Category Archives: Business

QUIRPON RADIO LAUNCHED!

I woke up this morning to find out about this exciting new community development endeavour of Radio Quirpon. Wayne Bartlett and Cheryl McCarron  are the creators of something wonderful for Newfoundlanders & Labradorians everywhere to enjoy a little piece of “the Rock”. Radio Quirpon is available at www.radioquirpon.com.

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And ofcourse, others too can enjoy our  unique culture and our music. I especially love the local tunes from the creator, Wayne Bartlett and Straitsview’s own Skipper Hot’s Band.  Little Bo Peep was one I’m looking forward to hearing again :). It is also nice to hear the personal commentary, it gives each song a special meaning when one listens.

Radio Quirpon has a selection of local photos from the the Great Northern Peninsula, as well as videos and a blog. I encourage you all to visit their site and share your thoughts.

Picture2I would like to thank the creators for sharing their talents with the world. It is these types of initiatives that will build a much stronger community, one that reaches well beyond our small populations. I look forward to spreading the word! Let’s keep historic Quirpon with a population of 75 people on the map!

Cheryl operates “Coffee in the Cove”, located in Hay Cove (population 32)  which is just minutes from L’Anse aux Meadows World UNESCO Heritage Site. Experience where the Vikings were the first Europeans to re-discover North America more than 1,000 years ago. Coffee in the Cove offers a selection of freshly brewed coffees, espressos, lattes and has a singing kitchen. On Facebook, visit their page called Coffee in the Cove.

The Great Northern Peninsula, where big things are happening in very small communities. Help spread the word!

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Related Stories:

Scenic Hay Cove – Your Northern Coffee Experience

 

 

 

Canada appealing WTO ban on seal products

The Environment and Minister responsible for Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, Leona Aglukkaq is in Geneva appealing the World Trade Organization (WTO) ban of Canadian Seal Products in the European Union today, which was upheld on the basis of moral grounds.

I support the Minister in our appeal. The Canadian seal hunt is well-regulated, humane and sustainable. It has been a way of life and a significant part of our culture and heritage on the Great Northern Peninsula for centuries.

In fact, St. Barnabas in Flower’s Cove was built under the leadership of Rev. Canon J. T. Richards in the 1920′s. The men and women made seal skin boots, which when sold went into a building fund. The church has been known locally as “seal skin boot” church.

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Local harvesters each year prepare to take to the ice. These are brave and courageous sealers, who risk their lives to provide for their families. My father was a sealer. He knew the art of bark tanning and preparing the skin to make leather products. Depicted below are seals tanning in Savage Cove, by the very talented Mr. Stevens.

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There are more modern products beyond seal skin boots that have been used to keep us warm in some of the harshest weather conditions, as winter can be difficult for those of us in the North.

Below is a patchwork sealskin purse. They are handmade creations by local craftspeople. With pride I promote our very own GNP Craft Producers in Shoal Cove East on the Great Northern Peninsula. If you would like your very own, they can custom-make them. Visit www.gnpcrafts.ca or call 709-456-2123.

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I am a strong supporter of the Canadian seal hunt and will continue to press for more products and new business developments for all involved in the industry.

Supporting the Seal Hunt -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

(Seal skin purse photo credit – Donna Whalen-Grimes)

 

Local Culture Depicted at Pebble Beach Studio

Marjorie Dempster is the artist behind the Pebble Beach Studio at Plum Point, NL on Great Northern Peninsula. We are lucky to have such talent that is one of our own, that truly depicts rural living. She should inspire us all to follow our interests.

Majorie was one of many families in rural Newfoundland & Labrador to experience re-settlement. Her move was in 1972 when her family left the Fishot island, which is just a few kilometers from the scenic Town of Conche to settle in Port au Choix. Marjorie grew up around the fishery and outport Newfoundland. After raising her family, she opted to change her focus from painting walls to painting on canvas.

Who would have thought that an acrylic Christmas present from her husband, would create an opportunity to depict our culture on canvas?

I purchased one of her tree liver designs (depicted below) in Red Bay, Labrador during the summer of 2012 from the Women’s Institute Gift Shop. I loved the way the lighthouse was shaped on the craggy coastline from the natural product. This has value! In 2002, in starting Flower’s Island Museum, I felt a much closer connection to lighthouses and the important role they played for our fishers. Those who earned their living from the sea.

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This past Monday, I again saw more of Marjorie’s brilliant work. This piece was donated in aid of Breast Cancer Research. The color and shape of the flowers in bloom, along with a unique sky background reminds me of impressionism.

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Both pictures have seal products next to her art. This is also a very important part of our living culture on the Great Northern Peninsula.

 I really enjoy  my new hobby, I  do hope to continue as long as…..God Guides My Hand. – Marjorie Dempster

I am impressed by Marjorie for finding her talent and pursuing it with entrepreneurial action. We all have talents to share. If you like her work, visit www.pebblebeachstudio.com.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

Forest Industry on Great Northern Peninsula Forgotten by Government: Mitchelmore

For Immediate Release:

November 7, 2013

Forest Industry on Great Northern Peninsula Forgotten by Government: Mitchelmore

Independent Member Christopher Mitchelmore (MHA, The Straits-White Bay North) says Government inaction has led to the loss of forestry jobs and economic opportunity on the Great Northern Peninsula.

For years the forest industry has been on life support with the downturn in demand for newsprint, shedding hundreds of jobs on the Peninsula. The current shutdown of Holson Forest Products has made matters worse, as local workers, business and Town of Roddickton-Bide Arm and surrounding communities suffer from economic instability.

