Category Archives: History

A Historic Rein….Town of Flower’s Cove Sends Open Invitation

September 9th marks a monumental moment in our history as Queen Elizabeth II’s reign will surpass that of Canada’s other great Mother of Confederation, Queen Victoria. Tomorrow, our Monarch will have served us and the Commonwealth for the longest period in our modern history and the Town of Flower’s Cove has partnered to organize a special event at Canon Richard’s Memorial Academy.

IMG_20150630_101441

The Monarchist League of Canada has encouraged all Municipalities to recognize this milestone 63 years and 217 days in the making. None of us needs to be reminded of how remarkable a woman is Elizabeth II. Monarchists or republicans, Canadians agree that our Sovereign has shown the ideals to which we might all aspire and which reflect our country’s traditions and the best of its contemporary way of life: inclusiveness, stability, friendship, service, dignity, defiance of stereotypes of age and gender, to name but a few.

Join us at Canon Richard’s Memorial Academy parking lot tomorrow, September  9th at noon for a brief lunchtime event that will last between 15-20 minutes commemorating this historic occasions with the singing of the National Anthem, Proclamation, Oath of Allegiance and a Tribute to the Queen. Should the weather be less than ideal, the event will be held at the gymnasium.

I look forward to the commemoration and hope to see you there.

Live Rural NL –

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

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

IMG_20150727_131022

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.

IMG_20150727_175951

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!

IMG_20150727_174733

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.

IMG_20150731_154815

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)

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

IMG_20150806_164925

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.

IMG_20150806_174439

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.

IMG_20150806_172043

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)

Lots of Lumberjacks in Hawke’s Bay for Come Home Year!

The Town of Hawke’s Bay is known for it’s logging history and also local legends like fiddler Rufus Guinchard. 2015 brought many people home to the community with the planned “Come Home Year” celebration. Their theme was “We’re from the Bay and we like it that way!”

IMG_20150730_140515

It takes many long hours to organize and plan a week of activities and for that the committee is to be commended. There was much spirit around town with businesses and homes sporting banners, flags and decorations welcoming people back to the community. The old festival site of the Rufus Guinchard Music Festival was revitalized and put back to good use. I enjoyed the famous chicken and chips at C&P Take-out, which was a busy location, Maynard’s Torrent River Inn & Pizza Delight was filled like back in the 1980’s and new businesses like The Great Canadian Dollar Store would benefit from increased traffic. Top Ten Motors gas station pumps seemed always full and I enjoyed a conversation over coffee with a former classmate I had not seen in years. The impact of Come Home Year is far reaching for business, for residents and for the community!

I attended the Lumberjack Competition, which had Lumberjack’s of all ages. It also showcased the early years of logging and had some various saws on display. I had a great conversation with Mr. House, Con & Nova and Marlene Maynard as we talked about the town, the forest industry, the festivities and of course a little politics. It was nice to see youth tossing logs, sawing and also racing.

It was a fun filled afternoon in this lumbering town. Lots of spectators, a barbecue in support of the local fire department and so many children playing at the adjacent playground. The evening brought a gospel concert that would showcase many local and vocal talents from those away.

After a couple of hours of music, the perfect way to end an evening is watching the sunset across the Bay! IMG_20150730_205231 Hawke’s Bay Come Home Year was a big success, it showcased leaders and volunteers that continue to make big things happen in our small communities. I was even more encouraged when local councillors talked about the possibility of bringing back a weekend like the Rufus Guinchard Music Festival. There is so much potential to continue to add vibrancy, social and economic opportunity with the right people and the will to make it happen. I thoroughly enjoyed my time Hawke’s Bay and look forward to visiting again soon.

Live Rural NL –

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

Quirpon will see population above 70 people for first time in years

IMG_20150712_160239

Quirpon was a prominent fishing community on the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula that has historic ties dating back to the 16th century migratory fishery. The French connection in the community name become known due to its resemblance to Le Kerpont near St. Malo, France. Locally, it is pronounced in the Anglicized form – “Karpoon”. I have visited Quirpon many times and had conversations over a cup of tea and sweets at Mabel and Bill Bartlett’s home.

Bill, in my view is the local historian. The wealth of knowledge, photographs and interest he has in the history, culture and mystery that surrounds Quirpon and the surrounding island and communities, formerly known as L’anse au Bauld, L’anse au Pidgeon, Fortune, Grassy Cove and Little Quirpon is worth a conversation or two. There are many unanswered questions and a real need for an archaeology dig to answer questions about the French and Inuit battles, the Vikings and the Land of First Contact. Earl Pilgrim wrote a book about this region and the mystery called the Island of Demons.

Bill’s local knowledge, photos, stories and local lore needs to be place on public display, maybe in the form of interpretation panels, murals or as an exhibit in the new Quirpon Community Hall, which recently undertook an impressive restoration project by community will and support. A special thank you to his daughter Marilyn, for never giving up on this cause and ensuring that Quirpon still has a public space for all residents, current and former, as well as visitors to come and enjoy. It was cooperation and support of everyone that helped see this piece of community infrastructure maintained. You are to be commended and I look forward to a time there in just over a week.

Quirpon is part of the Noddy Bay-Straitview-Hay Cove-L’Anse aux Meadows-Quirpon Come Home Year Celebration, which these five small communities see massive population growth for a week of celebration, as those with a connection to the communities come home. The 2011 census gives all five communities a total population of 289, which no doubt has declined in the past four years. It will be exciting to see the shift and influx of traffic, youth and activity in a community of just a few dozen.

IMG_20150712_160018

Despite a small population, Quirpon has opportunity.

  • The oldest house in the community was built in 1892 which belonged to William Henry Pynn, is a designated Registered Heritage Structure due to its historic architectural and cultural values.
  • Quirpon has beautiful walking trails
  • A working French Oven and resting area is available to the public.
  • Quirpon Lighthouse Inn, a four star accommodation at a light-keeper’s home built in 1922 where one can also experience kayaking, zodiac, iceberg & whale watching, boat tours and authentic rural Newfoundland and Labrador (http://www.linkumtours.com/wordpress/lighthouse-inns/quirpon-lighthouse-inn/).
  • Quirpon Radio was also founded by Wayne Bartlett & Cheryl McCarron – you can listen 24/7 online at http://www.radioquirpon.com/
  • The Viking RV Park is nestled on the road to Quirpon and just minutes from L’anse aux Meadows
  • Lloyd can be found in his workshop making model ships, motor boats, helicopters, snowmobiles and airplanes, while Bill has his miniature lighthouses and dories on display. Quirpon is a great place to pick up a piece of folk art
  • There is a photograph around every turn.

There is also prime iceberg viewing, a B&B being developed, local woodworkers and artists, the community hall, high speed Internet, vernacular architecture and amazing waterfront properties. I highly recommend adding Quirpon to your adventure on the Great Northern Peninsula and be sure to engage in dialogue with the local residents, you truly will be inspired.

Maybe you too will call this place home –

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

%d bloggers like this: