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A Historic Rein….Town of Flower’s Cove Sends Open Invitation

September 9th marks a monumental moment in our history as Queen Elizabeth II’s reign will surpass that of Canada’s other great Mother of Confederation, Queen Victoria. Tomorrow, our Monarch will have served us and the Commonwealth for the longest period in our modern history and the Town of Flower’s Cove has partnered to organize a special event at Canon Richard’s Memorial Academy.

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The Monarchist League of Canada has encouraged all Municipalities to recognize this milestone 63 years and 217 days in the making. None of us needs to be reminded of how remarkable a woman is Elizabeth II. Monarchists or republicans, Canadians agree that our Sovereign has shown the ideals to which we might all aspire and which reflect our country’s traditions and the best of its contemporary way of life: inclusiveness, stability, friendship, service, dignity, defiance of stereotypes of age and gender, to name but a few.

Join us at Canon Richard’s Memorial Academy parking lot tomorrow, September  9th at noon for a brief lunchtime event that will last between 15-20 minutes commemorating this historic occasions with the singing of the National Anthem, Proclamation, Oath of Allegiance and a Tribute to the Queen. Should the weather be less than ideal, the event will be held at the gymnasium.

I look forward to the commemoration and hope to see you there.

Live Rural NL –

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

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What’s in a Name?….Nameless Cove, NL

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I think it was Shakespeare’s Juliet in a soliloquy, who asked “What’s in a Name?” We’ll let me tell you…

As you leave the paved highway in Nameless Cove and trek onto a gravel route at Nameless Cove point you will be able to have a closer view of Flower’s Island and its beautiful lighthouse. The first lightkeeper was Peter Flower, thus naming the island and became the name of the adjacent community, Flower’s Cove (now Nameless Cove). Here is the background story on how Nameless Cove, came to be: the Municipality of Flower’s Cove was formerly French Island Harbour. After the treaty and the French presence left, the larger community opted to use the name Flower’s Cove, thus, leaving the former Flower’s Cove – Nameless.

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Nameless Cove is where I operated Flower’s Island Museum from 2002-2005, which included a nine-hole Newfoundland themed miniature golf-course. There were development plans for the island at the time that would see maybe a tea room, accommodations and a boat tour. Sadly, this never transpired and made it more difficult to establish the critical volume of tourist needed to advance regional tourism in the Straits. In the past ten years since, much effort has been placed on walking trails and further developing Deep Cove. However, the Straits is just scratching the surface on how it could benefit from tourism, given the number that pass through these communities each season to see St. Anthony and the World UNESCO site at L’anse aux Meadows.

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Since Peter Flowers, generations and generations of Lavallee’s would operate that lighthouse until it became automated. The Lavallee’s are still present today and some continue to fish these adjacent waters. The late Clyde Roberts, was the radio operator on the island. He spent some of his earlier years on this island and continued to pursue community economic development in the region – pressing for co-ops, credit unions and a non-profit personal care home and affordable housing units. In my books he is a local icon, a visionary, that made big things happen!

The presence of the fishery is ever so important today as it was our reason for settling. People continue to earn a living from the sea. This is evident from the small fishing stages, wharves, lobster traps and gear hugging the shoreline.

From old family homesteads to today’s residents, Nameless Cove is a community that is hanging onto its past and looking toward the future. I believe there is opportunity and more can be done to advance both fishing and tourism synergies, Drop by and find out more about What’s in a Name?

Live Rural NL –

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

A Walk Down Memory Lane…

It seems almost a lifetime ago, yet my first foray into business is strongly linked to the political world. In March 2002, I left my tiny community of Green Island Cove and went to Ottawa to learn about politics at the Forum for Young Canadians. I knew nothing about politics, except that I was intrigued by it, little did I know I would become a Member of the House of Assembly just 9 years later. This was my first real adventure on my own, the farthest I had ever been away from home and it truly was a life changing experience – from getting a private tour of Parliament to sitting in the Speaker’s Chair while the Speaker took the photo to meeting friends from all over Canada, some of which I would end up in the same class as we completed our University degrees. However, beyond the week of friendship and politics, I was really overwhelmed by the Museum of National Civilization. It inspired me to think about our history, the people who have had an impact on rural Newfoundland and Labrador, especially on the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula.

