Category Archives: Landscapes/Geography

Lobster season is just around the corner

After taking a few seals in April, the first week of May had always represented a time of urgency for my father to get back on the water.  After a long winter of making new traps, sometimes building a new flat bottom boat and obtaining knitted lobster heads from my grandfather, May was the true start of a busy fishing season that would last into the Fall.  My father was a lobster fisher until his death in 1999.

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These are modern lobster traps taken in St. Paul’s at roadside on the Great Northern Peninsula. They are unlike the wooden ones I am use to, which had concrete poured into them to give the added weight to sink to the bottom of the ocean floor. It is evident that things are rapidly changing, even in the fishery. We are losing some of our very important traditional and institutional knowledge. My father was a boat builder, he could make a lobster trap and knit a net. These are all skills, in which I did not learn.

In modern times, it appears there is competition for new technology and the continuation of our traditional ways. There is value in both.

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I remember each year when lobster season opened. The now re-settled community of Barr’d Harbour would be one of the most populous places with fishers, partners, their children and helpers would be out in full force to get their lobster pots in the water as quickly as possible.

There was a real sense of urgency, creating a need for co-operation. All available hands would make for easier work, as we cut, baited and stacked dozens of traps into a truck to deliver to shoreline. Some traps were collected by steaming to islands and others were already loaded or near the shore. A real strategy was deployed by the license holder, ensuring they could work with the rising and falling tides.

I have always been impressed by the complexities of fishing and how our skilled and experienced fishers knew exactly where they dropped hundreds of traps, intermingled with other fishers scattered along the coastline over several miles.

The short time I had with my father on the water, will always be held as treasured memories. This was the place where he earned his living and provided for us, his family. He was very proud of what he did, fishing was in his blood extending many generations.

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The shoreline continues to be packed with ice despite lobster season being just around the corner. There is a real sense of urgency that this ice go as quickly as possible or an intervention as in the past for an ice compensation package for those impacted. It is essential that our fishers be able to earn a living and provide for their families.

I’m looking forward to getting a feed of fresh lobster from the Great Northern Peninsula. I believe local lobster tastes better.

Live Rural NL 

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


The Great Northern Peninsula was carved by giants

The Great Northern Peninsula, Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada is a magical place that was the point of first contact when the first Europeans were to discover North American more than 1,000 years ago when they established a Viking Settle in L’Anse aux Meadows, which is now a world UNESCO site.

To the southern extremity of the Peninsula is Gros Morne National Park, which also boasts UNESCO status for the unique Tablelands. A place visited by more than 150,000 tourists annually.

Fjords of Gros Morne

Depicted above are the fjords of Western Brook Pond, which are part of the Appalachian Mountain chain that can also be found on the tip of the Peninsula. This is a magical place has been carved out by giants and are worthy of exploring. There is a boat tour “Bon Tours” that does regular trips in season, as well a lovely walking trail that takes you into the fjord. The walking trip will take your approximately 30-45 minutes.

The Great Northern Peninsula was meant to be explored and enjoyed. It has been the place of first contact in North America for more than 1,000 years. Plan your vacation today!

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

 

The New Land with the Green Meadows

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L’Anse aux Meadows – Summer

L’Anse Aux Meadows World UNESCO Heritage Site has always been a fascinating place to visit. I have been privileged to live near where the first Europeans would re-discover North America imagesV76QS5EZmore than 1,000 years ago when Leif Erikson came on Snorri to the Great Northern Peninsula – a place he called “Vinland”.  A sign on Route 430, which is named the Viking Trail welcomes you to Erikson’s Vinland!

July 2013 saw the unveiling of a new Leif statue in the very place where he became the first European to set foot on American shores. A special ceremony was held in partnership with the Leif Erikson International Foundation, Norstead Viking Village & Port of Trade and St. Anthony Basin Resources Incorporated (SABRI). Leif looks out toward the sea.

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I want to thank all the donors, supporters and volunteers, who worked to ensure Leif would be a permanent fixture at L’Anse aux Meadows. This was a remarkable moment, that included an Icelandic Choir, a representative from the Norwegian Embassy, Parks Canada staff, local residents and Benedicte Ignstad.

Benedicte is the daughter of Helge and Anne Stine Ingstad, the archaeologists who made the discovery of L’Anse aux Meadows as the only authenticated Norse site in North America in the early 1960′s.

I have travelled to Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Sweden to experience more of the Viking/Norse culture. However, Benedicte offered me and others the insight into the process and the way of life in L’Anse aux Meadows, some 50 years ago.

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I attended her reading of her mother’s book “The Land with the Green Meadows” by Anne Stine Ingstad. This book was first published in Norway in 1975 and translated in 2006 to English. The Historical Sites Association of Newfoundland and Labrador gained permission from Benedicte to have the book lightly edited and available to a new generation of readers.

