Category Archives: Heritage

L’Anse aux Meadows Viking Settlement – Where the World Came Full Circle

Imagine, L’anse aux Meadows, Great Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland, Canada is the land of first contact in North America by Europeans. Home of the only authentic Norse site in North America, where the Vikings came over 1,000 years ago and worthy of World UNESCO Heritage status.

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A population of just a couple dozen residents today, this tiny community is truly Where the World Came Full Circle. It is the place where humanity met for the very first time, an event more than 100,000 years in the making. When the continents broke apart, people went left and people went right. Europeans reached Iceland and then Greenland and finally settled at L’Anse aux Meadows. It was there they met those who went right, our indigenous population of Newfoundland and Labrador. We have documentation of 5,000 years of their presence, only to connect for the first time 1,000 years ago with those who went left. This is the much bigger story of this ancient and meaningful place that must be told.

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L’Anse Aux Meadows UNESCO Site

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Annually 30,000 people flock to L’Anse aux Meadows from May-September. The Parks Canada experience is truly something that should be on your bucket list. The interpretation centre offers guided tours in French and English, a film in the theatre, artifacts and storyboards are on display, there are walking trails, get up close and personal to where the ancient mounds were and lets not forget the art and encounters with Vikings along the way. Also, the very talented local, Loretta Decker, has handmade Viking troll dolls available at the Heritage Shoppe. If you have time, take in an evening of Stories and Sagas.

Norstead Viking Village & Port of Trade

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This social enterprise is the ultimate hands on experience of how to live like a Viking. A fascinating open air museum, boasting the Snorri replica that sailed from Iceland to Greenland to L’Anse aux Meadows in the year 2,000 in the boathouse.

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The local re-enactors can read you fortune using ruin stones, cook up a meal by the fire, make nails at the forge, teach you axe throwing for entertainment and skill, play nine man mill, or show you how to weave or knit with one needle. They have animals, a potter’s studio, gift shop and more onsite. Visitation increased by more than 2,000 additional people last year, which is no surprise to me given their exceptional public offering.

Norsemen Restaurant & Gaia Art Gallery

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Fine dining with lots of local offerings and fresh ingredients at the Norsemen. It is one of the many exceptional restaurants along Route 436. An offering of musical entertainment during dinner meals and a perfect view if you are lucky during lunch. I recommend a martini with local berries and iceberg ice to start.

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I enjoy the Art Gallery, lots of handmade and local products, especially the carvings. Exhibition space and direct sales for our artists is complimentary, providing another unique experience when visiting the Great Northern Peninsula.

There are five additional food offerings on/along Route 436 that come highly recommended:

  • The Daily Catch, St. Lunaire-Griquet – profiled in the Globe & Mail for exceptional seafood offerings
  • Café Nymphe, St. Lunaire-Griquet – located at Dark Tickle Company, a wildberry economusee that has an exceptionally sampling of teas, berry drinks and more
  • Snow’s Take-Out, St. Lunaire-Griquet – home to Herb’s famous chicken. For the traveler interest in something fast and to take-a-way.
  • Northern Delight Restaurant, Gunner’s Cove – a large family restaurant, with broad menu offering. They celebrate their Viking burgers, seafood and entertainment – don’t miss Mummer’s Night!
  • Burnt Cape Café, Raleigh – a local flavouring of moose burgers, sandwiches and also gourmet experience, with Chef seafood specialties.

Skipper Hot’s Lounge in Straitsview is also a must if you want to experience the music at our local watering hole. The Skipper Hot’s band is performing Thursday-Sunday throughout the summer. They do Screech-ins and host kitchen parties and special events.

Along Route 436/37 there is ample choice for accommodations that include Provincial and Private RV parks (including tent sites), Raleigh Historical offers bunkhouses to live like a fisherman, there are cabins, cottages, chalets, b&bs, motels and a short drive to St. Anthony, there are additional accommodations including hotels.

The Viking Shop

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Norman Young has been carving whale bones for many years. I highly recommend visiting his Viking Shop. As well, Taylor’s Crafts in Raleigh, has 4th generation carvers. Their soapstone products are phenomenal. Viking art can be found at Thorr’s Studio, Hay Cove. For a great souvenir shop on route to L’Anse aux Meadows, drop into the Hut in Noddy Bay! There is also Labradorite jewelry and youth entrepreneurs selling jams, pies and crafts.

