Blog Archives

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

Missing Grandma’s Raisin Pudding…

I always manage to have a big helping of my Grandmother Mitchelmore’s raisin pudding. It has that great vanilla flavour, bountiful amount of raisins and texture of sweetness, creating a perfect pudding – ones only grandmothers seem to know how to prepare. The raisin pudding during a Sunday dinner at Nan’s house is truly a treat. Maybe the art of food for traditional meals get enhanced by the younger generation over time.

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It has been quite awhile since I’ve had the pleasure of Nan’s homemade soups, puddings, bread and other treats. While on vacation this past August, I got news that my grandmother at the ripe age of 81 years had broken her leg.

My Nan is a very active senior, as she maintains large flower beds, vegetable gardens, does crafts, makes quilts and also does quite a bit of travelling. Although, the past few weeks have been the quiet road to recovery, no doubt in the coming weeks she’ll be back on her feet as busy as ever.

I’m certainly looking forward to sitting with her, chatting and enjoying her traditional meals in the near future. The time we spend with our family in rural Newfoundland & Labrador, will be treasured memories.

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Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

Forest Industry on Great Northern Peninsula Forgotten by Government: Mitchelmore

For Immediate Release:

November 7, 2013

Forest Industry on Great Northern Peninsula Forgotten by Government: Mitchelmore

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

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

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

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

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

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

Universal High-speed Broadband Vital to Global Competitiveness: Mitchelmore

For Immediate Release

November 5, 2013

Universal High-speed Broadband Vital to Global Competitiveness: Mitchelmore

Independent Member Christopher Mitchelmore (MHA, The Straits-White Bay North) calls on Department of Innovation, Business and Rural Development to place greater emphasis on universal high-speed broadband.

“Broadband builds stronger economies, supports commerce, educates students and is vital to advancing community development’ says Mitchelmore. “On November 1st the Minister stated the Government was well on target to reach 95 per cent coverage for the province by 2014.”

Newfoundland and Labrador are not leaders in high-speed broadband, even if 95 percent of households will have basic broadband access by end of 2014. Nearly 200 communities are still unable to access high-speed internet and only two-thirds of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have access to broadband at speeds greater than 10 Mbps. These statistics are bleak when we consider rural broadband speeds.

Despite the Province investing millions in a rural broadband initiative, the lack of a complete strategy has resulted in missed funding opportunities, failure to develop mapping of current broadband availability and speed, as well as, a plan to achieve universal access under a timeline to meet these critical goals.

The District of the Straits-White Bay North was an early adopter of Federal funding that added high-speed Internet to 36 communities of the Great Northern Peninsula in 2005. Nearly a decade later, communities of Bide Arm, St. Julien’s, Pine’s Cove, Eddies Cove East, St. Carol’s, St. Anthony Bight, Great Brehat, Goose Cove and North Boat Harbour remain without service.

“The province needs to build stronger partnerships between the public, private sector and community groups to advance universal broadband,” said Mitchelmore. “It’s time to develop and make public a mapping model that shares information, encourages collaboration among providers and ensures we get best value for our tax dollar invested to bring broadband access to the remaining communities without it.”

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

Icebergs are your doorstep

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

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

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

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

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

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Mitchelmore recognizes Barbara Genge Induction into Canadian Tourism Hall of Fame

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

NOVEMBER 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you.

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

Have you been to Bide Arm?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Live Rural NL -

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

Underground Salmon Pool, Roddickton-Bide Arm, NL

Winter road to Roddickton-Bide Arm

Roddickton Come Home Year Exudes Community Spirit

It’s All About Regional Marketing

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Live Rural NL -

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

Felting a Family…

Today, I was looking back through some photos I had recently taken and this one happened to get my attention..a loving family that sits on my constituency office desk in St. Anthony.

Division No. 9, Subd. D-20130906-02738Carol Roberts of St. Anthony is a fiber artist. She works with wool product and other textiles to create. Thank you Carol for sharing your talent with me. The concept of spinning wool on the Great Northern Peninsula has only been lost by a few recent generations. The spinning wheel would be found in some early settler homes as they would create their own home spun sheep’s wool to make knitted stockings and other articles of clothing.

This summer Ms. Roberts along with a friend had taken a spinning wheel and started introducing new people to the process at Grenfell Heritage Days this past July. This is an exciting step because we have incredibly talented people in the region that are interested in small-scale craft production. There is opportunity to network, take workshops and make and sell product. I personally would like to see a craft co-operative established.

Rural sustainability is built on our ability to utilize the resources and enhance our skill set to get best value from them. There is opportunity for more raising of sheep in the District, selling and carding of wool and the creation of unique wool products that are of high-value, such as the items depicted above. If you like Ms. Roberts’ felted family or other products, many are available at Grenfell Heritage Shoppe at the Grenfell Interpretation Centre in St. Anthony.