“Millions of public dollars was invested under the Forestry Diversification Program to re-build the sawmill, establish a kiln and a 60,000 MT pellet plant in Roddickton’, says Mitchelmore. ‘It is evident from months of unproductivity; there are barriers that must be overcome to provide a product that is in demand to market. It’s time for Government to ensure that public money is protected and work with the company to become fully-operational.”

“This business model is ideal to maintain rural jobs and build sustainable rural economies. Government should not forget the value of the forest industry on the Great Northern Peninsula. It is time to get serious about developing this important industry.”

During a meeting of the Public Accounts in October, Department of Forestry and Agrifood officials stated they were committed on having a fully-functioning pellet plant in Roddickton-Bide Arm. The Minister should re-affirm the words of his officials with an action plan to have pellet production begin at Holson Forest Products within six months.

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Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North
Tel: 1-888-729-6091
Email: cmitchelmore@gov.nl.ca

Mitchelmore recognizes Barbara Genge Induction into Canadian Tourism Hall of Fame

I made the following statement in today’s House of Assembly:

NOVEMBER 4

Christopher Mitchelmore
MHA, The Straits-White Bay North
Private Member’s Statement
Barbara Genge – Tourism Hall of Fame 

Mr. Speaker, I rise to congratulate Barb Genge, a successful entrepreneur, engaged community leader and champion for sustainable development for being inducted into the Canadian Tourism Hall of Fame.

Barb is President of Tuckamore Lodge Ltd., an award-winning hunting, fishing and adventure tourism lodge located in Main Brook, which is considered one of the best outfitting lodges in all of Canada. She believes in full economic utilization, without abuse, of nature’s resources and operates her lodge by these principles.

Barb is an inspirational entrepreneur and true leader of the north, exhibited through a lifetime of advancing the profile of tourism on the Great Northern Peninsula. She was a founding member of Viking Trail Tourism Association and its predecessor which levered millions in funding for Viking Millennial Celebrations at L’Anse Aux Meadows. She served 15 years as an Economic Development Officer at White Bay Central Development Association establishing community partnerships and investing millions into environmental and tourism related-projects.

In addition, she is a recipient of the Sustainable Tourism Award, Entrepreneur of the Year, and PRIDE award for excellence in tourism.

I ask all hon. Members to join me in congratulating Barb Genge on her business and community success.

Thank you.

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

Wi-fi Area Gratuito – A Must If You’re In The People Business

Wi-fi is certainly a must for today’s traveler. We are more connected than ever. If we are not providing such connectivity, not only are we impacting the experience of the current visitor, we are losing a valuable marketing tool to promote our region to gain new visitors and also encourage repeat visits.

This past summer, when I visited Olbia on the island of Sardinia, Italy I took the bus to the shopping centre on the outskirts of Town. This mall called “auchan” had designated “Wi-fi Area Gratuito” (free wifi hot spots) clearly designated to sit and connect. I was greatly impressed and stopped to use this added service.

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Additionally, the sign had a bar code to scan which notes the arrival of the app outlining the shops and service offering at the shopping centre. As society becomes more and more connected, we need to also move in that direction where we use technology.

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I departed from Deer Lake Regional Airport. It offers free wi-fi, which is very important to me as a traveller. I would like to see free (no log-in) wi-fi at all airports in Newfoundland & Labrador and more public spaces.

Some of our local businesses on the Great Northern Peninsula have implemented such an offering. I remember this summer in Conche, a community without cellular coverage,  provided me the opportunity to use free wi-fi at the Bits n’ Pieces Cafe or The French Shore Interpretation Centre as a means to stay connected and promote the region. As well, a  recent sign clearly marked that the Daily Catch Restaurant in St. Lunaire-Griquet also offers this free service. One of the early adopters of this free service was The Dark Tickle Company also in St. Lunaire-Griquet.

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Regions that lack cellular coverage and have access to Broadband Internet especially are driven to provide such a free service to customers. However, even in cellular regions visitors are quite happy to switch to free wi-fi to reduce their data roaming usage, which comes with a high fee. I encourage businesses, Municipalities to adapt and create more wi-fi around their place of business and in public space as a means to increase the local and visitor experience on the Great Northern Peninsula. This is a low-cost step to ensuring we build stronger, more vibrant economies.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White North
NDP Innovation, Business & Rural Development critic

Gateway to Market Great Northern Peninsula at Deer Lake Airport

Deer Lake Regional Airport is the gateway for visitors travelling the Great Northern Peninsula. This summer was record-breaking registering more than 40,000 passengers in both July and August. Last year more than 300,000 passengers passed through Deer Lake Airport earning it the record of the 4th busiest airport in Atlantic Canada.

While waiting for my bags at the carousel, I peered up at the wall and was pleased to see Parks Canada advertising L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site. It got me thinking about how airports are gateways to promote local business and the tourism industry. We need to move past static signage and use more dynamic means of promotion – interactive screens.

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In the 21st century we have the ability to utilize technology and what better place than when waiting for baggage to come, sometimes 15-30 minutes of a captured market. Deer Lake Airport could have five large screens promoting distinctly the five economic regions: Tip of Great Northern Peninsula, Gros Morne National Park area, Corner Brook/HV, Stephenville & Port au Port, and the Southwest Coast. This was a message I relayed to Jamie Schwartz, CEO of Deer Lake Airport.

This is an opportunity to promote business, local attractions, events and images of landscapes and natural areas via short clips or imagery. This is what visitors really want. A partnership should be struck with Department of Tourism, Culture & Recreation; Department of Innovation, Business & Rural Development; Airport Authority; Western DMO and local industry stakeholders to add technology and pilot a project.

The screens and other static displays should have bar codes to provide further information by using tablet or mobile devices. This is being pursued by many countries in Europe. If we want to grow the tourism industry, we as well need to get with the technological times.