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I spent multiple hours of a plane and many more waiting at an airport just over a week ago, when I began Anne’s book. I could not put it down, because it told a real story. It described the people of L’Anse aux Meadows and of nearby Straitsview and the struggles they faced. The Decker’s, Blake’s, Anderson’s, Colbourne’s and others are very real people. The book highlights how a community comes together to look after one another, the building of the highway to connect the communities to L’Anse aux Meadows and the shift from coastal boat to air transport saw a dynamic shift for such an isolated place as L’Anse aux Meadows. Over the course of the book, one got to know Anne and Helge, experience the great discovery, as well as the local people and the kindness of others, including those who worked at the Grenfell Mission.

There was much pioneering happening on the Great Northen Peninsula. There always was and there always will be. From the very first sod buildings to the current day residents, L’Anse aux Meadows is a place you want to visit and experience for yourself in your lifetime.

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The New Land with the Green Meadows – during Winter.IMG_5348

Summer is when the land is green, and the best time to visit. Begin your trip planning today. A Viking Experience awaits!

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Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

 

Caribou continue to be present on tip of Northern Pen

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Caribou have been spotted at St. Anthony airport for the past few weeks. If you want to catch a glimpse of these animals, now is a great time to visit the Great Northern Peninsula. However, one must drive with caution as they like to spend time on our highways.

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Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

The Mighty Caribou is King Again on the Great Northern Peninsula

Dr. Wilfred Grenfell brought the first team of reindeer to the Great Northern Peninsula, about 300 of them in 1907. Some of these animals carried a parasitic roundworm that spread to the native caribou herds.

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Over the years, the caribou has seen upswings and almost decimation on the Great Northern Peninsula. There is renewed hope that these majestic animals are seeing their population grow. I continue to spot caribou all over the District from Croque (Route 438), Main Brook (Grenfell Drive), Cook’s Harbour (Route 435) and ofcourse the Viking Trail (Route 430), especially near the St. Anthony airport.

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In recent weeks you could spot several dozen. On my flight home from Saturday travelling the St. Anthony airport road, I had to stop several times to enable the caribou to cross the road. Be sure to be extra vigilant when driving our highways. The caribou can take it in their mind to cross the road on a whim and like sheep, typically others follow.

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Winter is truly a wonderland on the Great Northern Peninsula. We have incredible wildlife and immense beauty. Why not experience it for yourself?

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Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Add Raleigh to Your Summer Trip Plan

Raleigh Historic Village is a family adventure, where you can experience cultural tourism and live like a fisherman for a day, two or a week. They have bunkhouses where you can book accommodations, boat tours and various classes around rug hooking, oar making and net mending.

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Their website is: http://www.raleighhistoricvillage.com/

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The historic fishing rooms are being maintained in Raleigh.

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This  attraction is located on Route 437. In the community there is a restaurant, cottages, carving shop, Burnt Cape Ecological Reserve, walking trails and panoramic scenery. Also it is just a short drive from L’anse aux Meadows World UNESCO Viking Settlement and the commercial centre of St. Anthony, which is also home of the Legendary Sir Dr. Wilfred Grenfell and his historic properties.

The Great Northern Peninsula has an experience in every outport. Add Raleigh to your list of places to see.

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Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Scenic Winter Beauty

The Great Northern Peninsula is incredibly scenic, especially after a blanket of snow. We have beautiful forests, mountains in the backdrop and the sea is all around us. The wonder of living rural!

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These photos were taken on Route 434 (Conche Road) on a visit to the Northern Peninsula East. A friend and I took a number of photos in Bide Arm, Roddickton and Conche during the winter of 2011. We captured snowmobiles, sheds, boats, mountains of snow, wharves, ice pans and of course shared many moments of laughter. It is nice to explore what is in your own backyard, one never knows where that turn in the road will take you.

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Today, I will be travelling to Main Brook and Conche, as part of my duties as the Member of the House of Assembly. It is only a matter of time and winter beauty will surround the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula.

Enjoy the great outdoors and experience the Great Northern Peninsula!

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

 

Caribou and the Great Northern Peninsula

Sir Dr. Wilfred Grenfell, who founded the Grenfell Mission more than 100 years ago, was the first to introduce reindeer to the Great Northern Peninsula. After reading Rompkey’s “Grenfell of Labrador” it is clear Grenfell purchased some 300 reindeer from Scandinavian countries to help provide a food supply to locals of the North.

In North America, reindeer are commonly referred to as the caribou. On the Great Northern Peninsula we are seeing the caribou coming back in larger numbers.

The Great Northern Peninsula has a unique offering including the presence of abundant nature and wildlife. This past winter when I drove from St. Anthony to Green Island Cove I was greeted by a small heard of caribou in Eddies Cove East (Route 430 – Viking Trail) and pulled over to wait for them to cross the road. After driving through this tiny community in “The Straits” to the south I saw a total of nine caribou. It was unusual for them to be grazing for food on the opposite side of the road adjacent to the frozen Strait of Belle Isle with Labrador dominating in the background. It was one of those moments when you just stare in amazement.

In late May, when attending the graduation of students at James Cook Memorial, Cook’s Harbour I also saw a bunch of caribou off Route 435.

Enroute to Croque and St. Julien’s, I met these caribou trotting along Route 432 (Grenfell Drive) near the Town of Main Brook.

