“Have You Even Seen…”

Rough-leaved Aster (Eurybia radula), originally uploaded by eracose.

Each season brings its gift of wildflowers and plants. The fall is especially beautiful. In addition to the changing colours of the leaves, a completely new crop of wildflowers comes into bloom including fireweed, asters, butter-and-eggs, and many others.
Fall is also the time for beautiful red dogberries which can be seen all over town. In local weather lore, a large number of dogberries predict a bad winter. Wild birds eat the dogberries, and residents make dogberry jam, jelly and wine in the fall.

Backroad September
BackRoad Dogberries

Wayne Chaulk of “Buddy Wasisname and the Other Fellers” described best all that nature offers us. The Gosse Family, performing during the Bay Roberts 60th Anniversary Summer in 2011, remind us of all that our natural environment offers, as well as the incredible musical talent that originates in Newfoundland and Labrador.
“Have you ever seen …” performed by The Gosse Family – Lewis, Michele and Sonya.

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Glenn Littlejohn, PC Candidate in Port de Grave

Roots mean a great deal to people living “around the bay.” When it comes to politics, it means supporting the person you believe will do the best job of promoting the area where you live. In the upcoming provincial election, I am supporting Glenn Littlejohn in our home district of Port de Grave.

Although I am not a conservative, I am supporting Glenn because he will do the best job of representing the district. He is devoted to his own family and works every day with youth of the province. He has a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Education from Memorial University, and is Recreation and Sport Consultant within the Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation. Glenn takes an active part in church life and is a member of the Central United Male Choir.

He is, of course, Mayor of Bay Roberts, but he has been involved in many activities on a regional, provincial and national level. He has an extensive background as a volunteer. He sits on the board of the Trinity, Conception, Placentia Health Foundation and is a founding and active member of the Trinity Conception Relay for Life.

He is also a member of the Canada Games Council Sport Committee. He is actively involved in the Bay Roberts Minor Softball program and the Bay Arena Referee’s Association. He is a long time hockey and softball coach and has coached successfully at national, provincial and local levels. Glenn was inducted into the Softball Newfoundland and Labrador Hall of Fame in 2008.

He will make an excellent MHA.

Running to Keep Fit
The Klondyke Rush – Running to Keep Fit
Glenn Littlejohn (back right), with wife, Leanne, members of the Bay Roberts Recreation Committee, and his children


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“Our Life on Lear’s Room”

Greta Hussey, 89 years old, originally uploaded by eracose.

Greta Hussey of Port de Grave reading from her book “Our Life on Lear’s Room, Labrador” at the Bay Roberts Visitor Information Centre. The book has been relaunched by Garry Cranford of Flanker Press, St. John’s.  The Conception Bay North Region, including Port de Grave, Bay Roberts, Harbour Grace, and Carbonear, has an important history with the Labrador Fishery.


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SS Southern Cross

SS Southern Cross, originally uploaded by eracose.

The SS Southern Cross is a model boat designed and constructed by Gus Menchions of Bay Roberts.
The SS Southern Cross was commissioned as the whaler Pollux at Arendal, Norway in 1886. On December 19, 1898 Pollux made its first Antarctic expedition where it made marine history by breaking through the Great Ice barrier to the unexplored Ross Sea.
Pollux was sold to Baine Johnston and renamed SS Southern Cross upon transferring to Newfoundland and Labrador in 1901. Southern Cross participated in every seal hunt from 1901-1914.

1914 Newfoundland Sealing Disaster

The 1914 sealing fleet included both the SS Southern Cross and the SS Newfoundland (under Captain Westbury Kean). The fleet left St. John’s on March 13, 1914. SS Newfoundland lost 78 sealers from her crew when they were stranded on the ice for two nights. Just as the terrible news of the SS Newfoundland tragedy was reaching St. John’s, the SS Southern Cross fell out of normal communication. The people of Newfoundland remained hopeful that tragedy would not strike twice, as evidenced by the April 3 Evening Telegram newspaper article below:

Nothing has been heard of the Southern Cross since she was reported off Cape Pine on Tuesday last, and the general opinion is that she was driven far off to sea. Various reports were afloat in the city last night, one in particular that she had passed Cape Race yesterday afternoon, but upon making enquiries this and the other reports were unfortunately found to be untrue. At 5:30 yesterday the Anglo [Anglo-American Telegraph Co.] got in touch with Cape Race and learned that she had not passed the Cape neither was she at Trepassey. A message from Captain Connors of the Portia said she was not St. Mary’s Bay. A wireless message was sent by the government to the U.S. Patrol steamer Senaca, which is in the vicinity of Cape Race, asking her to search for the Cross. The S.S. Kyle will also leave tonight to make a diligent search for her and it is hoped that something will soon be heard from the overdue ship, as anxiety for her safety is increasing hourly. If she had been driven off to sea, which is the general opinion expressed by experienced seamen, it would take her some days to make land again. The ship is heavily laden and cannot steam at great speed. Evening Telegram, 3 April 1914

