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Jordi Bonet Murals a Gift for All People of the North

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Jordi Bonet was born in Spain and became one of Quebec’s major artists through murals, painting, sculptures and ceramics. The panel notes how he lost his right arm at the age of 9 and had to learn these talents with his left. He has brilliant public works at the Montreal Metro, JFK Airport in New York and various churches throughout Quebec and Ontario in addition to his piece on the Great Northern Peninsula. Bonet passed away on Christmas Day in 1979 at the age of 47 succumbing to leukemia.

The Jordi Bonet Murals are a true gift to the people of the North, exhibited for all to see at the rotunda of the Charles Curtis Memorial Hospital, St. Anthony.

Honouring all those who have dedicated their lives to the Grenfell Mission

There is a special recognition to Dr. Charles S. Curtis, an unselfish servant to the people of the coast in Northern Newfoundland and Labrador contributing 48 years of his life to improving health, childcare, education, agriculture and other initiatives as part of the Grenfell Mission.

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Additionally, the Grenfell Mission thanks all past and future generations who have and will take on the challenge of improving the quality of life for the people of the North. No visit to the Great Northern Peninsula is complete without seeing such a public work of art that is on display at a hospital, where the Grenfell Legacy flourished for more than a century.

Thank you to those who been a part of the Grenfell Mission as the International Grenfell Association celebrates its centennial year. We must keep building and reaching out.  The Great Northern Peninsula has connections with the Rockefellers, the Colgate fortune, with volunteers such as Josephine Colgate volunteering with the Grenfell Mission, American Presidents, British Royalty, and even Wilbur & Orville Wright. There are many stories to tell, outreach and an ability to re-connect. As we reflect upon the past, we must also look toward the future where the Great Northern Peninsula is one that thrives on success and continuous improvement.

Live Rural NL –

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

Grenfell Handicrafts Proudly Producing for a Century!

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The Grenfell Centre, St. Anthony, NL commemorates the life and legacy of the legendary Dr. Wilfred Thomason Grenfell. Since 1892, Dr. Grenfell has impacted the lives of those on the Great Northern Peninsula and Labrador through the Grenfell Mission, which the first permanent medical services throughout the region.

In addition to advancing the medical administration, headquartered in St. Anthony, the mission worked to make social changes and reduce poverty through advancing education, agriculture, textiles and industrial projects. A number of schools were built, a lumber mill was established in 1908 in Canada Bay to create year-round employment, farms developed and co-operatives created to reduce the reliance of merchants and their crippling credit-system for fishers.

To stimulate industrial development, mission workers also organized the local handicraft industry enabling residents to sell hooked mats, knitted goods and other items at North American retail outlets. People would save their silk stockings and send them to Labrador or the Great Northern Peninsula for the women to make and sell Grenfell hooked rugs. There is great pride taken in displaying the Grenfell rug which the handicraft group has been proudly producing for a century!

I’ve purchased a membership to the Grenfell Centre and encourage residents and visitors to drop by to visit the Centre and the Grenfell Handicrafts shop.

Grenfell rugs, carvings, labradorite rings, books, pendants, necklaces, paintings, prints, embroidered hand crafted items, apparel,  knitted items and a variety of other local souvenirs stock their shelves. I love dropping by to purchase locally made and handcrafted products. Some of their knitted goods went to Europe with me on my most recent vacation to give my friends a little piece of something from “the Rock”. If you are a local craft producer, you should look at having your product offered at this location. It’s so important to support and buy local products, as they have the greatest impact on the local economy.

Now 100 years later, the International Grenfell Association continues to promote the initiatives surrounding community economic development, health and education started by Grenfell and his believers that the people of the North should have access to these vital services and be masters of their own destiny. Many of the projects started are still in existence a century later, and others could stimulate new ideas and be re-visited to pursue economic opportunities for the people of the North.

The Grenfell Historical Society and Grenfell Handicrafts should be proud of their achievements. Let’s keep building for the next century!

Live Rural NL –

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

Caribou and the Great Northern Peninsula

Sir Dr. Wilfred Grenfell, who founded the Grenfell Mission more than 100 years ago, was the first to introduce reindeer to the Great Northern Peninsula. After reading Rompkey’s “Grenfell of Labrador” it is clear Grenfell purchased some 300 reindeer from Scandinavian countries to help provide a food supply to locals of the North.

