Blog Archives

Craft Producers on Great Northern Peninsula Share Experiences

The Great Northern Peninsula has a number of craft producers that are hobbyists, part-time or engaged in the business earning a living full-time. There is significant opportunity to start and even grow markets in this sector. I recently attended a workshop at 50 Centuries Interpretation Centre, Bird Cove to learn more and provide my own feedback.

I was impressed by the array and diversity of craft producers at the session, ranging from two Youth Ventures participant presentations including Sami’s Cakes and Jasmine’s Nail Designs. Coordinator Sidney Coombs was on hand to talk about the businesses and willing to assist others throughout summer, providing support and advice.

The Western Newfoundlandd & Labrador Developer’s Coop has an exciting idea of an on-line marketplace and also does website development. This offering will help producers have access to a space for market and entry into the on-line or digital world. These are gaps that prevent many from reaching their full market or price potential.

Pricing was discussed by Craft Market Development specialist Brenda Stratton. Members of the CBDC Nortip team was also available as they hosted the session to provide business advice, counselling or financial support.

Woodworking & chain maille jewelry (Robin Gosse), photography (Frank Walters), painting (George Bussey), musical & literary art (Sabrina Whyatt), quilting (Ann Cunard), snowshoe making & traditional crafts (George Elliott) & Mummers (Sheila Short) were just a sampling of what was on display throughout the afternoon.

The session highlighted use of PowerPoint, Skype for virtual meeting, demonstrations and public discussion. There was a lot of engagement and interest in the room. More sessions should be held to encourage more local artists and craft producers to become involved, network and find ways to get their product into the hands of more and more customers.

It was exciting to see involvement from 9 to 90. For Mr. Elliott, he extended the offer to teach others his knowledge of making traditional snowshoes. I hope someone takes him up on that offer. I remember buying some of his pieces when I owned and operated Flower’s Island Museum back in 2002. I hang one of his killicks on my Christmas tree each year.

Talking with craft producers on the Great Northern Peninsula as they share their experiences is one of the unique and authentic encounters when visiting.

Live Rural NL –

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

Christmas Parades on Great Northern Peninsula Exude Community Spirit

The month of December marks a number of community events from Christmas concerts, annual award nights, church functions, tree lighting, breakfast/brunch, socials, appreciation dinners, Santa visits, dances, hockey tournaments and of course the Christmas parade. On the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula there is so much activity. It shows signs of an active volunteer base, supporting strong, vibrant communities as each place offers something unique to bring together residents to enjoy a sense of community, a sense of involvement and just exudes the spirit of Christmas.

I plan to focus, primarily on parades given they were hosted in St. Anthony, St. Lunaire-Griquet, Flower’s Cove, Conche, Englee, Main Brook, Roddickton, Bide Arm, L’Anse aux Meadows, Hay Cove, Noddy Bay, Straitsview, Savage Cove and Anchor Point.

St. Anthony (December 13th)

St. Lunaire-Griquet (December 13th) – Held on December 20th, 2014

Weather postponed the St. Lunaire-Griquet Christmas parade and the event was held the following Saturday and I was unable to attend. If there are people who have photos this parade and are willing to share, please email mitchelmorec@hotmail.com.

Flower’s Cove (December 13th) – Held on December 14th, 2014 which enabled me to attend.

Conche (December 19th, 2014)

Englee (December 19th, 2014) – Held on December 22nd, 2014

This event was originally scheduled for December 19th, but weather greatly impacted the viability of a successful parade. The event was held on Monday, December 22nd and I was unable to attend. If anyone has a few photos they would like to share, please send to mitchelmorec@hotmail.com.

Main Brook (December 20, 2014)

Roddickton-Bide Arm (December 20, 2014)

L’Anse aux Meadows, Hay Cove, Noddy Bay, Straitsview (December 20th, 2014)

If anyone has photos of this event and would like to share, please send to mitchelmorec@hotmail.com. I had committed to attending the Roddickton-Bide Arm parade several weeks in advance.

Savage Cove Christmas Parade (December 21st, 2014)

Town of Anchor Point Christmas Parade (December 23rd, 2014)

There was much time, organization and volunteer efforts put forward by many community leaders, business and residents to ensure these Christmas parades and a host of other activities were successfully held on the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula, some for 50 years. The people of the Peninsula continue to make big things happen in small communities!

