NDP critic for Innovation, Business and Rural Development Christopher Mitchelmore (MHA, The Straits-White Bay North) says government’s approach to job creation in rural Newfoundland and Labrador is sadly lacking in vision.
“Government is dropping the ‘rural’ from the Department of Innovation, Business and Rural Development with cuts to RED Boards, Employment Assistance Services, and no real plan for creating jobs from the ground up,” Mitchelmore said in the House of Assembly today. “Megaprojects create boom and bust economies and forced migration, and tear away at the social fabric of our economy.
“When will the minister of IBRD get serious about rural job creation and prevent further mass outmigration from decimating the rural landscape?”
Mitchelmore says encouraging job creation in rural Newfoundland is a vital part of ensuring economic health for the province. He pointed to wharf development as one possible option that has worked in parts of the province and could work in others.
“Government has invested $23 million since 2003 into aquaculture, including six biosecure wharves,” he said in the House. “Without this investment some 1000 jobs and $400 million dollars would have been lost.
“The forest industry on the Great Northern Peninsula impacts more than 150 workers and can prove to provide significant returns.
“When will the minister of Natural Resources commit to providing a needed wharf to Roddickton port to sustain an industry, jobs, and rural communities as well as putting needed money back in the provincial treasury?”
- Report reflects how government is mismanaging fishery (christophermitchelmore.com)
- Air ambulance services must be fully reviewed in ambulance review (christophermitchelmore.com)
L’Anse aux Meadows located 41 KM from St. Anthony, is home to WORLD UNESCO heritage site. It was originally named L’anse aux Meaduses (Jellyfish Bay) by French migratory fishermen; the latter presence of English settlers, would alter it to the current name.
This community boasts panoramic view scapes and has been well-captured under the lens. During summer tens of thousands of tourists flock here and even a number cruise ships pull up to the dock.
Today, I visited the snow-covered community and was able to talk to local residents. One resident loved how she was fortunate to be surrounded by water from the front and rear of her property. Another couple also liked the peacefulness of the community at this time of year. I was told the Mummer’s also made their presence known in during the holidays.
L’Anse aux Meadows, like many Newfoundland & Labrador outports’ primary economy is maintained by fishing.
It has also grown to be a burgeoning centre for tourists. Each year more than 30,000 visitors come to L’Anse aux Meadows World UNESCO Heritage Site, several thousand visit the open-air museum “Norstead – Viking Village and Port of Trade”, while others frequent the Gaia Art Gallery and experience the fine dining of the Norseman Restaurant.
To experience North America’s only authentic Norse site, you have to drive Route 430 ‘The Viking Trail” and turn at Route 436 to L’Anse aux Meadows. There are many lovely B&B’s, Cottages, Efficiency Units, Motels, RV Parks, and Heritage Rentals along this route.
It is another truly unique place to experience on the Great Northern Peninsula. Start planning your visit today for summer 2013!
Live Rural NL -Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA The Straits-White Bay North
- Reykjavik Open Air Museum Arbaer (liveruralnl.com)
The closure of the cod fishery in 1992 was to be temporary, yet remains today. It has led to mass out-migration. I was only 6 years old when the cod moratorium came into effect and can certainly recall many families leaving, businesses closing and loss of services. In 1991, the province’s population was 568,000, in 2011 the population dropped to 514,000 – a net loss of 54,000 people or more than 10% of current population, according to Statistics Canada.
The Great Northern Peninsula has been greatly impacted, as the fishery remains today the backbone of our local economy. The loss of population, especially youth and young families adversely impact the amount of tax base available and will push our smaller communities into greater decline. The lack of youth as part of our demographics means we must press our seniors to continue to be committed volunteers longer. These youth that would become community leaders, create new community programs and social offerings or start a business are lost to more urban centres and other provinces that offer high-paying jobs.
