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The Fire Still Burns – Conche, NL

The fire still burns in the small town of Conche, Newfoundland on the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula East. This community has embraced its storied past, which includes early visits from the French through the migratory fishery in the 17 and 18 hundreds to their shores. On a recent visit, the French Shore Interpretation Centre had their French oven lit, in preparation for a tour group to their Centre.

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The census may list the population of Conche at 181 people, but there is much more support than that for the survival of this small Town. The people of this community are hardworking, resourceful and full of hospitality.

An active fish plant, Conche Seafoods Ltd., employs dozens of people from across the Great Northern Peninsula and parts of Western Newfoundland. This fishing Town is bucking the trend and seeing increased activity and additional employment, not less. A recent tender was called by DFO for wharf expansion and improvements in the range of up to $1 million. All signs of a strong economy. Each year hundreds of commercial trucks travel over a 17.6 KM gravel road. It is long overdue the provincial Government live up to its commitment and pave Route 434.

The community is supported by a strong local business community and amenities for residents and visitors to engage.

Museums and Heritage Facilities include:

  • Casey House Artist Retreat, the French Shore Interpretation Centre
  • A traditional harbour lighthouse
  • Remains of a World War II Boston BZ277 plane crash
  • The Casey Store, a Registered Heritage Structure – one of the oldest fisheries buildings remaining on the French Shore, and Martinique Bay, the site of a 1707 confrontation between English warships and the trapped French fleet – a designated Site of Historic Significance
  • Chaloupe Exhibit
  • Crouse Beach – a half-buried flat pebble beach that was the site of a vast French codfish drying operation in the 19th century. The beach offers a view of picturesque wharves in Southwest Crouse
  • Boat tours can be arranged upon request

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Recreation Facilities:

  • Conche Ball Field
  • Conche Playground
  • RV and Camp site
  • Beach Volleyball area
  • Array of walking trails

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Religious Institutions:
  • Roman Catholic Church
  • Parish Hall
Schools:
  • Sacred Heart All Grade
  • Northern Peninsula Family Resource Centre

Business:

  • Bits-n-Pieces Cafe
  • Bed & Breakfast
  • Convenience Store
  • Lounge
  • Fish plant

Municipal:

  • Town Hall
  • Volunteer Fire Department

The community also has unique vernacular architecture you basically wont see in other communities on the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula. Traditional stick homes are still fashionable here and  full of colour!

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Artists and artisans can thrive in Conche. They have talented painters, authors, storytellers, dancers and folk signers that will gladly put on a performance. Summer is when Conche truly comes to life. In 2013, Conche celebrated a successful Come Home Year bringing hundreds of residents home. The committed volunteers truly make amazing things happen in small communities. The Annual Garden party is certainly a wonderful experience for anyone wanting an authentic rural experience.

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Only a few kilometres away in Roddickton-Bide Arm is a 24/7 health centre, banking, Government services and a suite of retail, manufacturing and other small businesses. Partnerships have also been established with the Mayflower Inn & Adventures to provide zodiac tours and cross-promote regional tourism.

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Conche benefits from strong organization (especially from their Town Council past and present), an ability to embrace their past and ability provide the services any small community would want and ensure their local businesses are supported. This is the only way in which our small communities will survive and thrive. It must be through local innovation and a strong will to give back to your friends and neighbours to ensure the services we want and expect can be provided. Small business is certainly a means to rural communities growing.

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Conche is one of those towns that has incredible potential to be further developed. More than 2,000 tourists go out of their way to trek down this gravel road on the Great Northern Peninsula East to visit this picturesque town. It has worked hard to establish itself as a destination. Conche is on the map for so many reasons.  The establishment of the French Shore Interpretation Centre has truly helped accelerate this growth.

A 222-foot tapestry on Jacobian linen depicts the history of the French Shore. It is proudly on display, designed by J.C. Roy and made by the women of Conche. This summer there centre spent close to a year developing 9 new exhibits that remember the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht. This now has the potential to travel the province or other parts of the world as a touring exhibit to further promote the community of Conche. These initiatives are building blocks to growing a rural community.

 

Conche is truly a destination on the Great Northern Peninsula that must be visited an experienced by residents and visitors alike. There is potential for new business endeavors in town and more development. Their success can be replicated! Let’s keep working together to build stronger communities.

Rural success is occurring! The fire still burns…

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Grandois to host Come Home Year in 2015

The census lists the population of Grandois (St. Julien’s, used interchangeably) at 50, but there are far fewer reside there today. I visited this picturesque community a few weeks ago and took in a service at St. St. William’s Church which overlooks the harbour.

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St. William’s Church houses a wooden folk altar built by Jack Fitzgerald in the early 1900s. The intricate details was carved by a pocketknife. It is a wonderful piece of history and depicts the talents of the people in the region.

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The community is steeped in French history and has beautiful walking trails that lead you to old French fishing sites, such as French Point. There are tent platforms, barbecue pits and picnic tables along some of the trails. Visitors can also experience St. Julien’s Island, Fischot Islands and Harbour de Vieux, which were re-settled communities. A boat tour can be arranged in summer, which may include up close views of icebergs and whales.

Additionally, the community Grandois (St. Julien’s) sits on an abandoned copper mine that has been re-discovered in recent years with high concentrations of deposits. The population would drastically increase for this and surrounding communities with the development of a commercial mine. There are lots of untapped mining exploration on the Great Northern Peninsula, waiting to be unearthed.

 

I would encourage people to experience the beauty of this tiny community, which requires nearly 30 km travel over a gravel road (Route 438 Croque road) off Route 432 near Town of Main Brook. Grandois will host Come Home Year from July 17-20th, 2015 and it surely will be a wonderful celebration of community and place. Population may increase or surpass historic highs.  I look forward to it!

Big things happen in small communities.

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Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

 

French Shore Historical Society adds vibrancy to Conche

Conche is a small fishing Town of less than 200 residents on the Northern Peninsula East, primary of those with Irish Catholic descent. This community is rebounding from economic instability. In recent years it is home to a very active fish plant and the community has re-branded itself as a tourism destination.

The French Shore Historical Society was formed in 2000 as a non-profit corporation to preserve, interpret and promote the history of the French Shore for education and economic development. This very active Society worked with the Town to turn a former Grenfell nursing station into an Interpretation Centre, studio and office space. This turquoise and brown building stands out and marks the culture and long past of the settlement, first inhabited by migratory French fishermen.

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A tour of the museum contains French & English panels, artifacts and displays. The impressive 222-foot tapestry, the only of its kind in North America is on display. This Bayeux stitched masterpiece was more than 3 years in the making and can be viewed exclusively in Conche, NL depicting the history of the Great Northern Peninsula with a focus on the French migratory fishery to current day.

The Society has been focused on textiles and product development. It hopes to expand its property as it reaches out for investment to expand the property to better display this Tapestry and permit space to focus on its Centre for Textile Arts. A number of art classes, basket weaving, bread making and embroidery have taken place at the centre.

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It has partnered with the regional Iceberg Festival to host a day long session. You too could take a class and learn to stitch your own Viking ship. The Society also does framed pieces upon request or for purchase in their gift shop. The gift shop is typically commissioned-based, but has a host of items, from the colourful codfish t-shirts, mugs, coasters to La Mousses (handmade French fishermen dolls), knitted items, amigurumi animals, post cards, greeting cards, soaps, books and other treasures.

In the studio, three of the nine commemorative panels that will form part of a travelling exhibit for the 300th Anniversary of the Treaty of Ultrecht are complete. Workers here in Conche, as well as Englee are producing these masterpieces, as part of a project funded through Job Creation Partnerships (JCP) through the Department of Advanced Education & Skills. This is a great investment, as it provides unique training and skill development to those participating in the project and will lead to other product development opportunities in utilizing this skill set. Additionally, the Exhibit will tour the province for other communities and regions to benefit. It is preserving, interpreting and promoting our history. There will be net benefits from this project on a much broader scale. These opportunities, will also create new opportunities for Conche, the Great Northern Peninsula and the Province.

Additionally, on site there is a French oven, work station, French boat  and look-out with viewing area. Also when in the community, tour it for a unique outdoor textile exhibit. This is not my first post of the French Shore, nor do I hope my last. The French Shore takes in more communities than just Conche and surely could be expanded to include more of “Petit Nord” on the Great Northern Peninsula. This is a community-based organization that is having a positive impact and must be expanded upon. It like many non-profits needs assistance, if you have an idea, visit http://www.frenchshore.com.

My hometown of Green Island Cove and many others have an opportunity to reach out, collaborate and do something creative to add vibrancy to our communities. There a possibilities for development in our small rural communities, the French Shore is one of our many success stories and a must see on your destination.

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Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North 

Mat Hooking Exhibition at Englee Worth the Visit

The Town of Englee is actively pursuing new economic opportunities and is the new home to an Exhibition of Hooked Mats at the Municipal Building depicting daily life, culture and heritage of the community.