Unlike the tragedy of the Newfoundland’s crew, the disappearance of the Southern Cross remained largely unexplained as no crewmen or record of the voyage survived. While a marine court of enquiry determined that the ship sank in a blizzard on March 31, little evidence exists to verify this. Oral tradition suggests that rotten boards gave out in the heavy sea and allowed the cargo to shift and capsize the steamer. Though the wreck of the SS Southern Cross accounted for the greater human loss of the two shipwrecks, some historians argue that the emotional impact of the SS Newfoundland disaster was more intensely felt because of the horrific stories survivors were able to recount.

These two disasters together constitute what is referred to as the 1914 Newfoundland Sealing Disaster. A total loss of 251 lives from a province with a population of approximately 250,000 devastated families and communities.

Rockwell Kent – Kent’s Cottage – Landfall in Brigus

Artist, writer and adventurer, Rockwell Kent resided in Brigus for a year and a half, during 1914-15, at Kent cottage, so he was living in Brigus at the time of the disaster. He describes the impact of the loss on Brigus, where many of the sealers from the Southern Cross had lived. “It will pretty well clear out this place,” said one resident of the ship’s loss. According to Kent “The dread of the loss of this steamer had passed almost to certainty and the mention of the house, the wife, the children, the hopes and ambitions of any of those on her became a tragedy.” You can visit Rockwell Kent’s home in Brigus today.

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“In the Fairies”

Newfoundland is one of the places in the English-speaking world which is well-known for its stories of fairies. However, be warned – our fairies are more like Brothers Grimm’s Rumpelstiltskin than Disney’s Tinker Bell.  Although the tradition of believing in these supernatural beings is quickly dying, a number of tales about then still exist in the Baccalieu Trail area. Many people can still describe fairies, as well as tell stories of encounters with them.
In an area with such close ties with the sea, these short tales of the relationship of the people to the land seen strangely out-of-place. Yet, when daily life of the outport is considered, the woods and the barrens are inseparable elements of people’s existence, providing fire wood, building materials, berries, trout, rabbits, partridge, as well as hours of entertainment spent hiking, fishing, hunting, and camping. In these stories the affinity of the people for the outdoors is contrasted with their fears. It is possible to emotionally feel the eerie silence of being lost and alone on the barrens or in the woods.

With these photos on Flickr, I have attached fairly stories collected a number of years ago from students at Ascension Collegiate in Bay Roberts.
Fairy Light - Glowing Jade Green
Fairy Light – Glowing Jade Green

Wild Blueberries
Lost Girl from South River

French's Cove - Bay Roberts Shoreline Heritage Walk
Fairy Touched.

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Three Women

Three Women as Party Leaders in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Is the tremendous potential of women to advance society in creative, vital and energetic new ways being tapped for the first time in our history?  Newfoundland and Labrador is one of the few places on earth where women are running all three major political parties.  I would like to see a public event where these three women have an opportunity to speak, explaining  their goals as leaders.

Kathy Dunderdale - Will be 10th Premier

Kathy Dunderdale - Will be 10th Premier

In the past, many women politicians have mirrored the attitudes and policies of their male counterparts to achieve success in “a man’s world.”  They have attacked and crashed the male-dominated political environment of confrontation, harsh competition, and closed male-networks.  The prime example would be Margaret Thatcher

Critical Mass

Yvonne Jones - Opposition Leader

Yvonne Jones - Opposition Leader

In our province, we have reached a “Critical Mass” of female participation at the highest level of political parties.  Will these   women be able make any significant changes to the conduct of politics?

Traditional Women’s Attributes

Traditional women’s roles require them to have tremendous skills in time-management, in people management, and in developing workable solutions to problems.  Will these women attempt to make politics about issues, valid differences of opinions, seeking the best solution, rather than posturing, following the party line, confrontation, and name-calling?

Lorraine Michael - Leader NDP

Lorraine Michael - Leader NDP

Stands on Issues of Concern to Women

What are the stands of these women on issues of great concern to women?  Studies have shown that women place priority on policies related to women’s traditional roles as caregivers in society, including: health care, children and the family, education, environment, housing and the elderly.  Will they bring more focus to those issues, and more importantly, what are their priorities?  Have they examined the economic policy process from a women’s perspective? Will they encourage more women to become entrepreneurs and to assume leadership roles in business and their communities?