Since the first Mitchelmore came from England, they have been fishers. I am the first generation, like my cousins that did not have the option to continue a profession our family has engaged for centuries. Where will this lead rural Newfoundland & Labrador? There are cod in our waters, no question. I could see for myself this summer in communities such as Englee, St. Lunaire-Griquet and Sandy Cove as large cod-fish were landed via small commercial quota or caught in the recreational cod fishery.
CBC Reported: Cod comeback seen off Newfoundland – click for article
In September, I captured this photo at a fish market in Iceland.
As you can see there are certainly giant cod out there.
We need to have a serious conversation about the future of the cod fishery and the role it will play in rural renewal…
Live Rural NL -Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA The Straits-White Bay North
This summer I met Rex Saunders at the St. Lunaire-Griquet & Gunner’s Cove Come Home Year as I circled the tables of crafts, baked goods, artwork and books. I was impressed by Mr. Saunder’s youthful manner as he started telling me about his story, which encompasses his life experience, from childhood in St. Leonard’s (today’s St. Lunaire) to a bout with near death on the ice flows. Along with many other registered guests, I was able to purchase a signed copy that day and chat with the author.
Good Luck. God Bless. -Rex Saunders
I met Mr. Saunders again a week later at the Main Brook Come Home Year Celebration. I had still yet to read his book and certainly did not realize his strong connection to the community. His family had moved the family there for employment and Mr. Saunders attended school in Main Brook as a small boy. The Town was bustling of activity, as it was home to many lumber camps. I’ve heard my own grandfather recant stories of his days at Bowaters.
Later in summer on Nightline with guest host, Bill Rowe, Mr. Saunders spoke of his story and talked about the sealing expedition that ended up in a fight for survival. I was in the queue, noting I had a copy and commended Mr. Saunders for getting his story on paper and published for others to experience for themselves.
I have since completed his story and I have to say, I am impressed with the simple writing style, colourful language that at times certainly brought a smile. I could relate many of the stories Mr. Saunders was telling of growing up as a curious child to those of family life, to stories that of my recently passed grandfather would often tell. It is truly important to document oral history before it is too late. We must make greater efforts to write about of family history, heritage, culture and way of life in Rural Newfoundland & Labrador. I won’t go into detail about his sealing expedition because you truly need to read it for yourself, but I will say, I do understand why Mr. Saunders signed my book, “Good Luck, God Bless”.
During trying times, having faith can go a very long way. I thank Mr. Saunders for also putting into his book many photos including those of his fishing boats, his homemade ice fishing shelter and living off the land and sea. You can order your own copy on-line or purchase an e-book at the following link: http://www.flankerpress.com/man_ice.shtml. This book is an excellent short read, just in time for the holidays!
Thank you Rex Saunders for sharing your rural life with us! We all have a story to tell, so grab your pens and paper or just click the keys on your laptop to share with the world.
Live Rural NL -Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA The Straits-White Bay North
Chef Gusteau‘s cookbook “Anyone Can Cook!” resonates as I enrolled in a local art class. I did not realize that “Anyone Can Paint!“, but with an Instructor like George Bussey, it certainly feels like anyone can.
An email circulated by a colleague noted that George’s Art Studio was holding an painting class on Wednesday, June 8th from 6-9 PM. It noted that you would have the opportunity to paint a 18″X24″ painting with all supplies included for a mere cost of $30.00. I am interested in art, painting and continuous learning, thus, I did not hesitate to pick up the phone and dial 1-709-454-4070. I was greeted by a friendly voice at the other end, “George’s Art Studio”. I inquired about the class. Mr. Bussey noted they are kept to a minimum of 7 students to ensure that each student can get some one-on-one attention. I agreed to attend and circulated to my co-workers. I had one taker and we were able to carpool as St. Anthony is 150 km from Plum Point, NL.
George’s Art Studio is located at the Upper Level of the Viking Mall, St. Anthony, NL. He has quite the set up which displays his own art, a private studio/office for him to complete his own work, classroom and a small storefront for anyone needing art supplies.