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Funded through a Targeted Initiative for Older Workers (TIOW) program a couple of years ago, workers from Englee learned traditional mat hooking skills, as well as other textiles of knitting, embroidery, sewing and fabric works. It is positive to see a cultural tourism element added to the Town that will help regional tourism as the Northern Peninsula East Heritage Cluster continues to grow. Well posted signs in both English and French are at roadside and on the Town Hall. There is no fee for viewing these mats, but donations are certainly accepted. The Town has produced some of the pieces of artwork into matted and unmatted prints for retail.

I had the opportunity to view the exhibitions of colourful homes, fish drying on flakes, work & play, resettlement, mummering, landscapes and other aspects of daily life in the Town of Englee through art. A mat hooked in 1939 was also showcased, which pre-dates the Town (incorporated 1945). These are certainly treasures, both old and new.

The Town also is working with the French Shore Historical Society as a local worker is producing very detailed tapestry that will be part of a nine piece series of a travelling exhibit commemorating the 300 years since the Treaty of Ultrecht. An office space has been converted to a workers studio as she Bayeux stitch of the “Crown Jewels“. A follow-up post will provide additional details about these new tapestry developments.

The Town of Englee is to be commended for their vision, efforts and willingness to partner. It is positive to see new additions to our small communities. We should embrace our culture, heritage, history and tell stories through art. Each community in the District has a unique opportunity to do something creative that will help our region further develop.

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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

Inspired by our Lifestyle & Fishing Heritage

The Great Northern Peninsula has been known as “Petit Nord“, it has been inhabited by the Aboriginals, Vikings, Recent Indians, Basques, French, Irish, Scottish and English settlers. Life has existed because of the fishery, and continues even today.

Products created by local artists dominate my office at the confederation building and complement our rich fishing heritage. Hanging on the wall is an original painting done by Danny Rose that depicts Flower’s Island Lighthouse and continues to include an iceberg and shipping vessel. The lighthouse played a critical role for safety, with radio operators on-site as well.

The fishers are splitting their fish, near Noddy Bay on the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula in another. This piece was done by William Bartlett. The artwork has a very unique look, especially when you take a closer look at the facial expressions of people.

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My most recent purchase is “Le Mousse”, the French fisherman. I purchased this on-site at the French Shore Interpretation Centre’s Guardian Gift Shop in Conche, NL (www.frenchshore.com). This was created by the very talented Loretta Decker of L’Anse aux Meadows. She is much better at staging her photos, so I borrowed this image (full credit to Loretta Decker below). I’m told this fisher could resemble me, you will have to be the judge.

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Ms. Decker also does Viking Troll dolls. Images can be found at Norstead Viking Village Inc.’s Facebook Page. We must support our local artists and craft producers. Their ideas and creativity touch the lives of many and do so much more to promote the region, its history, heritage, people and culture.

We must continue to develop unique products that illustrate our rich and vibrant culture on the Great Northern Peninsula. It can be done. There are lots of new opportunities to create, market and share the wonderful stories of our past, present and future.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Community Spirit Soars in Town of Main Brook

The Town of Main Brook may have a small population of about 250 people, but it soars with community spirit. The Come Home Year Celebration brought hundreds of people back home in 2012 and it was evident that residents and those with a connection to the community are there to support it. It is quite exciting to see the Town, Recreation Committee, Development Association, Come Home Year Committee, businesses, residents and others are pooling together to raise the roof to building a community centre. Working together, sharing resources is the best way to reach a common goal! All the volunteers deserve a big round of applause. The workers are doing a wonderful job in putting together the building in bone chilling temperatures.

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It is important for any community to have a meeting place for friends and family to gather. This will piece of infrastructure will certainly help attract more families and retirees to this tiny town that has a K-12 school, service station, meat shop, wilderness resort, accommodations, food services, sawmill, grocery store, fire department, fish plant, post office, liquor store, development association, Town council (water & sewer services), high speed Internet, cell coverage, near airport and larger business centres of Roddickton-Bide Arm and St. Anthony.

Main Brook is a part of the French Shore, with a presence of French before the English settlers. People came to Main Brook because of the rich forest resources. Bowater‘s created a company town in the 1940’s. The population grew to more than 300 and Government appointed a town council prior to confederation. The economy thrived for decades with several expansions, until a downturn in markets and new technologies would devastate this one-industry Town in the late 60’s, early 70’s.