The Great Northern Peninsula is a place to visit at any time of year, especially if you want to view the majestic caribou (reindeer).  The Christmas season is quickly approaching, reminding us that Santa and his reindeer will be on his way in just a month from today.

Here is a link to another posting with some great shots of caribou on the Great Northern Peninsula: What a view today on the Great Northern Peninsula…

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Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

Underground Salmon Pool – A Natural Wonder

The Underground Salmon Pool is the only known place in the world where Atlantic Salmon swim through underground river caves to get to their spawning grounds. Hiking & walking interpretative trails. Guide service provided by Mayflower Adventures in Roddickton. (According to the Province’s Tourism website www.newfoundlandlabrador.com.)

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I encourage residents and visitors of Newfoundland & Labrador to enjoy this natural wonder. Interpretative panels explain the nature of the old growth forest, the rich lumbering history of the Canada Bay Area and the boardwalk offers incredible viewing vistas.

Here are some photos taken on a visit, where I captured anglers casting in designated area, birds, squirrels, views of salmon, natural erosion of limestone and the underground river. There are two entry points if you take Route 432 (Grenfell Drive) you will see the signage directing you to this destination.

Share your angling stories in the comments section. Have you visited the Underground Salmon Pool? If not, add it to your next “To Do” list. You simply could not be disappointed if you like the beauty of the great outdoors!

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Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

It’s never to early to start planning your Winter vacation on the GNP

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1311172644-1The Great Northern Peninsula has one of the longest winter seasons on the Island portion of the province of Newfoundland & Labrador. We are the ideal location for an array of winter activities and enjoy the scenery as you experience the countryside, view the frozen Strait of Belle Isle with Labrador as the backdrop or snowmobile on our most Northerly section of the remaining Appalachian mountains.

There is a number of trail networks for cross-country ski-ing or snow-shoeing, as well as the opportunity for the adventurous type to visit alternative locations.

You can enjoy ice-fishing activities, pond skating or a good ol’ hockey game that really immerse you in all the fun and enjoyment winter brings to the people of the North. We embrace winter activities and have a love for spending time in the great outdoors, whether it be at the cabin with a crackling fire, game of cards and a cup of tea or at home with the family building a snowman and making those snow angels we all did when we were kids.

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It certainly is never too early to begin your plan to enjoy all the Great Northern Peninsula has to offer.

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Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Picture Perfect in Norris Point

Norris Point is picture perfect. A beautiful community surrounded by the mountains and pristine waters of Bonne Bay.

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I spent a lot of time on the beach growing up in Green Island Cove, hearing the waves gently touch the shoreline, picking mussels or throwing rocks. However, the beach was not sandy like the one here in Norris Point. There is something about sand, that makes me want to stop and play for a little while, whether it be writing my name, building a castle or getting my toes buried into the fine grains. On many of my vacations, I have a photo of “Christopher” and ‘whoever’ ‘place’ and ‘year’ drawn in the sand. There is something special about the water that will also have me coming back for more.

I made a few footprints in the sand on this beautiful March day in Norris Point back in 2011. These old photos remind me of the prayer, “Footprints in the Sand” which reinforces about in times of need, we should look back and see the footprints in the sand to realize that Jesus is, has and always will by our side.

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Enjoy Sunday and Live Rural -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Icebergs are your doorstep

In June the icebergs scatter the coves, bays and shores along the Strait of Belle Isle and surround the entire Great Northern Peninsula.

These icebergs were taken from the doorstep in L’Anse au Clair, Labrador this past summer:

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The Peterman Ice Island left these icebergs in Goose Cove, Newfoundland on the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula in July 2011.

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The Great Northern Peninsula hosts an annual iceberg festival, which is scheduled to run from June 6th to June 15th, 2014. Check for updates at www.theicebergfestival.ca.

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Icebergs are at your doorstep on the Great Northern Peninsula. You can see them on boat tours, at Festivals, with binoculars, on walking trails, up close or on the distance.

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Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Have you been to Bide Arm?

Bide Arm was the only new community created under the Resettlement Act in 1969. Residents from Hooping Harbour, Williamsport, Little Harbour Deep, Englee, and Fox Harbour relocated to the new community (Source: roddickton.bidearm.ca)

My former co-worker during 2008, Tony was a resident of Bide Arm. He would talk about his beautiful community with much pride and one could hear the excitement 2009 would bring with Come Home Year. I felt the same sense of excitement as my hometown, Green Island Cove would also be celebrating Come Home Year in 2009.

The Come Home Year would ensure resettlement was a focal point, with a replica of Ashton House being towed and many other homes depicting a sign, saying “The Family Name and I was towed…”

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This summer, I visited the community on the day LG Health sent an advisory concerning air quality as forest fires raged in Labrador. One could certainly see the haze, but the beauty of this magical place remained.

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I would encourage residents and visitors to the Great Northern Peninsula to add this place to your experience – there is the Armistice Park (which highlights the rich history of boat building (http://roddickton.bidearm.ca/armistice/), walking trails, Ashton House, Scenic Pursuit Boat Tour (http://www.scenicpursuit.com/), playground, family owned small businesses, Apostolic Faith Church and a photo waiting to be snapped around every corner.