Is a fiber arts or textile festival something to consider for the future on the Great Northern Peninsula?

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving…

I’ve spent some time today looking at old photographs of times spent with family and friends over the years. This also included travels to Europe, USA, Caribbean, Africa and many parts of Canada, especially my home on the Great Northern Peninsula. It certainly made me realize how blessed I am to have such wonderful people in my life.

Today is the Canadian Thanksgiving. It is a holiday to celebrate the harvest and the blessings of the past year. 

Here is a snapshot of some events in which I am thankful since last Thanksgiving:

October 2012 was a celebration of one year in office as the Member for the Straits-White Bay North. It is also the month of my birthday and of course the celebration of Halloween.

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November 2012 is a time of reflection, especially on Remembrance Day for those who fought for the freedoms we have today. I placed a wreath at the St. Anthony Legion’s War Memorial on behalf of the people in the District.

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December 2012 is filled with activity from Christmas Parades, hanging lights, decorating trees and celebrating the spirit of season. Last December, I spent many hours in the Newfoundland & Labrador legislature, as a filibuster on the Muskrat Falls enabling legislation had us going around the clock until the early hours of December 22nd. My comments of the Monopoly Bill was one of the last before the vote:

I would like to reflect, Mr. Speaker, upon an episode of The Simpsons, when monopolist C. Montgomery Burns planned to block out the sun, to have the ratepayers of Springfield pay for his monopoly power. Having to consume more, pay more and not conserve, Smithers, the longest-serving employee, jumped from his party faithful and the people of Springfield suffered and so did he. In the end it did not go well for the monopoly company, but the people did prevail.

I only hope the people of the Province are not impacted to the degree this legislation offers, that Muskrat Falls does bring the employment and long-term benefits as touted, and that it also allows and permits new opportunities for wind, small-scale hydro, and other energy options. (Hansard, December 20 http://www.assembly.nl.ca/business/hansard/ga47session1/12-12-20.htm). 

Christmas was spent with my wonderful family. Good food, good drinks and good company. I thoroughly enjoyed mummering. A tradition we are keeping alive.

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January 2013 - The Great Northern Peninsula is filled with incredible beauty and an abundance of wildlife. The fjords fill the backdrop around Gros Morne National Park. I had the pleasure of seeing these caribou, as they were grazing.

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February 2013 was filled with culture, from seeing the Great Northern Peninsula’s own Megan Coles’ play “Our Eliza”, as well several hockey tournaments, Air Cadet performances, the Hospitality Newfoundland & Labrador convention and trade show, coffee-house and the big announcement of Cook’s Harbour-Wild Bight-North Boat Harbour’s Let them be kids playground for summer 2013.

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March 2013 I was able to celebrate the success of community groups and the important roles they play in Community, like the Green Island Cove Lions. Also, Winterfest, carnivals, town halls and lots of community engagement happens in March. Not to mention the presence of seals.

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April 2013 brought me back to Labrador. There is a pristine and natural beauty. Everyone should take time to experience all regions of our province.

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May 2013 many graduations were held. It had me reflect that it has been 10 years since I graduated from high school with 19 other classmates. A number of people are now married, have children, new homes and wonderful careers. It is always nice to see former classmates and remember our time shared together. This September when I went to Edmonton I was able to re-connect with a few, as well I get to see others at weddings and special occasions on the Great Northern Peninsula, while some have chosen like me to live rural.

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June 2013 we celebrate the Iceberg with an annual iceberg festival. It was also a time when I saw communities come together and build an incredible playground in Cook’s Harbour. To also learn about people and their talents, such as boat building and hear about the flurry of fishing activity happening along our coast. Summer is always a busy time. We have much to be thankful, from the land and the sea.

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July 2013 After a Memorial Day wreath laying ceremony, I decided to host my family for a Canada Day shed celebration. A big bbq spread was for all to enjoy neighbours, friends and family members. We even broke out the accordion. These are the moments you’ll remember all year. It is so important to take time to celebrate with your loved ones. July continued with Come Home Year celebrations in Conche and were followed in August by Roddickton and Savage Cove.

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August 2013 I was reunited with my friends from Europe. We all first met in Prague on an exchange in 2007. I was thrilled that all five of us were able to make the sailing trip in Sardinia, Italy. We have been many places together, including Czech Republic, Italy, Ireland, Switzerland, Denmark, Cuba, Edmonton, British Columbia, Toronto, St. John’s and the Great Northern Peninsula. I look forward to our next expedition :)

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September 2013 Labour Day was spent with family enjoying food, games and each others company. I am so thankful we got to spend a weekend where we were all together. I also was happy to travel to Edmonton to see a very good friend of mine marry the love of her life. It was such a great weekend helping and hanging out. I don’t think I laughed so much all year. So good to see former co-workers, family and friends in a city I lived and worked.