There appears to be such a rich history around the Bowater lumber camps. I remember my grandfather telling me stories of his days with Bowaters. It would be an interesting economic development to re-create the Bowater lumber camps as a new economic driver. One could learn about the forest industry of years gone by, get fed at the cookhouse, sleep in the bunkhouse and also spend some time learning to saw a cord of wood. This would pair well with the outdoor hunting, fishing and recreational experiences this town offers locals and tourists. It may be time to create an open-air museum and re-visit our roots.

The Town has not been sitting idle with an active sawmill that has been in the Coates’ family for generations. In addition, it has transitioned to be an inclusive fishing community, where a number of residents and those from surrounding area maintain seasonal employment at a local fish plant.

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There are many unique photo opportunities when you drive around this planned community. Bring your camera!

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You will find no homes for sale, but land is available and there are planned sub-divisions. Get yourself a view of Hare Bay, bring your ideas and be a part of a community that has a lot of spirit.

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Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North
 
 
 


Related articles

Conche, Newfoundland & Labrador on a Winter’s Day

Conche, Newfoundland & Labrador is a Town of the Great Northern Peninsula that is tagged as “The Beauty Spot of the North”. It like Fogo Island, should be one of the Top 10 Destinations to visit in the World – rich in culture, vernacular architecture, French history and overflowing with local knowledge. This place does exist, so add it to your vacation in 2013!

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The view from the cove on a winter’s day can be enchanting…

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Conche is also a vibrant fishing community, with a number of small boat fishers and those harvesting shellfish. An active fish plant still is seeking employees based on advertisements in the local paper. What a wonderful community to be able to earn a living. Why not consider putting in an application at Conche Seafoods Ltd?

What a great view of Lar’s Place in the photo below:

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This wharf depicted below is a pleasure to view. It has since been updated with new lines as it continued to survive elements. The Newfoundland Flag has nearly been weathered away. Don’t despair though, from walking trails, snowmobiling and interactions with local Conchers will make the visit in winter well-worth the trip.

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If you cannot make a winter’s visit to Conche, NL, then drop by in summer. This Town is at the Heart of the French Shore (www.frenchshore.com) and 2013 is 300 years after the signing of the Treaty of Utrecht. It has North America’s only 222 ft tapestry on Jacobian-linen, make by local women depicting the culture, heritage and history on the French Shore and was designed by artist J.C. Roy. As well, July 25 -August 1, 2013 is Conche Come Home Year Celebration. It is not to be missed!

Newfoundland & Labrador Government must commit, develop a plan to pave Route 434 to Conche. It is a 17.6 KM gravel road that has received millions in realignment a few years ago. Without the hardtop, that invest is eroding down to the bedrock.

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Despite a gravel road, this Town is a destination – a must visit! While on the Great Northern Peninsula East, check out communities of Englee, Roddickton, Bide Arm, Main Brook, Croque & St. Julien’s-Grandois – you simply could not be disappointed. Experience the many wonders the Great Northern Peninsula has to offer.

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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!

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Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

World Renown Youth Choir Visits the Great Northern Peninsula

The Saltwater Joys – Tour of Newfoundland & Labrador presented by The Munich Youth Choir set the stage that drew a large audience at the Bird Cove Community Centre on Tuesday, August 2, 2011 at 7:00 PM.

It was wonderful to see nearly 200 people come out for this event that had limited marketing in the region.

They opened the event to all and accepted donations. It was nice to see the inclusiveness and variety of all age groups from a few years to the mid-eighties. I was fortunate to be able to sit in the audience. I have attended operas, musicals, theatres and other special performances in Europe; however, this was my first by youth. It was a very empowering experience!

A production that promotes the exchange and share of culture. We were greeted with German music, British, English, Japanese, Australian, African, Classical, Popular Culture and even tunes from Newfoundland & Labrador.

I was captivated by their rendition of “Yesterday” by the Beatles. For me this was completely unexpected. I really did not know the aptitude of this group and their talents. I was pleasantly surprised. They utilized different instruments, including a bone drum, tambourine and keyboard accordian. Celebrate Life made me smile, enough that I purchase their “Folk CD” and have played it in my car to and from work for more than 1 hour.

Music is the universal language – Re-quoted by Blair Gaulton, Tour Organizor

The Sister Act tunes really were upbeat! It was also a first hearing a song recited in Japanese. Although, I truly enjoyed hearing the Newfoundland Tunes of “Danny Boy“, “I’se da By’s” and one of my favourites “Saltwater Joys”.

They were impressive! It reminded me of being at the Opera House in Prague, Czech Republic watching a Grand Performance, when you realize that you are in Rural Newfoundland & Labrador at the local community centre. The World has come to us, to share with us their talents and we had the opportunity to share with this group from Munich the rural lifestyle. I have been on an exchange, lived, studies and travelled Europe visiting nearly 30 different countries and there is much value in meeting, learning and sharing ideas with others.