Let’s keep building in 2015!

Live Rural NL –

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

For the Love of Jannying – Mummer Memorabilia for the Holidays!

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Most readers know by now I have an exquisite love and passion for the tradition of mummering or as we always called it growing up – jannying. I continue the tradition each year, as well with a friend co-organized for five consecutive years a mummer’s walk in the Straits.

I have numerous mummer ornaments that include those handmade hooked-mat ones, clay to those store coming from St. Anthony, Roddickton-Bide Arm, Woody Point, King’s Point, Lord’s Cove, Flower’s Cove and places in between. I would like to see Glacier Glass of Englee, NL produce specialty “Mummer Pieces” for this years holiday season.

I’ve seen more locally produced Mummer memorabilia, but they too compete with mass produced products from China. I much prefer my crybaby size mummer doll made in Roddickton-Bide Arm or the four mummers with the knitted sweaters I bought at St. Anthony Come Home Year 2012, which were made in Goose Cove. It is also where I got my miniature ugly stick too!

I love my new mummer’s stein, which makes a happy pair if one wanted to have a drink of ale with a friend. The charms are a nice compliment when sharing a glass of wine or hosting a tasting. My new ornaments from this Christmas are hung on my tree, the Simini singing ornament, granny, the old stove and the checkered top hat mummer playing the fiddle. I really love that one! Finally, one can curl up to the cozy traditions of a throw that depicts the unique sounds of Newfoundland & Labrador. It truly is part of any band of mummer’s attire, an accordion, fiddle, ugly stick and a set of spoons.

Thank you to all for the lovely gifts, they had added to my traditional Newfoundland & Labrador Christmas tree and made the spirit of Christmas mummering that much more enjoyable!

Let’s keep celebrating traditions that have lasted through the centuries.

Live Rural NL –

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

Annual Straits Mummer’s Walk Celebrated 5 Years in Sandy Cove

The Straits Mummer’s Walk started in 2010, when my friend Sabrina and I talked about how much we loved mummering and how the tradition was losing ground since when we were teenagers. She proposed a walk and we began the organization that December and chose the 29th as the official day of the mummer. The event was planned for our administrative hub in Flower’s Cove. We were greatly impressed that 20 people had the interest on a bitterly cold December day to parade around the Town.

Guess Who?

Guess Who?

Our goal always has been to increase awareness and encourage more mummering at the households. In 2011, at Anchor Point two mummer’s joined us from Switzerland and Germany to learn the art of Christmas mummering. We also visited many households in Green Island Cove that year.

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In 2012, Savage Cove produced the greatest number of mummers at 44. We were very pleased to see so many younger jannies participate. It was on a Saturday, but still bitterly cold.

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In 2013, Green Island Cove was our venue with a crowd of jannies joining us from St. Lunaire-Griquet to bring our tally to 40. It was a very cold day, so we had a short parade route just using the lower road. It was quit the sight the community had not seen in years.

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This year, the event was held in Sandy Cove on a Monday and brought out 30 mummers, one as far as Port Saunders. There were big ones and small ones and talls ones and thin. A truly wonderful collection of dress, demeanor and age groups. There are some mummers that come every year and always new ones. I love the influx of new mummers, when an event is held in their own community, but the regional spirit by having those of surrounding communities join in to make the event an even larger success.

A couple of tunes were played by Wilga Hughes of Green Island Brook from his accordion and the mummers danced. Then we all marched off to the church and returned to the Lion’s Club. The RCMP and Straits Fire Department were on the scene to ensure safety of our participants. I am very thankful to those volunteers who gave freely of their time for the Mummer’s Walk. After a return to the Lion’s Club, we had Purity Syrup, Hot Chocolate and a few treats. Prizes were drawn and a little music played. Everyone was in the spirit and a number of people went door-to-door mummering that night, at least that is what my Facebook feed had indicated as dozens of mummer’s have been popping up in communities from Anchor Point to Flower’s Cove to Sandy Cove to Green Island Brook and as far as Ship Cove and many places in between. It is exciting to see a resurgence and pride placed in keeping this Christmas tradition alive and well.