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From fish markets, retail, boat tours, ecological reserves, icebergs, cruise ship visits, outdoor art and more. One can see fishers at the wharves, eat locally grown mussels and interact and embrace community en route to L’Anse aux Meadows! Plan your 2017 visit today and you too can say you were where the World Came Full Circle!

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA for St. Barbe-L’Anse aux Meadows and Minister of Business, Tourism, Culture and Rural Development

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clotheslines of Cod on the Great Northern Peninsula

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Typically cod would be drying on flakes or neatly spread on flat rocks near the beach, but more and more often the cod fish can be seen drying like clothes on the line. It’s a sign of the ever changing times in rural Newfoundland and Labrador.

Cod jigging is part of growing up in rural Newfoundland and Labrador. The implementation of the cod moratorium in 1992 caused 30,000 people in the province to lose their employment, basically overnight, ending 500 years of this fishing activity. Our communities were forever changed.

25 years later, there are signs of a Northern cod recovery. The impact it will have on our communities are yet to be seen.

Each summer though, residents and non-residents take to the water off the coasts of Newfoundland and Labrador to catch a few cod by participating in Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO)’s Recreation Cod Fishery, which we often call the food fishery. Cod is an important staple for residents and many catch their quota of 5 fish per day over the course of a 46 day fishery between July and September.

I never miss the opportunity to go jigging. There is something about being on the water close to your home, pulling in the fish and being able to deliver it to your table that gives you a sense of belonging to this place we call home. Knowing where your food comes from is important. Newfoundlanders and Labradorians always had a strong connection to the land and sea and I believe we always will.

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Our communities are still very traditional, our communities are resilient and we have opportunities to share our culture, traditions and way of life with the world. There are authentic unique experiences in our rural communities just waiting for you.

From sea or farm to plate is an ever growing concept, which has always been the way for our outports. A rabbit snared, partridge hunted, garden potatoes, carrots pulled or fresh fish would be served up at the dinner table. Taking these concepts to our local restaurants for tourists is an opportunity.

Also, to tell the story of who caught it, how it was caught, where, who prepared it, the recipes and the process are all part of adding real value. Sharing our unique culture with the world is what is requested. I believe we have exceptional opportunity to do just that.

Our communities, like others do not remain stagnant, we will always change and evolve over time. Our traditions and values remain core to who we are, whether we  spread fish on flakes or hang  them on the line, we have a strong sense of where we belong.

Experience the Great Northern Peninsula!

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA for St. Barbe-L’Anse aux Meadows and Minister of Business, Tourism, Culture and Rural Development

 

NSHLQ Come Home Year Celebration a Major Achievement – Then, Now & Forever!

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When communities come together for a common goal on the Great Northern Peninsula anything seems to be possible. I only have to think about the $100,000 Breath of Fresh Air Playground that was established in Cook’s Harbour-Wild Bight-Boat Harbour with three communities of about 200 people.

The Noddy Bay-Straitsview-Hay Cove-L’anse aux Meadows-Quirpon Come Home Year Celebration saw five communities all with a total population of less than 300 come together to make something unforgettable happen for residents, those with a connection to this special place and some to make their mark for the very first time. The last Come Home Year was in 1997, it was decided long overdue to host another and this time Quirpon would be added. This inclusion of Quirpon also invigorated interest to save their local hall to allow for events and activities to take place throughout the week.

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After months and months of planning by a dedicated group of youthful committee members, the day would finally arrive on July 27th and they were certainly ready. Leading up to the event, the Facebook page would keep everyone up to date. A full schedule was also advertised in the local newspaper, the Northern Pen. Not to mention a Twitter hashtag, showing their innovation and adaptation of technology. I was greatly impressed by their organization, what they offered registrants, how they partnered with all their key businesses and community groups to share in the success of this community celebration would bring. There is much strength here – then, now and forever!

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The Viking RV Park would be the primary site of activity throughout the week, with the official opening started after people registered at the fire hall. The crowds flocked, enjoying the weather and meeting those returning home as they fended off the flies. After the speeches, the cafe was cut, music was played by our multi-talented Calvin Blake, Adam Randell and Brandon White, mussels were steamed, faces painted and the mood set for a massive fireworks display.

The fireworks display was impressive, it seemed to go on and on and on. There were many awes and an astounding round of applause as the show concluded. A truly successful evening that could not have ended with a bigger bang. Cue the music!

The week would follow with fish frys, hikes, coffee shop visits, exercise programs, kids activities, duck races, memorial events, old-fashioned times, kitchen parties, row boat races, family days and so much more! This was no small feat for a small group of organizers, that should great leadership. So many others would step up and give time in a volunteer capacity to ensure all of these activities could happen. I’m amazed by the generosity and community spirit during these Come Home Year celebrations and always look forward to the next.