The Munich Youth Choir was given the opportunity to meet and hang out with locals, travel the peninsula, visit Icebergs and even meet Rose. Rose is a local resident, well – Crinkle Cove, I think? She provided some light hearted humour while the band played traditional Newfoundland & Labrador music including the “ugly stick”.

The group easily broke into dance with the group. There was much positive energy, harmony and happiness in the room with each others company. Rose lead the way to provide a re-vised version of the Screech-in, making each visitor an honourary Newfoundlander by dressing, dancing, eating, talking and drinking Purity Syrup and kissing a cod fish.

Pucker Up!

After 3 hours at the center, I was deeply rewarded for contributing my time and making a donation. In turn was exposed to music, art and culture from a very talented group of individuals. I had taken away many photos, a couple of cds and the cherished memories of being there for something wonderful.

Communities came together, people were happy and we have an opportunity for more growth. Rural Newfoundland & Labrador is a good venue beyond the large urban centres for culturally significant events and entertainment.

A special thank you to the Munich Youth Choir, organizers, sponsors and local groups such as the Big Droke Foundation. St. Barbe Development Association, Going Healthy Program – Bird Cove and the Town of Bird Cove.

For those of you that missed the performance, you can drop by sometime for a cup of tea from the Dark Tickle Company and listen to the music. There is opportuntiy for Rural Newfoundland & Labrador to exchange talents, hosting a multitude of learning vacations.

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Christopher C. Mitchelmore

Twitter/LiveRuralNL

Rural Communities are Stronger Together – Keep Government Accountable

On June 16, 2011 – Jim Diers writes “Building Strong Communities Means We Can Hold Government to Account” the complete article can be found at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/voluntary-sector-network/2011/jun/16/building-strong-communities-government-account

“Community is the engine room of people powered change; although there’s a role for government and other agencies with staff and budgets, there is no substitute for people identifying with and caring for one another and the place they share.” Jin Diers

The Great Northern Peninsula is stronger when we work together. Despite a small population and vast geographical distance, we have been overcoming barriers and working together in larger groups – with our partners. It is easier to reach our objectives, share-knowledge, skills and volunteers to achieve our goals for individual communities and regions.

One only has to look at St. Anthony Basin Resources Inc. (SABRI) to realize the success on can have when communities work in co-operation. I wrote an article on April 17, 2011 entitled, “Community Control Over Resources Leads to Greater Success in Rural NL (http://liveruralnl.com/2011/04/17/community-control-of-resources-leads-to-greater-success-in-rural-newfoundland/). In 1997, when the Federal Government released its new fisheries management plan, there was an allocation of 3,000 tonnes for the 16 communities (17 at the time) on the northern part of the Great Northern Peninsula. They included the communities from Big Brook (now re-settled) to Goose Cove that had lobbied for a share of the increased quotas. Having this resource in the hands of the communities, enabled SABRI to make local decisions that would provide the greatest benefit to residents of the area.

They were able to develop the many trails and gazebos, including the ones in Goose Cove that led me to view the Massive Icebergs. Additionally, millions were invested in infrastructure, hundreds of jobs created directly and many more indirectly in the region. SABRI is truly a local success story on the Great Northern Peninsula that was given a small allocation of 3,000 tonnes and manage it effectively to provide the greatest benefits to the people of their region. They should be commended for the work they do and the significant impact they have made.

Another example of communities working together is the Northern Peninsula East Heritage Corridor, consisting of a network of communities that work to build their tourism assets. As a collective unit they have been able to create a number of reasons for people to spend their vacation visiting their Towns. I know I have been to Englee, Roddickton-Bide Arm, Conche and Main Brook many times visiting the Underground Salmon Pool, Walking Trails or French Shore Culture Centre.

The Eagle River Credit Union is another success story of communities working together and deciding its needs. St. Barbe Consumer Co-op, Flower’s Cove and Grenfell Memorial Co-op, St. Anthony continue to exist because of its ability to serve their members.

Communities decide on what it values and what it needs to add to be happy. We have unique ideas in Rural NL and solutions to fill voids that do not always register or understood by the Government. There is a wealth of creativity, ingenuity and knowledge in our rural economy. Our suggestions do not always require hiring a consultant – sometimes it is a matter of good common sense.