There is a scenic view from the doorstep of serene water, groves of trees and hills surrounding the arm. In July 2011, I drove with my friend, Riley from British Columbia as the Municipal roads were being paved for the very first time (See photos in post: http://liveruralnl.com/2011/07/26/offer-more-grants-to-towns-less-grants-to-big-business/). However, there is still needed infrastructure when it comes to road repairs to Route 432 and Route 433 to help drive passenger traffic to this community, as well as addition of high-speed Internet. I encourage you to sign petitions by clicking here. Let’s do this together!

Bide Arm is certainly beautiful beyond the summer months. As recent as this past week one could see the bright leaves as they have changed colour and the peaceful surroundings of a small Town that has so much to offer. If you have been to Bide Arm, share your experience. If not, please add it to your places to go…

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Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North
 
Recommended Reads:
Scenic Pursuit Boat Tours- Tourism at its Finest.

Underground Salmon Pool, Roddickton-Bide Arm, NL

Winter road to Roddickton-Bide Arm

Roddickton Come Home Year Exudes Community Spirit

It’s All About Regional Marketing

 

Scenic Hay Cove – Your Northern Coffee Experience

Hay Cove is a tiny fishing village on the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula, located just minutes from L’Anse aux Meadows World UNESCO site, where the vikings were the first Europeans to re-discover North America.

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The population is not large, the census notes just 32 residents. However, these are likely not year-round livyers. Yet for a tiny community, there are three Bed & Breakfasts (Marilyn’s Hospitality Home. Viking Nest B&B and Viking Village B&B), walking trails, icebergs and a newly opened coffee-house that offers freshly brewed coffee, espresso and other drinks from flavored beans and at times entertainment. I look forward to getting a fresh cup of coffee when next in Hay Cove.

During my last visit, I was pleasantly surprised by freshly baked cinnamon roles at Mrs. Hedderson’s house when visiting residents. They were delicious.

It is great to see local residents of Hay Cove create small business and expand local opportunities. This region is supported by a strong local independent business community. Let’s build stronger communities and create new opportunities.

Plan you trip to the Great Northern Peninsula today!

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Town Infrastructure Vital to Rural Economic Growth – Conche Roads Dire

Conche, NL just hosted a successful week of Come Home Year events, where hundreds of Die Hard Conchers’ came back to celebrate the place they call home.

As visitors turned off to Route 434 (Conche Road) they hit a very dusty gravel road that is wearing away to the bedrock. It has been a complete failure of current and past Governments to address the need to remove this gravel road from Provincial inventory. Despite rebuilding and realignment of this road in the mid-2000′s, the current Government has not committed to completing the job of paving the highway. This is coupled with the decision-making of cutting the calcium chloride program means more dust will leave the highway, creating unsafe driving conditions. Each passing day without paving Government is not getting best value for our tax dollars. This 17.6 KM of gravel needs pavement and we’ll continue to press Government to make this a priority.

The unpaved and dusty Route 434 to Conche:

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The pavement before Town that was not re-surfaced:

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Last year, Government re-surfaced 5 kilometers of road through Town which is of Provincial responsibility that was announced in July 2011 that did not get complete in that fiscal year. The Great Northern Peninsula continues to see late tender announcements and work happening very late in the year or carried over. Government voted against our caucus Private Member’s Motion regarding transportation strategy http://www.nlndpcaucus.ca/nr042413VoteAgainstStrategy.

This 5 KM of Provincial road should not have required repaving, at least not in less than 4 years since it was first paved. It was actually part of a pilot project announced in June 2007 cost shared between the Town and the Department of Municipal Affairs. At the time it was a 75-25 ratio meaning the Town chipped in nearly $125,000 to see this and it’s Town roads paved using this bituminous surface treatment (BST). It was supposed to be cost-effective and prolong the life of a highway. It failed and it left the Town in crisis because it had invested 25% and was left in just a couple of years with paved roads in worse condition than a gravel road, that the Town could not maintain. To make matters worse, shortly after this investment by the Town, the Government changed it’s municipal cost-sharing agreement to a 90-10. This small Town expended a large sum of money and is left with crumbling infrastructure.

I took a some photos of a few kilometers into Town, coupled with some scenic shots. The stops were quite frequent as the lower roads are deplorable condition and it would take more time to fully document condition of all Town roads.

Brush clearing and completion of line painting must occur and be completed earlier in the year, not still pending in mid-August.

Town infrastructure is vital to rural economic growth. The re-surfacing on Conche road was needed and Government at that time should have also re-surfaced the failed pilot project for Town roads.

The Town of Conche sees thousands of tourists annually and could easily be branded as a “tourism destination” with unique scenery, the French Shore, cruise ship visits, vernacular architecture and numerous attractions. It also has an active fish plant that sees product and workers commuting over this route. Development of Conche is being stagnated due to poor road infrastructure – it’s time for change.

I welcome any investment Government will make into our Municipal and Provincial road infrastructure in the District, as there are significant needs.