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We have so much potential to use our best assets to drive tourism, extend the stay of visitors and wanting them to come back for another stay before they even leave the airport on their current visit. These are simple matters that does not have a huge cost attached and the reward – significant.

Let’s reach Vision 2020 by 2018! It can be done if we put our creative ideas into actions.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North
NDP Tourism, Culture & Recreation critic
 

Republic of Doyle rolls out the red carpet

On Wednesday, October 2nd people from across the country tuned into CBC for episode 501 of Newfoundland & Labrador‘s own “Republic of Doyle” as the cliffhanger ending of Season 4 left us all wondering what would become of star Jake Doyle (Allan Hawco)?

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Last year’s shows were attracting 2.5 million viewers tuning in to the father and son, private investigators from St. John’s for a mix of comedy and drama. This is an exciting endeavor as we showcase the talents of our province and build a growing film and production industry that is made right here. We are creating opportunity, jobs and marketing Newfoundland & Labrador to the world. The Republic of Doyle is a great addition to the Newfoundland & Labrador brand and we should be doing more to encourage local film, production, theatrical and forms of entertainment to develop here at home.

Republic of Doyle rolls out the red carpet…

I had the pleasure of attending the premiere at the St. John’s Convention Centre with hundreds of others to watch it on the big screen. The red carpet was down, banners depicting the actors and a place for group photos. The cast was mingling with the crowd, as well as the crew and others who played a role in the shows success.

It was quite the celebration, a room full of exuberant energy. Before watching episode #501, we were given a viewing of a short film that captured the attention of the audience. After the show people continue to talk about the success of the cast, crew and opportunity for local production. It appears only bigger and better things are in store for the Republic of Doyle. Their success also helps build the business case for other shows, maybe about “The Vikings” or “Outport Life” that showcases the Great Northern Peninsula.

The Republic of Doyle airs Wednesdays at 9:30 p.m. in Newfoundland and southern Labrador, 9 p.m. in the rest of Canada, on CBC Television.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

L&E Restaurant Serving For 25 Years

25 years for many of us is a lifetime committed to serving the public. For my entrepreneurial aunt, well she’s been self-employed in the food service business for nearly 40 years. That is a milestone for any business owner.

Long before the L&E Restaurant moved to its new location in 1988, owner Linda Rose was serving up chicken and chips from her former business, Rose’s Snack Bar. The move was contemplated as a new high school was being built on Route 430 to replace the aging one in Flower’s Cove. The new location, adjacent to Consumer’s Pharmachoice, Brook’s Boutique & NL Liquor Express has driven traffic to this business over the years.

She is a fully licensed restaurant, with a broad menu offering that goes well beyond the original chicken and chips, burgers and hotdogs to include a variety of seafood dishes, soups, sandwiches, salads, turkey, beef, breakfast and other dishes. She also has soft serves, ice creams, sundaes and a variety of coffees.

I’ve been eating treats at L&E for as long as I can ever remember. This past Wednesday, I dropped by for a feed of chicken & poutine. It was more-ish! After the meal, I gave my Aunt a certificate recognizing her 25 year business milestone and wished I could have been there on the anniversary. She told me, it was quite a busy day, with an in-flux of customers as she had a giant cake and offered 25% off all purchases for the day.

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She recognizes the importance of giving back to her customers and community, from customer appreciation day to donating to a local event. Before I left, I was reminded about the 50-50 draw to support the Straits Regional Volunteer Fire Department.

The restaurant has changed a little over the years, from softer color tones, the addition of a fish tank to a gallery of folk art painted by her talented son, Danny Rose. His art work is not only displayed at L&E but in many homes throughout the region, province, country and beyond. It is great to see the passion of entrepreneurship and love for rural Newfoundland & Labrador that exists within our family. However, some things will never change – like the red chairs, the nostalgic jukebox or the atmosphere created by local people loving the food and joining the conversations in one of our social spaces on the Great Northern Peninsula.

Congratulations on 25 years L&E Restaurant! Let’s hope to see many more, as this place has been a local fixture in the region.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

I finally found my way to King’s Point Pottery, you can too!

It may have taken several years and travel over a bumpy highway, but in 2013 I found myself in King’s Point, NL. It is a community that should be on everyone’s To Do List! There are scenic viewing vistas of both mountains and coastal areas, colourful fishing rooms and wharves, walking trails, rattling brook, humpback whale pavilion, heritage home, cafes, restaurants, accommodations and of course, Newfoundland’s famous King’s Point Pottery.

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In 2002, I became an entrepreneur by starting-up Flower’s Island Museum and was profiled by the Getting the Message Out (GMO) program. In 2006, I ended up working as an Intern promoting that very program at the now Department of Innovation, Business & Rural Development across the province. One of the businesses profiled was King’s Point Pottery.

In 2013, the owner’s, Linda Yates & David Hayashida received the “Outstanding Retailer Award” at the Atlantic Canada Craft and Trade Show gala event in Halifax, Nova Scotia after being nominated by the Craft Council of Newfoundland & Labrador. This is the show’s highest honour.

I had written the owner’s commending them on their accomplishment and noted how I hoped to visit their storefront in the near future. I was greatly impressed when Linda told me how they turned her father’s old service station into their current retail outlet, adding a triangular rooftop. I am a fan of re-purposing local buildings.

Inside, there were all sorts of pottery, ceramics, prints, jewelry, wooden items and even local jams from the Dark Tickle Company of St. Lunaire-Griquet on the Great Northern Peninsula. They support more than 180 artists with a goal of supporting and retailing 365 artists from all over Atlantic Canada.

