporation is another shining example of community building at its finest. The non-profit corporation has local Directors and develop the Town’s assets, such as the property leased by Northern Lights Seafoods. The attraction of a processor to the Town has created dozens of direct local jobs and supported many fishers on the Great Northern Peninsula since 2009. This has lead to millions of dollars in economic value re-circulating in the community and greater region. Northern Lights Seafoods is also pursuing new product development for scallops, which can lead to longer-term employment and more secondary-processing. This creates greater sustainability for the company, workforce and community.

Another major milestone for the Main Brook Research & Development Corp. was the divestiture of the Federal Public wharf. Transport Minister Lisa Raitt, Mayor Leander Pilgrim (Director of MBRDC) and I took part in the official transfer ceremony at Long Pond, CBS.

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The corporation and community now has control over an asset, which they can use to generate revenues and create new opportunities for off-loading of fish product, shipping and receiving goods and services at this deep-water port and also be a destination for recreation, pleasure and commercial craft.

A public meeting was hosted on Thursday, where the corporation updated residents on matters of the wharf and other potential ventures it would look to pursue or find partners to create more economic development for the Town. The meeting clarified the $675,000 Federal transfer and noted the uses of these funds are for the long-term maintenance or the removal of the structure in this was necessary. However, the corporation has a business plan to generate revenues and wisely use invested dollars to create new opportunities, make enhancements and create employment at this location. It is great to see an engaged group of residents, as dozens came out to participate and become more informed, including myself.

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The actions taken by Main Brook Research & Development Corporation has really position the community for further growth and sustainability as they continue with their diversification plan. I commend these community-minded individuals for taking ownership, working together and never tiring to advance the place you call home. It is making a tremendous difference.

The Town of Main Brook has a population of 265 people according to the last census, it has survived the devastation of being a one industry town and losing that big employer. Employment in the 1930’s was almost exclusively in the forest industry, when the community first started to become inhabited. In the late 1940s, Bowater’s moved in and constructed a company town which consisted of apartment buildings, offices, machine and carpenter shops, two warehouses, a retail store, a garage, and a complete water system to capitalize on the rich timber resources.

Main Brook holds the distinction of being once of only 11 Towns that were incorporated before Confederation. Population was growing, but all was halted in 1968 when Bowater’s closed their Main Brook operations, citing weak markets and advancing technology. The community never gave up, smaller scale forestry operations continue and still today Coates’ Lumber produces quality products that are found in many homes, garages and buildings around the region. Many pursued the fishery and tourism also played a significant role. Main Brook is home to the award-winning internationally recognized Tuckamore Lodged, owned and operated by Barb Genge (http://www.tuckamorelodge.com/).

Today the Town and Recreation Committee continues to put the finishing touches on a beautiful 35’*50′ Community Centre that can host functions large and small. This social space will create new activities and opportunities for the Town, with hundreds of thousands invested since 2012. The Town has approved an number of new building lots, which will help boost the population and purchased a brand new piece of snowclearing equipment, as well upgrades are occuring to the chlorination system to improve Town drinking water. The community has a K-12 school, family resource centre, four churches, fire department and the White Bay Central Development Association.

There is a vibrant small business community in Town too, given the amount of people coming to Town to engage particularly in fishing and hunting activities. Isabella’s Country Meats, J&B Outfitting, Tuckamore Lodge, Main Brook Convenience & Gas Station, Hare Bay Stores & Liquor Express and more.

The community is part of the French Shore, has a neighbouring ecological reserve, incredible trails, bi-lingual stop signs, a recreational park and some of the best waterfront views around. Not to mention St. Anthony airport is just a 30 KM drive away. Main Brook is growing due to the determination and ingenuity of those who live there and also those who support the local businesses and organizations, you are all are building a stronger community and making a better Great Northern Peninsula.

I encourage you to find ways in your own community to incorporate new ideas and create the opportunity! Let’s keep making big things happen in our small communities on the Great Northern Peninsula. Congratulations Main Brook on all your success!

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North
@MitchelmoreMHA

L’Anse aux Meadows makes for a Unique Port of Call

IMG_20140902_154221Cruise the Edge of the North America and experience where the world came full circle for the very first time at L’Anse Aux Meadows, Great Northern Peninsula Newfoundland & Labrador – an event more than 100,000 years in the making where those who went East meet those who went West. The secret is out because 9 cruise ships had scheduled this port in the 2014 season, where they experience the land of the Vikings!

As one comes off the port they are first greeted by Leif Erikson (depicted above)who was the first European to land in North America. This statue is one of just 5 in the world, making Lief’s journey and placed by the Lief Erikson Foundation in Seattle.

More than 1,000 years ago the Vikings were the first Europeans to re-discover North America as they went further west than any of their ancestors. The Maritime Archaic, Paleo-Eskimo, Groswater Eskimo and Recent Indians were all here on the Great Northern Peninsula from archaeological digs authenticating those who went East to be in Newfoundland around 5,000 years ago but unable to cross the barrier of the Atlantic Ocean. There is a complete history of cultural encounters, great explorers such as Captain Cook, breath-taking landscapes, whales, icebergs and authentic rural people willing to share with you a unique experience.

