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Mummer’s Walk A Big Hit at Green Island Cove

Nearly forty mummers braved a -16 temperature with a wind chill that reached -31 to keep the tradition of mummering alive and well with the 4th Annual Mummer’s Walk at the Green Island Cove Lion’s Club.

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Mummers came from near and far from communities of Anchor Point, Savage Cove, Flower’s Cove, Green Island Cove, Green Island Brook, St. Lunaire-Griquet and many citizens from surrounding communities visiting the Lion’s Club, such as Sandy Cove, Deadman’s Cove and even from mainland Canada to see what the Mummer’s Walk so all about and enjoy the fun!

4th Annual    Mummer’s Walk

The rig-up started shortly after 2 PM and just after 2:30 PM, Sabrina and I started the event noting the original idea of hosting a community event that would bring people together and would encourage more active mummering in rural Newfoundland & Labrador, especially since we remembered large groups of mummers from our childhood.

The first was held in Flowers Cove, followed by Anchor Point and last years was in Savage Cove.

This years event all started with the talented Way Brothers performed a couple of traditional tunes on the guitar and accordion, including the famous Simini tune, “The Mummer’s Song“.

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The group broke out into dance on the floor. It was great to see such a crowd turn-out and participate in the Mummer’s Walk and a number of youth watching the festivities. These are the future generations to learn the tradition and pass them on.

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Due to high wind we opted to get rides to the head of the Cove and walk back to the Lion’s Club. Some Mummer’s jumped in the pans of trucks and we were off…

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The residents, especially seniors were perched at their windows anxiously waiting for the long line of mummers to pass by their homes.

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They were people waiting in vehicles, residents waving from windows or door steps, excited to see the large group of mummers. A group this large, likely not seen for decades in the community of Green Island Cove.

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The walk was a lot of fun. We would all return to the Green Island Cove Lion’s Club and have hot chocolate, Purity Syrup and Chocolates for a treat. It was a great time to mingle and talk about going mummering tonight or another in Christmas.

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So if you hear knocks on your door, please let the friendly mummers into your home and enjoy the tradition that is forever in our hearts and souls, making rural Newfoundland and Labrador that perfect place to celebrate Christmas and the place we call home.

Below is a sampling of some other photos I managed at the event:

A big thank you to all who took the time to dress up and participate, the Green Island Cove Lion’s Club for providing the venue, all the visitors who came to the event and watch, Ryan and Monty for playing a couple of tunes, Loomis for coordinating music, logistics and bringing lots of spirit and to anyone else who helped in any way. I encourage you all to go Mummering this Christmas. I’ll be doing my part to continue to keep the tradition alive.

We’ll keep you all posted on the 5th Annual Mummer’s Walk in the New Year….

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Savage Cove Come Home Year a Shining Example of Community Spirit

Savage Cove has about 150 current residents, but that certainly didn’t hold them back for organizing a Come Home Year Celebration that would see hundreds return to their roots and enjoy a week-long celebration from August 12-18th. When a community has a belief and goal, they tend to set the bar high and in many cases exceed expectations.

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Despite a windy day at the start, no one’s spirit was dampened. This was a first for the community and the waves likely reflected the energy of having everyone home again. In the weeks leading up to the event, people volunteered many hours building a structure to add to the Harbour Authority Building to ensure they could handle capacity.

The committee dedicated many hours and was heavily supported by the community and those expats away to ensure monies would be available for materials, bands, bags and other events through their fundraising efforts.

I enjoyed marching with the crowds, as family banners were held high. There were so many, I may not have captured them all. Last Christmas we held the 3rd Annual Mummer’s Walk in Savage Cove, with about 40 mummers walking the same path as those registered for Come Home Year. It was incredible to see hundreds march proudly from St. Mark’s Church through the community to end up near the point.

The week of activities was impressive and added something for the whole family, such as a bon fire with fireworks, kids activities, play day at the playground and recreation cages in Flower’s Cove, seniors card game, bingo, Newlywed Game and nightly entertainment. There were craft producers, daily breakfasts and most importantly lots of new memories being made.