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The hooked rug style coasters of the iconic clothes lines are quintessentially aspects of rural living. These are unique and show the creativity of our artists. I had a great conversation with one of the students employed that is also gaining experience in the craft and making specialty products.

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I purchase a ceramic cup and saucer, as well as this colourful bowl. After leaving the shop, I visited more attractions, which I will write about in a later post.

There are many opportunities to support our local artists and craft producers. King’s Point Pottery is a 21-year-old success story. We can do more to buy local, help create local jobs and build stronger, vibrant rural communities.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

It’s All About Regional Marketing…

In 2010, my mom and I traveled to Ireland. We rented a car and went from Cork-Kinsale-Killarney-Galway-Sligo-Belfast-Giant’s Causeway-Dublin-Kilkenny-Waterford-Wexford-London. Cork is Ireland’s second largest city (about the size of St. John’s, NL), however, just a short distance away is Kinsale, a small town that is known for its food culture. With 2,257 people it is about the size of St. Anthony on the Great Northern Peninsula. The regional marketing had us take the drive to the neighbouring community. It was an experience!

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The Provincial Government has cut its marketing budget by 25%. Despite winning 183 awards and being internationally recognized, the market for the International, out-of-province and local market is highly competitive and stakeholders will have to do more to market their business to maintain their bottom lines. I believe it’s all about regional marketing, let’s pool our resources and develop vacation guides, business directory, updates, mini-sites and more in a modern Viking Trail Tourism website.

Check out how Kinsale market’s itself: http://kinsale.ie/.

The Great Northern Peninsula has many reasons for which one must visit. Here is a short-list:

  • Gros Morne National Park, WORLD UNESCO Site – home to the Table Lands and 155,000 visitors annually.
  • L’Anse aux Meadows, WORLD UNESCO Site – more than 1,000 years ago, the Vikings were the first Europeans to re-discover North America. The only authenticated North American viking site. Nearby, Norstead Viking Village & Port of Trade is home to the replica viking ship, the Snorri. Wonderful cuisine en route: The Daily Catch, Northern Delight, Snow’s Take-out and The Norseman Restaurant.
  • Community of 50 Centuries, Bird Cove – for more than 5,000 the Maritime Archaic Indians, Paleo-Eskimo, Gros-Water Eskimo and recent Indians. As well, a Basque presence and Captain James Cook cairn. Port au Choix National Historic Site has unique interpretation of archaeology and history.
  • The French Shore (Petit Nord) – Conche’s Interpretation Centre is home to a 222 ft tapestry depicting the French history, the Granchain Exhibit is found in St. Lunaire-Griquet
  • Grenfell Historic Properties - highlights the legendary Sir Doctor Wilfred Grenfell, his International Association, residence and his economic development through the co-operative process. Grenfell Historical Foundation and Handicrafts remain an integral part of the continuing story. Grenfell Memorial Co-op is the Newfoundland & Labrador’s oldest consumer co-op. Nearby are the Jordi Bonet Murals, Northland Discovery Boat Tours, Polar Bear Exhibit & Fishing Point Park.
  • Burnt Cape Ecological Reservehome to more than 300 plants, 30 of which are rare and one Burnt Cape cinquefoil, which the Great Northern Peninsula is the only place in the world where this species grows. Raleigh is also home to a fishing village and carving shop.
  • Leifsbudir – The Great Viking Feast is the only sod restaurant in North America, built into the rock of Fishing Point, St. Anthony
  • GNP Craft Producers – a unique gift shop that makes seal skin products and shares the history of seal skin boot making. In nearby Flower’s Cove one will find “Seal Skin” boot church. The community is also home to thrombolites (existing on just a few places on earth).
  • Deep Cove Winter Housing Site - a National Historic Site is an open air museum which highlights the way of life residents experienced in both summer and winter living. It is south of Anchor Point which is home to the peninsula’s oldest consecrated cemetery.
  • Torrent River Salmon Interpretation Centre - the Interpretation centre in Hawke’s Bay is a must for the salmon enthusiast. Beyond the mighty Torrent, many salmon rivers exist in Main Brook. Roddickton-Bide Arm is a great place to also participate in recreational hunting and fishing, it is home to the natural Underground Salmon Pool.

An array of walking trails, nature, wildlife, icebergs, whales, recreational hunting and fishing, picturesque outport communities, attractions, shops, restaurants,  crafts, festivals, events,  local culture and heritage and people who will make any visit a treasured experience on the Great Northern Peninsula. We make need to take a page out of Kinsale’s book, and work as a region to pool our marketing resources and create a more dynamic on-line presence that takes in our region’s unique offerings!

Experience the Great Northern Peninsula & start planning your vacation today!

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Budget devastating for tourism industry: Mitchelmore

NDP Tourism, Culture and Recreation Critic Christopher Mitchelmore (MHA The Straits-White Bay North) is appalled by government’s lack of vision for generating additional revenues from International tourists, demonstrated by the backwards step taken with slashes to its award-winning marketing budget by nearly $4 Million, wiping out years of successive gains.

“At Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador’s Annual Conference, Tourism Minister Terry French touted the $1 Billion dollars in revenue the industry contributes to the economy,” said Mitchelmore. “This feel-good speech did not highlight that most of this revenue is generated from the domestic market and that we are failing make gains in high-yield international markets to reach our goal of $1.6 Billion by 2020.”

Mitchelmore attended a Tourism Town Hall and listened to a presentation by Tourism Industry Association of Canada highlighting the public policy challenges inhibiting tourism growth: marketing, access and product.

Hospitality NL is adapting its Assurance Program to elevate standards of programs and service. They are doing their role to develop product, while the government is pulling back on marketing and even access. The Department of Innovation, Business & Rural Development has completely eliminated the budgetary line item of $4 million in funding for the province’s Air Access Strategy.

