Blog Archives

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.

1542

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.

1543

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.

189

 

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

Tourism Season Extended with Gros Morne Fall Fest & Craft Fair

Gros Morne National Park is a crown jewel of the province, attracting nearly 200,000 visitors annually. This region of the Peninsula has been expanding its products and experiences for the tourism market by extending the season. I had the pleasure to join the beginning with the Trails, Tales and Tunes Festival this past May. It was my second time attending the festival and hear the local talents of Jeff Quilty, Amelia Curran, Sherman Downey, Daniel Payne and many others who came from away, especially the Blue Grass music of the Spinney Brothers. Next year’s schedule will be posted in February at http://www.trailstalestunes.ca/schedule.html. It certainly is the place to be to get an early start on summer fun in Newfoundland & Labrador.

And the season extends into October…

Cow Head is a vibrant community, home to the Gros Morne Theatre Festival and the Dr. Henry Payne Museum. This tiny town has a group of dedicated volunteers that work tirelessly to ensure their Town is a place to visit on the Great Northern Peninsula. The creation of a four-day “Gros Morne Fall Fest and Craft Fair“, stems from the success of a one day craft fair. The festival focuses on traditional skills, craft, music and local culture does exactly that. It attracts people to the region, well beyond the peak of July and August tourism season. It is also an opportunity for locals to get involved, as the busy fishing season winds down.

I attended the official opening on Thursday night with a room of 100 people or more as we celebrated the efforts of all those who made this possible, especially organizer Ms. Glenda Reid-Bavis. This followed a Kitchen Party hosted by local talents, Stephanie Payne and Rob Thorne at the Shallow Bay Motel. The accordions, fiddles and song had everyone enjoying their evening.

On Friday, I also got to talk with the instructors and participants of the Moose Tufting and Basket Weaving Workshops. Maybe next year, I’ll get to participate.

Festivals and community events can be built around local instructors sharing their knowledge and teaching others, as we have such incredible talents and those who want to learn. I encourage other communities to reach out and create unique Fall experiences.

The printed schedule is available at the Shallow Bay Motel and there is still time to take in Traditional NL music, kit making, fiddle workshop, fine dining, silent auction, musical soiree, karaoke, craft fair and gospel concert over today and tomorrow. 

This festival is professionally put together by community partners. It is impressive to see what happens when the business, non-profit, non-government agencies, government and volunteers work together to make big things possible in small towns.

The Gros Morne Fall Fest and Craft Fair is just the beginning of many more. So mark your calendars, find out the dates next year when Cow Head will be host again to a flurry of Fall activity.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

3rd Annual Mummer`s Walk – December 28th

The tradition and spirit of mummering continues on the Great Northern Peninsula and we invite everyone to come join us for the 3rd Annual Mummer`s Walk to be held on December 28th, starting at 3:00 PM at the Savage Cove Church basement.

Mummer

I`ve always loved the concept of mummering. Growing up it was referred more often to us as jannying, but the Simini song, “Any Mummer’s Allowed In?” has popularized the term “mummer”. When I was younger, my cousin and I dressed up as jannies. We would dress up all silly carrying a stick to fend off those who tried to unmask us. We would visit friends and neighbours and disguise our voices. They would offer us cake and drink and the guessing game would begin. If they named you correctly you have to reveal your face, if not, your identity were to always remain a mystery.

Mummers

In 2010 after moving back to Newfoundland & Labrador from working in Western Canada, I had been conversing with another friend who had moved back and she had talked about too how much she loved mummering. She came up with the idea of a mummer’s walk and event that brings the communities together where we live and also encourage an annual mummering night in each community. In 2010, the 1st annual mummer’s parade was held in the administrative centre, Flower’s Cove. We decided to rotate the event in future years.

Last year, we moved the event to the Town of Anchor Point. It even brought some international mummer’s, two of my friends from Switzerland and Germany went mummering for the very first time. That evening we went around and visited friends and neighbours in the community in which I live. We had a band of merry mummers, there must have been a group of 7 or 8.