We need multi-year planning and create an economic master plan. I look forward to continuing these conversations with my constituents to redefine rural Newfoundland & Labrador.

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Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Roddickton Come Home Year Exudes Community Spirit

Come Home Year is about bringing together a community, instilling pride in one’s roots, as well as meeting old friends and making new ones in a place that is familiar, a place we call “home”.

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Over the past few weeks, it was quite evident to see the beautiful Town of Roddickton come to life in preparation for the festivities with banners, flags, flower bins and static displays on lawns as the big day drew nearing. The committee, comprised of dedicated volunteers worked diligently over the last year to make this unforgettable week possible. Laura Rowsell, Committee Chair and her team are true organizers and community leaders. They deserve the utmost praise for their commitment to the community and showing when a few people come together for the common good – all things are possible.

Roddickton Come Home Year had registered more than 1,700 people for the occasion,  which more than doubled the Town’s population of 800 plus permanent residents.

It all started this past Monday with a parade. How time certainly flies when you are having fun! I had the pleasure of watching the floats as they crossed roadways in Town for more than hour with the RCMP leading the charge. This massive parade included the Shriners and their mini vehicles, clowns and impressive floats. The parade began with “The Hancocks” and their step back in time display with an old stove baking bread, washing clothes and hanging it out to dry and enjoying a cup of tea in traditional attire. They would later go on to win the $500 prize for best float. The parade also had a uniquely crafted “Lukey’s Boat”, Charlie’s Chili was being served to those watching at roadside, the giant moose with no hunting sign (given Roddickton is known as, “moose capital of the world”) also made an appearance, the recreation committee, local business like Liberty Tax Service and Mayflower Outfitters and many others joined the festivities.

This was followed by the official opening, that had a big crowd piled into the arena for Opening Ceremonies. I brought greetings on behalf of the people in the District and looked forward to the week ahead. It certainly did not disappoint. After a feed of fish cakes at AJs Diner, that evening, I took in the Memorial Tree Lighting Service.

On Tuesday, I arrived for some of the children’s day activities. The arena was a kid’s oasis, with bouncy castles, mascots, painting, cotton candy, games and lots of fun. I enjoyed the afternoon chatting with constituents and had a lovely traditional meal of baked beans, stuffed squid, pea soup, fish n’ brewis and pie with some 500 people at the arena. This was followed by a talent show to my estimation likely drew 1,500 people – filling chairs, bleachers and standing areas. It clearly showed the diverse vocal and musical talents of the local people. The roars and cheers were tremendous.

Wednesday boasted a craft fair, which I purchased a lovely handmade Christmas mummer ornament for my tree with “Roddickton, NL” written on it and a tall mummer with a harmonica. Fitting the day before, I bought a tartan scarf with the whale tail and words Newfoundland & Labrador embroidered. I also spent some time watching the ball hockey tournament at Cloud River Academy before heading into Englee to visit constituents.

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Thursday was a Teddy Bear Picnic at the Farm. Weather completely co-operated on this day and I took some time to relax and enjoy the view near the World War II Radar Site on the Farm. If you have not been, I highly recommend the picnic area and day park. It is a great piece of community infrastructure to enjoy. Next there was the duck race at Eastern Brook. It was exiting to see people gather in crowds near the old swimming spot! I then took a tour at Elsie Reid’s, Blast from the Past Walking Trail, which I wrote about previously. I highly recommend seeing it and also purchasing some herbs or other all-natural products. I then toured the White Bay Central Health Centre, Roddickton Fire Department, Cloud River Academy and Green Moose Interpretation Centre.

Friday, proved to be another fabulous day as I visited residents in Bide Arm and watched some of the large-scale 11 team volleyball tournament. This was followed by a grand Christmas Dinner. I attended Gospel Fest that evening and was blown away once again by the local talent, especially Benjamin on the keyboard and the singing of Karla. We even have some very promising youth in the single digits doing solos and performing as a team. The future of music looks quite bright in the Roddickton area.

Today is Lumberjack Day, to recognize the town was built around its rich forestry resources. It is certainly overdue for Government of NL to announce its intentions of the Central Timber allocation to create an opportunity for the Roddickton Pellet Plant to ship in conjunction with an outfit in Central, retain and grow regional employment. We have a rich resource, that can add significant value to the local and international economy. Anything less, is a clear indication the current Governing party has abandoned the Town of Roddickton and surrounding communities, including the businesses that are directly or indirectly linked to the forest industry.

I’m looking forward to the events tomorrow, it should be another fabulous day to clue up a true community success for 2013. There will be memories made that will last a lifetime. I’ve only heard positive remarks from those I have spoken too about their Come Home Year experience. Like your theme, I believe you have “Awaken (Awoke) the Giant”. I commend the volunteers for making this possible and hope they consider hosting another in the next five years. Conche has just hosted their very impressive week of Come Home Year activities and this Monday is also the beginning of Savage Cove Come Home Year!

I encourage other communities to do the same. It brings tremendous benefits to a region and builds community spirit.

Remember those who can – do. Those who do more – volunteer!

