Thursday, November 20, 2014

Youth Contest for Aboriginal Arts and Stories

Aboriginal Arts & Stories is a national educational initiative that invites First Nations, M├ętis and Inuit youth (ages 11-29) to submit creative writing or two-dimensional artwork about their culture and heritage. Participants have a chance to win up to $2,000; a trip to the annual awards ceremony, and have their work published or exhibited. Finalists are selected by a jury comprised of celebrated Aboriginal writers and artists, including Shirley Moorhouse, Kent Monkman, Maxine Noel, Lee Maracle, and Drew Hayden Taylor, among many others.

The contest is an opportunity for youth to share stories of their families, communities, ancestors, as well as personal stories, with an audience across the country. Now in its 11th year, more than 2,000 youth have participated in the contest to date. This year’s deadline is March 31, 2015. Visit for full guidelines, prizing information, previous winning submissions, and to submit an entry.

Aboriginal Arts & Stories is a program of Historica Canada, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting Canadian history and heritage.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Looking for Labrador Nalajuit!

Are you a Nalujuk? Have you dressed up for Nalujuk Night before? If yes, we would like to meet you. The Mummers Festival is doing some research about Nalujuk Night and would like to know more from the people who know best. How does it feel to be a Nalujuk? What do you wear? What do you do? These are just a few of the questions the Mummers Festival would like answered. If you have 30 minutes to spare, could we meet with you?

Please contact Ryan Davis, Mummers Festival Coordinator at (709) 697-8722 or by email at

Monday, October 20, 2014

Mayday Mayday!

Chart image from:
For a new and upcoming exhibit at the Lobster Cove Head Lighthouse in Gros Morne National Park, Parks Canada is hoping to hear your memories and stories about the use of traditional distress signals in emergency situations. Have there been any shipwrecks or other emergencies in your community? How did people communicate that their boats were in distress? What local stories are attached? 

Shirley Alyward from Parks Canada provided this quote as an example:   
"Mr Gordon Caines of Norris Point put out a sweater with its arms halfway up his ship pole that indicated to the Young family on shore that a boat was in distress."

Shirley would love to hear from you. She can be contacted by email at:

Thank you, and as always, stay safe!


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Fishing Stage - Fishing Shed – Shed Stage

Guest blog post by Jennifer Murray, P.Eng

Ever notice the stages in rural Newfoundland? No, not the fishing stages – the performance stages. Nearly every small town and outport in Newfoundland has one these days.

These are the places where the summer festival is held, where local teenage bands play their first gig, and touring entertainers put on the big show of the summer. It’s the spot where local mayors announce the winner of the raffle, thank all the volunteers, and ask the owner of the red pickup to please move his vehicle because he is blocking traffic.

Mostly simple structures – a shed with the door on the wide side – they are cleverly designed to their purpose and climate. Unlike many amphitheatres and outdoor stages in other parts of the world, the shed-stage has a roof and walls on three sides to protect performers and their equipment from the wind and the rain which are a common feature of summer festivals in Newfoundland.

During performances, the doors can be opened out of the way or made into an extension of the stage; when not in use, the doors are secured and the building becomes a storage facility for equipment.

With the closure of many rural churches and schools, and the decline of fraternal organizations which once maintained large halls, these stages and the fields and recreational areas they typically adjoin have become the spaces where the community can come together for celebrations and special events. This infrastructure also supports the expression of many aspects of our intangible cultural heritage. These small stages represent a relatively new form of vernacular architecture, and demonstrate an adaptation of an existing type of building to meet the needs of small communities.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Thanks for a summer filled with meals of lobsters and glasses of slush!

Petty Harbour

Things have finally settled down (a little) so I wanted to stop in and make a final blog post to say thanks! Since I last wrote on the blog I finished my job with the heritage foundation, took a quick trip out to the west coast of the island, attended the fishing for folklore workshop, headed to Witless Bay for field school, and am currently making my way through courses at MUN.

My summer job as a heritage intern with the Heritage Foundation was definitely one of the highlights of my summer! The Oral History Project in Petty Harbour-Maddox Cove taught me a great deal about interviewing, photography, working with the media, metadata, and much more.

As a heritage intern I had the opportunity to assist with cemetery clean ups, gravestone rubbing workshops, and heritage district plaque ceremonies. I was able to interview a number of people from Petty Harbour about the community's social events such as card games, community concerts, and garden parties. I also learned about growing up in Petty Harbour and the children's games played in the area (pidley, rounders). I was told stories about folk beliefs and instructed not to whistle on the water, turn against the sun, or have the gangboards turned over in the boat. I was given meals of lobsters and glasses of slush, I attended community breakfasts, and met wonderful people. I would like to send out a huge thank you to everyone in the community who took the time to talk to me, send pictures or plays, stopped by the oral history booth, sourced out potential interviewees, and all in all made me feel like a part of the community.

If you would like to listen to the interviews from the Petty Harbour Oral History Project check out MUN's DAI. Here you will find links to the interviews and accompanying pictures of the lovely people I had the opportunity to meet. There are still a handful of interviews to be processed by the DAI so check back for more interviews at a later date. Also if you would like to learn more about the community events found in Petty Harbour there is a small article in the ICH Update for July 2014.

Last but not least I would like to thank everyone at the Heritage Foundation, particularly Dale and Lisa in the ICH Office for a fantastic summer!

In closing I've added a short video of Petty Harbour resident (and my uncle) Gordy Doyle doing a recitation of the Smokeroom on the Kyle.


P.S. Thanks to Lisa for suggesting I turn the recitation into a short video!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

"The Tale of a Town" storymobile touring Newfoundland!

"The Tale of a Town – Canada" is a national oral history and theatre initiative aiming to capture the collective community memory of our country’s main streets, one story at a time.

Over the next three years, The Tale of a Town will tour across the Canada, gathering downtown stories in small towns and big cities alike, and creating performance installations in the capital city of each province and territory. This national venture will culminate in a multi-platform celebration of the country’s main street culture, in commemoration of Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017.

And now the storymobile is coming to a town near you in Newfoundland!

Here's the list of places and dates that The Tale of a Town will be visiting in the next little while:

Oct. 7-9 -- Grand Falls-Windsor
Oct. 10-13 -- Stephenville
Oct. 14-16 -- Corner Brook
Oct. 17-19 -- Gander

Below, you'll find links to The Tale of a Town website, Facebook page, and a great Youtube video showing what's done with the tales after they're collected!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Looking for stories and artefacts from Newfoundlanders working in Alberta

The Royal Alberta Museum is developing a new exhibit display that will tell the story of Newfoundlanders who work in the Alberta oil patch, particularly those who travel back and forth between home and work. We are looking to make contact with people who might help us in telling this story by sharing their story. We are also looking to collect objects associated with this story that we might feature in the display. If you would like to contribute, please email Mathew Levitt at

Friday, September 26, 2014

Tiddly On The Lawn - This Sunday at The Rooms


Tiddly, also known as piddly, pippy, snig, or puss, was once a very popular game that was played all over Newfoundland and Labrador. While the rules changed from community to community, the game pieces were usually the same – two rocks or bricks and two sticks. Come and join us on the lawn of The Rooms for a fun-filled day of Tiddly and other traditional games.

We're bringing in the experts! Participants from Carbonear's World Cup of Tiddly will be in St. John's to show the Townies how it is done! Come watch, and learn how to play yourself.

The event will be happening from 1pm to 4pm on Sunday September 28.

1pm – 2pm Various races (sack races, egg and spoon races, three legged race)

2pm – 2:45pm Tiddly demonstration game

3pm – 3:40pm Visitors can try the game, various races

For more information, contact:

Jena Mitchell
Marketing Manager
Phone: 709-757-8144


Dale Jarvis
Heritage Foundation of NL
709-739-1892 x2