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Another French Shore and Moments in Monaco

The Great Northern Peninsula is home to the French Shore in Newfoundland & Labrador. It has a strong connection to the French from the past and some names are very present today. The Town of Flower’s Cove was formerly named “French Island Harbour”, where names like Croque, Grandois, Conche, St. Lunaire-Griquet, Quirpon, L’anse aux Meadows, Port au Choix and others scatter the coastline. There are still French ovens along the shores and many yet to be discovered stories remain untold. There is so much more we could do, to make “Petit Nord” or the Great Northern Peninsula gain a tourism boost from our French histories from Quebec, NB, St. Pierre-Miquelon and France to name a few. I encourage you to visit www.frenchshore.com.

On a recent vacation, I’ve visited a part of France in which I’ve always wanted, which included Nice, Cannes, Antibes and also the micro country of Monaco. I still have to get to Marseilles, given I’ve likely watched the movie, The Count of Monte Cristo more than any other.

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A long-weekend spent in Southern France with my European friends certainly recanted many good memories since we first met in the Czech Republic in 2007. It is amazing how quickly time has passed since our university days. One thing that hasn’t changed is our desire to continue our reunions, we’ve travelled again to Czech Republic, Canada (Edmonton, BC, Ontario, Newfoundland & Labrador), Switzerland, Cuba, Ireland, Denmark, Mediterranean sailing (Sardinia & Corsica) and France.

So from Milano to Nice we had driven by car, taking in all the sights of the countryside from waterfronts, to mountains to the many road tunnels. Our flat was very centrally located but like many older buildings in France it was without an elevator. It was a task taking all the luggage up 5 flights of stairs. I could only imagine what bringing groceries or getting furniture to that floor must be like.

There was a great vibe in Nice, given their “Carnivale” was taking place just in the main square. I truly enjoyed visiting the markets, eating the handcrafted chocolate cake, visiting the pubs, hearing the music and of course enjoying the amazing French cuisine.

I loved the morning brunches. The food was much better than the weather, as the rain foiled many of our daily plans and ended up cancelling the carnival parade. Our spirits were not dampened and we enjoyed all the outdoor views we could gain and may our way to Monaco. There was incredible vernacular architecture around the city that caught my photo lenses attention – from churches, hillside row houses, the Rothschild villa, marinas, casinos and more. There were old classic cars and many high-end Maserati, Ferrari, Porsche and Lamborghini that would drop your lower jaw as they whizzed by as we drank a Monaco beer at the cafe outside Monte Carlo casino.

I tried to convince my friends to go skating on the outdoor ice surface. Since that was an epic fail, we opted to visit the casino in our suits and ties, have a martini like Bond in his movie “Casino Royale” and try our luck at “roulette”. After watching the game for a bit, it was evident we were out of our league as those around the table were placing hundreds of dollars on the table at a time. After things quieted down we placed a couple of small bets, I bet on red a couple of times and it returned me a few dollars more than I started so my friends and I opted to get out while we were ahead given the odds.

A return to nice landed us at Ma Nolan’s Irish Pub for a meal of fish n’ chips. This brought us back to our Irish escapades in 2010. The music was a lot of fun and the beer a good variety. I did not steer away from my lovely pint of Guinness.

The following day we would visit Cannes, where the International Film Festival is hosted. It is a very picturesque city from the waterfront, the tower, the little winding streets and the murals on buildings. My lunch in Cannes was superb at this little cafe – I’d go back just for the chocolate crepes.

My friends and I spend much of the spare time playing this card game called “Bang”. Despite, all the rules written in German it provides a level playing field for even the non-German speakers with an opportunity to win. The game involves outlaws, a sheriff and a bounty hunter. Just like the old wild west, the rules are simple – the outlaws win if the sherriff is dead, the bounty hunter wins if all are dead but the outlaws must go first and the sheriff wins if all are dead. With additional players there are multiple characters, including the addition of a deputy sheriff and it creates more fun and excitement. Each character has certain powers and every game is completely different. We have likely played a hundred games in the last few years. It is like my love for Rook at home!

A visit to another French Shore and Moments in Monaco were amazing times with my best friends! Until our next reunion, I’ll be living rural!

Live Rural NL –

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

Family Reunions are Incredible – Way Family Reunited After 25 years

It all started 25 years ago with a family gathering of close to 200 members of Augustus and Susanna Way convened in 1989 at the Flower’s Cove Lion’s Club to celebrate their growing family tree. 

Today, the tree branches are getting longer as more great-great grandchildren and even great-great-great grandchildren have been added to our family tree. In 1989, I was one of the younger members, just shy of 4 years old. 

 On July 24-27 2014, our Way Family reconvened for an incredible weekend together to share stories, meet family members we had not seen in years and also connect with new additions, as well, create new dialogue and memories for many decades to come.

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The Official Opening included a meet and greet, speeches from the organizing committee, Mayor of Flower’s Cove and yours truly, the Member of the House of Assembly for the District and was hosted by our very own Loomis Way. It was followed by a flag raising ceremony, the Flower’s Island song, lots of food and music by Nellie Wilson. The Lion’s Club look amazing with decor, banners, sheets of family photos, a memory wall, news clippings and photo albums taking us through the years.

The nights were late, but no one seemed to tire of anyone’s company, especially with Nellie Wilson, Dwayne Snow and Jig’s Dinner playing consecutive nights. It truly was a celebration of family and fun with large meals, music and lots of dancing. Many opted to participate in the recreational cod fishery over the weekend, plus there were family bbqs, games, shed gatherings, dart tournaments and a family bonfire on the point. One couldn’t ask for better weather, or better timing given the Provincial Government removed the fire ban at 6 PM, in time for our lighting at 7 PM. Wonderful luck indeed!