This year, I look forward to seeing mummer’s of all ages come out to Savage Cove. Tradition is so important to us all. Let’s not lose sight of this important aspect of our culture. I hope there will be lots of people in attendance for the 3rd Annual Mummer’s Parade.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Show Your Support for the Canadian Seal Hunt

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

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

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

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

Home from the Sea: Seal of Approval Dinner

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our Historic Raleigh in Newfoundland (not North Carolina)

Hockey fans may be well aware of the Carolina Hurricane’s home base of Raleigh since 1997. However, that Raleigh is not to be confused with our Historic Raleigh near the very tip of the Great Northern Peninsula. Historic Raleigh is a tiny fishing village of less than 200, formerly known as Ha Ha Bay. A place to visit when you trek the Viking Trail Route 430 en route to L’Anse Aux Meadows World UNESCO Heritage Site.

On a summer visit to Raleigh one will see the beauty of Pistolet Bay – including the many wharves and stages, painted fishermen red scattered along the shoreline. The fishing activity in this Town has been in decline since the cod morotorium of 1992 and so is the population with the closure of the school in 2007. We’re continuing to lobby for a cellular tower in the region to service Cook’s Harbour, Raleigh, St. Lunaire-Griquet, L’Anse Aux Meadows and surrounding communities and waterways. However, there are bright spots for those wishing to get-a-way from it all.

For the avid camper, Pistolet Bay has a well-maintained Provincial Park just outside the Town. As well, there are efficiency units, cabins and fishing rooms one can overnight once in Raleigh. Tours can be arranged to understand more about the fishing and culture of the area. A visit to Raleigh will not be complete without a stop at Taylor’s Carvings where 3rd and 4th generation carvers display their unique skill set.

For the nature lover – one must visit the Burnt Cape Ecological Reserve. The area boasts several species of plants found nowhere else on earth except Burnt Cape. There are three dozen rare plants surrounding the Cape. When in Raleigh you can watch passing icebergs, find fossils, spot wildlife and if your lucky, you may even get a boat ride! As well, in winter, Raleigh is an excellent location for ice fishing.

This tiny Town may be small in population, but it is full of authentic life experiences. Take some time to talk to the locals and if your lucky you may even get to share a story and cup of coffee with the dynamic Mayor.

Put Historic Raleigh, Newfoundland & Labrador on you list of places to visit when you make your plans to travel to the rock. You will not leave disappointed.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Bring Rural NL to Life on MHA’s 2012 Christmas Card

K-Grade 3 Students of The Straits-White Bay North are invited to submit drawings, paintings or photos for the MHA’s 2012 Christmas Card. The student’s name will be listed. Deadline is Monday, Oct. 24, 2012. See image for details.
 
This is a great opportunity to share  an image from your community, a tradition, landscape, event or thought around Christmas of Rural Newfoundland & Labrador. Will someone submit Christmas Mummering? A popcorn strung Christmas tree? Sledding on the old tobaggan or riding the old-fashioned snow mobile? We look forward to your creativity as we display the art at our public gallery. Please include name, grade and school with your submission.
Live Rural NL -
Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Could the Harp be the Next Tourist Attraction?

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

Maritime Museum – Reykjavik, Iceland

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

ODINN – De-commissioned Icelandic Coastguard Vessel

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

We got to sit in the Captain’s Chair

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

Why not consider the Harp as the next tourist attraction?

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North
 

Live Rural NL Blogger reflects on his first year in office

On October 11, 2011 – I was elected by the people of the Straits-White Bay North as their representative in the House of Assembly of Newfoundland & Labrador. I have to express a sincere thank-you to the district association, volunteers, family and friends who worked tirelessly on the campaign and believed in me and my ability to represent the people of the District. A thank you to those who took the time to vote in the past election, no matter which candidate you marked your “x”. I hope in 2015 more people participate in the democratic process and have your voices heard.

