Blog Archives

Taking to the Ice at Straits Arena, St. Barbe, NL

It’s that time of year again when many rural Newfoundlanders & Labradorians take to their local stadiums, whether for Minor Hockey, Figure Skating, Broomball, Curling, Recreational Hockey Leagues, General Skating and other special events.

The Straits Arena serves 26 communities of the Straits region on the Great Northern Peninsula. I visited it earlier this week, as the General Manager told me they were gearing up for a busy season with close to 175 registrants for Minor Hockey. It should be a stadium that is filled by many parents, grandparents and local fans as they watch the flurry of activity on the ice.

Earlier this year, I participated in the Follow the Leader Challenge (www.followtheleadernl.ca) to promote a month of healthy living. The final week was a community physical activity that involved children. I’m a very novice skater, in fact, I really don’t know how to stop but I decided to rent the ice for an hour for anyone who wanted to join the fun. It was nice to see nearly 50 people including many youth, so taking to the ice for the very first time in years.

I remember the excitement as a child when winter came when all the kids and adults of Green Island Cove would take to Louie‘s Pond across the road from the local Lion’s Club and a local hockey game would take place. I’d love to see a revival of tradition, let’s take to the ice this winter at the local pond or your local arena.

There are incredible opportunities in and around our rural communities to live active lifestyles. The St. Barbe arena is one of the many places to do just that!

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Community Recreation Development Grant Program Open for Applications

Applications are currently being accepted for the Community Recreation Development Grant Program. The Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation is encouraging communities and recreation committees to submit an application. Funding will be used to help provide recreation programming and services to residents across the province.

 “The Community Recreation Development Grant Program is designed to offset the cost of recreation, sport, and active-living programs available to communities with less than 6,000 people,” said Minister Dalley. “Support from this program gives citizens of all ages the opportunity to become more physically active by participating in local recreation programs and services offered in their respective communities.”

The deadline to submit applications is April 30, 2012.

Applications are considered based on their alignment with the priorities outlined in the province’s recreation and sport strategy, Active, Healthy Newfoundland and Labrador (2007). These priorities include providing increased access to programming for all residents; making the best use of community facilities; building community capacities, and promoting the inclusion of traditionally under-represented groups, especially Aboriginal groups, women, seniors, youth, and persons with disabilities.

For program guidelines and applications:

Beauty by the Sea – Deep Cove, NL

Scenic Deep Cove – could there be a place that grabs ones attention? This photo earned its place as the header for the Live Rural NL blog banner and is my current screen saver. Deep Cove may be one of the areas well-kept secrets, as it has so much unrealized potential. The local development association continues to pursue funding to bring the site up to par so one can be educated about “Winter Housing” and also experience what life was like having to move from the summer home to a winter site.

Along the trail I have capture the broken ice pans that have filled the mouth of the cove. The wooden structure in the bottom of the photo above was used by two men and a long pit saw to produce lumber to build homes, boats and other necessities. People worked with what they had, and certainly used common sense, building on a hill to reduce the workload.

A boardwalk takes you along the valley nestled between the trees, which provided the protection from the elements. Along the way are panels explaining the people who lived here and what their life was like. All that remains are a couple of fallen houses. They should be erected and the winter housing site developed as a working village.

Imagine in summer the rein-actors could be planting a garden, drying fish on flakes and maintaining the homestead as they would throughout the years. The opportunity for winter tourism is even greater with dog sledding, snowshoeing, skiing, ice-fishing and more. There could be lessons provided, accommodations and food in an experiential package. Location is ideal, as there is an adjacent ski hut and trail system. During summer, why not have campsites and offer a nature park?

In the meantime, I will enjoy some childhood fun and slide down the hill! Be sure to visit Deep Cove, just a few kilometres from the Town of Anchor Point.

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Sealskin Snowshoes – Perfect for the Great Outdoors

Snowshoeing in the great outdoors on the Great Northern Peninsula is a favourite pastime for many residents. I decided that this is an activity my two visiting friends must also experience. I took my three pairs and off we went.

The woods is the perfect place to get-a-way from it all!

The powdery white stuff is quite magical stuff. After walking several kilometres, we say footprints of rabbits, snow on trees and could breathe the clean pristine air on the Great Northern Peninsula.

When one turns around to look back at the road just traveled, one may find the journey was not easy getting to this point, but the experience worth the push. We certainly made a detour, but that was part of the fun.

At my office I have a plaque that reads:

“Don’t worry about the destination, even if you stray,  the most important thing is what you have learned along the way” – All roads lead to success, even detours.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     –                                                                                                                                                                Anon.

So grab your sealskin snowshoes and experience the great outdoors. Don’t worry if you get lost, the detour will be worth it.

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Caribou Crossing – Viking Trail (Route 430) Great Northern Peninsula

A caribou herd had decided to establish a crossing on the Viking Trail. My European friend’s were treated to another experience with nature on the Great Northern Peninsula.

The caribou were crossing in two separate lines. The car driving south is also getting a closer view of the majestic animal that is a relative of the reindeer.

Watch this young caribou jump into the shrubbery at roadside.

It is not uncommon to see a small herd of caribou when visiting the Great Northern Peninsula. Our Moose sighting at this point was nil. In fact, I have not seen a moose in the District of the Straits-White Bay North alive since late night July 2011. I did encounter a moose during the campaign in the St. Barbe area back in September. There is a growing concern on the Great Northern Peninsula that the moose population is in severe decline.

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North
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