National Geographic Traveler Magazine rated the Avalon Peninsula of Newfoundland and Labrador the top rated coastal destination of 99 reviewed in the November – December 2010 issue. The article quotes one of the reviewers:
Professor Michael Hall, who teaches tourism and marketing at New Zealand’s University of Canterbury. contends that the Avalon Peninsula has struck the right balance, extolling its “stunning natural and cultural integrity.” He goes even further, calling it “one of the best-kept tourism secrets.”
Living and working in the town Bay Roberts, in the Northern Avalon, I am always amazed by the beauty, the fresh air, and the many moods of the Atlantic Ocean. However, as Professor Michael Hall points out, equally important is the preservation of cultural integrity.
Groups within the city of St. John’s have worked tirelessly to preserve the “stunning natural and cultural integrity” of the city. And in most small towns, like Bay Roberts, people are doing their part.
Withstanding forces that attempt to homogenize North America, so that each place is a cookie cutter version of others, is a difficult path, especially in the tourism industry. Frequently, tourists look for the quaint and unusual, in a Disneyesque environment – where they can observe “the locals,” but retreat to the comfort of accommodations and people similar to those they would experience at home.
What we have, in addition to our magnificent scenery, is a genuine culture and way of life that has developed over hundreds of years. I hope we do not lose sight of that reality to offer “eye candy ” for the tourism industry.
The Late Lloyd C. Rees of CBS
Someone who said that best was the late Lloyd C. Rees of CBS, who passed away recently. Although we never met in person, we corresponded by email for a several years after I asked permission to use his photos for the Northern Avalon Tourism Association. He offered his photos free of charge to the Tourism Association, although he expressed reservations about ‘putting our culture on display’ as a product for sale. His appreciation for the region, especially his home town of Lance Cove, Bell Island, is clear in his photos.
I have included a gallery of a few of the photos, that he gave permission for the Northern Avalon Tourism Association to use, as a tribute to Mr. Rees and his love of the Avalon Peninsula of province of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Rest in peace, Lloyd Rees. I hope we will always value and support our unique heritage and culture, and share with each other, and with visitors who appreciate our way of life.