Blog Archives

Expansion of Cellular Service on GNP another Success Story!

Today, is another game changer for our Great Northern Peninsula! The community of Conche joined 10 others (Bay de Verde, Burin, Burlington, Cow Head, Cox’s Cove, Forteau, Hampden, McIvers, Trout River and Winterton) in Newfoundland and Labrador that will see new or enhanced cellular service.

This is a big deal for a community at the heart of the French Shore that has a strong fishing community and has been diversifying its offering to include hospitality, tourism and cultural products. 2020 saw internet improvements and 2021 will also see the completion of paving on Route 434, as it was scheduled to be done in 2020 but the tendered work did not get completed before the end of the construction season. Conche will now be well positioned to compete in the 21st century and have opportunities for further growth. I wrote an article in 2014 entitled, “The Fire Still Burns – Conche, NL”. Although there have been changes over the years since that article, new businesses have opened and now with these investments there will be new opportunity in this region. An investment of cellular service can only help attract more visitors and residents to the Great Northern Peninsula!

Conche – The view from Sailor Jack’s Hill

I firmly believe that we must invest in advancing our transportation and telecommunications networks to remain competitive and enable rural economies to have the successful tools they need to thrive.

In 2018, it was truly a pleasure to serve as Minister of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation and gain the necessary approvals to create the first of its kind cellular service pilot program. Budget 2018 allocated $1 million to the program which required a partnership with a provider and community/organization and a contribution of 25 percent from the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. This initial program saw significant leverage and approvals for multiple communities on the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula (including L’anse aux Meadows, a World UNESCO site), Southeastern Labrador (including Red Bay, a World UNESCO site), Lark Harbour & York Harbour, various communities in St. Mary’s area, Bauline, Pouch Cove, King’s Point, Lord’s Cove and Francophone communities on the Port au Port peninsula.

Communities on the Great Northern Peninsula along Route 436, Route 437 and Route 430 have already reaped the benefits of cellular service, which means improved safety, enhanced quality of life, supports dozens of small businesses en route to L’anse aux Meadows World UNESCO Heritage Site, expand marketing potential and creates numerous other opportunities.

A trek along the Iceberg Trail, a multi-day hike from L’anse aux Meadows to St. Lunaire-Griquet including the abandoned community of Fortune or a trek to the Glass Hole in Conche will be much safer and I’m sure showing up more on Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook or other social media channels when there is a signal. I’ll share with you in some upcoming posts incredible hiking adventures that you can have on the Great Northern Peninsula!

The Glass Hole – Conche, NL

The Great Northern Peninsula has come a long way in the last decade with dozens of communities connected to high-speed Internet and cellular service for the first time, Conche seeing its road into the community paved for the first time in 50 years and many other investments in roads, wharfs, airport and other vital infrastructure. To have strong rural economics it is vital to keep advancing these two pillars – Transportation and Telecommunications! Let’s keep building stronger communities!

Today is another great day for our Great Northern Peninsula!

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA for District of St. Barbe-L’anse aux Meadows

Red for Miles – Right Through the Fog!

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I spent time yesterday in the “Beauty Spot of the North” – Conche, NL to talk with residents and participate in the annual garden party tradition. After lunch and between the matinee, I did take some time to visit Fox Head, memorial airstrip, French Shore Interpretation Centre, wharf, tour the town, chat with residents and of course visit the red fishing rooms.

I think it was the first time in Conche where I experienced such fog, it seems the days are typically sunny in this vibrant and cultural centre. I did snap lots of photos from flowers to fishing nets to the colourful houses and stages, especially the red fishing rooms on Crouse Drive. Even through the fog, it feels like fisherman red for miles!

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The bright read gleams in the fog as the lobster traps and fishing boats are safely moored in the harbour.IMG_20150802_142826

These buildings have recently been painted, ensuring that they are around for the long haul. I had a great chat in the shed with Gerard and his cousin on my last visit about the fishery, the many challenges and the future. They are quite industrious as they were engulfed in building their own boat launch.

Our history, culture, tradition and our future is proudly on public display in the community of Conche. A true destination, over a 17.6 KM gravel road that is desperately in need of paving.

Fire wood, folk art and an forgotten Ford (maybe) are also part of the visual one will experience in this part of the Town.

I have many more images of the jelly bean row houses, the open art, music, dance, history and more that I will share in another post. Don’t worry about the fog, if you’re in Conche – you’ll still see red for miles!