First of all, it has been an honour and privilege to work on your behalf these past 365 days. There will be much to do in the remaining years of my term and I look forward to working with you as we work to find co-operative solutions to your issues, ideas and concerns.

Over the past 12 months, I have held Town Hall meetings in each municipality, community meetings and engaged many citizens both in the District and across Newfoundland & Labrador. I’ve been to Municipalities Newfoundland & Labrador’s Convention, Federation of Labour Conference, Combined Council of Labrador AGM, Canadian Council of Public Accounts Committee National Conference and an International Fisheries Symposium.

In Winter, Gerry Rogers, MHA (St. John’s Centre) and I held a Housing Roadshow taking us from St. Anthony, Norris Point, Corner Brook, Stephenville, Grand Falls-Windsor, Clarenville, St. John’s, Happy Valley-Goose Bay and Marystown. Spring brought the opening of the House of Assembly. It was my first sitting of the Legislature and I was the youngest member at 26 years old. I raised issues repeatedly calling for the removal and remediation of the Englee Fish Plant, improvements to Hemo-dialysis service, queries into the Air Ambulance re-location, pressed for roads upgrades, infrastructure, cellular coverage and broadband Internet. Questions were raised about the fishery, forestry, agriculture, Regional Economic Development Boards and other topics.  I also travelled to Placentia and Trinity Bay North. As well as, participated in the Federal NDP Leadership Convention in Toronto where I was a delegate for NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair, The Leader of the Official Opposition. Come Home Year Celebrations in St. Anthony, St. Lunaire-Griquet/Gunner’s Cove, Main Brook & Anchor Point/Deadman’s Cove brought thousands of visitors to the District. It was a pleasure to be joined by Dale Kirby, MHA (St. John’s North) during the St. Anthony Come Home Year celebrations, his tour of the College of North Atlantic and Public Library.

Prior to being elected I called upon the Government to remove and re-mediate the Englee fish plant, questioned Government, presented petitions to the House of Assembly, raised the issue in the media and repeatedly used the social media. I can happily report that the Englee Fish Plant is being demolished and site re-mediated. The people spoke loudly and Government listened. I encourage citizens to continue to bring your issues to my office as your Representative.

NDP Leader Lorraine Michael (MHA for Signal Hill-Quidi-Vidi) toured fish plants, attended Main Brook & St. Barbe-Forrester’s Point-Black Duck Cove – Pigeon Cove Come Home Year and was guest speaker at our District Association meeting with more than 60 in attendance. Certainly a feeling of growth from the 15 we had in attendance in 2011. George Murphy, MHA (St. John’s East) visited Englee, Roddickton-Bide Arm, St. Anthony and The Straits in September.

I enjoyed the Orange Tent Tour, which kicked off with a fisheries presentation at Humber Elementary, Corner Brook and then visits to Norris Point, Fogo Island, St. Alban’s, Harbour Breton, Grand Falls-Windsor, Old Perlican, Labrador’s south coast, St. Anthony, St. Lunaire-Griquet, Main Brook & Anchor Point. I’ve spoken to fishers, plant workers, union reps, processors, aquaculture specialists, operators, industry association reps and Government officials. As a critic for Fisheries & Aquaculture, I certainly have much to learn. It led me to take a personal vacation to Iceland to learn more about their fishery. It included tours of fish plants, fish markets, manufacturing facilities of equipment, advanced systems & services for the industry as well as conversations with locals. I was intrigued by the auction system and how capital is real time, ensuring the fisher always gets paid and the advanced transportation network they have for purchasing and shipping fish. However, I was less enthused by ITQs and how small processors are losing much ground to larger corporations. We can not just look to countries like Iceland and Norway and tout their models, it is not that simplistic. I do believe there are models for change, strength in co-ops, royalty regimes and community-ownership of public resource. We have to begin the dialogue of what we will do to empower rural communities, to enable us to thrive in a modern world.

Today, I knocked doors in Pine’s Cove. It was a pleasure to speak to my constituents at the door step, living room and kitchen table. I look forward to continuing the conversation…we have much to do!