I remember the return ride from the Deer Lake airport sparked the conversation about creating a museum that depicted the way of everyday living and its people. On the Great Northern Peninsula we are the one unique place where the “World Came Full Circle”, an event 100,000 years in the making. Cultures collided from the Maritime Archaic Indians, Paleo-Eskimo, Groswater Eskimo, and recent Indians, like the Beothuk and Mic’maq to the Norse, Basque, French, English to modern day. By the end of the ride the wheels were in motion to consider establishing a museum at Aunt Betty Spence’s vacant home in Nameless Cove. However, like most good ideas it almost never got off the ground. I applied for a position with the Green Team, looking for security in summer employment versus the ups and downs entrepreneurship would bring. I was unsuccessful in securing a position.

Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. – Thomas Edison

It was now May and I decided that the concept of the museum could be done, with proper diligence and took all my free time in the remaining six weeks of preparation to conduct research (with dial-up Internet), complete some renovations and prepare the property for what would be a grand opening on July 1, 2002. The beginning investment was a lot of sweat equity and less than $500. The reward for trying, was priceless.

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Flower’s Island Museum opened with Mary Elizabeth “Aunt Betty” Spence cutting the ribbon. She was approaching her 95th birthday and was excited that her old homestead, collectables and story was being shared with the world. Despite higher gas prices, the outbreak of SARS and limited knowledge of this new venture, this operation was able to secure 600 visitors from Australia, Norway, UK, USA and many places in between. I have made friendships that continue to this day, more than a dozen years later.

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After my first season, I re-evaluated the business and look to find ways to generate more revenue streams to make the business model more sustainable. The first season saw great contributions in the form of donations, admission and gift shop sales. That winter, I began drawing up plans to create a Newfoundland themed nine-hole miniature golf course. That Spring the concrete was being laid, with many thanks to family and friends for helping and contributing to its success.

I look back and remember all the fun that happened during those summer months people had playing golf. There was lots of excitement for me on hole number 8 when my golf ball went up the pipe in the lobster trap and it was a hole in one. There were many tournaments that summer and a lot of life in the little community of Nameless Cove.

A summer Fun Festival was hosted in 2003 and 2004 with a partner and the ideas seemed endless. All the magic happened before Facebook, before access to high-speed Internet was available in the community. We focused on printing brochures, doing paper promotions and posters. These are all things of the past to those who have adapted in the tourism world.

It was clear the times were changing and with it some tough decisions had to be made. I was enrolled at Memorial University completing a business degree with summers committed to work terms and education. I worked to help others start-up their own summer ventures and spent a year living and working in Europe. Those decisions would ultimately lead to the closing of the museum’s doors. It was very difficult to see something in which I created, and have to let it go. Though, the experiences I gained overseas have forever changed my outlook on life, on economic development and on community, not to mention the life long friendships.

Flower’s Island Museum was a real high point in my life, as it really let my creativity flow to generate new ideas and share with the world what the Great Northern Peninsula was all about. Is there a possibility to re-visit this concept as it was?

As I walk down memory lane, I reflect with a smile realizing that since 2010, I’ve been continuing what I started more than a decade ago and that is sharing Rural Newfoundland & Labrador. This blog has been letting those “Experience the Great Northern Peninsula” in a virtual form reaching hundreds of thousands of people from 191 countries around the world. We’re certainly on the map!

We all have something to offer and all have an impact on our community. I encourage you to take a walk down memory lane and look back on some of your accomplishments and find new ways to look at failure and realize that there are always other paths to success.

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)

Rootspiration recognizes our leaders, our roots at PSLC 2014, Flower’s Cove

IMG_20141023_180801ROOTSPIRATION….LET YOUR ROOTS BE YOUR INSPIRATION!

The Provincial Student Leadership Conference (PSLC) 2014 was held on the Great Northern Peninsula in Flower’s Cove at Canon Richards Memorial Academy from October 23-26th. This is certainly a first for our region, bringing together students from across this province to engage in leadership activities! An incredible opportunity for our youth, especially those of neighbouring schools, as they had reduced travel costs which enabled them to participate in greater numbers. It was no doubt a resounding success!

