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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

Beautiful Bird Cove – A Vibrant Town Still Without High-Speed Internet

The Town of Bird Cove is nestled on it’s own small peninsula with beautiful water front property appeal. Although it is an aging community, like many on the Great Northern Peninsula – it is vibrant! The community has a Going Healthy Program and active Community Centre with programs and activities that appeal to all ages and interest groups. They host a soup kitchen, exercise classes, dances, movie nights and have a community library. This is the social commons of a community that has existed for the past 50 centuries that date back to the Maritime Archaic Indians.

However, The Town of Bird Cove is one that is “Lost in Time” and not because of lack of vision from the Town, but the failure of Government to ensure that all citizens in Rural Canada receive equal access to high-speed Internet. The Town of Bird Cove is one of the many communities on the Great Northern Peninsula that will not be receiving high-speed Internet under the Provincial Government’s recent RBI (Rural Broadband Initiative) to subsidize companies to invest necessary infrastructure in rural regions and provide high-speed service. The Great Northern Peninsula had 10 communities slated to receive Broadband Internet. Neighbouring communities of St. Barbe, Blue Cove, Plum Point, Brig Bay and others will receive this access when Bird Cove, the only neighbouring Municipality is blatantly being disadvantaged. They have an Interpretation Centre, active community centre, school children and others that would seek on-line education. This must be an oversight as the community of Brig Bay is less than 2 kms away? Will this mean that the Town of Brig Bay will be years before they gain access? We have seen this happen in the District of the Straits-White Bay North where communities such as Eddies Cove East, Pine’s Cove, Bide-Arm, Wild Bight, North Boat Harbour and others have no access to high-speed Internet when neighbouring communities received access.

The investment by Government is a step forward, however, the access to high-speed Internet is still not a rosy picture for the region. This increase will bring broadband internet coverage to 44 of the 70 communities living on the Great Northern Peninsula. There are other regions in the province facing similar challenges of access to high-speed Internet. The Provincial Government must continue to invest in the RBI to provide this essential service to its citizens, travellers, commuters and potential developers in these regions. It will build strong economies as we strive to enter a more knowledge-based economy in rural NL.

The province says the percentage of residents with broadband access has increased to approximately 85 per cent, up from 60 per cent when the Progressive Conservatives took power in 2003. If we look a littler closer at these figures we will see:

Red Ochre Regional Board released the following figures in it’s annual 2011 report as they represent Economic Zone 7 (36 communities) a distance from Trout River to St. Barbe and a population in 2010 of 8,968. Prior to the announcement only 10 of the 36 communities had high-speed internet service. This will now increase to 19/36. Prior to the announcement only 57.89% of the Zone’s population had access to high-speed. This region for the past 8 years has been under-serviced and are well under the number of 85%  the Provincial Government has been touting. It is time to bridge the gap of access to Broadband Internet, as it is no longer a luxury but essential to daily tasks.


Economic Zone 6, which represents the Straits-White Bay North District will have 11 of the 35 communities without complete access to high-speed internet. We must continue to bridge these infrastructure gaps and provide this service to under-serviced communities. Or else we will be forever lost in time.

Please write the Minister of Innovation, Business and Rural Development to voice your concerns:


Minister’s Office

Minister Hon. Keith Hutchings
Department of Innovation, Business and Rural Development
Confederation Building, West Block, Second Floor
P.O. Box 8700
St. John’s, NL A1B 4J6
Tel: (709) 729-4728
Fax: (709) 729-0654

We simply can not remain quiet on this matter, as we must be outspoken on this issue and remind Government to advance our province and develop our knowledge-based economies!

Live Rural NL –
Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North


Vernacular Architecture: Rural NL Saltbox Home

A friend, travelling from Quebec City to the island of Newfoundland for the first time had scheduled a visit. Prior to waiting for the Ferry Service to dock at port in St. Barbe, I decided to take a “Look Back in Time”. 

Traditional Saltbox Home

Black Duck Cove Seashore Day Park was my first visit. This rest point’s highlight is a collection of miniatures that represent the architecture-styles of rural communities of the past. There are two saltbox homes, slightly modified; a church, schoolhouse, wharf, fishing rooms and lodge. There are beautiful & well-marked walking trails, captivating views of waterways and binoculars to view sights of Labrador. There is a small playground and picnic area for you to stay for a while. However, many travellers would not easily find this place, at it is not well-marked in terms of signage or on any main highway route. If you can, take the time to ask for directions. I’d recommend a fresh coat of paint to the replicas and some minor repairs, unless the organization responsible is going for a more rustic look of the past. Just moments away, you can see neatly stacked lobster traps, two adjacent graveyards and piles of unpacked wood for winter stoves. 

Stacked Lobster Traps

These replicas made me realize that the vernacular architecture styles are fading from local communities in the Strait of Belle Isle region. Vernacular architecture is a term that categorizes methods of construction which use locally available resources and traditions to address local needs and circumstances, as defined by Wikipedia

 I decided to drive the area in search  of the traditional folk house type, found commonly all over Newfoundland & Labrador, which is the Salt Box style. It is named for its shape, which resembled the boxes used for shipping salt to Newfoundland & Labrador and was one of the earliest forms of house construction. The Salt Box traditionally had a shorter steep roof line in front and a longer steep slope in back. This gave the impression that the house was much larger than it actual size. 

An Abandoned Home

Talking to residents and elders, they noted that logs were sawed into lumber using a “pit saw”. The simple design of a two-story “salt-box” used simplicity of design and maximized space and limited the amount of resources required. This saltbox home depicts a more modern-style where the rooftop peak is central to the home for even distribution. 

Today, Live Rural NL sees a more modern home, split-level, bungalow, two-story, pre-fab home, mobile with an array of designs and styles. I’ve suppose we have gone modern, with very few residents living in this traditional home design with bright vibrant colours. Vernacular architecture tends to evolve over time to reflect changes of culture and society. I certainly hope that these homes do not disappear forever entirely in the region.           

Tilting with Time

There is much charm in an older traditional home. I had to stop for a moment as the structure to my left continues to tilt to its demise as it lacks an apparent caretaker. The field is quite large as the water it in the background. For this place, we can only stop and “Look Back in Time” at the memories that were made by the people who lived here before us. 

A Rural Reflection – 


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