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

Blast from the Past Walking Trail

Roddickton population has more than doubled over the past week as part of the Come Home Year celebration activities. I have been taking in much of the festivities and will be posting photos and a blog soon to give everyone an update as it has been a highly spirited week. Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to meet Elsie Reid and take her “Blast from the Past” walking trail.

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I met Elsie a couple of years ago, and it was clear her passion for gardening. She has taken this passion and turned it into something unique for the community to enjoy by creating an “open air” museum with static displays that depict rural living. You can click the photos below, but there is no substitute for experiencing in-person the peaceful walk along the forested trail.

Elsie and her husband, Calvin, have volunteered many long hours building a greenhouse, herb garden, bird area, and the heritage walking trail. There are many contributors that have donated items to make this all possible in memory of loved ones and other townspeople, family and friends.

The guided walk begins at the wishing well, where you can drop a coin to make a wish. Next there is a boat, that Elsie salvaged from being burned and was now given a new home. Ironically, this boat was owned by her father and was made about 30 years ago. There are bicycles, an outhouse, Christmas mummers, pot belly stove, saws, trunks and many other household items along the way. I enjoyed the comment, when Elsie pointed to a steel bed frame filled will blooming flower pots and said, “and here is my bed of flowers”.

As the former owner and operator of a museum that depicted rural living on the Great Northern Peninsula, I can truly appreciate the effort and uniqueness that this will bring to the Town of Roddickton. This is truly a project that has taken on a life of its own with bright coloured paint, recycling and reusing of materials, such as old tires and clothing to create flower pots and the preservation of people’s memories.

At the end of the tour, Elsie takes you into her greenhouse, showing the herbs and plants she is growing. She has only the freshest of herbs: parsley, spearmint, peppermint, rosemary, savory, marjoram and others. As well, all natural bug spray, lip balms, foot and body cream, stuffed animals and some handmade knitted items.

I purchased several herbs and look forward to a nice cup of spearmint and lemon tea. Your hobby and your passions are incredible business opportunities. Ms. Reid has the potential to sell fresh herbs to local restaurants, grocery stores and specialty outlets. Her all-natural bug spray could be commercialized, as it would have great appeal in the marketplace as we strive to reduce the contact our body has with chemicals. There is also a natural tourism component to the walking trail and resting areas. Ms. Reid could set up an outdoor tea room, where her herbal and natural teas are for sale, while viewing the bird area. She is a wealth of experience, known as the “Garden Lady”, she could teach others how to garden and produce local herbs and natural products that will help us all live healthier lives.

We have great potential on the Great Northern Peninsula because we have incredible people, with ideas, a rich vibrant history and natural landscape. If you have an idea, take that initiative and start something for others to enjoy.

Blast from the Past Walking Trail can be found in Roddickton before the Apostolic Faith Church on the left coming into Town. There is a sign on the property. I truly hope you enjoy as much as I did.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

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Seeking a Unique Rural Experience? Raleigh has your Answer

The Raleigh Traditional Fishing Village is a unique rural experience. You can experience life as a fisher with an overnight stay in a bunk house. These hostel-style rooms have bunk beds for eight with feather mattresses and a wood stove for heat. There are no modern luxuries of television on site, but real rustic comfort. I hope to overnight there before the season ends, if not there is always next year.

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Raleigh is a place where you can get away from it all and truly enjoy some serene rest and relaxation. This traditional fishing village operated by the Raleigh Historical Society offers guided tours of the “fishing rooms” and provides opportunities to make a net, craft your own oar or prepare the boat. The society also teaches traditional rug hooking, offers boat tours, hiking tours, provides traditional meals and crafts. One can purchase a package at: http://www.raleighhistoricvillage.com/accommodations.php.

NDP Leader Lorraine Michael & I toured the offering at the fishing village on July 28th. It was evident that new marketing and cross-promotion needs to happen to see this site fully utilized within the season. This type of adventure and cultural tourism is a unique product offering on the Great Northern Peninsula. It has potential to be enlarged, create further employment and lasting experiences.

 

Last September on a visit to Iceland, they offered a package of “You can be a fisherman”, which consisted of living at a fishers home, eating traditional meals, touring a fish plant and also having the opportunity to spend a day or two out in boat with a fisher.

People are coming to rural communities craving authentic experiences. The people of the urban world are flocking to rural Newfoundland & Labrador, as they want to relax and learn something on their travels. We must find a way to reduce barriers that limit tourist from having a fishing experience, with real fishers in rural NL. There are mechanisms to make fisheries-tourism synergies work. This can create a win-win situation for Raleigh fishers and tourism operators in the region. Let’s work together to find the solutions. This is one of the many things to experience when visiting the Great Northern Peninsula! Be sure to add Raleigh Fishing Village to your list!

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

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Burnt Cape Ecological Reserve needs Interpretation restored.