Live Rural NL –

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

Candace Cochrane Adds Creative Flair to Conche, NL

I first met Candace Cochrane via her literary work, which is a photo book of Outport NL, which is proudly on display at my Confederation Building office, along with many other outport things. She has since the 1960’s been engaged and active in research and promotion of rural life in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Her engagement to this place and time has led her to set up a seasonal residence in Conche and play a critical role in the ongoing development of the French Shore Interpretation Centre and the open air art exhibits that exits around the community.

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The French Shore Interpretation Centre is home to the 222 ft tapestry crafted by hand over a three-year period from the women of Conche, it is the only of its kind in North America. This centre has expanded its tapestry art with a 9 panel exhibit commemorating the Treaty of Utrecht of 1713 and does commission pieces for those interested in purchasing one of a kind artwork.

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Candace herself is an artist and her artwork can be found at the French Shore Interpretation Centre, Conche; Darkle Tickle Company, St. Lunaire-Griquet and Grenfell Historic Properties, St. Anthony. Her Shipwreck Arts create unique design coasters, hot plates or showcase art pieces for the home or office is worth a visit. If you are an outlet to sell authentic rural Newfoundland & Labrador product, than I would recommend you contact Candace to purchase her product wholesale. She also makes unique desk calendars that depict rural living in art. I highly recommend getting yourself a copy or buying bulk purchase from her as each month you will be smiling as you view something quintessentially rural.

Retailers can reach her at 709-622-3142 or ccochrane@qlf.org until mid-August.

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA (The Straits-White Bay North

Embroidered Bread & Conche Caplin

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The creative community of Conche is where I purchased this tapestry of embroidered bread and caplin. It sits in the public gallery at the Straits-White Bay North Constituency Office at 279 West Street, St. Anthony along with other art for anyone wish to view them.

Local artist and the local arts community is still budding on the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula. I get inspired each and every time I see new product, visit people’s homes and see them rug hooking, crafting, painting or making something by hand. The residents of the Great Northern Peninsula have been making things by hand since the beginning of their existence – it was essential for those Maritime Archaic Indians, Paleo-Eskimo, Groswater Eskimo and recent Indians to make clothing, tools for hunting and history shows their use of chert and red ochre for face painting and design. This dates us back 5,000 years ago, as the Great Northern Peninsula is the authentic place where the World Came Full Circle. It happened more than 1,000 years ago when the first Europeans to re-discover North America were the Vikings. L’Anse aux Meadows World UNESCO Site, still have the remnants of the sod huts that would have been made by hand. They found many artifacts that are replicated today, including a whorl (or spindle). This is evidence that people on the Great Northern Peninsula have been making things by hand more thousands of years.

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The Basque, French & English settlers would come and reap the wealth of our natural fish, whale, seal and timber resources. During their stays they would leave some of their culture behind, such as the clothing, the French ovens and the way they prepared for their daily lives, from the boat making to the fish flakes.

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It likely wasn’t until Dr. Grenfell came that all the localized art making was formally commercialized with the industrial department as part of the Grenfell Mission (International Grenfell Association). People are familiar with Grenfell Handicrafts and the rug designs of Lady Grenfell. Under the leadership of Jessie Luther, the rug hooking and handicraft business had retail outlets in the United States and a network of local artist. This process flourished up until Dr. Grenfell’s death in 1940. Approaching 75 years later, the Grenfell rugs are still being made on a much smaller scale by a group of local woman and for sale at the Heritage Shoppe at the Grenfell Interpretation Centre, St. Anthony, NL.

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Local art is so important to our region, our culture and our heritage. Let’s embrace our legacies and also capitalize on new opportunities. Art is all around us and we should be quite proud of all the art forms that are part of landscapes, community or something that hangs on a wall.

Whether the Embroidered Bread & Conche caplin is hanging on your wall or at your dining table it surely makes for a wonderful memory – knowing a local person worked hard to present you with a piece of art by hand.

Experience the Great Northern Peninsula & Live Rural NL –

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

Iceberg Festival Returns in June for 7th Season! You won’t want to miss something 10,000 years in the making!

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This year’s festival runs from June 5th to June 14th, 2015. Be sure to check out their website http://theicebergfestival.ca/ for updates. The Great Northern Peninsula is known as iceberg alley and the ideal location to experience their beauty.

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Check out their current schedule of events, with more being added http://theicebergfestival.ca/schedule/.

  • Kitchen Parties
  • Iceberg, Whale & Seabird Tours
  • Mummers
  • Vikings
  • And lots more

Enjoy local foods, traditional music, awe inspiring icebergs. An authentic event that has truly been 10,000 years in the making. Join us for an incredible experience on the Great Northern Peninsula.

Live Rural NL –

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

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