In recent years, I have seen more interest in the tradition from dances, more local visits and more memorabilia produced. Also this year, I was interviewed by Folklorist Dale Jarvis and photos and pieces of my contribution made print in the book, “Any Mummer’s ‘lowed in?” I encourage people to get a copy and give it a read, there is lots of talk of the Northern Peninsula Mummers or Jannies.

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I look forward to getting better from this Christmas cold, so I too can join my friends and band about and visit in disguise before Old Christmas Night. I look forward to seeing the Jannies. Come one, come all!

Here is a link to our local paper the Northern Pen – Mummer’s on Parade: http://www.northernpen.ca/News/Local/2014-12-29/article-3991416/Mummers-on-parade/1

Live Rural NL –

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

Fabulous Fall of 2014: September to December – Happy New Year (Part III)

I continue to scan back through a collection of thousands and thousands of photos I took throughout 2014 and realize it was a very full year. Although, without a little luck, this would not be possible given in September my laptop of 3.5 years decided to call it quits. The ACER certainly did its duty, given I purchased it with a printer for $350. I was able to temporary restore it until I packed up the data on an external hard drive, more than 40,000 photos saved :).

September when the students return to school brings lots of activity. I started September in the Gros Morne area to enjoy a nice Labour Day weekend. It was filled with music, pleasant surroundings, good food and good company. One couldn’t ask for much more than that. I returned to the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula to spend some time at St. Anthony Hospital, Grenfell Handicrafts, exploring Fishing Point, wildberry tasting at Dark Tickle and getting my java fill at Coffee in the Cove. I returned to St. John’s for meetings and to also participate with the the Mayor of Main Brook and Research and Development Corporation Member for the wharf divestiture, which saw $675,000 and ownership of this asset be given to the corporation.

There were new fire trucks and fire gear, more road work and many constituency tours, from the Burnt Cape Ecological Reserve to Englee to St. Anthony and all places in between.

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One other highlight that stands out for me, is my participation in the 1st Roddickton-Bide Arm Run/Walk. As a cross-country runner in high school, I decided to run the 5 KM race. It was a little more difficult that I imagined, but I made it in the end to place 6th overall and 1st in the male over 20. I think it gave me a realization how important physical fitness is in our daily lives, whether walking or running we should all strive to do more. Since it is a new year, I plan to lace up the new running shoes my sister gave me for Christmas. She must be confident I’ll need them, because she gave me two pairs!

October is always a favourite month of mine, it is my birthday, my sister’s birthday, Thanksgiving, Small Business Week and a host of other activities are well underway. I spent time during the month connecting with our fishery, health care and hosted a series of seniors forums. I saw new infrastructure develop in terms of a highway depot on the Northern Peninsula East, a watershed for Roddickton-Bide Arm, more roads got paved and redevelopments continued at Curtis Memorial. I engaged in conversation with Author Earl Pilgrim about this new book Josephine, which I just completed a couple of days ago. There were flat tires, volleyball tournaments, Municipalities NL conferences, firefighter appreciation dinners, Big Bike Rides, town hall meetings, Season Finales and tourism sessions. There were also receptions and campaign launches, three by-elections were looming. It provided an opportunity to visit Winterton, Whiteway, Bay de Verde and Conception Bay South.

There were haunted houses to tour at Flower’s Cove Youth Centre, church services with friends and family in St. Lunaire-Griquet. As well a major 50th celebration for the St. Anthony and Area Lions Club and for the first time Canon Richards hosted the Provincial Student Leadership Conference. All this happened, as I turned 29! I have never had more than 300 people sing me happy birthday before – thank you. It was an amazing week and I thoroughly enjoyed being a local tour guide. Also in October, I found time to make my very own glass art product at Glacier Glass in Englee and received a copy of Dale Jarvis’ book “Any Mummer’s ‘lowed in?”, which has a number of my photos and lines from an interview I did with him in January. It certainly was another highlight to have the Great Northern Peninsula included in part of this work!

Halloween was a wonderful holiday, as I handed our Steve Crocker Scaries and met lots of people. I toured the Town of Dildo and handed out treats in Paradise before the month came to a close.

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November came with the gift of giving. I made the trek to Bay Roberts, as the Bay Robert’s Fire Department had donated two suits and a third jacket to the St. Lunaire-Griquet Fire Department. I was also given a wonderful tour of the town by Councillor and Mayor about their business park development planning, their tourism attractions, businesses, subdivisions and infrastructure. I was greatly impressed by this community and their spirit of giving. Thank you!