Don’t let them tell you it can’t be done

-Jack Layton

Image

I still have a strong passion for sharing my stories, photos and rural experiences from the Great Northern Peninsula with you on my blog. Since elected I’ve posted only 76 times to Live Rural NL for a total of 319. Yet, I am astounded to have more than 125,000 readers since the humble start in June 2010. I’d also like to report that my piece “Family – The Cornerstone of Our Lives and Society” has received top billing with 12,934 views. Here’s the link if you’d like to read it yourself: http://liveruralnl.com/2011/07/24/family-the-cornerstone-of-our-lives-society/.

Just last night, my aunt called and said my younger counsin wanted to come in for a visit. I was watching the NTV News, was home alone and could have easily said “no, I’m really not up for company tonight, but instead said yes”. He came in and we played the Game of Life. He started out as a hair stylist straight out of high school earning $30,000 and I earned a college degree as an Accountant earning $70,000. My cousin ended up switching careers and became an athlete, which had a higher salary – but I think for my young cousin the fact that he could imagine being an NHL hockey player was more than satisfactory. I have to say we enjoyed the game immensely – he found buried treasure, wrote a best selling book (which he says was about his career) and won money on a game show. Meanwhile, I ended up in a car accident, with Twins and two other children and travelled to Florida. It was quite a laugh and he ended up with $2.7 Million at retirement, much richer than me. However, playing the game with him was such a reward and reignited the importance of spending time with your family. We later played a couple games of darts before calling it a night.

My blog will continue its focus on the Great Northern Peninsula, it’s people, businesses, landscapes and experiences. I look forward to sharing with you the next post.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA 

The Straits-White Bay North

Advisory: Mitchelmore to visit South Coast

For immediate release

July 13, 2012

 

Advisory: Mitchelmore to visit South Coast

 

NDP Fisheries Critic Christopher Mitchelmore (MHA, The Straits-White Bay North) takes his Orange Tent Tour to the south coast of the province for a couple of days next week.

 

Mitchelmore looks forward to speaking with people involved in both the traditional fishery and aquaculture. In St. Alban’s, he will meet with the Executive Director of the Newfoundland and Labrador Aquaculture Industry Association, and with the Business Development Agency. He also plans to visit the Centre for Aquaculture Health and Development in that community.  

 

The MHA hopes to get answers to some questions he has about the current infectious salmon anemia outbreak in the area – in particular, why the diseased fish have not already been taken out of the water to prevent a further spread of the virus to both other aquaculture sites and wild fish, and whether contingency plans to do so are in effect at other aquaculture enterprises.

 

To locate or contact Mitchelmore on his travels, people can follow #orangetenttour on Twitter.

 

-30-

Community Recreation Development Grant Program Open for Applications

Applications are currently being accepted for the Community Recreation Development Grant Program. The Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation is encouraging communities and recreation committees to submit an application. Funding will be used to help provide recreation programming and services to residents across the province.

 “The Community Recreation Development Grant Program is designed to offset the cost of recreation, sport, and active-living programs available to communities with less than 6,000 people,” said Minister Dalley. “Support from this program gives citizens of all ages the opportunity to become more physically active by participating in local recreation programs and services offered in their respective communities.”

The deadline to submit applications is April 30, 2012.

Applications are considered based on their alignment with the priorities outlined in the province’s recreation and sport strategy, Active, Healthy Newfoundland and Labrador (2007). These priorities include providing increased access to programming for all residents; making the best use of community facilities; building community capacities, and promoting the inclusion of traditionally under-represented groups, especially Aboriginal groups, women, seniors, youth, and persons with disabilities.

For program guidelines and applications:

Amigurumi Seals – The Perfect Gift

On February 3, 2012 – NDP Housing Critic, Gerry Rogers and I visited Conche, NL. This community is home to the French Shore Interpretation Centre.

