Pancake Day – Shrove Tuesday

Wedding Ring for Pancake
Grandmother’s Wedding Ring for Pancake

Pancake Day is celebrated in Newfoundland on Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, which is the beginning of Lent. The name shrove comes from the Christian custom of making confession of sin and receiving forgiveness, being shriven, on that day.

In many countries festivals are held on the last days before the beginning of lent. These include the Fastnacht in Germany and Carnivals in many places including the Mardi Gras, in New Orleans, Louisiana, the Carnival in Rio de Janeiro Brazil, and the Carnival in Trinidad.

During Lent it was the custom to fast, as Christ did for his forty days in the desert. Every person, including children, was expected to “give up” some food for Lent, especially sweets.

Following the tradition of their English ancestors, Newfoundlanders serve pancakes as the family meal for supper on Shrove Tuesday (in the past to use up the last of their eggs and butter before Lent.) The pancakes are served with molasses, which was brought back to Newfoundland from the West Indies Islands (along with rum) in exchange for fish.

As an additional treat, items were placed in the pancake batter before it is cooked to foretell the future for family members. When a person recieved a pancake with a certain item, everybody in the family knew what it meant.

If a boy received an item for a trade, it meant he would enter that trade. If a girl received the item for a trade, it meant she would marry a person from that trade.

Although today families usually concentrate on placing coins and perhaps a wedding ring in the pancakes, in the past the items included:

  • A piece of string (representing a net)– a fisherman
  • A piece of wood ( representing woodworking) — a carpenter
  • A wedding ring (representing marriage)–the person would marry
  • A button (representing bachelorhood) — the person would not marry
  • A penny (representing poverty) — the person would be poor
  • A dime (representing riches) — the person would be wealthy
  • A nail (representing horseshoe)– a blacksmith

Pancake Recipe
2 egg
2 cups of flour
1 1/2 cups of milk
4 tbsp butter or margarine or shortening
2 tablespoons of sugar
6 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt

Makes about 20 pancakes.

Beat egg until fluffy; beat in remaining ingredients just until smooth. Grease and heat frying pan.
Thoroughly clean items to be placed in pancakes. Spoon pancake batter into pan and place item in each pancake, until all items are used. Serve at least one pancake with an item to each family member.

Molasses Coady
2 cups of molasses
1/2 cup of water
3 tbsp butter or margarine

Boil ingredients together for about 10 minutes and pour over pancakes.


Filed under Baccalieu Trail, Bay Roberts

Bay Roberts Culture Days – 2011

Our community of Bay Roberts will be participating in Culture Days again on September 30th, October 1st, and October 2nd. Many people and businesses in our area have come together to plan and pay for these events, so that they are completely FREE to people of the region. Tickets and information about all events can be found at the Bay Roberts Visitor Information Centre or by calling 683-6377 or 683-1195  (Hours are Monday-Friday 10-5, closed weekends for Fall.)

Jerry Mercer will be presenting his production of David French’s “Salt-Water Moon” at the Victoria LOL #3 Playhouse on Friday, September 30th and Saturday, October 1st.  The director is Marc Warren. Acacia Puddister is playing the role of Mary Mercer and he role of Jacob Mercer is being played by Bobby Hogan.

Friday night’s show is sponsored by RE/MAX East Coast Realty Ltd. –  786-2310 and Saturday night’s show is sponsored by Pam Norman, Exit Realty on the Rock – 683-8676. In addition, door prizes have been donated by “Inn By The Bay” in Dildo. – One night for two – Room and Dinner at Inn By The Bay Dining Room.(Value $315) and donated By “Klondyke Cottage” in Bay Roberts one night for two. (Value $149  )

Fresh Mussels
Fresh Mussels

Saturday, October 1, 2011, starting at 2:30 PM, a Mussel Boil will be held at the Three Sisters on the Shoreline Heritage Walk with Traditional NL Music by David Fitzpatrick, including Madrock song. The Three Sisters is a beautiful pebble beach surrounded by cliffs, accessed by stairs from the road to MadRock. The beach is a popular site for weddings, picnics, the caplin scull, geocaching, and other family activities.

Sponsored by Ruth Brown of Clarke Real Estate, Bay Roberts  Drawing for one night for two donated by the Bumblebee Bed and Breakfast in Brigus (Value $119.00).

Fergus Geocache #22
Fergus Geocache

Shoreline Heritage Walk Geocaching Weekend

Participants pick up “Cacheports” and drop them off at Bartlett’s Irving (next door to Shopper’s Drug Mart on the Conception Bay Highway.) Each cacheport contains GPS readings for 3 geocaches in Bay Roberts, one question and one sticker space for each geocache. The participants will find each geochache with an answer to the corresponding question, and place a sticker in the space. A drawing from the completed cacheports will made for the Prizes which will be two $40 gift certificates at the MadRock Cafe, sponsored by Baccalieu Consulting.

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Port de Grave

Hibbs Cove, originally uploaded by eracose.

Port de Grave is one of the oldest and historically most successful fishing communities in Canada. Although there is evidence it is much older, its recorded history goes back to 1675, when the main planter in the community was Thomas Butler. In 1675, Thomas was living at Port de Grave with his wife and three sons. He employed 20 servants and owned five boats, 50 cattle and 20 sheep. Thomas is believed to be the grandson of Samuel Butler, who was a member of John Guy’s colony in Cupids Cove, which was settled in 1610.

The French from Quebec led by Pierre Le Moyne D’Iberville attacked Port de Grave on January 23, 1697. Abbé Jean Baudoin wrote in his journal that they found 116 men, 14 planters, 20 boats, and 10 000 salt codfish. He commented: “This place is very beautiful.” Visitors to the community make exactly the same comment today! Artists and photographers love Port de Grave!

Port de Grave
Port de Grave

Organically growing from the cliffs on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean, Port de Grave is one of the most beautiful communities in Newfoundland and Labrador. About 15 minutes from Bay Roberts, it retains its own distinct character and community spirit, while older people in the community still speak with their distinctive Port de Grave accent. People from all over the province come to see Port de Grave Harbour during the Christmas season, when fish harvesters decorate their  longliners with colourful Christmas lights.

Glowing Water - Port de Grave
Christmas Boat Lighting

For further reading about Port de Grave, see Heritage of a Newfoundland Outport: The Story of Port de Grave written and published by Gerald Andrews. Available through Amazon > >

Aslo see, Our Life on Lear’s Room, Labrador by Greta Hussey, published by Flanker Press. Available through Flanker Press > >
Here is Greta Hussey, 89 years old, reading a selection from her book.

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Filed under Baccalieu Trail, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northern Avalon, Tourism

“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


Filed under Baccalieu Trail, Bay Roberts, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northern Avalon

“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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Filed under Baccalieu Trail, Bay Roberts, Labrador, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northern Avalon, Uncategorized

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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