“Increases to ferry rates, $500 fees for new business start-ups and 20% increases in out-patients rates for health services to non-residents will all hurt the growth of an industry that impacts every region of Newfoundland & Labrador, particularly rural areas,” said Mitchelmore.

“It is clear to me the Ministers of Tourism and IBRD are taking the same approach as the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture to rural communities — ensuring there is no viability and sustainability.”

http://www.nlndpcaucus.ca/nr032713TourismSlashes

 

Related articles

Marketing Outport Newfoundland & Labrador

Newfoundland & Labrador has marketed ‘outport’ or rural parts of the province in its award-winning tourism ad campaigns.

Innovative rural companies like Auk Island Winery in Twillingate are continuing to add flavour to the tourism experience. Newfoundland & Labrador takes pride in its unique local berries, such as patridgeberry, bakeapples, squashberries, as well as our very own Screech Rum. This company typically makes berry wines and sells quintessentially on Newfoundlandia.

I have tried bottles that are called, “Moose Juice”, “Krooked Cod”, “Jellybean Row” and “Funky Puffin”. I believe part of my purchasing of this product is curiosity, but primarily to support a local business that prides itself in all things Newfoundland & Labrador.

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The imagery on Outport Wine, which includes an iceberg, outport boats and fishing rooms. The splash of Screech just adds to the authenticity and certainly begins the storytelling process.

This season I hope to tour Auk Island Winery and taste many other wines they have produced in various shapes and sizes. Let’s keep being creative and expand the rural economy and our visitor experiences as we celebrate traditional and modern-day outports.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Mitchelmore questions commitment to rural job creation

NDP critic for Innovation, Business and Rural Development Christopher Mitchelmore (MHA, The Straits-White Bay North) says government’s approach to job creation in rural Newfoundland and Labrador is sadly lacking in vision.

“Government is dropping the ‘rural’ from the Department of Innovation, Business and Rural Development with cuts to RED Boards, Employment Assistance Services, and no real plan for creating jobs from the ground up,” Mitchelmore said in the House of Assembly today. “Megaprojects create boom and bust economies and forced migration, and tear away at the social fabric of our economy.

“When will the minister of IBRD get serious about rural job creation and prevent further mass outmigration from decimating the rural landscape?”

Mitchelmore says encouraging job creation in rural Newfoundland is a vital part of ensuring economic health for the province. He pointed to wharf development as one possible option that has worked in parts of the province and could work in others.

“Government has invested $23 million since 2003 into aquaculture, including six biosecure wharves,” he said in the House. “Without this investment some 1000 jobs and $400 million dollars would have been lost.

“The forest industry on the Great Northern Peninsula impacts more than 150 workers and can prove to provide significant returns.

“When will the minister of Natural Resources commit to providing a needed wharf to Roddickton port to sustain an industry, jobs, and rural communities as well as putting needed money back in the provincial treasury?”

BUY LOCAL: Why not wake up to local coffee and teas from Dark Tickle Company?

Waking up to local coffee and teas from Dark Tickle Company in St. Lunaire-Griquet is the perfect way to begin your day. This morning I perked some of Dark Tickle’s finest partridgeberry coffee. The pleasant aroma when brewing boasts berry flavour, as it circulated around the room. My locally produced “mummer’s mug” was filled with the wonderful black liquid as I began to think about our local economy.

I am a supporter of this local company that is truly unique. Their bakeapple, blueberry, partridgeberry and crowberry teas a divine. A wonderful gift to give any tea lover as  thank-you, on a special occasion or just every day gesture of kindness. They have an array of products and make jams, jellies, vinaigrette, chocolates and other products directly on-site. You can watch them at work in the small commercial kitchen through a wall of glass windows. Their products can also be purchased on-line at http://www.darktickle.com. They even have Iceberg chocolates! I certainly look forward to tasting those soon.

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Supporting the local economy in rural regions is critical for success. Small businesses, like Dark Tickle Company employ local people, re-invest in their business and also support other ventures, the community and spend dollars as well in the local economy. The more out-shopping we do for goods and services at Big Box Stores, the more  money is funneled out of the local economy.

If we are to keep our communities from becoming “ghost towns” we must spend our money at the corner store,  co-operative and independently owned businesses. Keeping local dollars exchanging as many hands as possible before it is lost from the region is a way to maintain wealth and expand new business opportunities and employment.

Can we produce more locally? Can we buy more locally? I believe we can!

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

The Good Old Hockey Game

And the best game you can name is “the good old hockey game” (Stompin’ Tom Connors lyrics)

I spent some time over the Remembrance Day weekend watching the annual hockey tournament hosted at the newly built Polar Centre, St. Anthony.  A total of 13 teams participated in the 19+ and 40 years of age and older category. Over the course of several games locals and expats showcased their talents. It was truly enjoyable to relax and enjoy the love of the game. I loved watching the players race after the puck, some in their mid-60s competing with those just rolling over 40 on the ice. Quite the dynamic!

Organized tournaments help boost the local economy through hotel stays, restaurants, beverage service, gasoline purchase and other retail sales. I have to admit that stadium poutine is one I recommend. Something about the chill in the air of crisp fries, melting cheese all smothered with gravy. Yum! It’s like getting your popcorn at the movie – a must!

I hope this is the first of many recreational and minor hockey games I’ll get to watch during the course of Fall and Winter. If you are visiting the Great Northern Peninsula, why not drop by one of our local stadiums to watch our talented youth and adults take to the ice? You could rent the ice or throw some rocks at the Polar Centre, as they have a curling option. As a curling fan of more than 20-years, I hope this year I’ll get to throw my first rock this season!