Savage Cove is another small community that shows, even small communities can do big things. Next year, Eddies Cove East will be holding its first Come Home Year Celebration. I want to thank everyone involved, from the committee, other volunteers, residents, those who came back and others from the region who supported this Celebration. I’m proud we can celebrate our communities in a big way, it builds a stronger rural Newfoundland & Labrador.

Thank you for doing your part.

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Fishing Remains Our Mainstay

Newfoundland & Labrador has been known for hundreds of years for being a fishing economy – even today it is the mainstay of our Great Northern Peninsula. The weather may be colder at the moment as local residents put a log on the fire to heat their home by the old  wood stove.

As I peered out my window today I could see the Strait of Belle Isle in a deep freeze as pack ice began connecting the island to maintain Labrador. Maybe in the future there will be a permanent link that creates a transportation hub that will radically transform our local economy.

In the meantime, the days are getting longer with Springtime quickly approaching. These little boats in the photo below are tied up at the Sandy Cove wharf, they will take to the water. The small boat fisher will be seeking to harvest lobster, herring, mackerel, cod and other species. It will only be a matter of time before the pots, nets and gear hit the water. A flurry of activity will commence through the busy summer season and into the Fall.

Boats at Sandy Cove

The wharf is an essential piece of infrastructure. In the past many fishers had their own private wharves, which led to fishing rooms, drying and gear sheds. One can view many properties driving the Great Northern Peninsula. They make for the perfect photo op.

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We pride ourselves in our rich fishing culture in the District. It is our reason for being here, our  mainstay.

Live Rural NL

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

The Lonely Harbour…

The following photo was taken while on the campaign trail this past fall when visiting St. Anthony Bight, Great Brehat and St. Carols. It depicts the lonely harbour, moored boat and fishing rooms in need of Tender Loving Care…an image that is becoming more prominent on the Great Northern Peninsula.

As I read the Northern Pen newspaper this week, some alarming figures pop of the page pertaining to the fishery as the Red Ochre Regional Board representing the District of St. Barbe read their annual report outlining the significant decline in the value of the fishery. In 2008 the economic value declined from $50 million per year to $35 million per year in 2011. There are currently 8 fish plants, 467 fishing boats and one salmon hatchery employing 564 fish harvesters and 499 fish plant workers.

The report said that in 1992 there were some 1450 harvesters and 1560 plant workers while the number of boats had almost halved from their 1992 figure of 1,061. – Juris Graney, Northern Pen.

(Source: Regional Board Maintains Focus on Broadband, Northern Pen Newspaper, Page A3, Monday, November 21, 2011).

Approximately 2,000 positions have been eliminated from harvesters and plant workers in just this one electoral District in the past 20 years. The concerns are great.

There have been significant losses in employment in the fishery in the Straits-White Bay North, evident by the closure of fish plants in communities such as Green Island Brook, Green Island Cove, Sandy Cove, Savage Cove. Flowers Cove, Bear Cove, Englee and other communities. There are crushing impacts for the small boat fisher. Our Rural Communities known colloq. as “outports” are losing the fabric that held them together for centuries.

The evidence is all around us, as we see fishing rooms, sheds and other infrastructure needing maintenance; no longer do we hear the constant buzzing of motors make frequent trips to community wharves, as well, personal wharves are being reduced around the coastlines and not being replaced. The abandoned Englee fish plant is falling into the harbour, and too much raw material is being shipped off the Peninsula leading to a significant loss of employment, creating undue hardships for many of the smaller communities.

There has been a loss of key employers in these communities, without a strategy to create long-term meaningful employment to transition generations that maintains a reliance on the fishery. There are limited employment opportunities for many of these people who are unable to make viable incomes from the fishery. This has forced generations of youth to leave the rural outports to find alternate means to support themselves and their families. In continues to separate families and challenge the make-up of the rural community. The harsh realities faced by our rural communities is one that is creating a lonely harbour as those that remain, soon too may have to leave to support themselves.

Let us not go down this road where the lonely harbour for our rural economies become the eminent reality. The people’s resources must be put to better use to benefit the people of the local economy.

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

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