In North America, reindeer are commonly referred to as the caribou. On the Great Northern Peninsula we are seeing the caribou coming back in larger numbers.

The Great Northern Peninsula has a unique offering including the presence of abundant nature and wildlife. This past winter when I drove from St. Anthony to Green Island Cove I was greeted by a small heard of caribou in Eddies Cove East (Route 430 – Viking Trail) and pulled over to wait for them to cross the road. After driving through this tiny community in “The Straits” to the south I saw a total of nine caribou. It was unusual for them to be grazing for food on the opposite side of the road adjacent to the frozen Strait of Belle Isle with Labrador dominating in the background. It was one of those moments when you just stare in amazement.

In late May, when attending the graduation of students at James Cook Memorial, Cook’s Harbour I also saw a bunch of caribou off Route 435.

Enroute to Croque and St. Julien’s, I met these caribou trotting along Route 432 (Grenfell Drive) near the Town of Main Brook.

The Great Northern Peninsula is a place to visit at any time of year, especially if you want to view the majestic caribou (reindeer).  The Christmas season is quickly approaching, reminding us that Santa and his reindeer will be on his way in just a month from today.

Here is a link to another posting with some great shots of caribou on the Great Northern Peninsula: What a view today on the Great Northern Peninsula…

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

We will achieve in the future, as we have in the past…

Sir Dr. Wilfred Thomason Grenfell

As I continue with my vacation on June 27, 2010…no trip to St. Anthony could have been complete without a visit to Grenfell Historic Properties. The scene was 1892 when Dr. William Thomason Grenfell, a new practitioner of the UK decides to join the Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fisherman. Dr. Grenfell came to rural regions of Labrador during that first year. Medical and social conditions were so deplorable that led Dr. Grenfell to return, but with the help of a couple of doctors, nurses and a hospital boat. His mission had began to bring medical, social services and hope through preaching to the people to rural Newfoundland and Labrador.

Dr. Grenfell had a passion and strong belief to make life better for those around him. His faith in himself and the inspiration he had on others led to monumental developments which started the Grenfell Mission.

He began developing cottage hospitals, fundraising and expanding services to various regions. By 1912 he had established the International Grenfell Association, which gained international recognition by 1914. Dr. Grenfell had began to take on many ambitious projects including developing schools, orphanages, social services, preaching, industrial projects (Grenfell Handicrafts), co-operatives, and agricultural sites, as well as authoring books, articles and creating artwork to sell in the form of Christmas cards. Additionally, Dr. Grenfell began promoting the mission to many renown and influential figures from across the world including former Presidents of the United States, Prime Ministers of England and Prime Ministers of Canada, as well as industrialists and other philanthropists who became supporters and donors.

Dr. Grenfell was an icon and has forever left his mark on the development of rural Newfoundland and Labrador. In his career he had established a number of hospitals and medical services, founded the International Grenfell Association, written 33 books, numerous articles, was knighted, inducted in the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame, Memorial University’s Western Campus is named in his honor, he has his own distinguished fabric, known as “Grenfell Cloth”, Grenfell Drive carries his name and he has forever left a special place in my heart.

Sir Doctor Wilfred Thomason Grenfell is a role model. A man who stood for something, especially for the people of rural Newfoundland and Labrador. The life changes and improvements that occurred in these regions because of him is expansive. After a visit to the interpretation centre, I asked myself, how did he manage all of these things? You could say he was well-rounded and a “jack of all traits”.

One short post can not do justice to this titan of a man, so there will be more on him and his contributions in the future. I’ll leave on the note that we are privileged to have many explorers, adventures, pioneers, missionaries, industrialists and settlers come to rural Newfoundland and Labrador and build the roots for the special place it is to all that has had the opportunity to experience it for themselves. Dr. Grenfell may be gone, but he is not forgotten and his legacy gracefully lives on. There are others who have come and gone since him and many more to follow. We all have our place and contributions to make, ensuring that Rural Newfoundland and Labrador flourishes with all the success it rightfully can achieve!

Stealing a line from Dale Carnagie, “If it’s to be, it’s up to me!” Tell yourself that three times out loud.

Together we can achieve the things we think we can not. Believe and we will prosper…

I believe.

CCM –

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