Arenas are avenues for Trade Shows, Conferences and Conventions. Let’s have that chili cook-off, traditional Newfoundland cooking competition or fishing exhibition locally. We have so many opportunities to exhibit our talents on ice or off. Our arenas are one of the many places you should consider visiting when you trek rural Newfoundland & Labrador!

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Tourism tips from Copenhagen

I had visited Aarhus, Denmark, in 2007. Being the second largest city, the  influx of young people and students pursuing education make it a natural place for cultural activities and meetings spaces, which include cafes, theatres, museums, social spaces, concerts and festivals. Additionally, it has a history of Viking culture dating back to the 7th Century. I live near L’Anse Aux Meadows World UNESCO Heritage Site where the Vikings were the first known Europeans to re-discover North America more than 1,000 years ago (Read more at Parks Canada www.pc.gc.ca/eng/lhn-nhs/nl/meadows/index.aspx). Therefore, I was interested in visiting the Viking Museum, which was in a small room in the basement of a financial institution. The city had much to offer, so much that I planned a vacation to return to Europe in 2012 that incorporated this country and Iceland as I pursued some further exploration of the Viking.

A weekend in Copenhagen with a Swiss and Swede proved to be quite exciting, from walking the waterfront to riding the world’s oldest roller coaster in Tivoli, it was more than memorable. I’ve selected a few images, which I thought would get the movers and shakers of the Great Northern Peninsula thinking of new ways to share our unique experiences.

A walk through a park incorporated a number of notable figures. It was interesting to see the bar code by the statue’s nameplate, highlighting a simple scan of a tablet or mobile device would link to a website with more information about the attraction, history and artist. This use of technology is adaptive and  tapping into the new wave of tourist. Websites can list additional information and can be translated in many languages, which is far more limiting with storyboards and panels. However, you need to have basic telecommunications infrastructure to fully utilize this marketing initiative.

Just across the courtyard at the castle, prior to entering there was a sign. It notes, “if you have a similar 2-D scanner you can scan your way through the castle, or explore just a little bit more. Throughout the castle are stickers, that reveal a small story.”

The Town of St. Anthony in partnership with Grenfell Historic Properties may want to consider adopting this technology given the number of tourists and good cellular coverage. Additionally, Parks Canada’s L’Anse aux Meadows World UNESCO Site and Norstead – Viking Village & Port of Trade would also benefit, yet they have less desirable or nil cellular coverage.

On the waterfront there is a Speakers Corner set up. This is a simple offering, but certainly one of which we stopped and delivered compelling speeches on issues. There is an Agree section and a Disagree section where people can stand. It may be fun to take a minute or two with friends or group of passer-bys. Whatever the case, this simple addition is a photo-op waiting to happen.

The iconic 4 foot little Mermaid statue is nearly 100 years old and a relative long walk from city centre. Yet, a place tourists flock to get a snap. A simple statue has created economic spin-offs that have local venders, buskers selling miniatures, postcards and another reason to visit. Manneken Pis is another small iconic statue of a little boy urinating into a fountain in Brussels, Belgium. The statue gets dressed in costumes several times a week. While in Brussels in 2007 I paid admission to the museum which is home to the hundreds of past articles of clothing inspired by countries all over the world he has worn. The Canadian outfit was past Montreal Canadians hockey attire. If we get creative we can develop unique economic spin-offs. People may want to purchase a souvenir of this small statue wearing their countries clothing or begin a collection of their own.

Volkswagen hosted a two person racing competition in the street. There were line-ups of people wanting to participate. The business community can sponsor an event, get involved to promote their products and services.

Every place I visit, either large or small has a unique offering. I get inspired by visiting new places, talking with new people and encourage you to do the same. The Great Northern Peninsula has a unique product – if you choose to visit, you surely will take away memories that last a lifetime.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Jelly Bean Row – Denmark

Our rural communities on the Great Northern Peninsula have been known for their bright vibrant colours. It would not be uncommon to see an array of red, blue, orange, green and yellow painted wooden homes scattered along the shoreline. Today only a few of the older salt-box houses remain, as they are now replaced with vinyl siding and other modern designs. I would love to see a revival of our heritage colours and even home design in our rural communities.

The tiny town of Conche on the Northern Peninsula East is travelled by many over a 17.4 KM gravel road. Despite a gravel road, thousands of tourists and travellers visit each summer, the “Beauty Spot of the North” to take in its rich local culture, folklore and heritage. Conche, even today has vibrant colour that brings a smile. Back in April 2011 I wrote, “Vernacular Architecture Thrives in Conche, NL” (http://liveruralnl.com/2011/04/05/vernacular-architecture-thrives-in-conche-nl/).

When travelling to Denmark this past year, I walked along a small business and could not resist taking the photo shown below:

The coloured wooden houses instantly reminded me of “Jellybean Row”, which is iconic in the downtown heritage corridor of St. John’s, NL.  If you would like to add some colour in your life you can visit www.jellybeanrow.com/ and buy a mailbox, wall art and even get decorating tips from a local company in Conception Bay South.

A simple idea can translate into a viable business. The existence of the Internet means a talent you have or product you make can be sold around the world. Live Rural NL blog has been viewed  more than 137,000 times across 154 countries! Our communities on the Great Northern Peninsula may be small, but technology can allow us to develop cottage industries and sell our products, services and experiences all over the globe. Let’s do this together!

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

Show Your Support for the Canadian Seal Hunt

Seals are a valuable natural resource, and the seal harvest is an economic mainstay for numerous rural communities in Atlantic Canada, Quebec and the North. As a time-honoured tradition, Canada’s seal harvest supports many coastal families who can derive as much as 35% of their annual income from this practice. (Department of Fisheries & Oceans, http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fm-gp/seal-phoque/index-eng.htm).

