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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)

Add 50 Centuries Interpretation Centre to Your List

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For 5,000 years aboriginal cultures have hunted, gathered and made Bird Cove home. From the Maritime Archaic Indians, Paleo-Eskimo, Groswater Eskimo and recent Indians, an exhibit outlines a timeline of 50 centuries of history to recent day residents. The Interpretation centre has undergone significant renovations to their display rooms, the addition of a tea room and an upgraded gift shop has created new experiences for those wishing to learn about the past, present and share conversation about the future over a mug up!

An artistic display by the talented Pam Hall illustrates an Encyclopedia of Local Knowledge. There are dozens of images that explain activities of craft and everyday living on the Great Northern Peninsula.

50 Centuries has hosted a Heritage Festival, currently in its 9th year. I was honoured to bring remarks at the official opening and get to share in the Norpen Aboriginal Women’s Circle’s drumming, song and actually participate in my first ever circle dance.

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These women continue the cultural activities of their ancestors. I encourage others of Aboriginal descent to connect with this group of women. You can find them on their Facebook Page.

50 Centuries Interpretation Centre is all about time, drop by and get a guided tour, enjoy a pot of tea and home-style Newfoundland baked goods, and take away a handmade craft at their gift shop made by local people. Directions are easy, just 5 KM off Route 430, take 2nd exit to Plum Point on the Great Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland & Labrador. It is nestled between Port au Choix National Historic Site and L’anse aux Meadows World UNESCO site, as well as 15 minutes from St. Barbe (Strait of Belle Isle Ferry Service), which takes you to Red Bay Labrador, another World UNESCO site.

The Great Northern Peninsula has so much to offer visitors, it’s about time to experience our many wonders.

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)

Treasures and Rare Finds at Dr. Henry N. Payne Community Museum

The Dr. Henry N. Payne Community Museum & Craft Shop at Cow Head, NL is within walking distance of the Shallow Bay Motel and the home of Gros Morne Theatre Festival.

On August 4, 2011 I visited this Community Museum. It brought me back nearly a decade ago when I first started Flower’s Island Museum in Nameless Cove in July 2002. The old homestead similarly was filled with items of the 19th century and had stories adorning the walls highlighting baking bread, domestic life and past residents that were pillars of the community.

Dr. Henry Payne was a dedicated teacher for 45 years, Justice of the Peace and a field worker for the Co-operative Movement.

Since the 1950s the co-operative movement has continued to grow. Today, it consists of related organizations with significant influence in the agriculture, finance, insurance, fishing, retail and housing industries. Retail co-operatives play significant roles on the Prairies and in Atlantic Canada, according to Canadian Encyclopedia.

Rural Communities were built around the cooperation of its residents. It led to development. We may have to re-visit the co-operative model and consider it for craft retail, tourism marketing, fishery and agricultural sectors on the Great Northern Peninsula.

The Museum has a wealth of artifacts from the past. Entrance is just $3.00 and if under 12 there is no admission fee. The kitchen has the old stove, with flat irons ready to be heated for ironing clothes. In the pantry there was an old water pump in the basin and many old tins and cans, which were former homes for tea, spice, flour and other foodstuffs.

The rocking chair below is a rarity. It certainly is one of a kind and a symbol of the times. This appears to be an old hooping barrel converted into a rocking chair. You may also notice the hinges on the seat. It was also good for storage – maybe the wife’s knitting and wool would be neatly stowed away. Nevertheless, this piece illustrates the ingenuity of a rural Newfoundlander & Labradorian.

Rug Hooking has begun to see a revival on the Great Northern Peninsula. I have seen rug hooking kits for sale at many outlets, the Grenfell Interpretation Centre sells a variety of hooked rugs, the College of the North Atlantic had delivered a Mat Hooking course (which, I enrolled), many rugs were hooked in Englee and Main Brook. This is an excellent opportunity to place your images of Rural Life in an art form. Community-members could come together to form a rug hooking cooperative as was in the past with the Grenfell Foundation. People would send their stockings to the women of Labrador and the Great Northern Peninsula to hook Grenfell Rugs.

The Dr. Henry Payne Museum offers Rug Hooking classes on-site, taught by the multi-talented Glenda Bavis. If you are interested in learning this trade make contact at: 709 243-2466 or
g.bavis@nf.sympatico.ca.

The museum is a rare find with photos, period furniture, artifacts, geology and more. Additionally, a visit to their gift shop is a treasure hunt. They have a little bit of everything from candles, postcards, hand-knit sweaters, pottery, pewter bowls, Dark Tickle products, books, antler buttons, pet rocks, jewellery, music and more. (http://www.cowhead.ca/heritage/)

If you have the time, drop by this museum. They are open until 8:00 PM! The two staffers working we able to answer my questions, as I can be very inquisitive at times. I like playing the role of a tourist even on the Great Northern Peninsula, as it is nice to see the product and service offering others experience when they visit local sites. Great job!

Live Rural NL –

Christopher C. Mitchelmore

Twitter/LiveRuralNL

 

Cuban Vacation…Part VIII

On Friday, we headed to Casa Blanca, the village on the other side of the harbour in Havana. It is known for the massive marble statue of Christ and the Che Museum. We went by taxi via an underground tunnel as we planned to see the largest fort in Latin America. We were dropped off at the Che Museum.

The Che museum is quaint with limited information about this National hero. It has reproduction furniture from the era in the bedroom, office and medical equipment that was used during that time. The roof terrace presented dynamic views. One could see El Capitolio, the National Building in Havana, as it dominated the skyline.

As we leisurely strolled to the Fort in the raging sun, we passed  some children playing football (soccer). At the fort there were some excellent photo opportunities and an interesting museum with lots of artifacts and a variety of canons in all shapes and sizes. It was a ghastly hot day, but I found a gold mine when I entered the cave. It have great decorum, themed as a pirate ship with a bar that sold TuKola for $0.60 C.U.C. It was quite refreshing. Not to mention the natural air-conditioning was quite the hit as it brought my body temperature down significantly, making outside bearable one more.

In the afternoon we opted to visit Plaza that  hosted a book market with bistros surrounding and the Governor’s House, which is not a museum as the center of attention. We stopped at a restaurant to quench our thirsts and had a couple of Cristal beers.

I love these small markets. I would be interested in working with those on the Great Northern Peninsula to establish a marketplace for small entrepreneurs, hobbyists and craft producers. There are higher volumes of traffic during the summer months, with Gros Morne National Park attracting 174,000 visitors and the St. Barbe Ferry traffic nearly 80,000 people from May-October. There is an abundance of things that could be sold, or maybe it would be product specific to gain the attention.

If you are interested, drop me a line at liveruralnl@gmail.com or post a comment.

Experience the Great Northern Peninsula –

Christopher C. Mitchelmore

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