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A sampling of some of the activities:

I’m confident Skipper Hot’s band was rocking every night, that many screech-ins were had and the conversations lasted into the early morning hours and likely will continue until the planning of the next Come Home Year celebration begins. Be proud of your major achievement for making big things happen in small communities!

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA (The Straits-White Bay North)

Icebergs anchor in St. Anthony Bight, St. Carol’s and Great Brehat!

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Icebergs are a common sight on the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula – it is the iceberg alley after all! The best viewings of icebergs surround L’anse aux Meadows, St. Anthony, Conche, Englee and surrounding communities.

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On a visit to St. Anthony in June, I detoured to St. Anthony Bight, St. Carol’s and Great Brehat. I was only to be impressed by the vernacular architecture, fishing boats and stages, wood piles and of course squid drying and icebergs nestled in the Bight – rural living at its finest!

St. Anthony-Bight has a 100 year old house owned by Mr. John Pilgrim. The St. Anthony-Bight Loop Trail is located about 2 km outside the community and is well-maintained. St. Anthony-Bight is also known as the “Iceberg Graveyard”, as icebergs come to rest in the coves and melt. Many people are sure to get their hands on the beloved bergy bits and use the iceberg ice to add iceberg ice to a beverage.

Just a few kilometres away is the community of St. Carol’s, which has a hiking trail that leads to John Patey’s Cove where there is a great view of icebergs and whales. A population of less than 60 residents today, still boasts a strong fishing community. I had the pleasure of seeing squid left to dry on the flake on this particular day.

A little further down another road is Great Brehat (pronounced Braha). This community like the others, where heavily influenced by the French in the 17 and 1800’s as fishing stations. Great Brehat has a walking trail behind the local cemetery known as Flat Point Lookout and there is also another trail leading to Little Brehat (which one of our many NL re-settled or ghost communities).

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The presence of the fishery still remains a big part of this community, although some of the smaller stages and wharves are being lost to the perils of harsh weather.

These three communities are on the outskirts of the Town of St. Anthony, recently became connected to the digital world via broadband Internet and they are between L’anse aux Meadows World UNESCO Site. On your visit to the Great Northern Peninsula these may be communities you will want to visit to see rural living and icebergs, or you may just want to stay awhile longer.

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA (The Straits-White Bay North)

Cod, Caplin & Quilts not the only art found in Raleigh – Taylor’s Crafts a Must Visit!

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On Thursday, I spent time visiting Residents of the historic Town of Raleigh on the Great Northern Peninsula. It is a picturesque community that highlights the rich fishing heritage with stages, fishing rooms and wharves. A focus the Raleigh Historical Society has been trying to highlight with a replica fishing village. There are still fishers actively earning and living, small business owners catering to the tourism industry (www.burntcape.com), hiking trails, icebergs, whales and the Burnt Cape Ecological Reserve with dozens of rare plants and is likely the province’s most significant botanical site. This waterfront community provides and authentic experience of what living rural is all about. I only had to walk from door to door to see gardens being tended, fish and homemade quilts drying in the open air.

However, there is much more art to be admired than the images you see of every day life surrounding Raleigh.

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A visit to Taylor’s Crafts is a must, with 4 generations of carves in their family. Master Carver Abiel Taylor, a third generation carver learned the art of carving from his grandfather during the 1950’s. At Taylor’s studio, you can meet the artist, learn more about the process and view a wide selection of carvings made from soapstone, serpentine, whalebone, and moose and caribou antler. These are lifetime pieces, that are uniquely one of a kind. You can reach him at (709) 452-3386 / 2131 if you see something of interest.

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Abiel’s work can be even found on the lawn of Government House, home of the Lief-tenant Government in St. John’s, NL as former LG John Crosbie was fascinated by a totem pole this master carver produced. His craft shop has incredible amounts of product and depicts of rich history of living from the land and sea. He has images of his grandfather presenting a replica he made of the Victory, which was Lord Nelson’s vessel to medical icon Dr. Charles Curtis (who the current hospital in St. Anthony is named). You will be inspired, intrigued and immersed in culture by taking the time to visit, an opportunity to experience the artist’s efforts and creative nature and maybe you too can own a little piece of rural Newfoundland & Labrador.

Experience the Great Northern Peninsula –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA (The Straits-White Bay North)

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