My father was a sealer, his father before him, his father’s father on down the family line since the early 1800′s. Like many rural Newfoundlanders & Labradorian’s the commercial seal hunt added to the viability of rural living, providing an additional source of income as the meat and pelts were sold to merchants to be shipped to the European marketplace.

The seal was a way of life for us. The meat was eaten, sometimes preserved. The flipper is still considered a seasonal delicacy today. Seal fat was rendered for oil to provide light for lamps. It’s interesting how the seal hunt correlated with the Industrial Revolution in Europe to provide much-needed oils, yet today the product is being banned. The seal skin was also used for clothing. I still have my seal skin boots from 14 Christmas’ ago. It was the last pair my father bark-tanned before his passing. I continue to wear them proudly.

We have a history that must be shared as we made and continue to make our “Home from the Sea”. This past winter I attended the Seal of Approval Dinner, where 5 of Newfoundland and Labrador‘s Top Chefs served up a menu of seal dishes, including seal oil ice-cream. Look out Ben & Jerry’s, as my mouth still waters at the thought of getting another scoop. The Home from the Sea Campaign is raising money to build a Sealer’s Memorial and Interpretation Centre in Elliston, NL (root cellar capital of the world). If you would like to read more or donate visit: http://www.homefromthesea.ca/

Home from the Sea: Seal of Approval Dinner

 I believe seal meat should be available as a specialty item at our grocery stores and served at local restaurants, especially in tourist season. Whenever I travel to other countries I try localize food as much as possible. Last month in Iceland I tried Puffin with blueberry sauce. Moose burgers, stews, soups and poutine is a big hit, why not seal?

I’ve purchased a seal skin tie, multiple pairs of slippers, gloves, purse and a belt at GNP Craft Producers, visit www.gnpcraft.com to view their on-line store. As well, own a bark tanned wallet designed by Sabrina Lisa and bark tanned business card holder given as a gift too. While on Fogo Island at the Wind & Waves Artisan’s Guild, Joe Batt’s Arm, I bought a sealskin compact and seal skin cufflinks. The product possibilities are near endless.

On October 20th, 2o12 I visited NaturaL Boutique, which is operated by two locals from Rocky Harbour on the Great Northern Peninsula. They have a variety of what I would consider to be more modern seal apparel. You can visit their store at 152 Water Street, St. John’s, NL. They also have a booth set-up at the Avalon Mall in preparation for the Christmas Season. Their website is www.naturalboutique.ca.

I purchased a seal skin jacket from NaturaL Boutique, shown below with co-owner, Kerry Shears.

I will wear it proudly as I continue to support the Canadian Seal Hunt, the sealers who risks their lives each year as they take to the ice as well as the local artisans and crafters. We have a history and a future of sealing in rural Newfoundland & Labrador. Let’s continue to show our support for the industry.

Live Rural NL -
 
Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Could the Harp be the Next Tourist Attraction?

 On September 17th, 2012 I had visited VIKIN Maritime Museum situated on the waterfront of the old harbour in Reykjavik, Iceland. It had impressive displays of boats, engines, gear and equipment. Exhibits outlines the process of drying cod-fish on flakes and lines, as well as the transition to on land processing of fresh and frozen product.

Maritime Museum – Reykjavik, Iceland

Beyond taking one through the life, household and culture of the fisher – history came to life with a depiction and video of the cod wars. A dock was designed to highlight important transportation links the waterways presented. This museum had a lot to offer its visitors and I was more than satisfied to pay the $8 admission. I did not realize when I bought entrance that I would also get a tour of the de-commissioned coastguard ship ODINN. It was an unexpected treat! The tour guide had studied history and was extremely knowledgeable of the subject matter and exhibited much interest in his work.

ODINN – De-commissioned Icelandic Coastguard Vessel

From on deck to below we toured got to see the sleeping quarters, engine room, galley and more.

We got to sit in the Captain’s Chair

I realized that in Newfoundland & Labrador with our rich and vibrant fishing history and dependency on the ocean that we do not have a dedicated Maritime Museum of this nature. We have some elements of fishing villages in the Town of Raleigh, Broom Point in Gros Morne National Park has an interpretative fishing exhibit, there are other museums with elements of the fishery, Maritime Archives at Memorial and of course The Rooms. We may have an untapped opportunity to present something similar to this offering. The announced decommissioning of the Canadian Coastguard vessel the Harp may allow for tours in the Town of St. Anthony or other port.

Why not consider the Harp as the next tourist attraction?

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North
 

Scenic Pursuit Boat Tours- Tourism at its Finest.

The Scenic Pursuit Boat Tours is operated from Bide Arm (Roddickton-Bide Arm). This boat tour operates three runs daily to view the unique coastlines, whales and other sea life. If you are lucky you might catch the glimpse of an iceberg in Canada Bay.

This boat can seat up to 37 passengers and has entertaining music, flavoured coffee and other snacks. As you walk on this boat you will be surprised by the aromas of cedar and abundance of spacious seating. If you like the smell of salt water and the wind in your hair than enjoy the outside or upper deck. The ride is 2.5 hours in length.

If you like something even more unique, you may wish to charter the boat with the Captain, who will take you to the resettled community of Hooping Harbour. This heritage/adventure learning vacation is 8-9 hours in length.

This past week, Scenic Pursuit had Peter Jacobs perform live music on the tour.

Visit their website at www.scenicpursuit.com. They are another great addition to our tourism experiences on the Great Northern Peninsula.

Book your tour today!