Budget 2013 saw the ax fall on Burnt Cape Ecological Reserve, Raleigh with the Minister of Environment & Conservation showing no remorse for not ensuring both the protection and education of the Province’s newest ecological reserve. The loss of two interpretation positions, left the site without any staff to provide educational tours and be visible on site daily. It is quite a contradiction to the Government sign posted en route to the site, as they clearly do not see the importance of protection, preserving and educating others about our natural treasures:

Burnt Cape is one of the most important botanical sites in the Province. Its unique landscape, cold climatic conditions, and calcium rich soil allow northern plant species to grow in a rich and rare variety. The reserve is home to more than 300 species of plants, over 30 of which are rare.

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The Department of Environment & Conservation is failing to live up to ensuring the protection, preservation and education of this site, evident from lack of maintenance on the gravel road, no signage directing to the Reserve once in the Town of Raleigh, lack of restroom facilities and refuge containers. I have been actively reaching out to groups, organizations and individuals to help this cause and press Government to reverse this decision.

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NDP Leader Lorraine Michael and I (MHA, The Straits-White Bay North) visited the site. It is with regret that interpretative tours were not restored, as this was not deemed a priority from the Minister of Environment & Conservation. Despite a barrage of emails with compelling arguments that were sent to him, the Premier, Minister of Tourism and myself calling for the reinstatement of these knowledgeable guides. They have ignored the call from Nature Conservancies, Environmental Awareness Groups, Ph. D holders, experts and concerned citizens from Newfoundland & Labrador, other parts of Canada and the United States of America. This only tarnishes our reputation of preservation, protection and education with the international community.

There has been much irreparable damage done already to the site, with vehicles unknowingly parked on rare plants like the Longs and Fernalds  braya, to more direct movements of rocks and tire tracks that clearly illustrate a vehicle has driven over a protected area. In addition, visitors to the region are losing out on the experience of what Burnt Cape offers and some are opting not to even bother. The lack of interpretative tours leaves very important details and information of such a provincial treasure. Unless you are an expert in botany, this reserve has lost much of its meaning to the general populace with an interest to explore, learn and understand the uniqueness of this protected area on the Great Northern Peninsula.

The Minister noted about 500 people visited the site annually. It is clear there are many vehicles and people visiting the site on this Sunday afternoon. I believe the stat of visitors to the site is likely understated. Nevertheless, these well-trained guides should never have seen their jobs eliminated.

The Raleigh Historical Society Inc. has applied for permits to have its staff and vehicle bring people to the site during the season. They have stepped up, although it will be a reduced service without the knowledge of trained guides.

Government must also step up. I encourage you to email: Minister Tom Hedderson, Environment & Conservation (thedderson@gov.nl.ca) and myself, Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA (cmitchelmore@gov.nl.ca). We must continue to voice our discontent of this decision that is leading to the destruction of a geological, botanical and pale-ontological treasure.

Thank you for any support you can provide.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

A Few Snaps of “the Beauty Spot of the North”

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Conche is tagged as “The Beauty Spot of the North”. It is nestled at the edge of the Great Northern Peninsula East and is home to 181 residents, but there are hundreds more ‘Die hard Conchers’ out there and many are home to celebrate Come Home Year of 2013. It truly is a magical place.

This fishing community has a beacon of activity from an extremely active fish plant, that employs people throughout the region. The fish must be trucked in and trucked out of a dusty gravel road. There is constant commuting and significant economic benefits that Conche has contributed to the economy over the years. There must be serious consideration given to Government to pave the remaining 17.4 KM of gravel road.

Conche has also transitioned to be a sought after tourism destination. It is at the heart of the French Shore, with an interpretation centre, 222-ft tapestry depicting the history of the French Shore, textile exhibits, WWII memorial, archaeology digs, cafe, writer’s retreat, B&B, playground, walking trails, icebergs, bird and whale watching, as well as much more activity from talented artists, writers, singers, dancers, crafters and more.

The community understands it must add new economic opportunities by working to establish a fully functional RV site,  beach volleyball and other recreational services. It has carefully placed yellow chairs around viewing areas of the Town. This is similar to an initiative that Gros Morne National Park has done for its 35th Anniversary. These are important and relatively low-cost initiatives that make a community more inviting and tourist friendly. There are storyboards and panels and certainly more room for murals.

I am encouraged  by the economic drive of such a small community. There is much room for growth. It is persevering, despite continuous neglect and inaction from Government that treats residents and road users of Route 434  as second-class citizens. It is unacceptable in 2013 to be driving over a gravel road with no calcium chloride program. Government has invested $6M a few years ago to re-build and re-align this road. Each year there is no pavement,  this investment is being eroded to the bedrock and will cost more to complete. We need better, multi-year planning to protect our investments. Conche road should have been paved years ago.

Please contact Hon. Paul Davis, Minister of Transportation & Works at padavis@gov.nl.ca asking him to take the necessary action to pave Route 434.

It’s Time!

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Bell Island has many stories to tell…

Bell Island has murals that tell stories around the communities. I am always impressed by those that have murals or art on their buildings. I think our communities on the Great Northern Peninsula could paint murals on Town Buildings, Public spaces, sheds and other areas that tell our storied past that built our region.

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One can clearly see a mural on the Wabana Fire Department. This Department in recent weeks celebrated 100 years in operations. This centennial is a milestone! There have been many fires over the years on Bell Island and many brave souls that have stepped up to put those fires out. We have to commend our volunteer firefighters in Newfoundland & Labrador. They do an amazing service and are on call 24/7 without pay.