There was also more time visiting people at the door steps as the by-election in CBS came to a close and resulted in the election of our member, Rex Hillier to the team. I also attended the two-day NL Forum hosted by the Harris Centre. It is where I met Gerald Anderson, native of L’Anse aux Meadows who will be honoured with the Indspire Award, early in the new year. I attended remembrance day ceremonies in St. Lunaire-Griquet and in St. Anthony, as well the annual hockey tournament, Salvation Army dinner. The Mayflower Inn celebrated a milestone of 40 years in business. I spent time door knocking in Trinity-Bay de Verde and Humber East, which ultimately saw the election of MHA’s Steve Crocker and Stelman Flynn. There was also a Night with Dwight fundraiser, talks with craft producers with MHA Paul Lane at the Arts and Culture Centre and much happening in the House of Assembly.

I picked up my completed glass art poinsettia and coasters, visited residents at Richfell Place and closed off November by attending the Regional Community Youth Centre, Flowers Cove where I tied a ribbon for those who serve at the annual tree lighting.

December seems like only yesterday. I met Federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, St. John’s South-Mount Pearl Liberal Candidate and former host of CTV’s Canada AM Seamus O’Regan, Miss Teen NL Alaina Joe, fundraisers in Mount Pearl and helped with the Community Food Sharing Association and their food drive efforts. IMG_20141204_153139_edit

I visited the Mummer’s Festival Seminar by Dale Jarvis at the Rooms. As well, there were more firefighter appreciation dinners, firefighter schools and even ticket draws for Search and Rescue. I saw more caribou, laid a wreath at the cemetery to remember fallen soldiers, decorated my Christmas tree, rigged up the Christmas lights, put together a gingerbread house and wrapped presents. There was also parade, after parade, after parade. I was able to attend St. Anthony, Flower’s Cove, Conche, Main Brook, Roddickton, Bide Arm, Savage Cove and Anchor Point. I would have also taken in St. Lunaire-Griquet and Englee but their postponements made it impossible. Scheduling conflicted with my ability to attend L’Anse aux Meadows-Straitsview-Hay Cove and Noddy Bay’s parade. I also took in the visit from Santa at Green Island Cove. Visits were made with all the residents of Shirley’s Haven, Roddickton House and Ivy Durley Place. We took in the St. Anthony Hospital Tree Lighting, St. Lunaire-Griquet Tree Lighting, as well the grand opening of a reading room at Truman Eddison Memorial. There were visits to schools and celebrations for our Christmas card winners and their classes with more than 150 submissions there were 10 winners and visits to the Girl Guides, White Hills Academy, Truman Eddison Memorial, Mary Simms All-Grade, Cloud River Academy, HG Fillier and Canon RIchards.

Lion’s Members and Authors were recognized, there were visits to St. Anthony Bight, Raleigh and many communities in between. I attended the swearing-in of two more colleagues at Government House, attended a health care forum in St. Anthony and conducted the people’s work in the House of Assembly.

Residents of Pine’s Cove and Eddies Cove East are quite happy with the option now of high-speed Internet. All indications are more is to come in the very near future. Let’s keep working together to find solutions to advance our transportation and telecommunication needs in rural Newfoundland & Labrador. It will lead to a stronger economy and stronger communities.

It has been a very busy year, with many successes along the way. A few posts could not capture all the conversations or happenings on the Great Northern Peninsula. It does give one a glimpse of rural living and how busy were are as small communities, ensuring we do our part for a brighter tomorrow.

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I had a wonderful Christmas with my family and friends. I finished Earl Pilgrim’s book Josephine and Michael Crummey’s Sweetland. As well, we celebrated our 5th Annual Mummer’s Walk in Sandy Cove! There was lots of feasting, music and happy times. Before the year closed though, I did catch a cold as I usually do. So I’ve been recovering and look forward to starting 2015 just like I did in 2014 with lots of hope and a plan for hard work!

I’ll do my best to keep you informed and keep my blog updated. Rural Newfoundland & Labrador is alive! Full of culture, tradition and the Great Northern Peninsula is truly a place you will want to experience.

Happy New Year,

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

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