Blog Archives

Planting Potatoes & Roadside Gardens

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Maintaining a garden of root crops has always been practiced in my family for generations. I remember spending time there with my father and grandparents, tilling the soil, placing seed and typically digging. For some reason I seldom was around for the weeding process. It was my grandmother who did most of that, as she is the ultimate green thumb. Our family still continues to plant potatoes, as well as carrot, turnip, cabbage, beets, onion and lettuce. I’ve been experimenting with other seeds and spices, and hopefully soon will have a greenhouse to help expand what I am able to grow.

What was needed for subsistence years ago, is now unnecessary given easy access to vegetables at grocery stores. However, it is gratifying to know that so many are continuing this generational tradition. As I travel throughout the District, I see many roadside and backyard gardens that were likely started by their parents or grandparents. There is also renewed interest from younger people to grow different vegetables, establish community gardens, use various techniques and use the space they have available to them in the most productive form.

We have exceptional opportunity to expand farming on the Great Northern Peninsula, in both small and large-scale. We are also lacking a coordinated effort to establish a farmers or local market in many communities. There is opportunity to establish a weekly marketplace where locally grown produce, jams, preserves, crafts and handmade wares are for sale. Coffee and teas and other booths could be set-up, with picnic tables and even some local music.

There are some spaces in the District, where a local marketplace could thrive. Let’s move this idea forward.

Live Rural NL -

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

 

 

 

Community Kitchen Party Thrives on Tradition – Green Island Cove, NL

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Our rural communities will thrive with active participation of residents. We saw significant success on July 11, 2014 with the first ever promoted community kitchen party to be hosted at Green Island Cove wharf. The event ended up being held at the neighbouring fishers’ gear shed and drew throughout the evening upwards of 200 people from under eight to nearly eighty years of age. It was truly a gathering to celebrate community, tradition and enjoy each other’s company at one of the busiest times of year.

Music brings people together and we are blessed to have local people willing to share their talents. Guitars, accordions, ugly sticks, brooms, spoons and kajoons paired with a vocals of Clara and Loomis made for an incredible night where tradition thrived. I’ve always heard my grandparents talk about the old-fashioned time and this is likely the closest I’ll get to experiencing those community celebrations of food, song and dance. With fishing nets as the backdrop, songbooks distributed, the waltz, two-step and jigs began to play and the old wooden floor of the gear shed got some action.

There was a little magic in the room that evening as we all embraced our small fishing community way of living, as those who came before us would always take time throughout summer to have a time. Even the little kids were eager to learn the dance moves. A tumble or two would not deter them.

A group of men and women also treated us to a good old-fashioned square dance. This dance was once commonplace and now only a handful know all the moves. When these dancers took the floor, all eyes were on them. A couple of brave souls joined in with the group and learned the steps as they went. I believe everyone else wish they knew the moves, so they too could take to the floor.

It has become quite clear that the success of our rural communities is about how we interact with the space we have in our everyday lives. I think ensuring that a gear shed or a wharf can also be the gathering place as they were pre-moratorium of 1992 is vital to maintaining and sustaining our outport communities.

I must commend the leadership of Dr. Kathleen Blanchard, President and Founder of Intervale. This organization produces programs and services in the fields of conservation, heritage interpretation, and sustainable development. Her interest in sustainable fisheries and community economic development was the driving force to documenting and organizing with fishers Loomis and Brenda such a tremendous event, which can be shared with others.

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The success of the evening has already sparked talks to host another, possibly make this an annual event like the Conche and Goose Cove Garden Parties. The evening also stimulated discussion of hosting another Come Home Year in 2016 – one for Green Island Cove and Pine’s Cove. The dates have been set, so mark your calendars – August 15-21st, 2016 because home is where you will want to be. Please join us!

Live Rural NL -

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

Expanded Childcare on the Peninsula Helping Retain & Attract Youth

Accessible and affordable childcare is key to building a stronger community. Rural regions of the province also need these services for recruitment and retention of professionals and workers. In The Straits-White Bay North, the people have been getting it right for 20 years, as the Riddles & Rhymes Daycare in St. Anthony celebrated two decades of operations at the local College of the North Atlantic campus.

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Riddles and Rhymes Daycare offers childcare services for the general public and for College of the North Atlantic students. This is an ideal environment, especially for a parent wanting to pursuing further post-secondary, as they can drop their kids off at the daycare and check on them during break time.

