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Icebergs anchor in St. Anthony Bight, St. Carol’s and Great Brehat!

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Icebergs are a common sight on the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula – it is the iceberg alley after all! The best viewings of icebergs surround L’anse aux Meadows, St. Anthony, Conche, Englee and surrounding communities.

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On a visit to St. Anthony in June, I detoured to St. Anthony Bight, St. Carol’s and Great Brehat. I was only to be impressed by the vernacular architecture, fishing boats and stages, wood piles and of course squid drying and icebergs nestled in the Bight – rural living at its finest!

St. Anthony-Bight has a 100 year old house owned by Mr. John Pilgrim. The St. Anthony-Bight Loop Trail is located about 2 km outside the community and is well-maintained. St. Anthony-Bight is also known as the “Iceberg Graveyard”, as icebergs come to rest in the coves and melt. Many people are sure to get their hands on the beloved bergy bits and use the iceberg ice to add iceberg ice to a beverage.

Just a few kilometres away is the community of St. Carol’s, which has a hiking trail that leads to John Patey’s Cove where there is a great view of icebergs and whales. A population of less than 60 residents today, still boasts a strong fishing community. I had the pleasure of seeing squid left to dry on the flake on this particular day.

A little further down another road is Great Brehat (pronounced Braha). This community like the others, where heavily influenced by the French in the 17 and 1800’s as fishing stations. Great Brehat has a walking trail behind the local cemetery known as Flat Point Lookout and there is also another trail leading to Little Brehat (which one of our many NL re-settled or ghost communities).

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The presence of the fishery still remains a big part of this community, although some of the smaller stages and wharves are being lost to the perils of harsh weather.

These three communities are on the outskirts of the Town of St. Anthony, recently became connected to the digital world via broadband Internet and they are between L’anse aux Meadows World UNESCO Site. On your visit to the Great Northern Peninsula these may be communities you will want to visit to see rural living and icebergs, or you may just want to stay awhile longer.

Live Rural NL –

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

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Hay Cove is a Happening Place

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For a population of less than 30 people, Hay Cove is a happening place. A tour of the community will set you smiling as you see the water, hills, coastline and traditional way of life still being employed in a small fishing village next door to L’anse aux Meadows which is home to a World UNESCO site. One can take a walk on the trail leading you to a neighbouring community of Noddy Bay, as you pass a flake sometimes with local codfish drying the sun for winter.

The fishing boats are still moored to the wharf, gardens are planted and clothes is freshly drying on the line. There is a home for sale and others that have been converted to Bed & Breakfasts, Coffee Shop or Studio. While in Hay Cove you can stay at Viking Nest, Viking Village or Jenny’s Runestone House (formerly Marilyn’s Hospitality Home), drink heavenly coffee, access free WIFI , enjoy a singing kitchen compliments of singer/songwriter Wayne Bartlett and listen to Radio Quirpon at Coffee in the Cove or find authentic Norse jewelry at the Thorfinn Studio. Whales regularly visit and so do those iceberg beauties. Try your hand at bird watching or berry picking, this place is trendy, traditional and quintessentially rural Newfoundland and Labrador.

This tiny community during the summer season is full of life, laughter and is a thriving place to live, work and experience. When you come to the Great Northern Peninsula, you won’t want to miss this happening place!

Live Rural NL –

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

Quirpon will see population above 70 people for first time in years

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Quirpon was a prominent fishing community on the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula that has historic ties dating back to the 16th century migratory fishery. The French connection in the community name become known due to its resemblance to Le Kerpont near St. Malo, France. Locally, it is pronounced in the Anglicized form – “Karpoon”. I have visited Quirpon many times and had conversations over a cup of tea and sweets at Mabel and Bill Bartlett’s home.

Bill, in my view is the local historian. The wealth of knowledge, photographs and interest he has in the history, culture and mystery that surrounds Quirpon and the surrounding island and communities, formerly known as L’anse au Bauld, L’anse au Pidgeon, Fortune, Grassy Cove and Little Quirpon is worth a conversation or two. There are many unanswered questions and a real need for an archaeology dig to answer questions about the French and Inuit battles, the Vikings and the Land of First Contact. Earl Pilgrim wrote a book about this region and the mystery called the Island of Demons.

Bill’s local knowledge, photos, stories and local lore needs to be place on public display, maybe in the form of interpretation panels, murals or as an exhibit in the new Quirpon Community Hall, which recently undertook an impressive restoration project by community will and support. A special thank you to his daughter Marilyn, for never giving up on this cause and ensuring that Quirpon still has a public space for all residents, current and former, as well as visitors to come and enjoy. It was cooperation and support of everyone that helped see this piece of community infrastructure maintained. You are to be commended and I look forward to a time there in just over a week.

Quirpon is part of the Noddy Bay-Straitview-Hay Cove-L’Anse aux Meadows-Quirpon Come Home Year Celebration, which these five small communities see massive population growth for a week of celebration, as those with a connection to the communities come home. The 2011 census gives all five communities a total population of 289, which no doubt has declined in the past four years. It will be exciting to see the shift and influx of traffic, youth and activity in a community of just a few dozen.