I did not expect be able to buy seal product at their gift shop. I was pleasantly surprised to be introduced to amigurumi at “The Guardian Gift Shop”.

See my seal below:

Amigurumi (編みぐるみ?, lit. crocheted or knitted stuffed toy) is the Japanese art of knitting or crocheting small stuffed animals and anthropomorphic creatures. The word is derived from a combination of the Japanese words ami, meaning crocheted or knitted, and nuigurumi, meaning stuffed doll.[1] Amigurumi are typically animals, but can include artistic renderings or inanimate objects endowed with anthropomorphic features,[2] as is typical in Japanese culture.  -Wikipedia

The shop had a lovely assortment of animals from whales, turtles, rabbits, elephants, puffins, seals, fish and more. This is a unique offering that is handmade by local Elaine Dower. If you would like to purchase an Amigurumi Animal, please visit the French Shore Historical Society – their website is www.frenchshore.com. The price of product ranges from $3-$15. A great toy, souvenir or memento to live rural Newfoundland & Labrador.

There are so many talented individuals on the Great Northern Peninsula, making things by hand. Let’s support our local markets, local gift shops and help strengthen rural communities.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

A Walk on Wall Street – New York City

The New York Stock Exchange is located on 11 Wallk Street – which trades in the multi-billion dollar range daily and has trillions of dollars of stock in its holdings.

Wall Street and the NYSE has experienced significant highs and lows since its formation. In my lifetime, I can only remember the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997 and most recent mortgage crisis which saw stocks free fall in 2008 and send many countries into Recession. The turmoil has been felt around the world as the European Union struggles to deal with debt-ridden countries, USA tries to reform tax structures and rebuild the economy and Canada feels the pains for slower than forecasted economic growth.

Does this have an impact on you? The Occupy Movement is an International Protest directed against economic and social inequality. Their recognizable political slogan “We are the 99%“. There is a growing divide between the rich and the poor as the top 1% are controlling more and more of the world’s wealth and contributing less in taxes.

There must be lessons learned to limit poor banking regulations from having such an impact on everyday people from employment, to retirement savings, to impacting interest rates and lending.

We want a bullish market – job growth and stronger economies. A walk on Wall Street and around the financial sector of New York City is a reminder how quickly prosperity for those that are not in the top 1% can be taken away. Rural Newfoundland & Labrador knows all too well when an industry they depend on is in free fall – the impact lack of appropriate action and strategic planning has on future growth.

Let us place a focus on maintaining Main Street – on the everyday people who work hard to sustain their communities. A weaker Wall Street should not send the world into free fall.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

P.S. While my brother-in-law and I walked Wall Street, my sister and mother spent lots of time exploring the retail sector.

A Cabin in the Countryside

One of the many wonders of living in Rural Newfoundland & Labrador is the ability to get away from it all by venturing across the highway on a snowmobile and heading to the cabin – even if it is only 5 or 10 minutes away and still has access to cell coverage.

I am grateful to my aunt and uncle for letting me stay at their cabin. It was my first time in the woods and on snowmobile in years. There is something wonderful about being surrounded by trees, snow, the old wood stove crackling and pond water boiling to have a spot of tea.

This was my two friends first experience in a Newfoundland cabin and on snowmobile. I hope they enjoyed riding around the pond and trail that evening. I did not realize how the snow on the trees were something that one had not seen before, as in Switzerland the snow would blow away from the limbs. My friend had taken several images.

The woods is the perfect get-a-way. I understand why many ruralites go to the cabin for the weekend to really enjoy the beauty of nature. The warmth from the wood stove made for great conversation as we planned out a supper of moose meat and a Screech-in.

If you have the opportunity, spend some time in nature and truly appreciate the peacefulness and wonder of it all.

