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The Great Northern Peninsula was carved by giants

The Great Northern Peninsula, Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada is a magical place that was the point of first contact when the first Europeans were to discover North American more than 1,000 years ago when they established a Viking Settle in L’Anse aux Meadows, which is now a world UNESCO site.

To the southern extremity of the Peninsula is Gros Morne National Park, which also boasts UNESCO status for the unique Tablelands. A place visited by more than 150,000 tourists annually.

Fjords of Gros Morne

Depicted above are the fjords of Western Brook Pond, which are part of the Appalachian Mountain chain that can also be found on the tip of the Peninsula. This is a magical place has been carved out by giants and are worthy of exploring. There is a boat tour “Bon Tours” that does regular trips in season, as well a lovely walking trail that takes you into the fjord. The walking trip will take your approximately 30-45 minutes.

The Great Northern Peninsula was meant to be explored and enjoyed. It has been the place of first contact in North America for more than 1,000 years. Plan your vacation today!

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

 

Anchor Point and Deep Cove Ski Club Brings Snow West 2014 North

Snow West – A Western Newfoundland Winter Festival is experiencing its share of success and extending activities throughout the whole Western region to include both the South Coast and the Great Northern Peninsula. This is a great investment in finding a means to extend the winter tourism season.

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The Town of Anchor Point and Deep Cove Ski Club answered the call, hosting a Family Snowshoe Night on Sunday, February 2, 2014 at 7 PM. Everyone is invited to a night with the snowflakes, moonlight and fresh air. They will also be serving up warm cups of hot chocolate. Contact (709) 465-2011 for more details.

The Northern Tip of the Peninsula has some of the longest winters, fabulous trails for snowmobiling, ski-ing and snowshoeing. What an opportunity to participate in Snow West and extend your Winter Season!

I hope all those locals and those from away enjoy a host of events. The calendar of events can be found at: Snow West program calendar tear off 2014 (5)

Experience the Great Northern Peninsula and all its winter beauty!

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

 

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.

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

Blast from the Past Walking Trail

Roddickton population has more than doubled over the past week as part of the Come Home Year celebration activities. I have been taking in much of the festivities and will be posting photos and a blog soon to give everyone an update as it has been a highly spirited week. Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to meet Elsie Reid and take her “Blast from the Past” walking trail.

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I met Elsie a couple of years ago, and it was clear her passion for gardening. She has taken this passion and turned it into something unique for the community to enjoy by creating an “open air” museum with static displays that depict rural living. You can click the photos below, but there is no substitute for experiencing in-person the peaceful walk along the forested trail.

Elsie and her husband, Calvin, have volunteered many long hours building a greenhouse, herb garden, bird area, and the heritage walking trail. There are many contributors that have donated items to make this all possible in memory of loved ones and other townspeople, family and friends.

The guided walk begins at the wishing well, where you can drop a coin to make a wish. Next there is a boat, that Elsie salvaged from being burned and was now given a new home. Ironically, this boat was owned by her father and was made about 30 years ago. There are bicycles, an outhouse, Christmas mummers, pot belly stove, saws, trunks and many other household items along the way. I enjoyed the comment, when Elsie pointed to a steel bed frame filled will blooming flower pots and said, “and here is my bed of flowers”.

As the former owner and operator of a museum that depicted rural living on the Great Northern Peninsula, I can truly appreciate the effort and uniqueness that this will bring to the Town of Roddickton. This is truly a project that has taken on a life of its own with bright coloured paint, recycling and reusing of materials, such as old tires and clothing to create flower pots and the preservation of people’s memories.

At the end of the tour, Elsie takes you into her greenhouse, showing the herbs and plants she is growing. She has only the freshest of herbs: parsley, spearmint, peppermint, rosemary, savory, marjoram and others. As well, all natural bug spray, lip balms, foot and body cream, stuffed animals and some handmade knitted items.

I purchased several herbs and look forward to a nice cup of spearmint and lemon tea. Your hobby and your passions are incredible business opportunities. Ms. Reid has the potential to sell fresh herbs to local restaurants, grocery stores and specialty outlets. Her all-natural bug spray could be commercialized, as it would have great appeal in the marketplace as we strive to reduce the contact our body has with chemicals. There is also a natural tourism component to the walking trail and resting areas. Ms. Reid could set up an outdoor tea room, where her herbal and natural teas are for sale, while viewing the bird area. She is a wealth of experience, known as the “Garden Lady”, she could teach others how to garden and produce local herbs and natural products that will help us all live healthier lives.

