This summer, I had the distinct pleasure of travelling many communities across Newfoundland and Labrador attending many festivals, events and activities that showcased our uniquely rich culture and heritage. There is likely no place on earth where people have such a strong sense of place, of community or belonging than in rural Newfoundland and Labrador. No matter where we go or for how long we stay, we always refer to Newfoundland and Labrador as going “home”.
The Rooms, our premier cultural institution is home to our provincial art gallery, museum and archives. This summer visitors had the opportunity to experience authentic culture and heritage thanks to many volunteers that showcased our music, nature, geography, cuisine, art and stories. I even had the opportunity to participate, you too can volunteer and be a Cultural Ambassador at the Rooms https://www.therooms.ca/the-rooms-volunteer-application-form.
Newfoundland and Labrador has a population that is incredibly talented and a culture that is to be shared with the world. Just ten days ago Canada’s Busiest Airport turned into a Newfoundland Kitchen Party and Broadway’s Come From Away Musical, which is a story of Newfoundland and Labrador’s genuine kindness and hospitality has been nominated for a Grammy award.
Be proud of your rural roots, the authenticity of tradition and heritage, learn it and pass it on. Become one of our own Cultural Ambassadors.
Live Rural NL,
Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA for St. Barbe-L’Anse aux Meadows and Minister of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation
My hometown of Green Island Cove is a quaint little fishing community. Last Sunday, I took some time to enjoy the beautiful weather and get some exercise. The surroundings and views were as inviting and serene as always – this place after all is my home.
As a child I would spend many hours in the “landwash”, the beach or down by the boats. We would skip rocks on the water, look for small crabs, jellyfish or pick some mussels. Some days we would build a sandcastle or just sit and stare off at Green Island, the Big Land of Labrador and watch the activity on the water, while hearing the waves gently crash.
As we get older and our lives get busier, sometimes we just don’t take enough time to stop and take a look around at our surroundings and realize how beautiful things really are when we take the time…
Seeing so many wild mussels growing between the rocks, brought back wonderful memories of picking them with short rubber boots. We did that quite often. The sunshine and the remaining pans of ice and bergy bits just added to the seaside walk. Take time to enjoy the sights and surroundings in your own community. You may be pleasantly surprised by what it has to offer.
Live Rural NL –
Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA (The Straits-White Bay North)
The Town of St. Lunaire-Griquet and Gunner’s Cove on the Great Northern Peninsula are completely picturesque and there is no wonder more than 30,000 visits during the summer season. This place is steeped in history from the Aboriginals, Vikings, French, English and other settlers given the presence of the mysterious markings at St. Brendan’s rock.
The presence of traditional saltbox, biscuit box or two-story homes can be viewed along winding roads with ocean views and craggy coastlines. There are many unique pieces of vernacular architecture you will not want to miss on your visit.
There will be root vegetable gardens near roadside and flakes of salt cod drying in the sizzling summer sun. A host of accommodations are available from motels, cottages, cabins, bed & breakfasts, vacation rentals and hotels to meet any travellers needs.
There are unique attractions, a network of walking trails, eco-museums, craft and carving shops, boat tours, festivals and an array of activities in the surrounding areas from the Viking Settlement, Norstead Viking Village and Port of Trade, Burnt Cape Ecological Reserve, Raleigh Historical Fishing Village, Grenfell Historic Properties, Radio Quirpon, Coffee Shops, Kitchen Parties at the Legion and Screech-ins at Skipper Hots with traditional music by the Skipper Hots band.
People come and are wowed by the icebergs of the Great Northern Peninsula. They are much larger as they snuggle into our harbours and coves. Watch small boat fishers as they bring in their daily catch or have a yarn at the small wharves. Rural Newfoundland & Labrador is truly about interaction with out people. The Great Northern Peninsula offers a truly unique and authentic experience.