This is a non-profit corporation established by a concerned group of working parents that worked hard fundraising and gained the attention of Government to ensure access to childcare was available to those of the St. Anthony Basin Area (Cook’s Harbour to Goose Cove and all places in between). At the celebration event in May, we heard the centre had some difficult years in the beginnings, but they were able to prevail and are a very successful model for other communities to follow. A timeline of events throughout the years clearly illustrate the impact this service has had on our children, employees, employers, students and the region as a whole. Affordable and accessible childcare helps build stronger communities.

In June 2013, a second daycare, “Little Folks” opened in the regional administrative centre of Flower’s Cove primarily serving a region of Castor River to Eddies Cove East

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The Little Folks Daycare is an initiative that shows how all things are possible when people, organizations and Government come together to fill a need and find rural solutions. This resounding group of parents, concerned citizens, Town of Flower’s Cove, Regional Economic Development Board and other partners never gave up – their work is to be commended.

I am especially proud to see a building re-purposed to provide a much larger contribution to the regional community. This former clubhouse was built with public funds to serve the softball field, which seldom saw the use to justify maintaining such a wonderful structure. We have many more buildings in our communities, either public buildings, former business, church owned property that could become a multi-use to expand the dynamic and help diversify our economy on the Great Northern Peninsula. It just takes a strong will from a small group of individuals to have a big impact.

Investing in this initiative with the support of Government also helps with recruitment and retention of workers for business, organizations and government. These are the type of investments in which we are proud, as they provide a safe, caring and structured environment that fosters strong education and advances social skills, giving our children an early start. 

I must commend all parents, volunteers and organizations that saw this need and encourage everyone to do what they can to support both Riddles & Rhymes and Little Folks Daycare, as they are two key entities for sustaining and growing our region.

This may also be an initiative for the residents of the Northern Peninsula East to consider working to establish a non-profit daycare in the regional centre of Roddickton-Bide Arm.

If you are considering starting a business or moving to the Great Northern Peninsula for employment or education there is exceptional childcare services available if you are thinking of starting or continuing to raise your family. You too, can enjoy everything this great place has to offer.

Live Rural NL -

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

 

Golden Sunsets – Green Island Cove, NL

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The golden sun is setting over the Strait of Belle Isle and will disappear beyond the hills of the Big Land – Labrador. This was a magnificent view I experience from my backyard. A truly joy of rural living when you are at water’s edge.

This has been a summer where we’ve experienced the freshest seafood, either at one of our fine local restaurants or at home. Lobsters have been boiling in the shed and eaten outside. Food definitely tastes better when it’s prepared and eaten outside for some reason.

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The wonderful surroundings, the fresh air, green space, blue skies, sunshine and tranquility certainly provide the perfect atmosphere. The backyard fire pit and entertaining area is still a work in progress, but even the flames of a store purchased pit can provide just what you need for gatherings of friends and family to share song, stories and enjoy the warmth of the fire when the sun goes down.

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It’s always important in our busy lives that we stop to smell the roses and realize the value of rural living.

The Great Northern Peninsula offers backyards that have golden sunsets and everything you need to enjoy the beauty of your surroundings.

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

 

Tickle Inn is Tranquility at Cape Onion, NL – Population, 2

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Taking a left turn from the community of Ship Cove, there is a newly minted sign marking the iconic community of Cape Onion, NL. Before I even got over the hill, I had to pull over, stop and take a photo. It truly is a panoramic place that represents what is quintessentially outport Newfoundland & Labrador.

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I pulled up to Jim & Sophie’s house. They are the only permanent settlers in Cape Onion. Like many Newfoundlanders on a nice day, Jim was busy in his shed preparing to install a new window. As my attention veered off as I looked out his shed window, he began to tell me about the “Tickle Inn” and his long family history of it being in passed on through four generations. He explained how the original home was the longer roof structure and when the son took over he built the addition which is closest to Jim’s shed and when the next generation took over a further addition of a larger kitchen was built to the back. I decided to visit and tour this 9-acre property.

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The Adams Family Homestead is a designated heritage structure and is circa 1890, which means the old-family home has been providing hospitality for the owners for nearly 125 years. Quite the milestone! The Bed & Breakfast opened in 1991, after extensive restoration. Without the interest and vision from David & Barbara Adams, paired with the cooperation and work of relatives Jim and Sophie, this crown jewel of the Great Northern Peninsula may have gone the way of some many older family homesteads – just cease to exist. This home is likely the oldest surviving house on the French Shore.