I love the geography, geology and views of Bell Island. They are just impressive. There are lots of sea caves, caverns and old mine shafts, given the iron ore mines ran for more than 70 years.

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The lighthouse on Bell Island, has been moved from its original location. As you can see its current placement is not along shores edge. There is Transport Canada signs warning of unstable rock in the area. I do hope this site gets renovated to become a fully operational tourist attraction. I feel all nostalgic for all things rural when I see a lighthouse and recognize the important role they played for safety. I only hope we see Flower’s Island Lighthouse become a fully functional tourist attraction near Flower’s Cove on the Great Northern Peninsula.

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Bell Island, like any region of our province has many stories to tell. I hope you and others take the time to visit this area, as well as the Great Northern Peninsula on your next visit.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

I found “Love” in St. Lewis…

Rural communities have resilience, and incredible potential. I was truly inspired on June 1st by individuals I met that Saturday in St. Lewis, Labrador.

I really found a love for this place as the people welcomed me into their homes and shared their talents, passions and past times with me and my colleague, Jason Spingle.

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There are few places remaining in this province where one will see a wooden canoe being custom-built as a past time by a young man in the community. He may get his inspiration and talent from the senior boat builder in the family, who took time to show the newest wooden flat. We were told, he tends to make at least one a year for the past few decades. My dad was a boat builder. I remember him making his last flat bottom boat in my uncle’s store in the late 1990′s. There are many skills my father possessed that I would love to have. There is still time for me to learn, but the task much more difficult when the one with such influence and the skill has passed on. I encourage youth to learn skills of their parents and elders in the community. There is nothing positive that will come from letting rural tradition die.

The views of St. Lewis from the waterfront is captivating. There is no question about the community being built from a fishing history despite a recent plant closure. Warrick and Elaine are working tirelessly on restoring the family fishing premises and focusing as well on growing local foodstuffs. They proudly showed us the collection of fishing tools, nets, punt and outer buildings they revitalizing in the area. They have planted berry bushes and trees that are growing, although the raspberries are not bearing fruit, the blackberry bushes have netted about 24 quarts of berries. Placed next to the orange shed were fish pans and buckets lined with produce. The benches and gentle waves make it the perfect place to sit down with a book and cup of coffee, as one would watch the sunrise or sunset. A little closer to their home they have a herb garden and strawberry patch. Warrick has quite the talent when it comes to placing stone; there is even a heart. One can sense the passion for renewal and revival of community from these two resilient individuals as we chatted about future opportunities and community economic development.

It was quite easy to find “Love” in St. Lewis. I have many more memories of meeting people and I’m forever richer because of this experience. I look forward to another visit to St. Lewis in the future and I encourage others to see opportunity in their community. Small contributions of new development go a long way to rural revitalization.

We need more restoration, community gardens, viewing vistas and experiences that share culture and learning with locals and visitors in our very own regions. Let’s share our talent, passion, past time and love of where we live with others.

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

 

 

Seals on the Ice

Last Sunday, I had left my home to drive to grandmother’s house in Nameless Cove for a big turkey dinner on Easter Sunday. Driving through the community, I saw a black spot on the ice.

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The seal is at the edge of the beach.

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Another seal is close to shore, as pack ice had blocked the Strait of Belle Isle. The land in the background, well that’s “The Big Land” – Labrador. I’m not sure people believe me when I saw, “I can see Labrador from my window,” but it is true.  Just a short 15 kilometres between us and still no plan to connect us by a fixed-link. Advancing transportation and telecommunication networks will be key to Southern Labrador and the Great Northern Peninsula‘s future long-term sustainability. Quebec is completing Route 138 (Lower North Shore Highway), this means Montreal will be just 13 hours drive from this province. It will transform the shipping of goods and services. The current administration promised a feasibility study – a link has not yet materialized. Instead it has opted to build a multi-billion dollar energy project, laying cables on the ocean floor that will interfere with our way of life, the fishery – our mainstay, versus going underground with a tunnel. It was noted in a pre-feasibility study that if both projects were paired, savings of nearly $400 million would be realized. More work is needed exploring a fixed-link, but advancing transportation networks is imminent, we can not continue to be plagued with annual increased rates at Marine Atlantic and an unreliable schedule for shipment of goods and services. These costs are ultimately passed on to the consumer.  We need to be more strategic and consider where we need to go over the long-term, but not forget our roots – our beginnings.

Seals played a critical role in the development of our as a permanent settlement. In the early 1800′s they were a major food source, as the island had only 9 types of mammalia. Additionally, as a British Colony, we shipped both whale and seal oil to the homeland. This oil was used in lamps and correlated with the Industrial Revolution. Today, this product is banned in the United Kingdom.

It will be another couple of days before the sealers take to the ice. I wish much success in this years hunt, as the seal provides valuable meat, oils and pelts that are harvested in a humane and sustainable way. Sealing is part of our tradition, and will continue to remain that way well into the future.

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
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