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Bell Island has many stories to tell…

Bell Island has murals that tell stories around the communities. I am always impressed by those that have murals or art on their buildings. I think our communities on the Great Northern Peninsula could paint murals on Town Buildings, Public spaces, sheds and other areas that tell our storied past that built our region.

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One can clearly see a mural on the Wabana Fire Department. This Department in recent weeks celebrated 100 years in operations. This centennial is a milestone! There have been many fires over the years on Bell Island and many brave souls that have stepped up to put those fires out. We have to commend our volunteer firefighters in Newfoundland & Labrador. They do an amazing service and are on call 24/7 without pay.

I love the geography, geology and views of Bell Island. They are just impressive. There are lots of sea caves, caverns and old mine shafts, given the iron ore mines ran for more than 70 years.

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The lighthouse on Bell Island, has been moved from its original location. As you can see its current placement is not along shores edge. There is Transport Canada signs warning of unstable rock in the area. I do hope this site gets renovated to become a fully operational tourist attraction. I feel all nostalgic for all things rural when I see a lighthouse and recognize the important role they played for safety. I only hope we see Flower’s Island Lighthouse become a fully functional tourist attraction near Flower’s Cove on the Great Northern Peninsula.

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Bell Island, like any region of our province has many stories to tell. I hope you and others take the time to visit this area, as well as the Great Northern Peninsula on your next visit.

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

A Hospital Like No Other – Visit the Rotunda in St. Anthony, NL

Curtis Memorial Hospital was built-in the 1960’s – a sophisticated medical facility at the time servicing the Great Northern Peninsula and many parts of Labrador. The John M. Grey Centre, a modern personal care facility is adjacent to the hospital and now falls under the banner of Labrador-Grenfell Health. Unlike most medical facilities – this hospital has a rotunda with a unique offering of murals that are dedicated to the people of Northern Newfoundland & Labrador.

These are the Jordi Boney Murals, which circulate around the Main Entrance. This ceramic masterpiece is forever a gift to the people and our way of living. One will see images of people, fish, trees, snowshoes and water. An important means of subsisting from the land & sea.

If you have the opportunity the next time you are in St. Anthony pull into the Hospital and take a few moments to find the meaning behind the images circling the walls.

The Great Northern Peninsula has a unique offering!

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Murals Depict Aspects of the Past – Bell Island, NL

The Wabana Mines have been a part of the history since early 1610, as noted on a plaque adjacent to the mural. However, it was not until 1895 until the first cargo of ore was shipped to Nova Scotia. The  Memorial was placed in 1974 to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of joining Confederation and to remember those who gave their lives to the production of iron ore from 1895 to 1966. A total of 106 names are listed on the memorial.

The value of such murals whether placed by local artists or the Provincial Government should be far-reaching in small Towns, Communities and even in larger centres as we strive to build vibrant economies that remember the past and build towards a modern tomorrow. Large centres may have advertisements from the past, with namesakes such as Crosby’s, Purity, Velma’s and maybe even an Auntie Crae’s to remember these fixtures. In rural regions, let us continue the beautification by hosting open air art galleries on fences, fishing rooms and outer buildings. Let’s celebrate our past, present and future with Murals, Memorials and outdoor art.

We did not have the opportunity to get a tour of the mine, but did pay homage to those who gave their lives while working to provide for their families. If you are on Bell Island, you may want to visit this Mural and many others.

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Fostering Rural Community Development Through Outdoor Murals

The Town of Flower’s Cove has been the first in the Strait of Belle Isle region to embrace outdoor art in the form of brightly colourful signs depicting local attractions. Additionally, they have posted an outdoor mural in the parking area of the White Rocks Walking Trail.

This image certainly garners attention and encourages travellers to pull-off and stop. This is an excellent form of marketing for the small town. More visitors will likely take some time to walk Marjorie Bridge, explore the Thrombolites, visit St. Barnabas “Sealskin Boot” Church, view Flower’s Island Lighthouse and stroll the waterfront. In turn, these visitors may stop to shop at one or more businesses a long the Viking Trail (Route 430) or eat at the local L & E restaurant. The Town has the opportunity to create an open-air art museum. I can envision a series of black and white paintings scattered about a vast walking area of the Town when it was known as French Island Harbour with French fishing vessels at port, the days of Rev’d. Canon John Thomas Richard, harbour front and fishing activities, logging, daily living and events of social and cultural significance.

There is much value in our rural communities posting outdoor folk art, murals and story panels. It is common in other parts of Canada and around the world. I have a few images of my travels to Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan and Whitehorse, Yukon.

The “Jaw”, Thanks Carolyn for informing me your very lovely hometown.

A weekend in Whitehorse! It is a pleasure to just walk around Town to see the art everywhere. Make sure you take in the Frantic Follies while you are there. Best 2.5 hours of laughter you can get for $22.50.

I have fond memories of seeing outdoor Vincent van Gogh art in Amsterdam, Tin Tin cartoons in Brussels, informative panels in Berlin, Germany;  Miquelon (Territory of France) and Battle Harbour, Labrador and many interesting images and murals on my travels.

Below is a YouTube video of a mural taken place in Thunder Bay, Ontario, a city I had the opportunity to visit on my return to Rural NL.

It is quite encouraging to see the Town of Flower’s Cove embrace this means of outdoor art as it has looked at what the Town currently has, utilizing the talent and assets of community to further develop them to create sustainability.

Other Towns and Communities may wish to  engage in this practise, telling stories with images, art forms and panels throughout the Great Northern Peninsula. All of these collections of oral cultures, images and artwork serves limited economic and social value if it is not shared. This is one small measure that will help build our rural regional community.

Live Rural NL –

Christopher C. Mitchelmore, liveruralnl@gmail.com

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