Please Ladies – Make a Change!

If these women meet the potential of the moment, they can achieve a great deal.  They can bring civility and cooperation back to our political system.  Disagreeing on the fundamentals of policy, does not mean that people have to be disagreeable.  They can rationally delineate their policies, explaining their political stands on issues.  They can cooperate for the good of the province where possible. And just as importantly, they can become role models to younger women, encouraging the full and equal participation of women in business, political, civil, economic, social, and cultural life.

Please ladies, try.  We are counting on you.


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“Stunning Natural and Cultural Integrity”

Madrock – Shoreline Heritage Walk – Bay Roberts, Photo: Sandra Roach, originally uploaded by unclemose.

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.

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Culture Days 2010 in Bay Roberts

Bay Roberts, like many communities in Newfoundland and Labrador, has always been subject to the whims and whallops of the Atlantic Ocean. We were very fortunate last weekend for two reasons. First – our town (unlike many communities along the eastern coastlines of our province) was spared the worst effects of Hurricane Igor. Second – we enjoyed a wonderful weekend with “Culture Days.”

While we cannot forget our friends and neighbours who have been subjected to such destruction and suffering, we want to acknowledge this weekend which celebrated a way of life which has always been dependent on the Atlantic Ocean.

Gus Menchions [95 years old] cuts Kyle cake with Sandra Roach of the Bay Roberts Cultural Foundation
Gus Menchions [95 years old] cuts Kyle cake with Sandra Roach of the Bay Roberts Cultural Foundation

More photos from Culture Days at the Amalgamated Academy on Flickr > >

Labrador Fishery Television Broadcast at the Amalgamated Academy

The first event was a celebration of the people from the community who participated in the Labrador Fishery. Principal Violet Parsons-Pack, her staff and the student body of the Amalgamated Academy took part in the presentation through their internal television broadcasting system.  David Gill, technology specialist, set up the production in the Resource Centre.  Students operated the cameras and teleprompter.

Program of Labrador Film Festival

  • A reading each of the 17 verses of Ted Russell’s  “Smokeroom on the Kyle” by a student representative from each class.
  • Showing of 4 Video interviews (approximately 10 minutes each)  with seniors who participated in the Labrador Fishery which were produced in 2009 by the Bay Roberts 50 Plus Club, students of Ascension Collegiate High School, and the Bay Roberts Cultural Foundation with funding by New Horizons Canada. The interviews were with Cecil Greenland of Coley’s Point (104 years old);  Emmie Roach of Coley’s Point (90 years old); Gus Menchions of Bay Robers (95 years old); and Ralph Greenland of Coley’s Point (80 years old.)
  • Cutting the SS Kyle Culture Days Cake (prepared by Powell’s Supermarket) by Gus Menchions, special guest for the Film Festival and Sandra Roach, General Manager of the Bay Roberts Cultural Foundation.

Cooperation from Principal Violet Parsons-Pack, staff and students of the Amalgamated Academy was outstanding, especially since the school was closed for two days due to Igor.
Culture Days - Violet Parsons-Pack, Principal; and Corey Morgan
Principal Violet Parsons-Pack and Corey Morgan, Performing Arts Teacher

“Salt-Water Moon” by David French

Robyn Brockerville and Bobby Hogan
Robyn Brockerville as Mary Snow and Bobby Hogan as Jacob Mercer.

Jerry Mercer, who had produced “Salt-Water Moon” by David French for his summer theatre at the Victoria LOL#3 Museum and Playhouse, happily agreed to produce the show on  Friday and Saturday night for Culture Days.  The feeling at the show was unbelievable!!  “Salt-Water Moon” echos voices from our community’s past – from “charming tooth aches” to warding off “fairies” with  bread crusts to the evils “truck system” to traveling on the SS Kyle. It was as though the audience and actors were “one,” laughing out loud and crying together.
Marc Warren, Director and Jerry Mercer, Producer
Marc Warren, Director and Jerry Mercer, Producer

More photos from “Saltwater Moon” on Flickr > >

Techniques of the Pigeon Inlet Quilters

Mayor Glen Littlejohn - Quilt and Community
“Mayor Glen Littlejohn – Pigeon Inlet Quilt and Community

On Saturday afternoon, the Pigeon Inlet Quilters met with interested members of the general public to discuss techniques of landscape quilting in general, and specifically the the subject matter of the Pigeon Inlet Quilt and how it was made.