We have great potential on the Great Northern Peninsula because we have incredible people, with ideas, a rich vibrant history and natural landscape. If you have an idea, take that initiative and start something for others to enjoy.

Blast from the Past Walking Trail can be found in Roddickton before the Apostolic Faith Church on the left coming into Town. There is a sign on the property. I truly hope you enjoy as much as I did.

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Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

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Seeking a Unique Rural Experience? Raleigh has your Answer

The Raleigh Traditional Fishing Village is a unique rural experience. You can experience life as a fisher with an overnight stay in a bunk house. These hostel-style rooms have bunk beds for eight with feather mattresses and a wood stove for heat. There are no modern luxuries of television on site, but real rustic comfort. I hope to overnight there before the season ends, if not there is always next year.

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Raleigh is a place where you can get away from it all and truly enjoy some serene rest and relaxation. This traditional fishing village operated by the Raleigh Historical Society offers guided tours of the “fishing rooms” and provides opportunities to make a net, craft your own oar or prepare the boat. The society also teaches traditional rug hooking, offers boat tours, hiking tours, provides traditional meals and crafts. One can purchase a package at: http://www.raleighhistoricvillage.com/accommodations.php.

NDP Leader Lorraine Michael & I toured the offering at the fishing village on July 28th. It was evident that new marketing and cross-promotion needs to happen to see this site fully utilized within the season. This type of adventure and cultural tourism is a unique product offering on the Great Northern Peninsula. It has potential to be enlarged, create further employment and lasting experiences.

 

Last September on a visit to Iceland, they offered a package of “You can be a fisherman”, which consisted of living at a fishers home, eating traditional meals, touring a fish plant and also having the opportunity to spend a day or two out in boat with a fisher.

People are coming to rural communities craving authentic experiences. The people of the urban world are flocking to rural Newfoundland & Labrador, as they want to relax and learn something on their travels. We must find a way to reduce barriers that limit tourist from having a fishing experience, with real fishers in rural NL. There are mechanisms to make fisheries-tourism synergies work. This can create a win-win situation for Raleigh fishers and tourism operators in the region. Let’s work together to find the solutions. This is one of the many things to experience when visiting the Great Northern Peninsula! Be sure to add Raleigh Fishing Village to your list!

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Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

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A Few Snaps of “the Beauty Spot of the North”

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Conche is tagged as “The Beauty Spot of the North”. It is nestled at the edge of the Great Northern Peninsula East and is home to 181 residents, but there are hundreds more ‘Die hard Conchers’ out there and many are home to celebrate Come Home Year of 2013. It truly is a magical place.

This fishing community has a beacon of activity from an extremely active fish plant, that employs people throughout the region. The fish must be trucked in and trucked out of a dusty gravel road. There is constant commuting and significant economic benefits that Conche has contributed to the economy over the years. There must be serious consideration given to Government to pave the remaining 17.4 KM of gravel road.

Conche has also transitioned to be a sought after tourism destination. It is at the heart of the French Shore, with an interpretation centre, 222-ft tapestry depicting the history of the French Shore, textile exhibits, WWII memorial, archaeology digs, cafe, writer’s retreat, B&B, playground, walking trails, icebergs, bird and whale watching, as well as much more activity from talented artists, writers, singers, dancers, crafters and more.

The community understands it must add new economic opportunities by working to establish a fully functional RV site,  beach volleyball and other recreational services. It has carefully placed yellow chairs around viewing areas of the Town. This is similar to an initiative that Gros Morne National Park has done for its 35th Anniversary. These are important and relatively low-cost initiatives that make a community more inviting and tourist friendly. There are storyboards and panels and certainly more room for murals.

I am encouraged  by the economic drive of such a small community. There is much room for growth. It is persevering, despite continuous neglect and inaction from Government that treats residents and road users of Route 434  as second-class citizens. It is unacceptable in 2013 to be driving over a gravel road with no calcium chloride program. Government has invested $6M a few years ago to re-build and re-align this road. Each year there is no pavement,  this investment is being eroded to the bedrock and will cost more to complete. We need better, multi-year planning to protect our investments. Conche road should have been paved years ago.

Please contact Hon. Paul Davis, Minister of Transportation & Works at padavis@gov.nl.ca asking him to take the necessary action to pave Route 434.

It’s Time!