Live Rural NL -

Christopher C. Mitchelmore

A Summer of Icebergs – The Giant Ice Island moves to St. Lunaire

The Giant Ice Island has moved to St. Lunaire, NL. I ventured to the Town of St. Lunaire-Griquet Friday evening hoping to catch a glimpse of the Petermann Ice Island. When driving into the Town at Tip of the Great Northern Peninsula you see the magnificent reams of white ice mountains contrasting with the grey rocky hills in the habour. Most of the images I captured were smaller bits as the larger images were blocked by the hilly landscape and I was unable to find the trail known as the Camel Hump. There was a sign, but I did not see any direction or place for parking. I took my Honda Civic over a dirt road until she was about to scrape bottom. I continued by foot up a steep hill, but had no success in catching an up close glimpse.

Jeffrey Curtis had uploaded a video on YouTube of the “The Petermann ice island, located 4 Miles off St Lunaire harbor” which I’ve embedded below. It is just an incredible intact piece of ice.

I did manage to see some smaller icebergs scattered throughout the harbour from a distance. They appeared to be blocking the harbour.

Imagine being able to look out your kitchen window or sit on the deck and enjoy a cup of Dark Tickle tea or coffee and taking in this view. Another wonder of Life on the Great Northern Peninsula!

The Great Northern Peninsula is the place to be this summer season if icebergs are on your bucket list. They are truly a wonder.

Take route 436 - it will lead you to the bergs, but also Norstead - Viking Village & Port of Trade, L’Anse Aux Meadows World UNSECO Heritage Site, The Dark Tickle Company, Raleigh Historic Village, French Oven and Burnt Cape Ecological Reserve. You can dine experience Fine Dining at the Norseman Restaurant & Gaia Art Gallery, sophistication and specialty seafood at The Daily Catch, great food for the whole family at excellent prices can be found at Northern Delight Restaurant and for those on the run, Snow’s Take-Out can serve up some tasty chicken and chips. There are many little shops en route to purchase carvings, jams, preserves, knitted items, hooked rugs and other local lore. There are many B&B’s, campgrounds, motel, cabins and heritage properties available to appeal to any type of traveller.

I would highly recommend spending a few days on this part of the Peninsula. A few hours simply is not enough to experience the sights, sounds and wonder of it all. This was my 6th visit on Route 436 this summer season!

Live Rural NL -

Christopher C. Mitchelmore

Twitter/LiveRuralNL

A Marketable Farmer’s Market – Let’s Get Growing

We have lost a generation, maybe two of hobby farmers in Rural Newfoundland & Labrador. My grandparents practiced subsistence farming, ensuring they would have enough potatoes to last throughout the winter months.  They also planted the typical carrots, turnip and cabbage. Why did the majority of their children not follow these practises? I am sure there are a number of reasons, as even Rural Newfoundland & Labrador had more purchasing power and options to purchase produce at the local grocery store.

Today, there is renewed interest among young people, like myself and even from people of my parent’s generation in growing their own produce – A Revolution! It appears there is a sense of enjoyment to the experience of growing your own green things. There is gratification of being rewarded for your own efforts. It is now “fashionable” to be seen sporting your rubber boots and hanging out in the mud, yanking out the weeds. Even my friends, family and co-workers bring up gardening in casual conversation. These are all good measures that can lead to more local and regional business development.

Today, I’ve pulled one of my romaine lettuce from my garden bed. It is one of several that were planted as a test. It is very encouraging, as I see the red onion, green onion, onion and carrots srouting up nicely.

On a recent vacation to Montreal, Quebec I had the pleasure of visiting the Jean-Talon Market, which is open year-round and takes up space of what would be two streets. The former bus station terminal has been converted to host parking, specialty boutiques and office space. There were so many varieties of fruits and vegetables. Also, one could buy ice-cream. fresh meats, breads, ice ciders, wines and of course maple syrup. I managed to pick some up some of the maple sweet stuff and a nice bottle of ice cider. Certainly a treat!

A local co-op may be interested or one could be formed to promote local gardening, community gardens and work to establish a seasonal farmer’s market. This venue may also be utilized during special occasions, such as the holiday season for local preserves, baked goods and craft items.

As the issue of food security continues to be a concern for Newfoundland & Labrador. Growing local produce is a good practise, it ensures quality, pesticide free and can be a lower cost solution as these items do not require shipping from other parts of Canada and the world.

Let’s Make a Marketable Farmer’s Market in Rural Newfoundland & Labrador!

Get Growing -

Christopher C. Mitchelmore

Twitter/LiveRuralNL

 

Moose Antlers Make Quite the Entrance – Englee, NL

On a recent trip to Englee, NL my attention was drawn to the house below that had a very beautifully landscaped yard, fountain with Moose Antlers combined to make quite the entrance.

I am proud to see this unique creation by a local artist. It is great to see creative uses for a product that most people would just throw away. Moose are in abundance on the Great Northern Peninsula. Males shed their antlers each season to conserve energy, as well their antlers can be obtained during Moose Hunting season in Fall/early Winter.

There is value in producing unique products. I have seen antlers used to form a large chandelier at the Tuckamore Lodge, Main Brook. There are also a select few with the talents to tediously carve from the moose antler.

This past weekend, my two friends showed me a unique product made from a wooden tree with deer antlers - a Coat Tree.

We have an opportunity to produce unique products made from moose antlers. We can develop a cottage industry around them and make high-end coat trees, chandeliers, entrance posts, and others. We have talented people in our rural economies that could produce during the Fall/Winter these products from sale on-line or at local gift shops.

There are simple solutions that can help our rural communities survive and thrive. With the appropriate partnerships and involvement by stakeholders we can change the state of our economy.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher C. Mitchelmore

Twitter/LiveRuralNL

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