Category Archives: Tradition

BREAKING: Caplin Rolling in Green Island Cove, NL Today! #caplinroll2015

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It’s not every day the caplin come to shore in my home town of Green Island Cove on the Great Northern Peninsula. It created a lot of buzz, with residents as far as Anchor Point, some 25 KM to the south making the drive to get a feed of fresh caplin. It was awesome to see my Aunt and Uncle there, who are visiting from Edmonton, Alberta. They were saying the last time they saw the caplin rolling, their kids were home and just as excited as those on the beach today!

As I watched my younger cousin rushing to fill his bucket. I remember being a young boy with my father on the beach as the caplin rolled about two decades ago. I worked hard with the dip net to fill a couple of five gallon buckets, rushing just like the boys on the beach today. My great great aunt Lavinia was on the beach too, in her mid-seventies at the time, dad said to me lets help Aunt Lavinia fill her bucket. She always remembered that day and so have I, we talked about it often when I visited. She had a sharp memory, right to her final days – she lived to be 98.

The caplin rolling are good signs! We continue to hear reports of an abundance of cod! #caplinroll2015!

It’s exciting times to be living on the Great Northern Peninsula. Now for a feed of caplin 🙂

Live Rural NL –

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

Art, Craft & Culture Thrives on the Great Northern Peninsula

A craft fair in St. Anthony yesterday, hosted by the St. Anthony Come Home Year Committee attracted artisans and craft producers from all across the Great Northern Peninsula. More than two dozen tables were filled with such a diverse array of product, it reinvigorated my belief that we could have a thriving craft industry, artisan studios like the Quidi Vidi Plantation of St. John’s or those on Fogo Island.

The Grenfell Heritage Shoppe at the Grenfell Historic Properties is the perfect anchor, with 8,000 visitors annually, they would be the ideal location to purchase from these local craftspeople and artists. Their Brown Cottage at the corner of their parking lot can be converted into a multitude of artist studios, just like mentioned above to provide space and an outlet for these craftspeople to grow, produce and share knowledge with each other.

One of the last tables I visited was Lott and Christina’s Driftwood Creations. I was just taken away by each unique piece of art. Christina was very passionate about her creations, telling me that the wood was collected on family outings combing the beach, some of it close to where I live. The story and connection added to the beauty of the one of a kind art. I also loved the professional tagging and a focus on Made in Newfoundland, highlighting St. Anthony on the map. These are the types of things that certainly add value to the buyer. I’m quite proud of this piece, “Some Day on Clothes” and will proudly hang it for many to gaze at something quintessentially “Rural Newfoundland & Labrador”.

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Driftwood Creations has their own Facebook Page offering unique Handcrafted Home Decor made from driftwood found on beaches of Newfoundland. They also make pine furniture made with a rustic country style. They can be reached at 454-3402.

Loving Stuff is handcrafted by Heber and Loretta Hussy of St. Anthony. I was fortunate enough to purchase her product before at the 2012 St. Anthony Come Home Year craft fair. There I got myself the last four remaining mummers, this year I manage to get several more to add to my collection and some on my Christmas list may be also receive one as well!

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After 5 years of co-founding and organizing the Mummer’s Walk in the Straits on the Great Northern Peninsula, people know I love mummers and the concept of what mummering or jannying as we use to call it means to those who grew up in outport or rural Newfoundland and Labrador. I love how Loretta and Heber capture them in such a traditional way! Her product is also tagged professionally and has a story explaining what mummering is all about. I could not resist purchasing the pair of child’s hide slippers. Lot’s of my friends seem to be having babies these days! You can reach Loving Stuff at 454-3513.

Shirley and Doug Mills are quite the team in their craft production, which was exhibited at yesterday’s fair when those who wanted ornaments with their names on them, Shirley called on Doug to handle that task. The array of product Shirley makes is phenomenal, which seal skin has taken a focus.

She makes guitar straps, strap purses, coin purses, boot cuffs, slippers, mittens, earrings, bracelets and now mummers and Christmas ornaments, which I think are totally brilliant.

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Her jewelry and some of these items can be found at the Grenfell Heritage Shoppe, St. Anthony. I can’t wait to hang these incredibly ornaments on my Christmas tree :).

There are so many artisans and craft production on display, from handmade quilts, Minion slippers, Bruce Pilgrim’s Prints, framed Art, Frank Walter’s magnets & prints, Colleen Loder’s iceberg art and ugly sticks, carvings, Carol Roberts’ hand painted rocks, felting and ornaments, original paintings, face painting, knitting items, baked beans, homemade pies and so much more.