The culinary experiences are exceptional, with two of the restaurants ranking in the top 10 for the best fish n’ chips in Newfoundland & Labrador. The Daily Catch, Snow’s Take-out and Dark Tickle Cafe are in St. Lunaire-Griquet, with Northern Delight in Gunner’s Cove. L’Anse aux Meadows is home to the Norseman Restaurant, Coffee in the Cove at Hay Cove and Burnt Cape Cafe in Raleigh.
The tip of the Great Northern Peninsula is the perfect get-a-way to be one with nature. Moreover, it has the distinction of being the one place in the world where humanity came full circle – an event more than 100,000 years in the making!
Now that you know there are lots of places to stay, eat and experience – pack your camera and begin planning that trek up the Great Northern Peninsula and start snapping images of the picturesque communities of St. Lunaire-Griquet and Gunner’s Cove on Newfoundland’s tip.
Live Rural NL –
Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA (The Straits-White Bay North)
I put up my Christmas tree the last weekend of November. It is certainly a different process than my childhood, as we would have a real tree that would not be cut until December 21st. My father would spend lots of time prior, searching for that perfect tree. Actually, if it was not perfect he would begin the drilling process adding a few limbs and doing the necessary pruning. I would only accompany him on the day of cutting the tree. This was always exciting! Dad would always put on the lights and the garland, then as a family we would add the ornament, especially the old-fashioned glass balls, adding lots of tinsel before topping the tree top off with a handmade angel. Not to be forgotten, the tree was always placed in a plastic salt beef bucket for good measure and stability. I may be getting a little nostalgic, but this was always a special time and these memories of growing up in rural Newfoundland and Labrador as ones I will always cherish.
Now the Christmas tree is a modern 8′ artificial, one that was supposedly pre-lit. However, my first order was to remove the 1,000 lights as they never really worked from the beginning and add new ones.
This was quite the task and consumer of my limited time. However, I’m happy to have more space now to add new ornaments. I collect Christmas ornaments from rural Newfoundland & Labrador, as well, when I travel abroad. This year, I’ve added many new ornaments sourced locally at outlets like Mayflower Inn Gift Shop, Roddickton-Bide Arm; Glacier Glass, Englee; Grenfell Heritage Shoppe, St. Anthony and King’s Point Pottery, King’s Point. As well, from my friends, a lovely NL ornament from Mona and the always happy Minion from Amanda. 🙂
These hand-hooked mummer’s, puffins, houses and Inuk are carefully stitched and will joined my salted cod on the line by Anne Hodge-Kirby. The glass and pottery formed salt cod will add to the variety.
I love to travel and this past year, I’ve collected ornaments from a family cruise on “Oasis of the Seas”. Our ports of call were in the Bahamas, St. Maartan and St.Thomas, Virgin Islands. As well this past summer, I made my annual trek to Europe, collecting ornaments from Ireland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. I did not manage a new ornament from Austria or Hungary, despite amazing new experiences and memories of a lifetime. I’ll have to get one on my next return.
These ornaments have joined other handmade, felted, fabric, metal or hooked mummer’s, accordions, violins, dories, snowshoes, skin boots, fish and other sea life. There are childhood ornaments and others purchased on trips to London, Olbia, New York and various other places life has taken me.
I love decorating the Christmas tree. It brings a smile to my face knowing all the hard work and effort that has gone into producing these ornaments that truly reflect a piece of Newfoundland and Labrador tradition and culture. I also like placing ornaments from New York, recalling ice skating with my mother, sister and brother-in-law in Central Park; the seahorse which brings back a Mediterranean sailing trip with my European friends and of course, my glass ball from Prague – where I lived for four months and had the most incredible experiences and met the most amazing people! My tree is one filled with memories and the who process makes me very nostalgic.
I hope when you decorate your tree, you get similar feelings that reflect upon experiences, friendships, childhood and Christmas past.
Live Rural NL –
Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA for The Straits-White Bay North
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