Stay tuned for more tales from the forest.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

The Straits-White Bay North Constituency Office – Opens Public Art Gallery

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA for The Straits-White Bay North invites all local artists to provide one or two sample paintings, prints, hooked rugs, wall hangings or other art forms to be placed on display in the public space of our local constituency office located at:

Public Building
PO Box 620
279-82 West Street
St. Anthony, NL A0K 4S0

We ask that all art be submitted with name, telephone number, mailing address, brief story behind the art and the artist. All proceeds from sales will be directed back to the local artist.

The Public are invited to drop by the Constituency Office (pictured above) or schedule an appointment to meet with the MHA to discuss concerns, issues or ideas.

Email: cmitchelmore@gov.nl.ca
Toll-Free: 1-888-729-6091
Tel: 709-454-2646
 
Live Rural NL -
Christopher C. Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Caribou Stew – Don’t Mind If I Do!

In Rural Newfoundland & Labrador it would not be uncommon to enjoy wild game as part of the regular rotation of meals from the kitchen. Upon returning home we were greeting by a pot of caribou stew – after only hours before experiencing a live herd crossing the main highway. I assure you we did not take any bounty for the road.

A delicious mixture of chunks of caribou meat, celery, potatoes, carrot and turnip. I recommend if you ever have the opportunity while in Rural Newfoundland and Labrador to try caribou.

Experience the Great Northern Peninsula -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Caribou Crossing – Viking Trail (Route 430) Great Northern Peninsula

A caribou herd had decided to establish a crossing on the Viking Trail. My European friend’s were treated to another experience with nature on the Great Northern Peninsula.

The caribou were crossing in two separate lines. The car driving south is also getting a closer view of the majestic animal that is a relative of the reindeer.

Watch this young caribou jump into the shrubbery at roadside.

It is not uncommon to see a small herd of caribou when visiting the Great Northern Peninsula. Our Moose sighting at this point was nil. In fact, I have not seen a moose in the District of the Straits-White Bay North alive since late night July 2011. I did encounter a moose during the campaign in the St. Barbe area back in September. There is a growing concern on the Great Northern Peninsula that the moose population is in severe decline.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Joey’s Lookout – Gambo, NL

Gambo, NL depicted above was the homestead of the Province’s first Premier, Joseph R. Smallwood. He signed the documents that brought Newfoundland & Labrador into Confederation as the newest province of Canada on April 1st, 1949.

We stopped at “Joey’s Look-Out” for the amazing views of the homes neighbouring the adjacent river.  One thing that was missing was the images outlining “Joey” wearing those iconic black-rimmed eyeglasses. As well, the hotdog card that has been ever-present when the weather is a little warmer.

For those who know me well, know me as a “Road Warrior”, as I seldom stop once in the car. Passengers are aware that when I stop be sure to use the restroom and grab your snacks as it will be maybe 500+ km before the next time the car pulls off the TCH.

Although I am learning the importance of just stopping to catch my breath every once and awhile. If we never stop for a moment, we miss the beauty of a place such the views from the look-out.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Random but Fun Observations from the Urban Holiday Travels

Here are a few observances from our few days in the Capital:

It is important to Think Swiss! It seems we are consuming their culture with their chocolates, fondue, cheeses and even watches.

We could not pass this up as we passed Stokes at the Avalon Mall:

That even German‘s can like brands such as Tassimo. It became a used nickname for a brief period of time:

Even politicians have a sweet tooth! Since being elected on October 11, 2011, I wanted to have a DQ Blizzard. I am not sure why, maybe it goes back to my first year University when Dairy Queen was just down the hill. I’ve been to the city several times but never managed. After Dick’s Fish & Chips and a big roast beef supper at my sister’s house I did manage a small blizzard. SUCCESS!

There is something fun about going to a theatre and picking a random movie. We chose “The Sitter”. We did not know what it was about – storyline or reviews. After sitting in the theatre for a while we noticed it was filled mainly with women or couples – being three guys our biggest fear was this would be a complete “chick” flick. We were not disappointed, we have no expectation and I do not think I laughed so much in the theatre ever. Sometimes group laughter is the best therapy.

Only in Canada…..two drive through lines for coffee at Time Hortons

Although this past Thursday I stopped at MacDonald’s in Grand Falls-Windsor and they as well had two drive-thru lines.

Sometimes we need to stop and enjoy the simpler moments in our lives, share the laughter and celebrate randomness with friends and family.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

A Resemblance of Shamus from Family Guy on Bell Island, NL

I have always had an appreciation for those who had taken the time to be creative and produce a form of Folk Art. It seems to be present less and less as I drive the island of Newfoundland. As I drove the road passing by this fellow, I couldn`t resist but to turn my car around and take a quick snap. One never knows what they will find exploring on a random road trip to Bell Island, NL.

At first glance, I was reminded of the seafaring character `Shamus`on Family Guy with the wooden arms and legs. This chap by the looks of him will be brightly lit by nightfall after pounding back some 5 Star Rum, Grey Goose Vodka and a case of Canadian Light or it may be just the fact that he will get some juice from Newfoundland & Labrador Power. :). I have never been very good at drafting a funny, most people laugh at my facial expressions or quirky actions versus my well-versed puns and wit – that talent fell upon my Grandfather Mitchelmore. He was a great at reciting lines, jokes and stories.

If you have a cool piece of folk art, please send your photos and story behind the art to liveruralnl@gmail.com.

Let us keep the creativity flowing in rural and urban parts of Newfoundland & Labrador. I would hate to see Folk Art become obsolete from our yards and walkways. Hop in your car, grab the camera and explore the beauty of your own backyard.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Provincial Government Eases Travel Burden by Improving Medical Transportation Program

The Department of Health and Community Services announced on January 10, 2012 that it had made improvements to the medical transportation program, which impacts the lives of many, especially rural Newfoundlanders and Labradorians

The release states:

`To help ease the financial burden of paying upfront for travel for medical services, effective January 1, 2012, eligible residents booking commercial air travel for specialized insured medical services will now have 50 per cent of economy airfare prepaid prior to travel. Before this change, eligible individuals had to absorb the full cost of airfare initially and be reimbursed afterwards with the portion covered by the Medical Transportation Assistance Program.`

The full release can be found at: http://www.releases.gov.nl.ca/releases/2012/health/0110n01.htm

Improvements must continue to ensure that specialized medical services are truly available to all and not just those that are able to afford it. Further increases to upfront payment for travel may be warranted as not all can afford to pay for 50% of an economy commercial flight. For example, my last Provincial Airlines flight from St. Anthony to St. Johns, a mere 1 hour flight was over $800.00. A  low income earner having to come up with $400+ is a still a heavy financial burden to bear.

Let us work together to find co-operative solutions as we live Rural Newfoundland & Labrador.

Experience the Great Northern Peninsula -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Find Yourself on Bell Island, NL – Part 2

Even if you get lost on Bell Island, Newfoundland & Labrador, it is quite the experience. I know there were times that I circulated up and down the roads of Wabana trying to find myself. I do recommend you take a GPS or try to find a Map if you are not up for the more adventurous means to find the sights and attractions of the beautiful island. I did not see Maps available on the Ferry, it may be something I missed.

Fortunately for me I had a GPS to outline the numerous roadways – but really had no idea the incredible beauty I was about to capture:

One of the first stops was the Bell Island Lighthouse (above).

Sea caves and unique landscapes near the Bell Island Lighthouse

After leaving the lighthouse area we went to another part of the island where we found three chairs waiting just for us:

It was evident that others have come before us to marvel at the beauty of the landscape; to hear; to watch – the crashing waves.

This is truly one of the four corners of the world.

One will get lost in thought – in the beauty of what is Bell Island.  Get lost and find yourself again as you experience Rural Newfoundland & Labrador.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits – White Bay North

Find Yourself on Bell Island, Newfoundland & Labrador

On January 2, 2012 – My friends & I set out on our first adventure of the New Year. We hopped in the car, drove to Portugal Cove-St. Phillips, after a few minutes waiting in line and a fare of less than $10 return ($6.25 for passenger + car/$1.75 for each additional passenger) we hopped on the MV Flanders and worked our way across the tickle.