I can not thank all our family members who dedicated their time to plan, organize and ensure the perfect family reunion was had 25 years later. We are truly lucky to have you as part of the family. I’m impressed by all the musical talent in the family, just wish I had inherited some of it. In the meantime, people will still have to put up with my bad car singing and love for all things rural and traditional Newfoundland & Labrador. 

If you haven’t had a family reunion yet, why not start planning? Family is the cornerstone of our lives and society. 

Looking forward to the next planned family gathering!

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA                                                                                                     The Straits-White Bay North                                                                                                         @MitchelmoreMHA

Roddickton Come Home Year Exudes Community Spirit

Come Home Year is about bringing together a community, instilling pride in one’s roots, as well as meeting old friends and making new ones in a place that is familiar, a place we call “home”.

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Over the past few weeks, it was quite evident to see the beautiful Town of Roddickton come to life in preparation for the festivities with banners, flags, flower bins and static displays on lawns as the big day drew nearing. The committee, comprised of dedicated volunteers worked diligently over the last year to make this unforgettable week possible. Laura Rowsell, Committee Chair and her team are true organizers and community leaders. They deserve the utmost praise for their commitment to the community and showing when a few people come together for the common good – all things are possible.

Roddickton Come Home Year had registered more than 1,700 people for the occasion,  which more than doubled the Town’s population of 800 plus permanent residents.

It all started this past Monday with a parade. How time certainly flies when you are having fun! I had the pleasure of watching the floats as they crossed roadways in Town for more than hour with the RCMP leading the charge. This massive parade included the Shriners and their mini vehicles, clowns and impressive floats. The parade began with “The Hancocks” and their step back in time display with an old stove baking bread, washing clothes and hanging it out to dry and enjoying a cup of tea in traditional attire. They would later go on to win the $500 prize for best float. The parade also had a uniquely crafted “Lukey’s Boat”, Charlie’s Chili was being served to those watching at roadside, the giant moose with no hunting sign (given Roddickton is known as, “moose capital of the world”) also made an appearance, the recreation committee, local business like Liberty Tax Service and Mayflower Outfitters and many others joined the festivities.

This was followed by the official opening, that had a big crowd piled into the arena for Opening Ceremonies. I brought greetings on behalf of the people in the District and looked forward to the week ahead. It certainly did not disappoint. After a feed of fish cakes at AJs Diner, that evening, I took in the Memorial Tree Lighting Service.

On Tuesday, I arrived for some of the children’s day activities. The arena was a kid’s oasis, with bouncy castles, mascots, painting, cotton candy, games and lots of fun. I enjoyed the afternoon chatting with constituents and had a lovely traditional meal of baked beans, stuffed squid, pea soup, fish n’ brewis and pie with some 500 people at the arena. This was followed by a talent show to my estimation likely drew 1,500 people – filling chairs, bleachers and standing areas. It clearly showed the diverse vocal and musical talents of the local people. The roars and cheers were tremendous.

Wednesday boasted a craft fair, which I purchased a lovely handmade Christmas mummer ornament for my tree with “Roddickton, NL” written on it and a tall mummer with a harmonica. Fitting the day before, I bought a tartan scarf with the whale tail and words Newfoundland & Labrador embroidered. I also spent some time watching the ball hockey tournament at Cloud River Academy before heading into Englee to visit constituents.

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Thursday was a Teddy Bear Picnic at the Farm. Weather completely co-operated on this day and I took some time to relax and enjoy the view near the World War II Radar Site on the Farm. If you have not been, I highly recommend the picnic area and day park. It is a great piece of community infrastructure to enjoy. Next there was the duck race at Eastern Brook. It was exiting to see people gather in crowds near the old swimming spot! I then took a tour at Elsie Reid’s, Blast from the Past Walking Trail, which I wrote about previously. I highly recommend seeing it and also purchasing some herbs or other all-natural products. I then toured the White Bay Central Health Centre, Roddickton Fire Department, Cloud River Academy and Green Moose Interpretation Centre.

Friday, proved to be another fabulous day as I visited residents in Bide Arm and watched some of the large-scale 11 team volleyball tournament. This was followed by a grand Christmas Dinner. I attended Gospel Fest that evening and was blown away once again by the local talent, especially Benjamin on the keyboard and the singing of Karla. We even have some very promising youth in the single digits doing solos and performing as a team. The future of music looks quite bright in the Roddickton area.

Today is Lumberjack Day, to recognize the town was built around its rich forestry resources. It is certainly overdue for Government of NL to announce its intentions of the Central Timber allocation to create an opportunity for the Roddickton Pellet Plant to ship in conjunction with an outfit in Central, retain and grow regional employment. We have a rich resource, that can add significant value to the local and international economy. Anything less, is a clear indication the current Governing party has abandoned the Town of Roddickton and surrounding communities, including the businesses that are directly or indirectly linked to the forest industry.

I’m looking forward to the events tomorrow, it should be another fabulous day to clue up a true community success for 2013. There will be memories made that will last a lifetime. I’ve only heard positive remarks from those I have spoken too about their Come Home Year experience. Like your theme, I believe you have “Awaken (Awoke) the Giant”. I commend the volunteers for making this possible and hope they consider hosting another in the next five years. Conche has just hosted their very impressive week of Come Home Year activities and this Monday is also the beginning of Savage Cove Come Home Year!

I encourage other communities to do the same. It brings tremendous benefits to a region and builds community spirit.

Remember those who can – do. Those who do more – volunteer!

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

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