Blog Archives

A Puffin Playing by the Sea – The 12 Days of Christmas in NL

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The Great Northern Peninsula continues to showcase the many talents of the people with connections to this place we call home. Gina Noordhof, has spent her lifetime involved in the tourism and hospitality industry from the early years of helping her mother, Bella at the Vahalla Lodge B&B in Gunner’s Cove. As the youthful age of 21 she established the Norseman Restaurant and Gaia Art Gallery at L’anse aux Meadows, which is home to North America’s only authenticated Norse site, which has been given World UNESCO status.

I’ve been impressed by Noordhof and the quality experience she is able to provide visitors at her fine dining restaurant, nightly entertainment, traditional artworks and unique lodging of heritage home rentals or a bed and breakfast experience.

During a visit to her restaurant early this summer, an employee showed me a copy of her draft version of her book “A Puffin Playing by the Sea” – The 12 Days of Christmas in Newfoundland & Labrador. I was greatly impressed by the creativity of utilizing our provincial bird to create a character and illustrate the carol with local icons such as the mummers, norse, lighthouses, seals, fiddles and more.

The book provides a perfect balance for the child as a keepsake of Newfoundland & Labrador to be captivated by the illustrations and authenticity of our traditions, culture, heritage and history. As well, the columns to the right provide details and images that would appeal to adults and give insight to who we are as a people and a snapshot of the past, as well as showcase our unique nature and natural beauty.

Gina’s involvement with the Canadian Tourism Commission Board has certainly proved beneficial as she shared her knowledge and experience but also saw an opportunity to create a series of books. Her first focuses on Newfoundland and Labrador, but she plans to replicate this concept across all provinces. It is a wonderful gift, perfect for the holidays. Priced at $16.95 Canadian one can get a copy by contacting Gina Noordhof at puffinchristmas@gmail.com. Books are also available at a number of local businesses on the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula. Visit http://www.valhalla-lodge.com/puffin.htm for more details on how to purchase, includes Free Shipping if mailed within Canada.

It is wonderful to see such entrepreneurial activity being pursued right here to advanced the economy and experience of the Great Northern Peninsula and Newfoundland & Labrador.

Many of our people are doing incredibly big things and sharing who we are with the world. Congratulations Gina and thank you for the copy! I wish you much success on your future endeavours and look forward to writing about more of our authors like Earl Pilgrim and Megan Coles in future posts.

Live Rural NL –

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

“Do Unto Others” – Dower of Conche

This summer, I had the privilege of meeting Alice and Austin Dower of Conche, NL at their home. I had met Austin before playing music for us at the Tuckamore Lodge, Main Brook and again at the Ivy Durley Place in Flower’s Cove.  It is clearly evident he is a man of many talents, especially when it comes to song and stories. We had a great conversation about family, community, the upcoming Come Home Year and the wonderful history that exists surrounding the Town of Conche.

Little did I realize in conversation, that the man I was talking with had such a strong connection to the communities beginning. Austin, a retired teacher had recently penned a book, entitled “Do Unto Others: Dower of Conche”, which is a scripted version of his family history of James Herbert Dower and the settlement of the community.

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It has taken me about six months to begin but only a couple of days to finish reading Dower’s work. The book was a pleasant short read that was filled with intrigue and also a reflection of life’s everyday challenges in community building in rural Newfoundland and Labrador in the early 1800’s. Dower also reinforces the importance of the Golden Rule, “Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.” Photos at the end also give the reader an understanding and snapshot of the community past and present.

I am grateful the author has taken the time to document and also tell in his own words his family’s story. I hope that this is not the only book penned by Austin J. Dower and I encourage others to find a copy. Even take a visit to The French Shore. Served up nicely with a cup of tea 🙂

We all have stories to tell and our own family histories is a remarkable place to start.

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North 

Man on the Ice: The Rex Saunders Story

This summer I met Rex Saunders at the St. Lunaire-Griquet & Gunner’s Cove Come Home Year as I circled the tables of crafts, baked goods, artwork and books. I was impressed by Mr. Saunder’s youthful manner as he started telling me about his story, which encompasses his life experience, from childhood in St. Leonard’s (today’s St. Lunaire) to a bout with near death on the ice flows. Along with many other registered guests, I was able to purchase a signed copy that day and chat with the author.

Good Luck. God Bless.  -Rex Saunders

I met Mr. Saunders again a week later at the Main Brook Come Home Year Celebration. I had still yet to read his book and certainly did not realize his strong connection to the community. His family had moved the family there for employment and Mr. Saunders attended school in Main Brook as a small boy. The Town was bustling of activity, as it was home to many lumber camps. I’ve heard my own grandfather recant stories of his days at Bowaters.

Later in summer on Nightline with guest host, Bill Rowe, Mr. Saunders spoke of his story and talked about the sealing expedition that ended up in a fight for survival. I was in the queue, noting I had a copy and commended Mr. Saunders for getting his story on paper and published for others to experience for themselves.

I have since completed his story and I have to say, I am impressed with the simple writing style, colourful language that at times certainly brought a smile. I could relate many of the stories Mr. Saunders was telling of growing up as a curious child to those of family life, to stories that of my recently passed grandfather would often tell. It is truly important to document oral history before it is too late. We must make greater efforts to write about of family history, heritage, culture and way of life in Rural Newfoundland & Labrador. I won’t go into detail about his sealing expedition because you truly need to read it for yourself, but I will say, I do understand why Mr. Saunders signed my book, “Good Luck, God Bless”.

During trying times, having faith can go a very long way. I thank Mr. Saunders for also putting into his book many photos including those of his fishing boats, his homemade ice fishing shelter and living off the land and sea. You can order your own copy on-line or purchase an e-book at the following link: http://www.flankerpress.com/man_ice.shtml. This book is an excellent short read, just in time for the holidays!

Thank you Rex Saunders for sharing your rural life with us! We all have a story to tell, so grab your pens and paper or just click the keys on your laptop to share with the world.

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

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