The ferry ride is short about 20 minutes on the water ~40 minutes total. If you visit the City of St. Johns, consider adding Bell Island to your agenda as it truly is a stark contrast of life and beauty in itself.

Bell Island was once home to an iron ore mine that made it the second largest populated area, next to the  capital. It has a rich vibrant history, one that may be re-explored  as an announcement came a day or two after our visit that the mine may re-open.

No visit to Bell Island can be complete with at least one visit to Dick’s Famous Fish & Chips. It has been a fixture to the island for 60 years. This is quite a milestone for any small business.

The fish and chips were likely battered with a secret recipe, surely only available to family. I bet the workers are not even privy to such a lucrative combination. Enough for my selling pitch, before I get to a point of exaggeration. :) The fish n’ chips were served golden brown and would not  disappoint as they tantalized the taste buds.

I was quite happy I ordered the three-piece meal, as it truly has been the best fish n’ chips I’ve tasted on the East Coast of the island of Newfoundland & Labrador. There was no choice but to leave satisfied and with a full stomach.

Dick’s Fish and Chips has done a remarkable job of marketing itself as a fixture – one which may have evolved over time. This was present from a wall of cartoons and notes posted in the hallway leading up to the take-out and restaurant seating area as past patrons noted how much they loved “Dicks”.

I have noted before the importance of truly marketing the rural experience. I challenge other retailers and small businesses to find their niche, stand out and create a following that will help you continue adding loyal customers into multiple decades whether you use humour, appeal, facts or some other means to market.

If you find yourself on Bell Island – Do not dare leave without some of Dicks’s Fish & Chips.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North
 
PS. I’ll be  following up shortly with more of our Bell Island Adventure….

Nominate An Individual for Newfoundland & Labrador’s Highest Honour

The Order of Newfoundland & Labrador is the highest Honour of the Province.

The Order of Newfoundland and Labrador was established and given Royal Assent in 2001. The Order is to recognize individuals who have demonstrated excellence and achievement in any field of endeavour benefiting in an outstanding manner Newfoundland and Labrador and its residents.

The first group recognized occurred in 2004. You have until January 31, 2012 to nominate an individual for our Province’s Highest Honour. As the MHA for the Straits-White Bay North I can think of a number of individuals who have tirelessly contributed in our region and province striving to improve the lives, social programs and economy. You are certainly worthy. I encourage you to take time to nominate that someone who should be recognized for their service and contributions of making life better for all Newfoundlanders & Labradorians.

If you need further information or for nomination forms visit www.gov.nl.ca/onl or 709-729-3670.

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

Second Annual Mummer’s Walk & Food Drive Draws More Participants!

Sabrina Gaulton, NDP District Association President for the Straits-White Bay North organized the 2nd Annual Mummer’s Walk and Food Drive in the Straits.

Despite the high winds more than 30 mummer’s or jannies came out from various communities to the Anchor Point Lions Club in mid-day to participate in the Mummer’s Walk and also support the local Food Sharing Association.

“It is important that we keep traditions alive, promote active lifestyles and support local charities” states Ms. Gaulton. “We are greatly impressed by the number of food items donated, as after Christmas food banks are typically depleted”.

She is quite fond of the tradition and would like to see more activities planned in Rural Newfoundland & Labrador that promotes these initiatives.

After a chilly walked and holding onto your mask with dear life all mummer’s made it safely back to the Anchor Point Lion’s Club for a glass of Purity Syrup or a hot cup of chocolate. This year was an international mummer’s walk as we had for the first time a Swiss Mummer in the troupe.

This is an initiative I am quite proud to participate and look forward to continued growth for 2012. So mark your calendars on December 29, 2012 we will officially host the Mummer’s Walk in the community of Savage Cove.

Live Rural NL & Plan Christmas Mumming this Year -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 5,999 other followers

%d bloggers like this: