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Great Northern Peninsula would benefit from An Artisan’s Nook

This past summer I visited the Burin Peninsula, which is quickly developing its tourism product. Heritage Run is quickly becoming a destination for many travelers to our province. With a direct ferry connection to an international destination of St. Pierre-Miquelon, an economuseum, expansive trails, museums, heritage square, dinner theatres, beaches and more. One place that stood out as a model to truly replicate in our rural communities was the Artisan’s Nook in Lamaline.

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The importance of buying local and filling a gap that residents and tourists want – access to quality made locally produced products that are handmade. The concept is quite simple of using space in a community building to set-up a permanent craft shop that is professional and operated by one of the artists. A collective of artisans working together in a cooperative has created something beautiful for residents and tourists alike.

Four  talented locals came together, quilter Christina Lundrigan, artist Kathy Hillier, rug hooker Anne Kirby and knitter and crocheter Melaine Lambe operate this shop, but also work and interact with visitors as they are surrounded by their creations.

I have several pieces of Anne Kirby’s hooked rug ornaments hanging on my tree. I especially loved my line of salted cod.

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I also purchased mummer things, which is quintessentially a part of our Newfoundland and Labrador cultural activities, still celebrated today.

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The shop is an outlet of creativity, to purchase a variety of product, utilizes technology and illustrates the type of success people in small communities can have by working together to create the right atmosphere. Four artists now will spend less time marketing and more time creating. A permanent shop reduces setup time, provides continuity for repeat customers and multiple people allows for sharing the day required to be physically at the shop. Sales are not lost because of cooperation.

 

This is a more sophisticated model of a continuous craft fair that adds so much value to the artist, the community and the tourism product offering. I was impressed by use of the “square” (a credit card processing and business solution that connects to a mobile or iPad and allows for direct sales https://squareup.com/ca). I’ve seen more crafters using this technology at fairs, markets and at shops, which has led to increased sales.

I would encourage communities to open community hall or other spaces and artists to consider a model like the Artisan’s Nook. It can be a valuable addition for all involved. Drop by Lamaline, say hello and get some great pieces of art today!

Live Rural NL,

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

 

An End of Summer Surprise – Killer Whales Make Northland Discovery Boat Tour Memorable

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At the end of summer, I took what would be my third Northland Discovery Boat Tour in just over a decade. It was my first without an iceberg (given the lateness in the season this was to be expected), but was I ever surprised by the number of whales I would see and the show the orcas and humpbacks would put on for me!

Located at the Grenfell Historic Properties Dock, St. Anthony, NL – Northland Discovery Boat Tours is the place you can see more whales, more icebergs and have more time on the water. It is an experience one will want to take if iceberg and whale watching is on your bucket list on the tip of Great Northern Peninsula!

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Departing scenic St. Anthony harbour, one gets a warm feeling of the significant fishing history of this community – the presence of wharves, fishing rooms, a state of the art shrimp plant, cold storage, port facilities for fishing vessels and so much more. As you get to the end of the harbour, Fishing Point Park’s lighthouse, walking trails, Lightkeeper’s Café, Fishing Point Emporium and the Great Viking Feast are the last dwellings you see before hitting the open water.

As we travelled past neighbouring communities of St. Anthony Bight, Great Brehat and St. Carol’s we would see boaters and fishers jigging for cod fish on the last days of August. It was clear there was lots of fish in the water, making our likelihood of seeing whales that much more possible.

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Three humpback whales were working together to push fish near the rocks and become a feeding ground for the whales. It created an opportunity for some lovely photos. On the return we would capture some impressive coastline.

The biggest surprise was the 7 orcas (killer whales) we were greeting with again near the mouth of the harbour. It was my first time seeing orcas, so it was quite memorable and the perfect summer surprise. I captured many up close photos and videos of the whales.

The 2.5 hour boat tour was highly educational, offered hands on information about barnacles, birds, whales and bergs (icebergs). It also at times includes a trip to a sea cave called “the oven” and includes some local folklore.

As we steamed back in the sun was beaming and shrimp draggers were returning to port. There was a comforting feeling knowing all the amazing beauty and economic potential that is garnered from the sea. It is our reason for why we settled permanently on the Great Northern Peninsula and businesses, such as Northland Discovery Boat Tours shares a little bit of that with the world. If you are interested in a tour check out – http://www.discovernorthland.com/

Experience the Great Northern Peninsula –                                          

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA St. Barbe-L’Anse aux Meadows                                        

 

 

Tantalizing Traditions Served at Burnt Cape Cafe – Raleigh, NL

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The Burnt Cape Cafe is a wonderful place to dine on traditional seafood dishes, moose meals and berry desserts. Situated in historic Raleigh this business offers an appealing space, with beautiful waterfront views, while listening to the music by local Quirpon native Wayne Bartlett.

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This season moose has made the menu, including soup, burgers and cheese steak sandwiches. I ordered the moose soup to start and it surely was a welcome treat, as I’ve not had my grandmother’s version in such a long time. It was a hearty bowl, with chunky vegetables and filled with savouring flavour. A great way to start any meal.

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As a main, I had pan fried cod, steamed broccoli. and Parmesan mashed potatoes with coleslaw. The meal was cooked with care, as the vegetables were perfect, the potatoes are out of this world dreamy and the cod just incredibly fresh as it fell gently with each fork full.

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No meal could be complete without dessert, so I opted for the bakeapple sundae. This was truly a tantalizing treat! Local wildberries add to the gourmet flavouring of what the dining experience at Burnt Cape Cafe offers to its patrons.

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The business, which includes cabins, vacation home, convenience store, gift shop and gas station has a rating of 9.1 from Booking.com which highlights the care and attention to visitors. The owners have put together a nice package to offer an experience to their guests. This may include the walk to the wharf to pick your own lobster for dinner and getting your photo taken for social media to capture the moment.

A Little Free Library has popped up outside their business, where residents and visitors can take a book or leave a book any time of the day. This is a great community economic development concept and initiative that I’d love to see more Little Free Libraries on the Great Northern Peninsula and across Newfoundland & Labrador.

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I enjoy conversations with Ted and Marina, the owners of this small business as they are striving to find new ways to create opportunities in their small Town.

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Keep up your entrepreneurial spirit Ted and Marina! Rural Newfoundland and Labrador certainly needs more small business to thrive!

It’s not too late to make a booking or drop by this gem on the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula. Visit www.burntcape.com/

Live Rural NL –

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

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)

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!”

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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)

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