Blog Archives

We all have stories to tell…

We all have stories to tell. We share them with our friends, family and even the world through the social media. There is a time and space for this type of art form. I use my blog as a forum to share knowledge of culture, people, landscapes, business, heritage and history of the Great Northern Peninsula.  Our way of life has been viewed by nearly 180 countries world-wide and edging closer to 200,000 views. I may not have the talents of my grandfather Mitchelmore for storytelling, but I do my best to convey what is truly authentic to rural Newfoundland & Labrador.

This past weekend, my sister and I had a unique opportunity to be in the audience at the St. John’s Arts & Culture Centre and were spectators to a performance scripted by a local playwright, Megan Coles.

Our Eliza is real – authentic. A true depiction of what life was like growing up in rural Newfoundland & Labrador not so long ago. It is masterfully crafted – capturing the audience from the first soundbite as it works its way through a powerful coming of age story. One exuding Newfoundland humour and wit, colourful language and actions that will keep you wanting more, long after the curtain closes. Our Eliza is the type of story that must be told beyond centre stage, it should be shared with Outport Newfoundland & Labrador – one of which we can all reflect upon as to who we truly are as a people – a society.                                                                                                 -Christopher C. Mitchelmore, MHA

St. John's-20130224-01483

When I picked up my tickets at the box office, I was asked my address. I responded, “Green Island Cove”. The person asked where that was and I said, “The Great Northern Peninsula”. She said, I will be in for a real treat with tonight’s showing and that it has been getting great reviews from those in attendance. This certainly raised my expectations, especially since Friday and Saturday night’s performances had sold out.

The very first soundbite set the stage of framing for the audience the hardship the moratorium would have on our way of life in rural Newfoundland & Labrador. Actors Greg Malone (Author of “Don’t Tell The Newfoundlanders”), Joel Thomas Hynes and Renee Hackett turned the clock back more than twenty years and had us reminiscing only in the stories our parents and grandparents could had told us. Our Eliza, is the typical Newfoundland girl, who becomes a woman and the glue that kept many of us together especially when times got tough. The modest, yet powerful story that lasted about 1 hour and half was filled with humour, wit and antics in which I could easily relate. I do not want to give away the story-line  I want you to go experience it for yourself.

These talents have engaged in putting our culture, our life experiences into performance, which brings together many art forms. We can all learn something about our roots and the role in which space plays in it. I took a Newfoundland Society & Culture, in which I learned much about community order and our every day space. It was pleasing to hear writer and co-producer Megan Coles, and co-producer Shannon Hawes, founders of The Poverty Cove Theatre Company open the show highlighting the minimalism utilized in staging, as well as the desire to be able to tell this story in non-conventional spaces. On March 2 & 3, the performance has found a home in the Library of the St. John’s Arts & Culture Centre. You can purchase tickets at www.artsandculturecentre.com.

Thank you Megan Coles for sharing with us your creative talents and all those involved with the current production. You have made Our Eliza, a part of all of us. I only hope this story gets told throughout rural Newfoundland & Labrador where it can be at home, especially the Great Northern Peninsula.

Live Rural NL

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North
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A Great Viking Feast -Leifsburdir

Most likely the only place in North America where one can eat in a sod hut and enjoy a Great Viking Feast is on Fishing Point, St. Anthony, NL.

Last September 2011, I attended the final feast of the season which was a fundraiser for the local Boys & Girls Club. An incredible meal of meat, potatoes and other root crops. One will quickly notice there are no forks – simply because the Vikings did not use forks. It can be quite challenging trying to eat certain foods without this utensil. Although, one never really thinks about it until he or she does not have it. Funny how we take for granted some of the items we use daily that makes life a little easier.

As that evening progressed we were treated to theatrical performances, music, ballads and even served by people dressed up in Viking attire.

My friend from Switzerland certainly enjoy the walkabout the Leifsburdir and the view of St. Anthony in the backdrop.

The crashing waves and rocky shores are something to see as you walk to the entrance for service. If you can in 2012, you may want to dine and experience a Great Viking Feast on Fishing Point.

Experience the Great Northern Peninsula

Christopher C. Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Gros Morne Theatre Festival Opens May 26, 2011

The Gros Morne Theatre Festival will commence on Thursday, May 26, 2011 and continue daily throughout the summer with its final show on Saturday, September 17, 2011.

Positive word of mouth from friends and colleagues that had seen a show was more than encouraging. I decided to make extra effort in 2010 to ensure I made this a priority. I attended the dinner theatre, “Sinking of the S. S. Ethie” with a friend from Montreal, QC at a rate of $45.00. It was certainly worth it. Two plus hours of entertainment by talented and professional actors/actresses working for Theatre Newfoundland & Labrador, as well as, pan-fried cod and all the fixing served by those on stage during their intermission. We enjoyed the show enough to buy tickets for the double feature, “A Double Axe Murder”. This play is based on a murder mystery of the area in the 1800s. Very intriguing.