Ready for questions about landscape quilting
Ready for questions about landscape quilting

More photos from the Pigeon Inlet Quilt on Flickr > >

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Home Grown Theatrical Talent

Theatrical talent was shining in the Northern Avalon this summer. Cupids 400 and New World Theatre’s Indeavour Stage provided “once in a lifetime” entertainment, in which local performers participated. At the same time, community theatre which has been growing over the past decade in the towns of Brigus and Bay Roberts was thriving.

Bay Roberts had three separate successful shows. A Time in Pigeon Inlet, a Newfoundland “time,” featuring singing, instrumental music, storytelling and sketches (based on Ted Russell’s Tales from Pigeon Inlet) is in its third season. Salt-water Moon, a drama, was on stage at the Victoria LOL#3 Museum and Playhouse, the second year for a David French play produced by Jerry Mercer and directed by Marc Warren. And, for the first time, An Evening with the Gosse Family (which featuring singing,  instrumental music, and skits) was held at Lodge McKay.

In Brigus, The Royal Shag Up, a comedy with music, is in its 9th sold out season.

What is Special About These Shows?

All four shows are first class productions with talented performers that have been enjoyed and praised by audiences from all over Canada. However, what is special is that each of these shows has a direct connection with the area.

Bay Roberts Shows

A Time in Pigeon Inlet, (pigeoninlet.ca) which features Newfoundland and Labrador’s first tradition bearer, Kelly Russell, and his family, is built around the stories of Kelly’s father, Newfoundland author Ted Russell, who was born on Coley’s Point.

The cast
The Cast of “A Time in Pigeon Inlet”

More photos from “A Time in Pigeon Inlet” > >

Salt-water Moon was written by David French, who was also born in Coley’s Point. David French moved to Toronto as a child when his father went upalong to work, but his plays are steeped in the history and mythology of this area of the province. Characters speak of the Bay Roberts Railway Station, the Klondyke, the Kyle, and the Labrador fishery.
You left without saying a word.
“Salt-water Moon” by David French

More photos from “Salt-water Moon” > >

An Evening with the Gosse Family featured the Gosse girls, Sonya and Michele, who grew up in Bay Roberts, and their Dad, Lewis, who was a teacher at Ascension Collegiate for years.
Sonya, Michele and Lewis GosseGed Backmore, who was in the audience, was moved by the Gosse rendition of his composition, “The Sea.” in three part harmony.

More photos from “An Evening with the Gosse Family” > >

Brigus Show

The Royal Shag Up has been collectively written over the years by the Baccalieu Players, people from the local region who act, sing and dance in the show.
The Cast!
The Cast of “A Royal Shag Up”

More photos from “A Royal Shag Up” > >

“Salt-water Moon” FREE September 24th and 25th during Canadian Culture Days.

And as a bottom line, you have another opportunity to see “Salt-water Moon” for FREE at the Victoria LOL #3 Museum and Playhouse during Culture Days, September 24-25.  You will be amazed at how certain words and phrases jump to life because the play is in context.  Most people who have seen several different productions of the show say this one has a different twist which you will thoroughly enjoy.  Friday night’s show is being sponsored by Moores Andrews Collins Law Offices. Saturday night’s show is being sponsored by Ruth Brown of Clarke Real Estate, Pam Norman of Exit Realty, Churchill’s Home Hardware, and Harbour International.
Moon and stars in the sky.
Moon and stars in the sky.

Information about “Salt-water Moon” on the Culture Days Website > >

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The Holdin’ Ground Festival and Klondyke Days – 2010

The Holdin’ Ground Festival and Klondyke Days in Bay Roberts are over for another year. With so many things still happening in the town and in the region, it seems more like a beginning than an ending.

Some of the highlights of this year’s events included starting the festival with the launch of the “Holdin’ Ground Project” ( holdingroundproject.com) and “The Pigeon Inlet Quilt.” (Pigeon Inlet Quilt Showing ). The two theatre productions: “ A Time in Pigeon Inlet” and ” Salt-water Moon” were very successful and well attended. The Klondyke Days Opening Parade was held on a perfect day with an enthusiastic turn out. (Photos on Flickr)  Supersports Weekend went very well. Fans enjoyed the tribute concert to Neil Diamond at the Canadian Legion. Shopping Days at the Klondyke with the Dragon Boat Race and the Avalon North Wolverines Search and Rescue Display were enjoyed by everyone. (Photos on Flickr)  The first “Haunting” was held on Coley’s Point with a much larger than expected turn out.  (Photos on Flickr)  The new Klondyke Storyboard was unveiled (Photos on Flickr )  and the Cable Building was officially recognized as a National Historic Site. (Photos on Flickr)

Even though it poured rain during the closing fireworks, there was a tremendous turn out and many said it was the best fireworks they had ever seen!
Fireworks in the Rain.Fireworks in the Rain!

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