There is value in what is old and preserving the past. The Tickle Inn, illustrates the cultural and economic value our heritage and vernacular architecture can have in creating and sustaining long-term employment, creating unique visitor experiences and also complimenting other small businesses in the region.

People certainly would come just to have this view from the living room window. Exquisite isn’t it?

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Before entering, there is an old bell mounted on the wall next to the door. A sign explains the history of building and the porch is a mini-museum of old artifacts from herring barrels, water jugs, ringer washing machines, barrel guns to pit saws. Actually this continues throughout the house. Upon entering the dining room, there is an old stove, a crank telephone, an old wooden radio on the wall and many other items of interest. The living room has furniture from decades ago, an organ and large Bible prominently placed. Nan’s pantry was filled with some wares people can purchase, with the staircase being a special piece that took you all the way to the Crow’s nest at the third-level. There are four lovely rooms available for let from June until the end of September each year.

Barbara and Sophie provided me with lots of great details. It is no wonder guests keep coming back year after year to this magical place. They also encouraged me to explore the walking trails near the property that lead to the beach.

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This is the perfect place for ultimate rest and relaxation. Tranquility at its finest in this quiet cove of Cape Onion. These pictures speak to the natural beauty of this place.

The Tickle Inn, as their slogan states “offers much more than accommodation, it is a vacation experience!” Their website www.tickleinn.net/ clearly outlines their incredible property, history and offering. It reveals the importance of promoting other local businesses, such as Gaia Art Gallery, Wildberry Economuseum, Burnt Cape, Norstead Viking Village & Port of Trade, Grenfell Historic Properties and L’Anse aux Meadows UNESCO Site.

This property has won me over! I look forward to spending a night or two at the Tickle Inn. It truly is one of our many wonderful experiences you can have on the Great Northern Peninsula.

Live Rural NL -

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

Sustaining a Community takes Commitment – Raleigh, NL

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Raleigh is home to the awe-inspiring Burnt Cape Ecological Reserve, boasting over 300 plant species with 30 being rare. The Burnt Cape cinquefoil is found exclusively on the Northern Peninsula, as it is the only place in the world where this species grows. The Provincial Government of Newfoundland & Labrador has failed to live up to its obligations when it eliminated all interpretation at this Reserve. It has also neglected to install appropriate signage, develop educational material such as guidebooks and panels to preserve, educate, maintain road infrastructure and make available our natural areas to interested parties. These short-sighted decisions by Government impact and harm our rural communities. Where is Government’s commitment?

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Additionally, rural communities are facing pressures from out-migration, aging population and changes to the dynamics of the economy that sustained them since their beginning all across the globe. Sustaining our small towns takes commitment and I see that in entrepreneurs Marina and Ted Hedderson  of Raleigh, NL.

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Yesterday, I was amazed by the creativity, commitment and desire to see the Town of Raleigh with a population of less than 200 survive and thrive. The current owners have been running Marina’s Mini-Mart & Gas Bar since 2001. They saw an opportunity to get into the accommodations business to compliment the neighbouring Pistolet Bay – Provincial Park, which is typically at capacity for tents and RVs throughout the season.

I was given a tour of the cottages, which include 4 two-bedroom, 3 one-bedrooms and a newly added vacation home that has the most incredible ocean view. The vacation home is very spacious and family focused with two queen and a twin bed, laundry facilities, BBQ and a view you won’t want to leave. The two bedroom cottages are very immaculate, offering two queen beds, laundry and wooden finished interior. The three one-bedroom cottages have leather furniture and laundromat access, but the best feature is that they sit with a breath-taking ocean view from a large deck to sit and enjoy your morning coffee or evening beverage. There is an entertainment area for evening fires right at water’s edge. There 4-star accommodations are priced at an incredible value, ranging from $109-169.

The Burnt Cape Cafe is a must if you are in the area. It truly understands the importance of experiential tourism. The Cafe takes lobster to a whole new level of fresh. The patrons, if they choose can go to the local wharf and select their own lobster and get their photos taken before and after. An incredible experience!

After stepping into the cafe, my attention was immediately drawn to the back which includes a comfortable seating area, big screen television playing traditional Newfoundland music and I thought was a great place to sit and relax. They also know the value of WiFi, which is provided for free.