Being a local, I heard pieces of the story and previously visited the site of shipwreck as a young boy with my father. It is funny the things you sometimes remember, but beyond the rusty remains of the Ethie there was an abundance of very smooth and colourful round rocks. I picked one of my favourites and brought it back to the cabin at Sally’s Cove

If you would like some wonderful entertainment, check out the shows at Gros Morne Theatre Festival, Cow Head.

This year the shows are:

  • Ed & Ed’s B&B – Comedy
  • Neddy Norris Night – Cabaret
  • Winter – Drama
  • Stones in His Pockets – Comedy
  • Tempting Providence – Drama
  • Sinking of the S.S. Ethie – Dinner Theatre
  • The Oracle of Gros Morne – Drama/Comedy

There will also be workshops and special events throughout the season.  I am looking forward to getting to see Tempting Providence and others throughout the summer season.

For more information or reservations visit www.theatrenewfoundland.com or call toll-free 1-877-243-2899.

Live Rural NL –

Christopher C. Mitchelmore

A Rural Newfoundland Vacation

After living in Edmonton for just 11 months, I realized how much the ocean meant to me. However, you sometimes do not realize the things that matter most until they are gone. The Northern Peninsula in Newfoundland has many hidden gems and most of its residents, including myself have never taken the time to experience what there is to offer.

This summer, I took a “stay-cation”, meaning I vacationed at home. But not in the typical sense that I just watched re-runs of All in the Family or the Golden Girls, I got out there and did things and spent money helping local businesses and trust me I was not disappointed.

Friday, June 25, 2010…it was still raining in the AM. However, being a smart camper I had my car packed the night before. I left before lunch and my first stop was the Anchor Cafe, Port au Choix. The food at this restaurant is soooo good that I drove off route about 30 kms just for lunch. I had a bowl of their delicious fish chowder and Mussels a la Byron. The mussels were to die for!!! Earlier in the week, I tried blueberry pie at two other locations, so I couldn’t resist theirs with a scoup of vanilla ice-cream. A real contender with grandma’s! If you want a great meal while sitting on board a well-theme restaurant this one is it for you!

My resting place for the night was Kampgrounds of America, Rocky Harbour, known locally as “Spirity Pond Park”. To start, they have the cleanest restrooms and showers that I have seen at any campground that I have stayed. I pitched the tent and headed down to the office to rent a canoe, as it is Gros Morne National Park and the sun was beaming! It felt good to be alone and in charge as I paddled my canoe on a serene pond. It gave me a chance to relieve the stresses work may bring and gain a sense of freedom and power with every paddle I did take. (Thank you again Sandi Boucher – I will paddle my canoe with great confidence in whatever waters life so chooses to take me).

Later in the evening I drove to airport to pick up a friend, who I met while studying abroad in the Czech Republic almost three years ago. This person has worldly experience, lived in many parts of Canada but yet to experience the Rock! Needless to say it was great to see him again and telling him its the rural life. He believed me, when his FIDO cell did not have coverage (note to those needing cell coverage; Bell or Telus only).

June 26, 2010

After cooking up a scoff on the imitation Coleman stove, eggs, bacon, ham, toast and hot chocolate we ventured off to get an interpretative tour of the Tablelands, which are designated a World UNESCO Heritage Site.

Tablelands

I had no idea that the formations were due to the tectonic plates, faults and the inner layer of the earths crust ending on top of the surface. As well, that later in the week I would be going to Africa (the Avalon Peninsula). A visit to the Discovery Centre proved to be more than informative. As well Trout River was quite scenic and the restaurant well it had a nice view of the ocean and was mentioned in Frommer’s for all you travellers out there. The mussels and chowder were very good (no blueberry pie though for me this time) :).

The evening was spent at Gros Morne Theatre Festival with a cast from Theatre Newfoundland. The first viewing was the Ethie, regarding a ship wreck that happened near the coast of Sally’s Cove. The cast remarkable, allowing for humor and great interaction as the meal of pan fried cod, whipped potatoes, vegetables, fresh rolls, tea and patridgeberry cheesecake were served in the galley by cast members. Despite the storm, no one got sea sick and all 92 of us survived! The show was so good that we decided to take in an encore presentation – Double Axe Murder. I can’t wait to see the other shows this summer! If you hadn’t heard, Tempting Providence, which is one of Gros Morne Theatre Festival’s shows has gone on tour in California. It depicts the life of Nurse Myra Bennett, who was a missionary for the people of Daniel’s Harbour and surrounding areas. I stopped in to visit her home, which is now a historic site and got a remarkable interpretation from two lovely nursing students. A great $5.00 investment to learn a lot local legends and about the way of life in the area in the 19th and 20th centuries. Well worth not by-passing the community to all you readers out there!

I was only two days in my vacation when I began to realize I would not be able to fit all I wanted to do….which made me quite satisfied because I live here and can see what the Great Northern Peninsula is all about and will choose to experience all the wonders we have at home! Tomorrow, I will write about Lambi, Vikings, Fine Dining, Dr. Wildfred Grenfell, Spanish artists, icebergs, polar bears and more….

Keep Living Rural –

CCM

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