It is evident art, craft and culture thrives on the Great Northern Peninsula! I encourage you to support out local artists and craft producers. I want to thank the St. Anthony Come Home Year committee for organizing and providing a venue for these local craft producers and artists an outlet to sell their product and services. We need more space and opportunities throughout the year. Let’s keep making big things happen in small communities!

Live Rural NL –

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

Black Duck Cove has a Hidden Gem

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Traveling the Great Northern Peninsula on Route 430 (Viking Trail Highway) en route to L’anse aux Meadows World UNESCO Site or to Quebec or Labrador via the Strait of Belle Isle Ferry crossing, Black Duck Cove presents the perfect stopping point.

The Black Duck Cove Seashore Day Park provides a picnic area, play ground, viewing binoculars, open air museum of Newfoundland vernacular architecture. walking trails, bbq area, miniature golf and basketball courts. It’s a great rest stop to enjoy life by the sea.

The concept of an open air museum is not new, as I’ve visited many on my European travels. I’m impressed that this economic development project is a step back in time of what the small outport community living looked like – from the one room school, church, wharf, hall to homes. These handmade buildings replicate our rural life and are wonderful to view and take a snap or two. This concept could be taken a step further and explain the building process, tell the stories of who owned these homes and the pioneers that built and shaped the community.

This area needs better directional signage to guide you to this almost hidden space. It’s almost a locals know kinda of gem. Since location is less than ideal, this fantastic space needs to be further promoted and expanded upon.

As you take the paved road and drive pass the Black Duck Cove wharf and shrimp plant, you will encounter lobster traps neatly piled, fishing gear and boats sitting on the grass. Our history, our heritage, our culture and life from the sea is well on display – both past and present at Black Duck Cove Seashore Day Park.

It is an experience in itself.

Live Rural NL,

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

Iceberg Festival kicks off with a “rumble and a roar”

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The 7th Annual Iceberg Festival kicked off its 7th season this year to a room filled with energy and excitement as the icebergs surrounded the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula. Lavinia Crisby was the emcee and set the stage for laughter, fun and engagement with her ability to connect with people over the course of the event. I had the opportunity to speak with those travelling from Germany, Nova Scotia, Alberta, Florida and other parts of world as they gathered to celebrate the pristine beauty of the iceberg – which has been 10,000 years in the making.

The local Tim Horton’s in St. Anthony produces exclusively the World’s only “Iceberg” donut. The region is known for its iceberg water, iceberg ice and the Richard’s family of St. Carol’s who has been famously coined the Iceberg Hunters with their own series played on the USA Weather Network.

Local crab from St. Anthony seafoods was cooked and given away to sample – this was absolutely the freshest means to get such a product already cooked for those visiting, from local fisher to local processor to consumer. Many local restaurants sell local fish products, including our locally grown mussels.

One could watch sculptor Shawn Rumbolt carve an image from an iceberg with a chainsaw. Learn to paint an iceberg with artist George Bussey on a rock and have a souvenir to takeaway and of course enjoy the traditional music of Calvin Blake, Adam Randell and Brandon White this year known as “The Growlers”. Many were on hand to try to name some noise using the Newfoundland ugly stick, share in a scuff or two across the floor and join in singing a known song.

We were treated to Calvin Blake’s Iceberg song once more and like his words a rumble and a roar – the opening was just that, clearly a must attend event. There are still several days before the Iceberg Festival this year ends, but its never too early to begin planning for June 2016! Visit: www.theicebergfestival.ca for more information. A special thank you to all involved, especially the organizing committee for making it all possible.

Live Rural NL –

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

It’s Lobster Season on the Great Northern Peninsula

Lobster traps hit the water in St. John’s Bay and surrounding harbours and coves on the Great Northern Peninsula yesterday morning after significant ice delays. Mother Nature has certainly not been helpful to our fishers, given the delays meant missing the lucrative Mother’s Day markets when demand is high and sales peak. The fact that many were unable to take to the water, enabled prices to soar past the $10 mark per pound for lobster, where today it has dropped to nearly half that price.

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On Friday, I visited Barr’d Harbour. It is a re-settled community on the Great Northern Peninsula, that becomes a bustling with activity from early May until mid-June for lobster season. As a child, most of our family, friends and neighbours would be uprooted for the day the lobster pots would hit the water. As a child this meant a day missed at school to help the family business. We would all have our chores of cutting bait, baiting pots, loading and offloading, truck driving, setting traps in the water or cooking up a pot of soup and feeding the hungry men and women helping ensure lobsters would be return in the coming days. I certainly miss the activity, the day at the Bay and more importantly the time spent with dad doing what was his true passion – fishing!

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I wish all the lobster fishers a successful season and hope to have my fish feed of fresh lobster next weekend! There is nothing like getting them fresh from our very own waters.

Live Rural NL –

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

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