On the wall was our painting – a harbour with iceberg and some trees. It certainly did not look like a beginners painting, but George assured us all that we could do it. The atmosphere for learning was warm and playful, with an opportunity to smile and joke with other students as we all hesitantly took some of our brush strokes.
George taught us how to mix paint, accent, layer, use different brushes and let us know that we could not make a mistake as we could just paint over it. He reminded me of Bob Ross of PBS – as he made painting look easy. George was more than helpful and multi-talented.
Three hours of enjoyment flew by and at the end there was a completed painting. I was skeptical that it could be done, but with George maintaining a good pace and keeping us all on track we all did it! I am so happy with my first attempt at painting and can not wait to take my next class with Mr. Bussey.
George currently continues his night classes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Drop by his Art Studio at the Viking Mall or call 709-454-4070 to reserve your seat and you too can frame your own artwork after one class!
I continue to be impressed with all the opportunity and talent that exists on the Great Northern Peninsula.
Live Rural NL -
Christopher C. Mitchelmore
The French Shore Cultural Centre will be hosting this awesome event and they are asking everyone who has a connection to Conche to call into the centre on those two days.
John Reeves Ltd., a family run enterprise may have closed its post in the Town of Conche many years ago, but there is still a place for the General Store in many of our Rural communities. These businesses thrive to supply the local consumer with all their essential wares from dry goods, hardware, fresh produce to rubber boots. Without their presence, many goods would be more difficult to obtain.
My community like many others see the loss of the general store. There were five small businesses that aimed to fill that market, pre-1992 cod moratorium. Green Island Cove at that time only boasted a population of 209 people (according to Stats Canada, 1991 census) today we have only one General Store with a population of 164 people. It currently is all that the community can support.
We stayed almost until sunset, climbing to the top to get a great aerial view of the 37,000 basalt columns.
Upon reaching our car, we decided to stop by a coffee shop in a small neighbouring village before driving to Dublin, Ireland to meet Marcel. The Giant’s Causeway has been a big highlight of my last European vacation.
Find your highlight here -
Live Rural NL 0 Christopher Mitchelmore
Valerie Genge, a native of Anchor Point, now resides in St. John’s, NL. She is attempting to participate in an initiative to improve the quality of lives of those suffering serious disease in Africa. This missionary work, shows dedication, commitment and compassion to humanity. She is to be commended on her undertaking, but like most volunteer work abroad, it can be costly and she is asking for your support.
Below is a letter received by Ms. Genge:
Dear Friends and Family,
I am writing to you to ask for your help in support of a wonderful cause. I have been asked to participate in an organization called the Pan-African Acupuncture Project that is playing a significant role in helping to alleviate the pain and suffering of people in Africa with HIV, AIDS, malaria and TB. With your generous support, I can join a team of acupuncturists who will train medical providers in Africa how to use simple and effective acupuncture techniques to treat the devastating and debilitating symptoms associated with these illnesses. Acupuncture has been recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Institute of Health (NIH) to be effective in the treatment of many health disorders, and scientific research studies have shown that acupuncture significantly reduces many types of both acute and chronic pain.
Since March 2003, the PanAfrican Acupuncture Project has trained 200 health providers in 12 Ugandan Districts and in Kenya. These trainings have resulted in relief for thousands of patients with two-thirds of them reporting either significant relief or complete resolution of their symptoms. The effects of this project are far reaching because our role as acupuncturists is not to provide direct treatment, but to train health care providers in Africa who will in turn proceed to treat hundreds. It is estimated that every provider trained can treat between 416 and 572 patients per year. At the present time, this translates to providing acupuncture to between 68,000 and 94,000 individuals.
I am asking for your help in raising $5,500 to sponsor my trip in February to train more health care providers in these highly effective acupuncture techniques. The organization is an independent 501(c)(3) and all donations are tax-deductible. Any excess monies raised beyond this amount will go towards providing necessary supplies and expansion of the project into other areas.
I will need to raise these funds by February 28th. I know that these are challenging economic times, but it is also uplifting to know that we can make a tangible and important contribution to those who are very much in need of our help.
You can mail contributions by check made out to: The Pan-African Acupuncture Project at:
The PanAfrican Acupuncture Project 113 Summit Avenue Brookline, MA 02446-2319
561 Nfld Dr
St John’s, Nl
or at the clinic:
Mount Pearl Wellness
835 Topsail Rd
Mount Pearl ,NL
709 364 7110
(If donating by cheque, please write my name, Valerie Genge, in the memo section at the bottom to ensure this money assists in paying specifically for my trip).
Or you can make a secure credit card payment online indicating that you are donating on my behalf at:
I am very grateful for your support and appreciate your generosity in donating whatever you feel that you can part with at this time. I will be taking many pictures to share with you so that you can see the direct impact that you had in helping countless unknown people on the other side of the globe who are able to experience physical, mental, and emotional relief because of the help and support that you so selflessly gave.
In heartfelt gratitude,
Valerie Genge, D.Ac, R.Ac
You can follow her story on the FACEBOOK group entitled, Pan African Acupuncture Project. Become a supporter or request additional information.
I admire those who take on challenges and aspire to help others. The importance of volunteerism and charity work is needed, internationally and close to home.
If you are interested in volunteering, contact a local non-profit in your area today! You can make a world of a difference just by sharing some of your time with others.
Live Rural NL – Christopher Mitchelmore
Labrador has more than 269,000 square kilometers of area, therefore there are no disputes as to why it was coined the “big land”. Although, it has a humble population of just over 26,000 people. This sparsely populated part of the province has immense beauty from landscapes, nature, wildlife and its people. I have driven through parts of Labrador over the years and am astonished each time I visit. Labrador, Canada provides some of the best Atlantic Salmon, Brook Trout, and Arctic Char fishing in the World! There is no doubt that if you want to have a memorable fishing experience that you may wish to consider planning a trip. As you near the mighty Pinware River in season, you will see an abundance of anglers vying for the big one.
The opening of the Trans-Labrador Highway connects communities as mainland Canada can drive to Labrador City to Goose Bay and now coastal Labrador. A short ferry ride from Blanc Sablon to St. Barbe (1.5 hours) will bring you to the Great Northern Peninsula, where there are also prime fishing rivers, lakes and brooks for the angler. As well as being anchored between L’Anse Aux Meadows World UNESCO Heritage Site, French Shore, Gros Morne National Park and many other attractions.
Experience a Rural Newfoundland and Labrador vacation…start planning now for the 2011 season! It is never to early to experience something wonderful.
Live Rural NL – CCM
Therefore, if our transportation networks are not up to par, we will lose our ability to be competitive in the global marketplace. It is evident that our transportation networks are failing us, especially in the rural regions. We can not continue with such neglect, as rural Canada’s infrastructure needs are continuosly eroded or the needed investments never made. Rural areas are the regions that feel the most pain because of this neglect.
MHA Fitzgerald states, “I believe as a nation we need t revisit the thinking of Canada’s first Prime Minister and share the burden of bringing the country’s transportation network into the 21st century”. I agree with the Honourable Member.
Rural regions need an advanced transportation and communications network. We must lobby governments on all levels to make such investments in the appropriate infrastructure. “Infrastructure is essential to economic diversification. and diversification is integral to sustainability. A region is best-position for survival if it has many oars in the water at once.” This is a very logical argument. Newfoundland & Labrador’s rural economies have been typically built around natural resources and one-industry towns. We have certainly experienced the devastation of boom and bust when an industry shuts down or fails us. The Cod Moratorium of 1992, Abitibi Bowater closing its Mill in Stephenville, and later Grand Falls – Windsor to name a few.
To build stronger communities, a stronger Canada – a greater focus must be placed on rural regions despite our increasingly urbanized world. If we do not focus on investing in the rural economies, as Canadians we will all suffer if we just ignore the current infrastructure challenge that is only getting worse as the days go by…
Live Rural NL – CCM
A friend, travelling from Quebec City to the island of Newfoundland for the first time had scheduled a visit. Prior to waiting for the Ferry Service to dock at port in St. Barbe, I decided to take a “Look Back in Time”.