L’Anse aux Meadows is poised for cultural learning and adventure with a World UNESCO Heritage Site at L’Anse Aux Meadows discussing the only authenticated Norse Site in North America. There is also Norstead Viking Village and Port of Trade, which is an open-air museum that enables you to live in the day of a Viking at their site by listening and engaging the rein-actors on site (learn about the Snorri, interactive and learn about weaving, axe throwing, nail making at the forge and more). There are wonderful walking trails, fine dining restaurant and local entertainment provided. Just a short distance up the road one can experience a singing coffee shop that hosts its own radio station of Newfoundland and Country music in Coffee in the Cove. There is a French Oven in Quirpon and a Granchain Exhibit depicting the French culture and influence on the Great Northern Peninsula at the only wildberry economuseum of Dark Tickle Company. Not to mention one can become an honorary Newfoundlander at participating in a Royal Screech-in at Skipper Hot’s Lounge and listen to their band play to dance the evening away! Up the road at more restaurants, live and fresh seafoods and more incredible experiences and this doesn’t even get into what St. Anthony and the Grenfell story has to offer. There is something for everyone to experience when they visit the Great Northern Peninsula by Cruise. I look forward to expanding on this post soon.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North
@MitchelmoreMHA

Feasting on This Fish! Main Brook is shellin’ scallops for greater returns…

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The waters off the Great Northern Peninsula are filled with delicacies from the sea. There is nothing better than accessing local seafood close to home. On the plate above is halibut, cod, scallop, shrimp complimented with roasted potatoe and sliced carrots.

My father was a scallop fisher. This is a labour intensive process for the small 35 foot boat, dragging along the scallop beds and picking them from the buckets. Most of the time is spent shelling the scallop and taking only the white meat to sell to market. I am excited to see Northern Lights Seafood Ltd. of Main Brook engage in a new process that sells the scallop in a half shell form with all meat and additional product, which adds value. This is the type of secondary processing we need to see from our fishery that creates additional wealth down the value chain from end customer to harvester. It should be encouraged and supported. This concept will allow more sales of product from the fisher resulting in higher net income, plant workers receive additional hours for more labour intensive work, processor sells into higher value markets and consumers receive high-quality and demanded products from the pristine waters off the Strait of Belle Isle.

The smaller processors have opportunities to look at secondary-processing in ways that creates niche products serving niche markets for higher yields. These types of technologies and adaptation must be encouraged if we are to remain competitive on a global level and satisfy changing trends of consumer demands. People want access to high-quality fish products and we have those products, we just have to gain access and package these products to cater to these consumer demands. We have to become more innovative when it comes to our fish products and encourage active infrastructure investments.

Initiatives like “This Fish” (http://thisfish.info/) should be happening on the Great Northern Peninsula, where the fisher who caught the fish is part of the story. It works at the grocery store, restaurant, fish market at the local or global level.

Learn all about the seafood you eat, and connect to the fish Harvester who caught it, by tracing its journey from the ocean to your plate. – This Fish

In May of this year, as the Official Opposition MHA responsible for Business, I joined Sam Slade our MHA responsible for Fisheries and Aquaculture to visit FFAW-UNIFOR’s launch of This Fish seafood traceability for halibut and lobster. There were several businesses and restaurants engaging in this process, showcasing their menus that enables traceability back to a local harvester. People want experiences, they want to know where their food comes from.

This is an opportunity for our local fishers, local restaurateurs, retail and processing community to engage FFAW-UNIFOR to pursue This Fish initiatives on the Great Northern Peninsula. We have incredible fish products and fishers that need to be part of the story as exported fish from our waters ends up halfway around the world or on our neighbour’s dining table or at a downtown St. John’s restaurant.

Let’s keep finding innovative ways to grow our fishery in Newfoundland & Labrador.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North
@MitchelmoreMHA

Ocean Comes to Life at Bonne Bay Marine Station

IMG_20140831_135441The Bonne Bay Marine Station, a research arm of Memorial University is nestled in the quiet community of Norris Point aims to expand knowledge of marine ecology. I have been to the centre on a number of occasions, including an International Fisheries Symposium hosted by Community University Research and Recovery Alliance (CURRA). It is a great place for people of all ages to have fun and learn about ocean life! I took the visit from a water taxi departing Woody Point and returning later in the evening. A 20 minute water taxi saved an hour of driving and provided a great view of dolphins! Totally worth $14 return.

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One can get a guided tour, explaining sea anemones, lobsters, crabs, starfish, wolf fish, sand dollars, sea urchins and a variety of other creatures. One can truly experience the squishy-ness of the starfish and take up scallops and other items in the touch tank.

I was thoroughly impressed by our guide, as she expressed enthusiasm and also great knowledge as she opened shell of the female crab or engaged a colleague digging for worms. We spent some time in the upper level as well where there are digital learning areas, interpretative panels and displays. Additionally, there is a library, classrooms and laboratories that are part of the educational program.

The Encyclopedia of Local Knowledge the brainchild of Pam Hall, adorns the walls. It highlights local knowledge from the Great Northern Peninsula, many of it focused on the fishery and living rural.

After a visit to Bonne Bay Marine Station, one can take a Bon Tour on the Emm-Cat of the bay or drop by for a pint and some wonderful seafood chowder at the Cat Stop Pub.

Norris Point is home to the iconic “Trails, Tails and Tunes” festival, Voice of Bonne Bay Community Radio Station, Gros Morne Adventures and a number of local businesses that cater to tourists taking in beautiful Gros Morne National Park. There is much opportunity to promote and partner fisheries-tourism synergies and to also partner education with commerce as a means to enhance community and economic development.

Ocean comes to life at Bonne Bay Marine Station. Drop by and let me know what you think.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North
@MitchelmoreMHA

Let’s Connect: Seniors’ Forum in St. Lunaire-Griquet, St. Anthony, Flower’s Cove & Roddickton-Bide Arm

SeniorsForum

The Straits-White Bay North District Newsletter#9

Click the photo for full size attachment:

Printable version at following link:

Newsletter9Fall2014final

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North
@MitchelmoreMHA
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