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Despite a small population, Quirpon has opportunity.

  • The oldest house in the community was built in 1892 which belonged to William Henry Pynn, is a designated Registered Heritage Structure due to its historic architectural and cultural values.
  • Quirpon has beautiful walking trails
  • A working French Oven and resting area is available to the public.
  • Quirpon Lighthouse Inn, a four star accommodation at a light-keeper’s home built in 1922 where one can also experience kayaking, zodiac, iceberg & whale watching, boat tours and authentic rural Newfoundland and Labrador (http://www.linkumtours.com/wordpress/lighthouse-inns/quirpon-lighthouse-inn/).
  • Quirpon Radio was also founded by Wayne Bartlett & Cheryl McCarron – you can listen 24/7 online at http://www.radioquirpon.com/
  • The Viking RV Park is nestled on the road to Quirpon and just minutes from L’anse aux Meadows
  • Lloyd can be found in his workshop making model ships, motor boats, helicopters, snowmobiles and airplanes, while Bill has his miniature lighthouses and dories on display. Quirpon is a great place to pick up a piece of folk art
  • There is a photograph around every turn.

There is also prime iceberg viewing, a B&B being developed, local woodworkers and artists, the community hall, high speed Internet, vernacular architecture and amazing waterfront properties. I highly recommend adding Quirpon to your adventure on the Great Northern Peninsula and be sure to engage in dialogue with the local residents, you truly will be inspired.

Maybe you too will call this place home –

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

Iceberg Festival kicks off with a “rumble and a roar”

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The 7th Annual Iceberg Festival kicked off its 7th season this year to a room filled with energy and excitement as the icebergs surrounded the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula. Lavinia Crisby was the emcee and set the stage for laughter, fun and engagement with her ability to connect with people over the course of the event. I had the opportunity to speak with those travelling from Germany, Nova Scotia, Alberta, Florida and other parts of world as they gathered to celebrate the pristine beauty of the iceberg – which has been 10,000 years in the making.

The local Tim Horton’s in St. Anthony produces exclusively the World’s only “Iceberg” donut. The region is known for its iceberg water, iceberg ice and the Richard’s family of St. Carol’s who has been famously coined the Iceberg Hunters with their own series played on the USA Weather Network.

Local crab from St. Anthony seafoods was cooked and given away to sample – this was absolutely the freshest means to get such a product already cooked for those visiting, from local fisher to local processor to consumer. Many local restaurants sell local fish products, including our locally grown mussels.

One could watch sculptor Shawn Rumbolt carve an image from an iceberg with a chainsaw. Learn to paint an iceberg with artist George Bussey on a rock and have a souvenir to takeaway and of course enjoy the traditional music of Calvin Blake, Adam Randell and Brandon White this year known as “The Growlers”. Many were on hand to try to name some noise using the Newfoundland ugly stick, share in a scuff or two across the floor and join in singing a known song.

We were treated to Calvin Blake’s Iceberg song once more and like his words a rumble and a roar – the opening was just that, clearly a must attend event. There are still several days before the Iceberg Festival this year ends, but its never too early to begin planning for June 2016! Visit: www.theicebergfestival.ca for more information. A special thank you to all involved, especially the organizing committee for making it all possible.

Live Rural NL –

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

Rumbolt Sculpts Image from Iceberg with Chainsaw at Festival Opening!

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It all started with a block of iceberg ice propped up on pallets outside the St. Anthony Lion’s Club. This 10,000 year old iceberg ice would become transformed during the Iceberg Festival Official Opening by local carver Shawn Rumbolt.

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Spectators were guessing as bergy bits were being chipped away, would this be a polar bear or some image related to the Grenfell Legacy. It was an experience for those who travelled from Germany, Manitoba, Florida, Alberta, Nova Scotia to see the ice being carved right before their very eyes. As a local, I was indeed impressed by the work of Shawn Rumbolt, assisted by last years sculptor artist Randy Cull (owner of the Great Viking Feast and the Lightkeeper’s Cafe on Fishing Point).

It can’t be easy to get such precision with a chainsaw, but Rumbolt made the process look easy. It is not something you should try at home, leave this to those who are experienced. I would recommend that you make plans for next year’s Iceberg Festival to experience this unique art form found exclusively on the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula.

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It became clear that the sculpture was that of an Aboriginal. This connects closely with the tradition and cultural aspects of the Grenfell Mission and his service to all people of the North.

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The Great Northern Peninsula clearly has residents with exceptional talent and skill. Their willingness to showcase this for others to enjoy is part of who we are as a society. Thank you Shawn Rumbolt for your art! This carving in ice is just one of the many aspects of the Official Opening of Iceberg Festival. There is still so much more to see and experience. Visit: www.theicebergfestival.ca  for schedule of events and more information.

Live Rural NL –

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

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