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Bell Island has many stories to tell…

Bell Island has murals that tell stories around the communities. I am always impressed by those that have murals or art on their buildings. I think our communities on the Great Northern Peninsula could paint murals on Town Buildings, Public spaces, sheds and other areas that tell our storied past that built our region.

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One can clearly see a mural on the Wabana Fire Department. This Department in recent weeks celebrated 100 years in operations. This centennial is a milestone! There have been many fires over the years on Bell Island and many brave souls that have stepped up to put those fires out. We have to commend our volunteer firefighters in Newfoundland & Labrador. They do an amazing service and are on call 24/7 without pay.

I love the geography, geology and views of Bell Island. They are just impressive. There are lots of sea caves, caverns and old mine shafts, given the iron ore mines ran for more than 70 years.

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The lighthouse on Bell Island, has been moved from its original location. As you can see its current placement is not along shores edge. There is Transport Canada signs warning of unstable rock in the area. I do hope this site gets renovated to become a fully operational tourist attraction. I feel all nostalgic for all things rural when I see a lighthouse and recognize the important role they played for safety. I only hope we see Flower’s Island Lighthouse become a fully functional tourist attraction near Flower’s Cove on the Great Northern Peninsula.

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Bell Island, like any region of our province has many stories to tell. I hope you and others take the time to visit this area, as well as the Great Northern Peninsula on your next visit.

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Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Going underground – Miner Chris visits Bell Island

Last week I returned to the beautiful “Bell Island” on a short ferry run across the tickle leaving Portugal Cove. A year had passed since I explored Lance Cove, Wabana, the craggy coastlines, Dicks’ Fish & Chips, the lighthouse and more with my German and Swiss friend.

On this occasion, I decided to be a tourist and visit a major tourist attraction, the #2 Mine. In fact, my 81-year old grandmother recently took the tour. It is quite an experience. Bell Island was a boom town with an iron ore mine spanning over seven decades of active operations. However, in the 1960′s the mine closed. It would only be re-opened 17 years ago, not to mine ore but tourist :).

Ed, our very talented and knowledgeable tour guide provided exceptional context. His personal connection to the mine was very strong, with his father and grandfather as former employees. I highly recommend him as your tour guide.

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The hard hat is quite the change from sitting behind a desk at Confederation Building. It was not my first time underground or in a vacated mine. In 2007, I toured a salt mine in Poland. I like being an experiential tourist. From the highlights of the tour, I certainly could not imagine the working conditions and poor lighting miners  faced in the early 1900′s.

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I am quite proud of the efforts of those involved in the re-development of a vacant mine into a tourist attraction. It is so important that we tell our stories. On this particular tour we were the only two Newfoundlanders & Labradorians of twelve on the tour. There are likely other assets and unique aspects of rural life that could be developed into burgeoning tourism attractions in our own regions that expand our current product offering.

The tour is 45 mins to an hour. There is also a museum and incredible photography highlighting the island life in the mid-1900′s. The museum has a gift shop and cafe.

Well, it looks like Miner Chris is calling it a day :) Be sure to visit Bell Island on your next visit to the Avalon Peninsula. Be sure to get your Dicks’ Fish & Chips too!

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Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North
 
 

A Billion+ Reasons to Visit the Town of Flower’s Cove

The Town of Flower’s Cove on the Great Northern Peninsula, is formerly known as French Island Harbour, as it too is steeped in French history and part of the French Shore. Flower’s Cove as it is known today, is the administrative hub of the Straits region with a regional hospital, regional K-12 school, regional community youth centre, community-based daycare centre, non-profit 33 bed personal care facility, retail co-operative, pharmacy, restaurant, B&B, gas station, retail outlets,  construction companies, RCMP detachment, banking & financial services, tax services, recreation opportunities, churches, Lion’s club, seniors, youth groups and other organizational clubs.

The Town of Flower’s Cove, working in consultation with the now defunct Nordic Regional Economic Development Board (due to Federal & Provincial budget cuts) had worked on helping Flower’s Cove grow its tourism assets by adding two informational pull-offs that promote the Town’s business community and tourism attractions, as well as a mural and good signage throughout the community. Many of which are depicted below in key chains that are available for sale at the L&E Restaurant:

Division No. 9, Subd. C-20130613-02044

Flower’s Cove was the home base of Rev’d Canon John Thomas Richards, who was an Anglican minister in the early 1900′s. He operated without a church, but by encourage the women of the community to establish a building fund by making and selling sealskin boots. St. Barnabas Church was built circa 1920 and is known locally as “Sealskin Boot” Church.

