Blog Archives

Become A Cultural Ambassador of Newfoundland and Labrador

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

L’Anse aux Meadows Viking Settlement – Where the World Came Full Circle

Imagine, L’anse aux Meadows, Great Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland, Canada is the land of first contact in North America by Europeans. Home of the only authentic Norse site in North America, where the Vikings came over 1,000 years ago and worthy of World UNESCO Heritage status.

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A population of just a couple dozen residents today, this tiny community is truly Where the World Came Full Circle. It is the place where humanity met for the very first time, an event more than 100,000 years in the making. When the continents broke apart, people went left and people went right. Europeans reached Iceland and then Greenland and finally settled at L’Anse aux Meadows. It was there they met those who went right, our indigenous population of Newfoundland and Labrador. We have documentation of 5,000 years of their presence, only to connect for the first time 1,000 years ago with those who went left. This is the much bigger story of this ancient and meaningful place that must be told.

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L’Anse Aux Meadows UNESCO Site

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Annually 30,000 people flock to L’Anse aux Meadows from May-September. The Parks Canada experience is truly something that should be on your bucket list. The interpretation centre offers guided tours in French and English, a film in the theatre, artifacts and storyboards are on display, there are walking trails, get up close and personal to where the ancient mounds were and lets not forget the art and encounters with Vikings along the way. Also, the very talented local, Loretta Decker, has handmade Viking troll dolls available at the Heritage Shoppe. If you have time, take in an evening of Stories and Sagas.

Norstead Viking Village & Port of Trade

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This social enterprise is the ultimate hands on experience of how to live like a Viking. A fascinating open air museum, boasting the Snorri replica that sailed from Iceland to Greenland to L’Anse aux Meadows in the year 2,000 in the boathouse.

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The local re-enactors can read you fortune using ruin stones, cook up a meal by the fire, make nails at the forge, teach you axe throwing for entertainment and skill, play nine man mill, or show you how to weave or knit with one needle. They have animals, a potter’s studio, gift shop and more onsite. Visitation increased by more than 2,000 additional people last year, which is no surprise to me given their exceptional public offering.

Norsemen Restaurant & Gaia Art Gallery

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Fine dining with lots of local offerings and fresh ingredients at the Norsemen. It is one of the many exceptional restaurants along Route 436. An offering of musical entertainment during dinner meals and a perfect view if you are lucky during lunch. I recommend a martini with local berries and iceberg ice to start.

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I enjoy the Art Gallery, lots of handmade and local products, especially the carvings. Exhibition space and direct sales for our artists is complimentary, providing another unique experience when visiting the Great Northern Peninsula.

There are five additional food offerings on/along Route 436 that come highly recommended:

  • The Daily Catch, St. Lunaire-Griquet – profiled in the Globe & Mail for exceptional seafood offerings
  • Café Nymphe, St. Lunaire-Griquet – located at Dark Tickle Company, a wildberry economusee that has an exceptionally sampling of teas, berry drinks and more
  • Snow’s Take-Out, St. Lunaire-Griquet – home to Herb’s famous chicken. For the traveler interest in something fast and to take-a-way.
  • Northern Delight Restaurant, Gunner’s Cove – a large family restaurant, with broad menu offering. They celebrate their Viking burgers, seafood and entertainment – don’t miss Mummer’s Night!
  • Burnt Cape Café, Raleigh – a local flavouring of moose burgers, sandwiches and also gourmet experience, with Chef seafood specialties.

Skipper Hot’s Lounge in Straitsview is also a must if you want to experience the music at our local watering hole. The Skipper Hot’s band is performing Thursday-Sunday throughout the summer. They do Screech-ins and host kitchen parties and special events.

Along Route 436/37 there is ample choice for accommodations that include Provincial and Private RV parks (including tent sites), Raleigh Historical offers bunkhouses to live like a fisherman, there are cabins, cottages, chalets, b&bs, motels and a short drive to St. Anthony, there are additional accommodations including hotels.