Black Duck Cove Seashore Day Park was my first visit. This rest point’s highlight is a collection of miniatures that represent the architecture-styles of rural communities of the past. There are two saltbox homes, slightly modified; a church, schoolhouse, wharf, fishing rooms and lodge. There are beautiful & well-marked walking trails, captivating views of waterways and binoculars to view sights of Labrador. There is a small playground and picnic area for you to stay for a while. However, many travellers would not easily find this place, at it is not well-marked in terms of signage or on any main highway route. If you can, take the time to ask for directions. I’d recommend a fresh coat of paint to the replicas and some minor repairs, unless the organization responsible is going for a more rustic look of the past. Just moments away, you can see neatly stacked lobster traps, two adjacent graveyards and piles of unpacked wood for winter stoves.
These replicas made me realize that the vernacular architecture styles are fading from local communities in the Strait of Belle Isle region. Vernacular architecture is a term that categorizes methods of construction which use locally available resources and traditions to address local needs and circumstances, as defined by Wikipedia.
I decided to drive the area in search of the traditional folk house type, found commonly all over Newfoundland & Labrador, which is the Salt Box style. It is named for its shape, which resembled the boxes used for shipping salt to Newfoundland & Labrador and was one of the earliest forms of house construction. The Salt Box traditionally had a shorter steep roof line in front and a longer steep slope in back. This gave the impression that the house was much larger than it actual size.
Talking to residents and elders, they noted that logs were sawed into lumber using a “pit saw”. The simple design of a two-story “salt-box” used simplicity of design and maximized space and limited the amount of resources required. This saltbox home depicts a more modern-style where the rooftop peak is central to the home for even distribution.
Today, Live Rural NL sees a more modern home, split-level, bungalow, two-story, pre-fab home, mobile with an array of designs and styles. I’ve suppose we have gone modern, with very few residents living in this traditional home design with bright vibrant colours. Vernacular architecture tends to evolve over time to reflect changes of culture and society. I certainly hope that these homes do not disappear forever entirely in the region.
There is much charm in an older traditional home. I had to stop for a moment as the structure to my left continues to tilt to its demise as it lacks an apparent caretaker. The field is quite large as the water it in the background. For this place, we can only stop and “Look Back in Time” at the memories that were made by the people who lived here before us.
A Rural Reflection -
I decided to stop by the Tuckamore Lodge, a wilderness retreat located in the centre of a vast region of exceptional natural beauty. Upon stopping, I was greeted by the proprietor, Barb Genge and instantly invited into her home. She is a visionary. I enjoy every conversation we are able to have with respect to marketing, packaging, the industry and the great outdoors. Yes, this woman is a titan for the Viking Trail and its remarkable tourism and outfitting offering.
While at the Tuckamore Lodge, I was privileged to enjoy a great lunch, what a “scoff”. You see the cuisine of Newfoundland and Labrador is as diverse as the heritage. We have Jigg’s Dinner, Toutons, Mug-ups and various wild game and seafood dishes that have been passed on from generation to generation. Tuckamore staff strive to provide an experience to its customers and not just a nights accommodation, with the food being a big part of the experience.
The Scandinavian Decor, placement setting and experienced staff set the mood and atmosphere. Lunch was served; on thick slices of freshly baked homemade bread was a gourmet sandwich and side salad so fresh, you would think the vegetables came from a backyard garden. Yes, this lunch was an unexpected treat and so was the dessert that followed. A bakeapple square with a heaping scoop of vanilla ice-cream. This was incredible, as I found my way into dessert heaven. It was so enjoyable to the tastebuds I asked the chef for the recipe. She provided it instantly, despite being very busy with a number of other tasks. Now that is exceptional customer service. I’ve since prepared the dessert, not really comparable to the first, but I will keep trying. If you would like to eat at Tuckamore, it would be best to make a reservation in advance. You will certainly not be disappointed.