Flower’s Island Lighthouse, first lighthouse keeper was Peter Flower, shortly thereafter it was operated by the Lavallee family for decades until automation. The Straits Development Association has developed an interpretation and viewing area, as well as continues to pursue opportunities to develop the area into a working site to add to the Town’s tourism assets. Icebergs are often spotted in the harbour, so have your cameras ready!

Marjorie Burke’s Bridge has been restored and leads to 600 million to 1.2 billion year old thrombolites. These micro-organisms form a clotted bun-like structure that area  special find, only in a few places around the world. The calcium carbonate from the limestone rocks create an environment for these unique formations.

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The White Rocks Walking Trail is an easy stroll that gives nice views of limestone plains, forested and water areas at a pace for the walker of any age. There are certainly great photo opportunities and resting areas as well. A perfect place for a picnic.

Flower’s Cove may be a tiny town, but there is plenty to see, do and experience! A billion+ reasons to visit on a trek up the Great Northern Peninsula.

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Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

It’s All About Regional Marketing…

In 2010, my mom and I traveled to Ireland. We rented a car and went from Cork-Kinsale-Killarney-Galway-Sligo-Belfast-Giant’s Causeway-Dublin-Kilkenny-Waterford-Wexford-London. Cork is Ireland’s second largest city (about the size of St. John’s, NL), however, just a short distance away is Kinsale, a small town that is known for its food culture. With 2,257 people it is about the size of St. Anthony on the Great Northern Peninsula. The regional marketing had us take the drive to the neighbouring community. It was an experience!

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The Provincial Government has cut its marketing budget by 25%. Despite winning 183 awards and being internationally recognized, the market for the International, out-of-province and local market is highly competitive and stakeholders will have to do more to market their business to maintain their bottom lines. I believe it’s all about regional marketing, let’s pool our resources and develop vacation guides, business directory, updates, mini-sites and more in a modern Viking Trail Tourism website.

Check out how Kinsale market’s itself: http://kinsale.ie/.

The Great Northern Peninsula has many reasons for which one must visit. Here is a short-list:

  • Gros Morne National Park, WORLD UNESCO Site – home to the Table Lands and 155,000 visitors annually.
  • L’Anse aux Meadows, WORLD UNESCO Site – more than 1,000 years ago, the Vikings were the first Europeans to re-discover North America. The only authenticated North American viking site. Nearby, Norstead Viking Village & Port of Trade is home to the replica viking ship, the Snorri. Wonderful cuisine en route: The Daily Catch, Northern Delight, Snow’s Take-out and The Norseman Restaurant.
  • Community of 50 Centuries, Bird Cove – for more than 5,000 the Maritime Archaic Indians, Paleo-Eskimo, Gros-Water Eskimo and recent Indians. As well, a Basque presence and Captain James Cook cairn. Port au Choix National Historic Site has unique interpretation of archaeology and history.
  • The French Shore (Petit Nord) – Conche’s Interpretation Centre is home to a 222 ft tapestry depicting the French history, the Granchain Exhibit is found in St. Lunaire-Griquet
  • Grenfell Historic Properties - highlights the legendary Sir Doctor Wilfred Grenfell, his International Association, residence and his economic development through the co-operative process. Grenfell Historical Foundation and Handicrafts remain an integral part of the continuing story. Grenfell Memorial Co-op is the Newfoundland & Labrador’s oldest consumer co-op. Nearby are the Jordi Bonet Murals, Northland Discovery Boat Tours, Polar Bear Exhibit & Fishing Point Park.
  • Burnt Cape Ecological Reservehome to more than 300 plants, 30 of which are rare and one Burnt Cape cinquefoil, which the Great Northern Peninsula is the only place in the world where this species grows. Raleigh is also home to a fishing village and carving shop.
  • Leifsbudir – The Great Viking Feast is the only sod restaurant in North America, built into the rock of Fishing Point, St. Anthony
  • GNP Craft Producers – a unique gift shop that makes seal skin products and shares the history of seal skin boot making. In nearby Flower’s Cove one will find “Seal Skin” boot church. The community is also home to thrombolites (existing on just a few places on earth).
  • Deep Cove Winter Housing Site - a National Historic Site is an open air museum which highlights the way of life residents experienced in both summer and winter living. It is south of Anchor Point which is home to the peninsula’s oldest consecrated cemetery.
  • Torrent River Salmon Interpretation Centre - the Interpretation centre in Hawke’s Bay is a must for the salmon enthusiast. Beyond the mighty Torrent, many salmon rivers exist in Main Brook. Roddickton-Bide Arm is a great place to also participate in recreational hunting and fishing, it is home to the natural Underground Salmon Pool.

An array of walking trails, nature, wildlife, icebergs, whales, recreational hunting and fishing, picturesque outport communities, attractions, shops, restaurants,  crafts, festivals, events,  local culture and heritage and people who will make any visit a treasured experience on the Great Northern Peninsula. We make need to take a page out of Kinsale’s book, and work as a region to pool our marketing resources and create a more dynamic on-line presence that takes in our region’s unique offerings!

Experience the Great Northern Peninsula & start planning your vacation today!

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Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Marketing Outport Newfoundland & Labrador

Newfoundland & Labrador has marketed ‘outport’ or rural parts of the province in its award-winning tourism ad campaigns.

Innovative rural companies like Auk Island Winery in Twillingate are continuing to add flavour to the tourism experience. Newfoundland & Labrador takes pride in its unique local berries, such as patridgeberry, bakeapples, squashberries, as well as our very own Screech Rum. This company typically makes berry wines and sells quintessentially on Newfoundlandia.

I have tried bottles that are called, “Moose Juice”, “Krooked Cod”, “Jellybean Row” and “Funky Puffin”. I believe part of my purchasing of this product is curiosity, but primarily to support a local business that prides itself in all things Newfoundland & Labrador.

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The imagery on Outport Wine, which includes an iceberg, outport boats and fishing rooms. The splash of Screech just adds to the authenticity and certainly begins the storytelling process.

This season I hope to tour Auk Island Winery and taste many other wines they have produced in various shapes and sizes. Let’s keep being creative and expand the rural economy and our visitor experiences as we celebrate traditional and modern-day outports.

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Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Conche, Newfoundland & Labrador on a Winter’s Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Tourism tips from Copenhagen

I had visited Aarhus, Denmark, in 2007. Being the second largest city, the  influx of young people and students pursuing education make it a natural place for cultural activities and meetings spaces, which include cafes, theatres, museums, social spaces, concerts and festivals. Additionally, it has a history of Viking culture dating back to the 7th Century. I live near L’Anse Aux Meadows World UNESCO Heritage Site where the Vikings were the first known Europeans to re-discover North America more than 1,000 years ago (Read more at Parks Canada www.pc.gc.ca/eng/lhn-nhs/nl/meadows/index.aspx). Therefore, I was interested in visiting the Viking Museum, which was in a small room in the basement of a financial institution. The city had much to offer, so much that I planned a vacation to return to Europe in 2012 that incorporated this country and Iceland as I pursued some further exploration of the Viking.

A weekend in Copenhagen with a Swiss and Swede proved to be quite exciting, from walking the waterfront to riding the world’s oldest roller coaster in Tivoli, it was more than memorable. I’ve selected a few images, which I thought would get the movers and shakers of the Great Northern Peninsula thinking of new ways to share our unique experiences.

A walk through a park incorporated a number of notable figures. It was interesting to see the bar code by the statue’s nameplate, highlighting a simple scan of a tablet or mobile device would link to a website with more information about the attraction, history and artist. This use of technology is adaptive and  tapping into the new wave of tourist. Websites can list additional information and can be translated in many languages, which is far more limiting with storyboards and panels. However, you need to have basic telecommunications infrastructure to fully utilize this marketing initiative.

Just across the courtyard at the castle, prior to entering there was a sign. It notes, “if you have a similar 2-D scanner you can scan your way through the castle, or explore just a little bit more. Throughout the castle are stickers, that reveal a small story.”

The Town of St. Anthony in partnership with Grenfell Historic Properties may want to consider adopting this technology given the number of tourists and good cellular coverage. Additionally, Parks Canada’s L’Anse aux Meadows World UNESCO Site and Norstead – Viking Village & Port of Trade would also benefit, yet they have less desirable or nil cellular coverage.

On the waterfront there is a Speakers Corner set up. This is a simple offering, but certainly one of which we stopped and delivered compelling speeches on issues. There is an Agree section and a Disagree section where people can stand. It may be fun to take a minute or two with friends or group of passer-bys. Whatever the case, this simple addition is a photo-op waiting to happen.

The iconic 4 foot little Mermaid statue is nearly 100 years old and a relative long walk from city centre. Yet, a place tourists flock to get a snap. A simple statue has created economic spin-offs that have local venders, buskers selling miniatures, postcards and another reason to visit. Manneken Pis is another small iconic statue of a little boy urinating into a fountain in Brussels, Belgium. The statue gets dressed in costumes several times a week. While in Brussels in 2007 I paid admission to the museum which is home to the hundreds of past articles of clothing inspired by countries all over the world he has worn. The Canadian outfit was past Montreal Canadians hockey attire. If we get creative we can develop unique economic spin-offs. People may want to purchase a souvenir of this small statue wearing their countries clothing or begin a collection of their own.

Volkswagen hosted a two person racing competition in the street. There were line-ups of people wanting to participate. The business community can sponsor an event, get involved to promote their products and services.

Every place I visit, either large or small has a unique offering. I get inspired by visiting new places, talking with new people and encourage you to do the same. The Great Northern Peninsula has a unique product – if you choose to visit, you surely will take away memories that last a lifetime.

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Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Gros Morne Theatre Festival Opens May 26, 2011

The Gros Morne Theatre Festival will commence on Thursday, May 26, 2011 and continue daily throughout the summer with its final show on Saturday, September 17, 2011.

Positive word of mouth from friends and colleagues that had seen a show was more than encouraging. I decided to make extra effort in 2010 to ensure I made this a priority. I attended the dinner theatre, “Sinking of the S. S. Ethie” with a friend from Montreal, QC at a rate of $45.00. It was certainly worth it. Two plus hours of entertainment by talented and professional actors/actresses working for Theatre Newfoundland & Labrador, as well as, pan-fried cod and all the fixing served by those on stage during their intermission. We enjoyed the show enough to buy tickets for the double feature, “A Double Axe Murder”. This play is based on a murder mystery of the area in the 1800s. Very intriguing.

Being a local, I heard pieces of the story and previously visited the site of shipwreck as a young boy with my father. It is funny the things you sometimes remember, but beyond the rusty remains of the Ethie there was an abundance of very smooth and colourful round rocks. I picked one of my favourites and brought it back to the cabin at Sally’s Cove

If you would like some wonderful entertainment, check out the shows at Gros Morne Theatre Festival, Cow Head.

This year the shows are:

  • Ed & Ed’s B&B – Comedy
  • Neddy Norris Night – Cabaret
  • Winter – Drama
  • Stones in His Pockets – Comedy
  • Tempting Providence – Drama
  • Sinking of the S.S. Ethie – Dinner Theatre
  • The Oracle of Gros Morne – Drama/Comedy

There will also be workshops and special events throughout the season.  I am looking forward to getting to see Tempting Providence and others throughout the summer season.

For more information or reservations visit www.theatrenewfoundland.com or call toll-free 1-877-243-2899.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher C. Mitchelmore

Million Dollar View w/Product & Service to Match

 
Neddie’s Harbour Inn & Fine Dining Restaurant

On May 11, 2011, I had the opportunity to drop by Neddie’s Harbour Inn & Restaurant. I had heard so many wonderful things about the food at the restaurant. Listed on the door were three stickers, Where to Eat Canada 2008, 2009, 2010. This seal of approval from the food critique validates the quality and experience one may attain when dining at the restaurant with the million dollar view. Last year, I tried to get a reservation but could not wait the several hours for a table. I will try again this year, but be sure to book in advance (table #3 if possible).

The business was opening for the Fifth Annual Trails, Tales & Tunes Festival (www.trailstalestunes.ca); however, the front desk employee greeted us with a smile and was more than happy to give myself and a colleague a full tour of the property. We were taken into multiple rooms, which are breathtaking. The linens were rich bright whites, with the proprietor’s own special piece of art attached. The color palette is used throughout the inn. The views from each room is a little different, the blinds offer the ability of privacy and still maintain a view. There are comfortable chairs, lots of space and splendid decor that creates a happy space. The vessel sinks in the bathroom is also a nice touch.

Guest Room at Neddie’s Harbour Inn

The 15 rooms have bright solid wooden doors with nice trim. Each room is named for different communities or places in and around the local area, engraved in a wooden plate. Each room has wired and wireless internet and comes with a unique breakfast offering. Amenities include a fitness centre, infrared sauna  & whirlpool (booked by room for additional privacy). There is a common sun room with a bar, musical instruments, reading material, games and licensed patio – all overlooking the water and mountains.

The accommodation also has 4 houses in Norris Point that is available for rent.

Million Dollar Views at Neddie's Harbour Inn

 A walk around the outside of the property gives you a view of the rock garden, the water, mountains, tablelands and rural living. If you need to take a break, they have an incredible rock picnic table. I can only imagine the beautiful sunsets at this location.

Thank you to J. for providing the incredible tour. It is evident the Joy you take in your jobs. As well, to the owners and other employees that make this business offering available to your patrons. It truly is a wonderful gem, nestled at the heart of Gros Morne National Park.

If you would like more information, please feel free to visit their website at www.theinn.ca

Live Rural NL -

Christopher C. Mitchelmore

5th Annual Trails, Tales and Tunes Festival Officially Opens Today

 

To be in Norris Point today, would be one filled with a fury of activities, marking the start of the 5th Annual Trails, Tales and Tunes Festival which will run until Sunday, May 29, 2011.

For those with a sense of adventure this morning, they had the opportunity to take a hike to the top of the Tablelands (World UNESCO Heritage Site at Gros Morne National Park) under the care of trained staff of Gros Morne Adventures. This started at 9:00 AM and will last until about 5:00 PM for a fee of $50.00. However, there is something for everyone on their schedule from Yoga, Boat Tours, Music, Parades, Theatre, Food and Nightly Entertainment.

Sitting at a stone table, Neddie's Harbour Inn with Tablelands in the background

Check out the schedule for yourself by clicking here or visiting www.trailstalestunes.ca

This is a remarkable success story. A collective group from the Town, non-profits, organizations, business, artists, volunteers and others are involved to provide a unique offering of outdoor walks and hikes, talented local musicians, artists and storytellers, workshops and other activities. This truly is the kick-off to the summer tourism season and a means to extend the service offering on the shoulder season.

As a frequent traveller, I tend to try to visit places outside of peak tourist season as the crowds are generally less, prices are lower and you get an opportunity to meet more locals. Gros Morne National Park gets around 180,000 visitors each year, with scheduled events and entertainment throughout the peak tourism season. When you have a strong product, it is important to try to broaden the season. Trails, Tales and Tunes is able to bring out the locals and those travellers on the fringe. They may come early and they may even come back throughout summer or at the end of the season. It is wise to have this festival at the beginning of the season, as there are a number of other festivals, activities and events that make for a competitive market within regions and across the province of Newfoundland & Labrador.

On Wednesday, May 11, 2011, I had the opportunity to speak with a number of operators and most were preparing for the season – ensuring they would be open for the festival this weekend. There was much enthusiasm in the air and I only hope that funnels throughout the regions to have a strong tourism season for Rural Newfoundland & Labrador.

So if you can, take in a day, two or more of this festival. I’ll be in the area on Wednesday, May 18th to check out some of the activity and maybe again on May 20th. I would like to extend a warm thank you to all those involved, as you continue to do truly amazing work.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher C. Mitchelmore

Scenic Gros Morne National Park

A view of Norris Point, Gros Morne National Park

There is always a scenic photo to be taken when you visit Gros Morne National Park. These are some from my March 21, 2011 visit. The view of the bay is breathtaking. The little wharves represent the  imporance of fishing to the local economy. Although, the tourism industry has grown immensely attracting more than 180,000 visitors annually, the fishing industry is a mainstay for many families. 

A wharf in Norris Point, Gros Morne National Park

There must be a way to blend both industries where tourists can experience a rural fishing lifestyle and these fishers can also realize financial gain that will make their enterprises more viable. If the resource can be properly managed and regulated, why not allow tourists to experience traditional cod jiggin’?  They could also take their catch to a local restaurant and have it prepared to enjoy as a meal.

Boat in the Bay

We need to develop our industries. However, we must  properly manage the resources and tools that we have available to us in rural regions. One inhibiting factor are the regulations  in place by the Federal Government. It is time for government to work with fishers, businesses and community organizations to implement the change that is needed for rural success.

Fishing Boat

 
There is opportunity for Learning Vacations, Fish Markets and Culinary Experieces that pertain to the inshore fishing industry. Rural regions in Northern Newfoundland can have further growth and success! We just need to be included, our voices matter. We have ideas that can improve the quality of life and experiences of living rural. 
 
Live Rural NL 0
Christopher Mitchelmore
 

CNA: Heritage Training Available‏ at Plum Point

Tourism Related Training Plum Point Flyer Print March 2011[1]

The link above is a flyer for a heritage training course to be offered in the region.  It can be of value to individuals working in the tourism industry and businesses employing people.