I have written past articles asking, “Where are our Farmer’s Markets?”, “Where are our Social Spaces?”, “Where is Our Community Murals?” “Where are the Community Gardens?”. These are all small measures that can help with rural revitalization. These measures generate revenue, can help re-train employees and lead to long-term growth in various industries. Enhancing the community advances tourism and attracts a climate for further business development.

“Strong communities are the key to holding government accountable for protecting the rights of the most vulnerable. Social justice never comes from the top-down. People must be organized to support one another but also to demand that their government provide what the community can’t or shouldn’t do for itself. There are some things best done by community, some by government, and some that can only be accomplished by working in true partnership.”Jim Dier.

When communities come together and collaborate for the common good of everyone, there is greater success. We are beginning to see local groups with common interests, working closer together to share finite resources. We only have to look to co-operatives and how they have thrived in rural Newfoundland & Labrador. We need more local co-ops (agriculture, forestry, fishery, crafts, tourism), as well as collaboration from communities, businesses and government. There is room for everyone to play a role. Everyone has a strength and everyone deficiencies – so Together We Can Change the World!

Local Conche Artist has Talent

I love art that comes from the local region. These past few days I have been able to visit gift shops and talk with some local artists about their wares. I have purchased a hodgepodge of Newfoundlandia, including sealskin miniatures, snowshoes, Labradorite, prints, shells, rocks, pottery and more. The region has so much to offer! Including Conche, NL – the new venue for the Centre for Textile Art at the French Shore Culture Centre.

I have purchased artwork in the past by this local Conche artist, but was greatly impressed by her newest additions displayed in the photo below:

Her work brings to life in vibrant colours the icebergs and outports. These miniature pieces of art have their own easels and can be put on display. They may remind you of a time when you saw these icebergs in person on a past visit to Rural Newfoundland & Labrador.

One can purchase these products at Stage Cove B&B and Bits-n-Pieces Cafe, Conche, NL. This business is a wonderful place to grab a cup of joe, many mouth-watering appetizers, excellent soup de jour or my favourite – a sweet dessert.

If you are fortunate enough to find yourself in Conche – please do not pass up a meal at the cafe and you too can fall in love with the talent of a local artist.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher C. Mitchelmore

Twitter/LiveRuralNL

Icebergs Again in Goose Cove, NL

A visit to Goose Cove is good for the body, mind and soul.

On July 22, 2011 – The water was peaceful, clouds puffy and lots of icebergs in the harbour. I passed by the Simmonds Family wharf and fishing rooms. Its age is greatly showing with the curves in the roof and slight slants to the right or left. It is evident that the decline and mismanagement of our fishing resources has led to out-migration and effected the way of living in this small Town, as it has with many other outports in Rural Newfoundland & Labrador. The prosperity is not felt in rural regions, as it is in large cities. The needed investments are not being made to maintain, further develop and properly market our tourism assets on the Great Northern Peninsula.

Greater action is needed to preserve the cultural significance and history in these small outer buildings that are truly a part of our heritage.

Further along there was Pumley Cove Trail. I was greatly impressed, as it had appropriate signage, was well mapped and provided important information, for example 1 KM (Easy). This is just the type of trail for me :). Good things happen when local groups, the community and a lead partner, like SABRI, all work together to develop something positive that adds value for the traveller and also for the locals that live here year-round. Community control of resources leads to greater success.

This Town is an absolute destination, see more for yourself…

The icebergs near the harbour. Another wharf once predominate, now falling.

A mini-berg near a house, fishing rooms and other outer buildings. I love the small wharf built along the rocks edge. Newfoundland & Labrador has talented people.

The highly landscape reminds me of a land before time, just perfectly preserved and available for those who are lucky enough to live here to enjoy. Goose Cove is a reflection of rural outport Newfoundland & Labrador.

The icebergs are so large they almost block the harbour.

The Great Northern Peninsula has the markings of a Great Tourism Advertisement that focuses on the people, lifestyle, culture, history, landscapes – the Experience. Let’s get moving on this as we have a world of living art to show in every nook and cranny! A photo can be taken just about anywhere…

Live Rural NL – Experience the Great Northern Peninsula

Christopher C. Mitchelmore

Twitter/LiveRuralNL

 

Trekking the French Shore with the Swiss – Conche, NL

Saturday, July 16, 2011 – The view from Sailor Jack’s Hill gives a powerful showing of the winding road leading to the Town of Conche. The stairs may be a little intimidating but are certainly well-constructed. My Swiss friend climbed them at record pace as she was quite excited to see so many icebergs to the right.

There are an abundance of icebergs in St. Anthony and St. Lunaire-Griquet. However, they can be easily spotted on the Northern Peninsula East nestled just outside of Conche.

We toured the picturesque Town. Below I’ve chosen some of the highlights:

 

I have been to the French Shore many times over the past couple of years. I usually make the loop from the Straits to Plum Point – Roddickton-Bide Arm – Englee – Conche – Main Brook – Straits. It is a full day, but each visit offers a unique experience. Although I have travelled many countries, there is something amazing about experiencing the beauty and offering of what you have in your own backyard. If you are just visiting, spend lots of time on the Great Northern Peninsula, as it has so much to offer. If you are lucky enough to live here – it is a lifetime of experiences.

The French Shore is one of many places to add to your list. If you’d like more information visit www.frenchshore.com.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher C. Mitchelmore

Caring for the Birds – Conche, NL

I have once again visited the sanctuary called Conche! It is one of the island’s best kept secrets that is no longer secret. Be thankful we have revealed to the world the opportunity to know the beauty that exists in this tiny town nestled at the heart of the French Shore. The 18 kms of gravel road and a little dust on your vehicle is well-worth the journey. However, I’ll save my most recent photos and share with you some from a previous trip this year that also provides a small sanctuary for the birds.

There is a Look-Out behind the French Shore Cultural Centre. A pebble trail leads you past the French Oven and outside instruction area. I believe instructional classes are held teaching various skills from the past, including French bread-making.. Most likely, the making of the bird feeders were directed just below. After carefully climbing the stairs to the Look-Out, I noticed the first colourful bird feeder. I have taken this walk several times and this was the first time these new additions were present. They are visually appealing and have attracted magnificent chirping from the birds, heightening the experience.

These small feeders are a rather small and simple addition, yet were enough to garner my attention. I thought about the beauty of design, each piece is unique. I imaged the children using their own creativity – a splash of red and a dash of blue. These young people learned several skills – woodworking, art and preservation of nature. There is value in small projects that can enhance a visitor’s experience and further build on the development of the community.

Conche certainly has several crafty artists that have cut outs of the island of Newfoundland, crabs and sea gulls posted around sheds, houses and even garbage bins. A splendid touch as you take the scenic drive. The people may be future instructors, if not presently.

Keep up the excellent work! I hope these classes continue and expand. The Live Rural NL blog wishes you every success with the opening on July 26th and of course continued operation of the French Shore Centre for Textile Art. Basket weaving does sound enticing.

If you would like to experience Conche, please contact the French Shore Historical Society @ frenchshorehs@nf.aibn.com.

One truly has to love the Life of Rural NL -

Christopher C. Mitchelmore

 

News Release: The French Shore Historical Society To Launch The Centre For Textile Art

More developments in Conche, NL according to News Release:

P.O. Box 29, Conche, NL  A0K 1Y0

Tele:  709-622-3500   Fax:  709-622-3510

E-mail:  frenchshorehs@nf.aibn.com

 

For Immediate Release             Contact:  Joan Simmonds/Colleen McLean 709-622-3500

THE FRENCH SHORE HISTORICAL SOCIETY TO LAUNCH

THE CENTRE FOR TEXTILE ART

CONCHE, NL    ———-     On July 26, 2011 the French Shore Historical Society will officially open a Centre for Textile Art.  The purpose of the Centre will be to encourage the art of handmade textile crafts and to promote the art and history of textile-based traditions, especially of the Northern Peninsula. The Centre will focus on the historical textile development of northern Newfoundland by acquiring, preserving and making accessible a research collection of textiles and relevant documents. It will sponsor exhibitions, conferences, symposia, oral history projects, publications, fellowships and grant funded initiatives.

Since its founding in 2000, the French Shore Historical Society has showcased textile work by craftspeople in the region, including exhibitions of hooked rugs, knitting, embroidery, and included textile objects in its permanent exhibit. It has sponsored several workshops on textile art and in 2009 added the unique French Shore Tapestry, embroidered by women from Conche, as a major part of its exhibit.

In 2010, as a foundation for developing the centre, a research project was undertaken by the French Shore Historical Society in partnership with the Port au Choix – St. Anthony Regional Council of the Rural Secretariat.  The purpose of the research was to document the traditional craft skills on the Great Northern Peninsula, with particular attention to crafts using or creating textiles. An inventory of the research, done by Memorial University student Lisa Wilson, can be accessed by visiting the MUN Digital Archives Initiatives. 

In the Fall of 2010 a steering committee was created and consists of:

Anne Manual – Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador

Barb Hunt- Grenfell Campus, Corner Brook

Brenda Stratton – Dept. of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development

Candace Cochrane – Quebec Labrador Foundation

Denise White – Dept. of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development

Gerry Pocius – Memorial University of Newfoundland

Joan Simmonds – French Shore Historical Society

Lisa Wilson – MUN Research Student

Nina Mitchelmore – Regional Planner for Rural Secretariat

Susan Furneaux – College of the North Atlantic

The French Shore Historical Society is a non-profit organization founded to preserve  the natural and cultural heritage of the communities of Conche , Croque, Grand Oies/St. Julien’s and Main Brook on the Northeast coast of Newfoundland.   The FSHS has successfully managed many projects which have created great economic benefits, employment opportunities, and great tourism potential on the Great Northern Peninsula.

The Opening will be a Basket Weaving Workshop with Helga Gillard .  Funding was provided by the International Grenfell Association through fundraising efforts of the French Shore Historical Society.

 

      

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Iceberg Festival Runs June 10-19, 2011

This year’s annual Iceberg Festival runs from June 10-19, 2011 and hosts activities in the St. Anthony and greater area on the Great Northern Peninsula.

I have included the schedule listed below:

Schedule of Events

If you have further questions visit www.theicebergfestival.ca  and complete the contact form. The festival should have something that appeals to just about everyone from hiking trails, boat tours, French bread making, iceberg water, entertainment and boat tours.

 
The organizers coin the event as “10,000 years in the making”. If you have the opportunity, book some time off work and travel the Great Northern Peninsula to enjoy iceberg alley!
 
Check out where the icebergs are located by visiting Iceberg Finder at www.icebergfinder.com
Live Rural NL -
 
Christopher C. Mitchelmore
 
 

 

The Beauty of it All – when you do not rush

 
Lar’s Place, Conche, NL
 On February 12, 2011, I visited Conche, NL. It truly is one of the wonders along the French Shore. In my 25 years, I have never taken the time to visit this breath-taking Town outside of the summer season. It was long over due and certainly did not disappoint.

Dock w/Store house and iceflow

 Snow patches were present on the rolling hills and the harbour filled with ice, as I drove the winding roads. For the first time, I was not in any rush to get somewhere or meet someone – it was just perfect. I had taken time to explore the landscape, the houses and just get lost in the wonder that is quintessentially rural Newfoundland & Labrador.

Frontage of Lar's Place

 
I was taken aback by the brightly coloured fishing rooms, stores, stages and sheds that were bountiful along the harbour. It spoke the importance the fishery has played on this small Town throughout its rich and vibrant history. I stopped and took several photos of Lar’s Place (depicted in the photo above). The well maintained property had a mis-matched set of antlers tacked on the front. One half of the antlers boasting a much larger size than its counterpart, if that makes any sense at all. It was of interest, so I stopped for a little while. The weather vane was something I do not re-call ever seeing in any of my home communities in the Strait of Belle Isle. The door had a wooden cross, which was painted white and placed on the door, as well as, a perfectly cut island of Newfoundland to match. Conche has notable folk art, something I did not realize on other visits – from the crabs on outer buildings to cut-outs of birds on store roofs that from a far looked strikingly real.

Crab folk art on outbuilding, Conche, NL

 
My advice is to take some time to truly stop and smell the fresh air and all the hodgepodge that makes rural Newfoundland & Labrador a lifestyle. In a world of rush and go, we often miss the beauty that truly exists in our own backyards.
 
Live Rural NL -
Christopher C. Mitchelmore 
 
 

 

 

 

RADIO CONCHE 105.9 FM!!!!!

  Community Radio is coming to Conche May 9 – 10. Make sure to tune in to 105.9 FM.

 The French Shore Cultural Centre will be hosting this awesome event and they are asking everyone who has a connection to   Conche to call into the centre on those two days.
 
Email:frenchshoreshs@nf.aibn.com
Office:French Shore Interpretation Centre
 
Community radio stations broadcast content that is popular and relevant to a local audience with specific interests, which is often overlooked by commercial or mass-media broadcasters as they really focus on mainstream and urban-oriented activities. They tend to rely on advertising funds, whereas community radio is non-profit, run typically from a group of volunteers.
 
Community radio stations are driven by the communities they serve. It is an enabler for those members to tell their own diverse stories, to share experiences, and be creators. Rural Newfoundland & Labrador has talent and we will continue to be players in the ever-changing world we live as we adapt to varying forms of media. I commend the French Shore Cultural Centre for undertaking this initiative and bringing temporary community radio to the French Shore.
 
As always, Live Rural NL -
Christopher Mitchelmore
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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