I must commend the administrators, teachers, staff and students for their belief that a Provincial conference could be held in Flower’s Cove, despite all the challenges they needed to overcome such as lack of accommodations, a small business community to draw upon for sponsorship and a number of other factors. However, these individuals took a pragmatic approach, by first hosting a Regional Leadership Conference in 2011. It was actually one of the first events I attended as a Member of the House of Assembly as it was held shortly after my election in October. After the weekend, I am inspired by the team of local leaders, our exceptional volunteers and our community for putting off an exceptional provincial event, displaying our hospitality and showcasing a special part of the province to our youth as there were more than 300 in attendance.

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As one walked around Canon Richards it was clear our strong ties to the fishery, as lighthouses, lobster traps and seal products were on display. A dory was used as a prop for photos to be taken as a souvenir memory of the event. All the classrooms had special names, for the teams of leaders such as turrs, codjiggers and lobster pots. A Newfoundland & Labrador flag was exhibited for students to sign, as well as a provincial map for students to pin their location. A traditional meal of beans, bologna and toutons were served and lots of our traditional Purity products, such as Jam Jams and syrup were proudly promoted and consumed!

I was greatly impressed by the amount of effort placed into the theme, in decorating the school and creating such an inviting atmosphere. There was incredible energy in the gymnasium that evening as the conference officially opened and the students piled in with mascots, glow sticks, horns and waving arms. The talents exhibited by the music group, drama troupe and organizers had clearly put together an opening that would be unforgettable.

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Traditional fiddle music, guitars, clapping, feet stomping and music opened up the evening, followed by a list of speakers that were introduced with wit and humour from the drama troupe as they imitated NTV’s Lynn Burry & Toni-Marie, Buddy Wasisname and Snook, first male and female premier of NL, Sir Dr. Wildred Grenfell and Nurse Ivy Durley, Danny Cleary and Kaetlyn Osmond, as well as some local community ladies. It was by far the best introductions I’ve even seen given to a group of speakers. The Minister, School Board Director, Regional Rep and MHA addressed the audience. Before I got a word out at the microphone, the students on stage began to sing me happy birthday. It was a little overwhelming having more than 300 people bring you such greetings. Certainly, made my day feel extra special. Next, the Principal would take to the stage. However, her speech would be interrupted by mascot “Willie the Wildcat” and the Spirit Leaders took over the stage in dance. The Principal even joined in the fun, adding to the energy and fun the students would undertake throughout the weekend.

Mrs. Snicklefritz also made an appearance. Her character may be getting up in age now, but she definitely knows how to gain the attention of a room, get her points across and get lots of belly roars from the crowd. She pulled up eight students who had not been to the Great Northern Peninsula before, a keynote speaker and myself as the birthday boy to the stage. We were given sealskin boots and a Grenfell cloth parka to wear, we had to glutch back raw salt pork and chase it with cod liver oil. I can tell you straight cod liver oil is pretty nasty. Thank God for the sweet Purity syrup that followed! It was great fun. I definitely enjoyed the round-up as all the schools took the stage and presented their cheers. It was a remarkable time and so happy I could be there for the opening as my former high school. Thank you again for the birthday cake! I love my home in rural Newfoundland & Labrador and certainly PSLC 2014 has inspired me! I hope it had the same impression on those who were a part of it.

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There were exceptional keynote speakers (Andy Thibodeau, Scott Hammell and Alvin Law), and an ability to learn new skills and meet lots of new people, while connecting with our roots. There were break-out sessions to learn how to play card games such as 120’s, ugly stick making, bake home-style bread, crochet, knit and more. There were Newfoundland Jam sessions to learn about traditional song and dance, motivational and inspirational talks, knowledge share, games, lessons to real life budgeting and various leadership activities. More information is available at http://pslc2014.weebly.com/

I had the opportunity to share my local knowledge and give a tour of the town to teachers visiting the region. We went to Deep Cove Winterhousing Site, the Thrombolites, St. Barnabas “Seal Skin Boot” Church and captured views of Flower’s Island Lighthouse.

Again, this weekend clearly exhibited that we have incredible community leaders stepping up to the plate to make very big things happen in our small communities. My had goes off to all of you! Keep up the great work.

Leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders.” – Tom Peter

Live Rural NL –

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