 This session would be of great value to interpreters at tourism attractions.

 If you need more information please contact Joan Kinden or the St. Anthony Campus of CNA.

Step Back in Time…1621

Scenic Viewscapes on the Irish Loop

On August 16, 2010…I finally traversed the Irish Loop on the Avalon Peninsula of Newfoundland after years of saying I would visit. Well, to all you readers it was well worth the wait! The 316 KM road links the capital, St. Johns to the “southern shore” which is predominantly descended from Irish roots and back again.  For those of you who can remember, the Government ran cheesy tourism ads that went something like “come to the Irish Loop…Whales and Birds Galore….something, something, something explore” It was forever played on our independently owned NTV channel, “coined Canada’s superstation”. The tourism ads have greatly improved, especially depicting the scenic beauty of the Irish Loop. Visit the follow Youtube video at the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2aRFuguc7bk

Mansion House

We stopped at scenic Ferryland. It has incredible heritage structures, beautiful landscapes, historic cemetery, stone church and its own colony. Ferryland was formerly the “Province of Avalon”. A place that is the first permanent settlement and founded by Sir George Calvert. I read about him in a Newfoundland History course during my last semester at Memorial University. He was later titled “Lord Baltimore”. After spending one winter in what is now Ferryland, he returned to Britain and left hired help (the first settlers, commonly referred to as “planters”). These planters began what is most likely the oldest continuously occupied village in British North America. For those who know me, they know how patriotic I am when it comes to my province of Newfoundland & Labrador. I often get the opportunity to educate people about the oldest street in North America, the most easterly point in North America, George Street (most bars, pubs & clubs per sq. ft/capita in North America), only province to land a space shuttle, have four flags, have its own set of encyclopedias, its own dictionary and of course, the oldest English settlement in North America. 

As a freelance “journalist” :), I was given a remarkable tour. It started with a short video, followed by artifacts and interpretative panels. Next a guide provided an interpretative tour. It was very windy, but that can be typical in Newfoundland. We started at the outside herb garden, which was very informative. Apparently, “apple mint” was an early form of deodorant. Our tour continued with a stop at the Gentleman’s garden before entering the area that is known as the Colony of Avalon. The start consists of a 400 ft cobblestone street, which we were able to walk later in the tour. 

Which seat do you care to take?

 We were offered the option to take a rest at one of the benches (refer to image on the left). The guide said, she would not judge us. I love the sense of humour we have in this lovely province. As we continued the tour we were able to see the remains of the forge, Lord Baltimore’s mansion-house, other dwellings, as well as the archeologists continuing to excavate the site and uncover more evidence of the past. It was noted that more than 1 Million artifacts have been unearthed and catalogued over the past 20 years. We had the opportunity to visit the conservation laboratory at the end of the tour. 

This Colony has a history and is plagued with drama. Baltimore left for the United States. In 1638, Sir David Kirke, his wife Lady Sarah Kirke and their family took up residence in Baltimore’s mansion-house. This settlement became known as the “Pool Plantation” and took on a more business-like role. Tavern licences were sold and Kirke developed a prosperous fishing mercantile business. Unfortunately for him, he did not pay his taxes and was jailed in England. The settlement was disputed among the two families as to who had ownership for years. Eventually, Lady Sarah Kirke took over the enterprise and began most likely North America’s first successful female entrepreneur (another first)! The settlement prospered until its destruction by the French in 1696. 

Newfoundland & Labrador’s history books show constant political battles, which led to frequent wars among the English and French over land ownership. This is why the oldest settlement in North America & the youngest province in Canada has very little structures that are more than 100 years. As most structures older than a century were victims of fires. However, what remains continues to be part of our living history. 

A Puzzle Jug from a 17th Century Reproduction Kitchen

The tour ended with a visit to the 17th century Reproduction Kitchen. My advice is not to end the tour early, as this is worth the visit. It gives a good reflection of the everyday lives, hardships and even some luxuries of the early colonists. 

There is a unique history, Beothuk Indians, early European fishermen from France, Spain, Portugal, Britanny, Euskal and West England are all part of this unique history. If you would like more information, visit: http://www.colonyofavalon.ca/ 

I will be posting more images on the Facebook Group, “Live Rural NL”. 

The Colony of Avalon is another place one can experience something rural – CCM.

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