I wish, there was more time to inhale the natural beauty of the lake, the sights and sounds of nature and the great outdoors. The countryside teams with wildlife: moose, caribou, black bears, salmon, trout, birds and other animals. Truly, something for everyone – the nature enthusiast, photographer, eco-tourist, hunter and anyone who would like to get-a-way from it all without having to “rough it” since there is a sauna, billiards room, hot tub, library, fitness equipment and more…
Check out their website and see it for yourself: http://www.tuckamorelodge.com/
A Recommended Rural Retreat -
This post is dedicated to all my Mainland and International friends. Some of you may have heard me pose the question, “How ‘is yer boots, me ol’ trout?”.
K posted a comment earlier today about Newfoundlanders & Labradorians and our wonderful sense of humor. Well I have certainly turned a few heads when I asked someone “how their boots are?” The look of confusion and lost stares are ever present on their face, because it is somewhat odd to ask someone about their boots, especially as a conversation starter. However, this is an expression I have either created or adapted as a friendly way of saying, “How are you today?” and well “Me ol’ Trout” or “My Old Trout” is just an expression for “old buddy” or “(good) friend”. I enjoy the humour and providing an explanation of this saying, because it is a great ice-breaker. It is an instant way for me to smile and tell the person what I really mean and begin to share aspects of my Newfoundland culture, heritage and upbringing.
We certainly have a unique local language and regional dialect. However, local language variations and dialects are not uncommon and exists all around the world. French is much different in New Brunswick and Quebec than in France, because of expressions and adapted slang. As well, the North & South of France have regional language variations and barriers. Are language variations part of an urban and rural divide? If so, what happens as the world becomes more urban? Will languages be adapted and integrated? It is a curious concept.
I often wonder if the Newfoundland & Labrador language and our never ending list of unique vocabulary is a result of the integration of the many cultures that inhabited Rural NL throughout history. We have had Maritime Archaic Indians, Groswater & Paleo-Eskimo, Recent Indians, Norse, Basque, French, English, Irish, Scotish and other European settlers all living here at one point in time. Was the result the Dictionary of Newfoundland English (the only province to have its own)?
We learn from others and can share valuable experiences and knowledge. Culture, traditions and language does not remain stagnant and surely evolves over time.
I invite you all to post comments regarding some of your favourite Newfoundland & Labrador words or expressions and your thoughts on our language.
Linguistically Living Rural NL -
Yesterday, I stared out my kitchen window in awe at the magnificant sunset that was on the horizon overlooking the Strait of Belle Isle.
You see the kitchen brings me great comfort. If represents more than scents and smells, it has a childhood of memories of mother preparing a nice meal, baking my favourite banana bread, preserving berries, dates, beets or preparing homemade pickles.
I stopped to reflect for a moment, as I sipped tea out of Aunt Elsie’s cup (thanks again Melissa, it is surely a treasure and will get great use through the years) and put down my book, “Honorary Indian” by Sandi Boucher. This book has been uplifting, inspirational and attitude changing. I highly recommend it, if you would like to feel more positive, empowered, gain inner strengh or about life in general (www.sandiboucher.ca). Thank you Sandi! I just stared at the water, as the waves were silent.
Earlier that day I walked along the shoreline from each end of my community, stared and smiled. You see, I can just reach out and touch “the Big Land” Labrador and enjoy their lights every single night. I hear the waves crash when the wind blows, the icebergs as Spring breaks, whales, seals and seabirds visit frequently. Moreover, I hear the motors as fishing boats leave the wharf to attend their nets and secure their daily catch. It is quite magical to experience the life that exists from the water!
Today, I think of my father, my grandfather and their fathers before them…all made their living from the sea. We have much to be thankful for in my small community….as I go to bed each night and wake up each morning and look out the kitchen window, see the water and think…these are the kinds of things dreams are made from…
The water represents a special place in my heart, quite possibly all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. I will not take such a treasure for granted.
Take time to find your special place and keep your dreams alive,