The original six hockey jerseys are proudly displayed as in the off-season this area becomes on Monday nights, open to the dart league.  There is a wide-selection of crafts, souvenirs and other products. I purchased a Mummer’s shot glass, as I love the jannies.

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The Newfoundland tartan on the tables is a nice touch to compliment a menu that caters to those who love high-quality seafood dishes. I was treated to some phenomenal chowder, it comes highly recommended to start. It comes with generous portions of salmon and cod, great creamy flavour that is amplified with a touch of cheese melting as you eat. As a main, I’ve had pan-seared scallops and shrimp in garlic butter that would melt in your mouth with Parmesan mashed potatoes that kept you wanting more. To top the meal off, the deep-fried ice-cream was superb. The rich coating ensured the ice-cream was cold and in tact while I slowly enjoyed this treat drizzled with bakeapples. If you have not eaten at the Burnt Cape cafe you are truly missing out.

Small business and innovation is the key to dynamic growth, especially in small communities. Ted and Marina have a vision for their Town, their home. The business currently offers everything you need at your fingertips. However, they have more big ideas on how to  add accommodations, entertainment and experiential offers that appeal to locals and visitors. They are a partner with the annual Iceberg Festival, believe in strong promotion and understand the value of packaging and providing their customers with the highest in services and unique experiences.

Sustaining a community takes commitment and these two truly have what it takes to build a stronger community. I would encourage you to drop by and support this locally owned and independent business that is doing incredibly big things in a small town.

Visit their website at: www.burntcape.com

Live Rural NL -

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

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

The Grenfell Foundation hosts Heritage Day on July 8th in St. Anthony

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The Grenfell Foundation hosts the annual Heritage Day fundraiser to purchase priority medical equipment for Labrador Grenfell Health south chapter. I encourage all residents and visitors to drop by St. Anthony’s Polar Centre on Tuesday, July 8th.

Last year’s activities was a huge success. I enjoyed watching the old-fashioned square dancing, playing games of chance and enjoying all sorts of fish and barbecued dishes.

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The Teddy Bears picnic also kicks off in the afternoon, with many kids games put off by volunteers at the Boys and Girls club. Many other organizations are represented with booths set-up. It was a pleasure to bring greetings at last year’s event as the Member of the House of Assembly for the District and volunteer.

The Grenfell Foundation was able to purchase over $200,000 worth of priority equipment, with assistance from $150,000 donation from St. Anthony Basin Resources Inc. This year the goal has been set to over $100,000 to purchase a number of pieces of equipment that will be distributed at a number of facilities including the John M. Gray Senior’s Residence.

If you can drop by and have an afternoon and evening of fun, while supporting the health care needs of the region.

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

Have you been to the Hut?

The Hut is en route to L’Anse aux Meadows World UNESCO Site on Route 436 in the tiny community of Noddy Bay. This local craft shop offers a wide selection of Norse and Newfoundlandia – from pins, jewelry, jams, an assortment of clothing, handmade quilts and knitted mittens and stockings like grandma use to make.

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The Hut is the only stand alone seasonal craft shop in the region and is supported by an influx of tourist visiting L’Anse aux Meadows Viking Settlement, Norstead Viking Village & Port of Trade, Burnt Cape Ecological Reserve and various other walking trails and local businesses in the area.

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I chatted with the owner and some customers about the region and checked out the wares. I purchased a Christmas ornament carved from moose bone and made by local Viking re-in-actor Mike Sexton of Goose Cove. We have so much talent and I like to support local artists.

The Hut has some pretty remarkable Norse style jewelry too! It is worth dropping by if you would like to take a Norse memory or something from Newfoundland & Labrador as a souvenir home with you from your visit.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

 

6th Annual Iceberg Festival A Resounding Success

The 6th Annual Iceberg Festival was held from June 6th-15th from Port au Choix to L’Anse aux Meadows to Conche to St. Anthony and many points in between. This is truly a regional festival that celebrates the beauty of the iceberg.

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The official opening brought out a crowd, including the Knudsen’s Newfoundland dogs “Neives” and “Sebastian”, Vikings, Painters, Ice Sculptors, Cooks and Performers.

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The opening offering something for everyone, from the exclusive “Iceberg” donut (found only at St. Anthony Tim Hortons location), to St. Anthony Seafoods crab. Calvin, Adam and Brandon performed traditional Newfoundland songs, including Calvin Blake’s iceberg song he wrote for the festival. They even had visitors from Kentucky play the “ugly stick”. Many children got their faces painted and also took a quick lesson in iceberg rock painting from George Bussey.

The highlight of the evening was Randy Cull’s ice sculpture, which the ice was collected by St. Carol’ own Richard’s family, stars of the TV show “The Iceberg Hunters”. The image is depicted below with Iceberg Festival Chairperson, Lavinia Crisby.

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The Iceberg Festival brought the Wonderbolt Circus for three events, which saw more than 1,000 in attend. Additionally, there was boat tours, ATV iceberg hunting, wine tasting, Iceberg Hunter premiere night, Iceberg Jubilee, Newfoundland Night, Kitchen Parties with Mummers, Iceberg glass art marking, Dark Tickle tours, zodiac tours, French tours, scavenger hunts, kids games and much more.

I encourage you to plan your holidays on the Great Northern Peninsula around the “Iceberg Festival”, it happens every year in early June and does not disappoint. Visit http://theicebergfestival.ca/. A big thank you to all the businesses and organizations that got involved to make this regional festival truly a success. Special recognition must go to the volunteer committee members for taking on a big task, that delivered dynamic results for a stronger Great Northern Peninsula. We have so much to offer those who want to experience the beauty of this place.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North 

 

 

Glacier Glass – An Incredible New Business

The Town of Englee located at the very end of Route 433 has faced challenging economic times since the closure of their fish plant and transfer of processing licensing in the early 2000′s. For the past decade, the Town has seen a decline in business, including their boat building operation and much out-migration from the community. The plant closure reflected the lost of more than a hundred direct jobs and impacted many more families. It is difficult for this historic fishing town which had one of first fresh fish processing plants in the province and industries focused on the fishery to transition and diversify their own economy.

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Englee is a beautiful Town and the fishery will always remain the most important thing. It is the reason for the existence of the community. Today fishing operations still continue, while the Town Council and Clerk work diligently to find new opportunities to enhance their region.

The fishery will be forever present, especially in their newly formed social enterprise an incredible brainchild of a true community developer depicted in Glacier Glass. Congratulations Doris!

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The image above is in the shape of a salted or dried cod-fish and has the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula created with a focus on the Northern Peninsula East, which comprises communities of Main Brook, Croque, Grandois-St. Julien’s, Conche, Roddickton-Bide Arm and Englee. Images of icebergs, whales, moose, lumber camps and nature are key features of the region.

Local people are making incredible products, that include whale tail necklaces, coasters with Newfoundland images, vases, candle holders, trays and so much more. This is all custom and handmade, created by local people.

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This is how we re-build our rural communities by creating unique products and new employment a few jobs at a time!

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The business has much promise from their unique birch forest depicted above or their unique iceberg designs below:

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Englee is known to attract the big berg or two. Here is one I took while walking one of their scenic trails.

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I would encourage you to visit their studio at the Englee Municipal Building or their Facebook Page by searching “Glacier Glass”. They can also make custom products for you to sell at your business. Supporting their business, supports local jobs in rural Newfoundland & Labrador and creates new opportunities for everyone!

There is so much potential from this project, it is worth celebrating – it has created a business. Englee has community-minded people who believe in the  future of their Town and these people are doing everything to turn the corner and ensure this Town of over 600 continues to be around for a very long time.

There are positive things happening on the Great Northern Peninsula and more great things will happen, because the people are passionate about this place. Experience the Great Northern Peninsula and add Glacier Glass to your places to visit and spend lots of money, because the product will be your memory of this great place for a lifetime.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

 

Serving up freshly steamed mussels

As a child, mom and dad would let me take my little bucket and go down to the beach and pick a few mussels close to shore. I remember one time going with my father near the head of Green Island Cove where ice was still in the harbour. I was on the ice pan with the bucket and my father would pass along the mussels he collected in the deep water wearing his long rubber boots and used a rake.

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There is nothing like collecting your own or buying locally grown in rural Newfoundland & Labrador. Be sure to add mussels to your list when you visit the Great Northern Peninsula.

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!

Live Rural NL -

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

 

QUIRPON RADIO LAUNCHED!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Related Stories:

Scenic Hay Cove – Your Northern Coffee Experience

 

 

 

Canada appealing WTO ban on seal products

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Supporting the Seal Hunt -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

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

 

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?

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Ask Your Garden Questions to our local “Garden Lady”

Rural Newfoundlanders & Labradorians have been growing their own crops for centuries. Many tourist often stop to take photographs of our roadside gardens. My grandmother maintains two large gardens that sits between both of our properties.

Garden by Roadside

Garden by Roadside

Most of our gardens were more traditional root crops of potato, turnip, carrot and beets. However, in recent years there has been much growth in local vegetable production as we see more grow tomatoes, lettuce, broccoli, zucchini and many more. We have seen more herbs, spices and nurseries for growing flowers.

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Local Roddickton resident, Elsie Reid has taken to local production, by establishing a green house, flower garden, bird sanctuary and a “Blast from the Past” walking trail.

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I had  the pleasure during the Roddickton Come Home Year of 2013 to tour this walking trail and speak with Elsie. She even introduced me to her “Mummers”. At the end of the tour, I was able to purchase some nettle tea, parsley, spearmint and peppermint.

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In speaking recently with Elsie, she plans to re-establish her “Blast from the Past” walking trail again this year. It is certainly worth stopping by to get a glimpse of local history and heritage, but also learn about local gardening and  an opportunity to enjoy her homemade products. Elsie has a wealth of information, she is willing to share with you.

If you have any garden related questions, you can visit her Facebook Group: Ask Your Garden Questions, found at www.facebook.com/groups/gardenlady59/

Live Rural NL -
 
Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North
 
Related Posts:
Blast from the Past Walking Trail
How Does Your Garden Grow
Grandmother Mitchelmore, How Does Your Garden Grow? 
I found “Love” in St. Lewis
A Marketable Farmer’s Market, Let’s Get Growing
Needing Grandma’s Green Thumb to Grow Tomatoes 
Transition Towns…the future for Rural NL?
Harvest Time – Big Spuds 
 
 
 

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA – Christmas Greeting 2013

Christmas Greeting

Broadcast Centre

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA

The Straits-White Bay North

Christmas time has come again and what a pleasure it is to bring greetings of happiness and good cheer to you, your family, and your friends.

Take time this Christmas to spend with loved ones, rekindle traditions or possibly make new ones; it makes rural Newfoundland and Labrador that unique place we love to call home.

It is the season to give thanks to those around who have inspired you, brought a smile to your face or simply enriched your life with their presence. Together we will continue to enjoy Christmas and the joys it brings long into the New Year.

I extend to you and yours a very Merry Christmas and Cheers to a wonderful 2014!

Rural Roots, including Seal Hunt Proudly on Display at MHA Mitchelmore’s Office

 

 

 

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I’m a believer in all things rural, including the seal harvest. I wear my father’s seal skin boots that are more than 15 years old and last year purchased a seal skin coat. I could give it away a dozen times a day from all the people I meet that would also like to have one. More must be done to make these products more readily available to people of the province. The seal skin tie I have, which certainly has “heart” was purchased for $60 from GNP Craft Producers in my District. They have a website http://www.gnpcrafts.ca. They also make great belts for $40, bow ties, slippers, mittens and more. Let’s continue to show our support for the seal harvest, as it is humane, sustainable and environmentally friendly.

As the blog simply states, “Live Rural” and “Experience the Great Northern Peninsula” is all about learning, understanding and sharing my rural roots with the world.

For those who have dropped by our constituency office in St. Anthony, the public gallery has an array of local art from a French Shore Tapestry, photographed seal by Chris Patey, hooked rug, sweat lodge artwork, icebergs, Grenfell embroidery, painted purity products, dories, fish and many pieces that reflect our rural region. There is a collage of images from across the Great Northern Peninsula.

However, my office at the Confederation Building in St. John’s, NL is no different. It includes many handmade items and pieces of art that I have made myself or purchased from others. I am always searching for as much local stuff as possible.

There is a lovely Chris Patey piece of Iceberg Photography on the northern tip, with a magnifying glass and fish handle, La Mousses (The French Fisherman) that I’ve been told resembles me is from The Guardian Gift Shop at the French Shore Interpretation Centre in Conche, but was made by Loretta Decker of L’Anse aux Meadows. Outport NL by Candace Conchrane is next to a handmade glass plate made at the St. Anthony College of the North Atlantic. The fused glass polar bear comes from the Grenfell Heritage Shoppe in St. Anthony. There is a stuffed seal that was given to me as a Christmas present, as well as a fish and smaller seal.

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Here is an explanation of the Gallery below:

I purchased art from Bruce Pilgrim, originally from Main Brook, the former Englee Plant which was framed by his wife Maureen, owner of Island Images Gallery and Framing Shop. It is very pleasing after all the lobbying, letter writing, petitions, telephone calls and more that Government issued a clean-up order which resulted in $1.7M to remove and re-mediate this site.

The iceberg was painted by myself in three hours when I took a class with George Bussey, originally of St. Lunaire-Griquet. I enjoyed this immensely and encourage others to take it up as a hobby.

The hooked rug, I did as well under the instruction of Sabrina Gaulton of Anchor Point. It took about 50 hours to make this tiny rug. I would like to do another, when time permits. Thus far, time has not permitted.

The “Lonely Harbour” is a piece I purchased at the Bits’n Pieces Cafe in Conche from local Natalie Byrne.

The splitting table imagery reminds me of Noddy Bay or Raleigh. It was done by William Bartlett of St. Lunaire-Griquet.

The polar bears were bought at Shoreline Flower’s N’ Crafts in Sandy Cove and the ax on the chopping block a gift from Port Hope Simpson.

The “Return of the Sealers” is my most recent purchase from the Savage Cove Come Home Year. It is a Linda Coles piece, who is originally from Savage Cove.

Rural Newfoundland & Labrador surrounds my work space every day. I am proud of my rural roots and continue to…

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

 

Creative Christmas Floats at St. Anthony & St. Lunaire-Griquet Parades

This past weekend I participated in the annual Christmas parades at St. Anthony and St. Lunaire-Griquet. Last year our float was “The Mummers”. We had an old pot belly stove painted by the very talented Charmaine and Lavinia dressed as granny, accompanied by a merry band of mummers or jannies as we often call them. This image is on the back of my MHA Christmas card this season.

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Christmas is certainly a special time in rural Newfoundland & Labrador, especially in our small communities on the Great Northern Peninsula. The local residents show their talents and spirit by hosting a number of activities including Christmas tree lighting, carol sings, concerts, parades, turkey dinners and other events.

The St. Anthony  and St. Lunaire-Griquet Christmas Paraders are no different with floats bringing out Despicable Me’s Minions, Monsters Inc., Wreck it Ralph, Mike the Knight, Elf on a Shelf, Old-fashioned Snowmobile, Santa and many others. Not to mention mascots such as Subway, Minnie and Micky Mouse, Elmo, Mummers, Clowns and more.

A few snaps from the St. Anthony Parade:

A few snaps from St. Lunaire-Griquet Parade:

There were many good corporate citizens, with local businesses and their employees putting hours of time into preparing for the annual parades, as well as parents, grandparents and local citizens gearing up to show the life and support that exists in rural regions. Despite very chilly temperatures there were many by-standers, especially children catching handfuls of candy that was being tossed along roadside by those on floats. The parades all ended with a visit from Santa, a warm drop of hot chocolate and many smiles as Merry Christmas was in the air.

Live Rural NL -

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…

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

Skyping with a Viking

L’Anse aux Meadows on the Great Northern Peninsula, Newfoundland & Labrador was the first point of re-discovery by the Europeans to North America more than 1,000 years ago. At L’anse aux Meadows World UNESCO Heritage Site and/or Norstead Viking Village and Port of Trade we have an incredible opportunity to use technology to continue the unique cultural connection by offering new programming such as “Skyping with a Viking”.

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Skype is a free voice over Internet protocol and instant messaging service that also allows for video with a peer or in multiples.

These attractions mentioned above, have Viking reinactors that practice a Norse way of living a millennium ago. There are also Viking sites across countries in Europe. There is an ability to cross promote, share knowledge, culture and experiences with the world by using such an application. I think the concept of “Skyping with a Viking” could be popular.

However, rural Newfoundland & Labrador needs more advanced telecommunications, such as improved broadband and cellular coverage. These applications require a certain bandwidth to be effective. L’anse aux Meadows lacks the needed coverage. I’m advocating on a regular basis for these investments as they are key to developing our economy.

We are big on ideas! Rural Newfoundland & Labrador on the Great Northern Peninsula can be sustainable and grow, if we invest in advance telecommunication and transportation initiatives.

I for one, would love to have the opportunity to go Skyping with a Viking!

Live Rural NL -

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.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North
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