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I’ve had some very incredible experiences throughout 2012-13 engaging people. There are high points and there are low points, I’ve made new friends and have had to say good-bye to some old ones. There are demands during special occasions and evenings that may take you away sometimes from your family and loved ones but when you can spend time together make it count. Family is the cornerstone of our lives and society.

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On Thanksgiving 2013, I’ll be spending it with my sister and extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins. May next year’s harvest, blessings and experiences be ones of which you can reflect back upon and be thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving and as always, live rural…

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North 

 

Preparing the Seal Skin

The tradition of making sealskin boots has been around since seals inhabited the waters along the Strait of Belle Isle. For generations those who came before us participated in the hunt and the several week process of bark-tanning the skin to turn into a product.

Each summer, these laced in seal skins are commonplace at the Steven’s homestead. I am quite pleased to see this tradition continue. My father knew this process and the techniques used to soak, stretch and tan. I still have a pair of his sealskin boots, in which I wear in winter. I too would like to learn the seal skin boot making process.

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There is a book about seal skin boot making on the Great Northern Peninsula. It is entitled out of necessity. It is available at GNP Craft Producers in Shoal Cove East (www.gnpcrafts.ca).

Sabrina Lisa Fashion Design also believes in environmentally sustainable and all natural products. The sealskin wallet depicted below is one I use every day. It does not contain dyes, chemicals and was handmade.

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We should keep our traditions of the Great Northern Peninsula alive. More people should learn the process and also support entrepreneurs, craftspeople and the rural economy. We have a wealth of talented people and experiences.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

The Wood Pile

I am a bit of a card shark. I think it runs in the family. Although it has been awhile since I’ve played a good game of 500′s, 120′s, Rummoli, Queens, Flinch, Rook or others. However, the photo of this wood pile in Grandois/St. Julien’s brought me back to some younger days of playing cards with my mother…

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Often when she played a three, she referred to it as the “wood pile”. It has since stuck with me and sometimes I will say it as well. I wonder the origin of  this colloquial or vernacular language? It is likely passed on from generation to generation.

Playing cards with Aunt Gertie, she would refer to each suit in a unique way: Spades as “shovels”, Clubs as “bakeapples”, Hearts as “the bleeding hearts” and Diamonds as “the Big Brook crew” (Big Brook is a re-settled community on the Great Northern Peninsula, in which the residents family name was “Diamond”). I’ll never forget the games of cards we played. They were always full of energy and laughter.

We have a wonderful, vibrant and unique language on the Great Northern Peninsula. Our local culture remains strong.

As many households pack in wood in preparation for winter, after reading this post the next time you play a three in a game of cards, maybe you too will think of the “wood pile”.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North 

Gateway to Market Great Northern Peninsula at Deer Lake Airport

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Live Rural NL -

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

A Great Viking Feast for St. Anthony & Area Boys & Girls Club

Saturday, September 28th – Leifsburdir becomes the gathering place for the St. Anthony & area Boys and Girls Club for a Great Viking Feast and annual fundraiser.

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I attended my first fundraiser in September 2011 and missed 2012 as I was in Liverpool, England touring the hometown of the Beatles. However, I was very pleased to come out and support this worthy cause in 2013 and hopefully for many more years to come.

First of all, Leifsburdir, is the only sod hut restaurant in North America. They offer a viking performance of sagas by rein-actors over dinner throughout the summer season. I encourage you to take this experience in while visiting St. Anthony on the Great Northern Peninsula. For more information visit: http://www.fishingpoint.ca/feast.html

The owner gives back each year, by donating their space and providing the meal to all patrons who take in the evenings event. The viking staff also give back by volunteering their talents and providing entertainment. The business community is involved by contributing prizes, including Provincial Airlines providing return airfare to St. Johns for two. The Boys and Girls Club had staff involved and youth helping to serve at each table – coffee, tea and desserts. It is a great sense of coming together for a cause everyone believes in – that is, providing much needed funds to ensure programming can continue and expanded for St. Anthony and area youth.

The club is now in its 13th year and has more than 200 youth registered at its centre. The success of the club, also demands increased supports whether from Government, grants or funds raised from outside sources. The Boys & Girls Club is a charity and can issue a tax receipt if anyone would like to support a local cause. Please contact 709-454-2582 or colleen@stanthonybgclub.com for any further information.

I had a wonderful time and ended up winning a prize. It is great to gather in our unique social spaces, enjoy the talents of those around us and help organizations thrive. If you were not able to take in this year’s event be sure to mark your calendar for the last Saturday in September. It will be a fun-filled evening.

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