The Viking Shop

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Norman Young has been carving whale bones for many years. I highly recommend visiting his Viking Shop. As well, Taylor’s Crafts in Raleigh, has 4th generation carvers. Their soapstone products are phenomenal. Viking art can be found at Thorr’s Studio, Hay Cove. For a great souvenir shop on route to L’Anse aux Meadows, drop into the Hut in Noddy Bay! There is also Labradorite jewelry and youth entrepreneurs selling jams, pies and crafts.

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From fish markets, retail, boat tours, ecological reserves, icebergs, cruise ship visits, outdoor art and more. One can see fishers at the wharves, eat locally grown mussels and interact and embrace community en route to L’Anse aux Meadows! Plan your 2017 visit today and you too can say you were where the World Came Full Circle!

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA for St. Barbe-L’Anse aux Meadows and Minister of Business, Tourism, Culture and Rural Development

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

River of Ponds rocked their 1st Come Home Year

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River of Ponds just northeast of Daniel’s Harbour gets its name from the river that flows from a number of ponds in the area extending from the foot of the Long Range Mountain to the ocean. River of Ponds is a fishing community with many lobster fishers, but also boasts incredible recreational salmon and trouting seasons.

The community’s first census marked 16 residents in the 1800’s to reach a high water mark of 341 prior to cod moratorium of 1992 to a population of 200 today. July 20th marked the commencement of the first ever Come Home Year celebration. A committee of volunteers planned a week of incredible events, a cook book and calendar was prepared and each family took pride in printing individualized banners showcasing the landscapes, portraits and their family namesake.

It was a real pleasure to join committee chair, Mayor, and MP officially open the celebration with hundreds of family and friends connected to River of Ponds. I was happy to join the families and parade around the picturesque community.

Nightfall would bring a fire on the beach and fireworks. Lots of great conversations were to be had, without a ripple on the water.

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Throughout the week there were bands, local talent, gospel concerts, cards, meals, baseball games and bouncy castles.

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River of Ponds Come Home Year provided many new memories, as old friends met and new ones were made. It clearly shows that big things are happening in small communities.

Be proud of all your accomplishments and keep “Living the Dream”!

Live Rural NL –

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

Craft Producers on Great Northern Peninsula Share Experiences

The Great Northern Peninsula has a number of craft producers that are hobbyists, part-time or engaged in the business earning a living full-time. There is significant opportunity to start and even grow markets in this sector. I recently attended a workshop at 50 Centuries Interpretation Centre, Bird Cove to learn more and provide my own feedback.

I was impressed by the array and diversity of craft producers at the session, ranging from two Youth Ventures participant presentations including Sami’s Cakes and Jasmine’s Nail Designs. Coordinator Sidney Coombs was on hand to talk about the businesses and willing to assist others throughout summer, providing support and advice.

The Western Newfoundlandd & Labrador Developer’s Coop has an exciting idea of an on-line marketplace and also does website development. This offering will help producers have access to a space for market and entry into the on-line or digital world. These are gaps that prevent many from reaching their full market or price potential.

Pricing was discussed by Craft Market Development specialist Brenda Stratton. Members of the CBDC Nortip team was also available as they hosted the session to provide business advice, counselling or financial support.

Woodworking & chain maille jewelry (Robin Gosse), photography (Frank Walters), painting (George Bussey), musical & literary art (Sabrina Whyatt), quilting (Ann Cunard), snowshoe making & traditional crafts (George Elliott) & Mummers (Sheila Short) were just a sampling of what was on display throughout the afternoon.

The session highlighted use of PowerPoint, Skype for virtual meeting, demonstrations and public discussion. There was a lot of engagement and interest in the room. More sessions should be held to encourage more local artists and craft producers to become involved, network and find ways to get their product into the hands of more and more customers.

It was exciting to see involvement from 9 to 90. For Mr. Elliott, he extended the offer to teach others his knowledge of making traditional snowshoes. I hope someone takes him up on that offer. I remember buying some of his pieces when I owned and operated Flower’s Island Museum back in 2002. I hang one of his killicks on my Christmas tree each year.

Talking with craft producers on the Great Northern Peninsula as they share their experiences is one of the unique and authentic encounters when visiting.

Live Rural NL –

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)

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