Thursday, June 30, 2016

Markland Cottage Hospital Stories

Markland Cottage Hospital, now home of Rodrigues Winery.
The Markland Cottage Hospital was designated by the Heritage Foundation in 2007 due to its historic and aesthetic value. The hospital was built in 1935 by the Commission of Government and was opened January 1, 1936. The hospital was one part of the government’s Land Settlement Scheme which intended to have families set up farms, raise animals, and build communities. It is also one of 19 cottage hospitals built across the province to serve rural communities. Although agriculture never caught on in the area the hospital remained in operation until it was phased out in the 1980s and officially closed in 1985 with the opening of a new clinic in nearby Whitbourne.
Former staff of the hospital.
On Friday June 24, 2016 the Cottage Hospital, which now operates as a Rodrigues Winery and Distillery, hosted a large group of former hospital staff. Everyone from nurse’s aides to administrative staff was in attendance. There were great stories told about the staff’s time in the hospital. Many nurses, aides, and other staff members lived on the second floor of the building. The Heritage Foundation staff was invited to attend the afternoon event by Lionel Rodrigues of Rodrigues Winery which now operate out of the former hospital.
Greeting old friends.
Michael, Andrea, Pei, and I arrived amidst a flurry of old friends. There were big hugs, loud greetings, and many smiles. It was great just to walk through the old building, see the photographs on the walls, and listen to the stories about the staff’s time in the building. We heard stories about the pranks the women played amongst themselves and even on RCMP officers, how and where the women would sneak out of the hospital to see boyfriends or go dancing in the evenings, which rooms were dormitories, where the kitchen and dining room were, and how many beds were found in the men’s and women’s wards.
Some of the interior decor includes old photographs, and hospital equipment.
One of the ICH Office’s newest projects is the Collective Memories project which aims to capture the stories of seniors and make them accessible to the public. This is the main reason I headed out to Markland – to hear some stories and talk with the former staff about the possibility of doing follow up interviews about their time working in the hospital. Andrea and I talked with several women and returned to the office with a long list of names and numbers. The stories from Markland’s Cottage Hospital would make an interesting collection so keep an eye on the blog for their stories as we follow up with the cottage hospital workers.
Hospital equipment on display.
If you would like to learn more about the designation check out the Heritage Foundation’s website, and if you want to see the hospital for yourself and enjoy a lovely wine tasting contact Rodrigues Winery! Thanks to Rodrigues Winery for the invitation and a big congrats on hosting such a lovely event.
Some of the former staff of the Markland Cottage Hospital.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Our top 5 Living Heritage Podcast episodes to date for 2016!

We are halfway through 2016, so we thought it would be good to look back at which podcast episodes of "Living Heritage" have been the most popular to date this year. If you haven't had a listen to any of these yet, now is your chance:

Number 5 - An oral history of heritage conservation in Newfoundland, with Shane O’Dea
Originally aired in March, in this podcast Shane O'Dea talks about the early history of the Newfoundland Historic Trust, mobilizing forces to preserve the Christ Church in Quidi Vidi and the Commissariat House on Kingsbridge Road in St. John’s, the battle over Atlantic Place, the formation of the St. John’s Heritage Foundation, and about the introduction of the now-iconic heritage paint colour scheme for downtown St. John’s. It’s a brief oral history introduction to the formative years of the heritage conservation movement in the province!

Number 4 - The Old Hag - The Terror in the Night!
Perhaps unsurprisingly, this has been one of our most popular (and creepiest) podcasts, in conversation with Lloyd Pike and Danielle Barron. We discuss sleep paralysis and the old hag, Lloyd and Danielle’s experiences with the old hag, fortune telling, reading tea leaves, mediums, and other superstitions.

Number 3 - The power of storytelling, with raconteur Dennis Flynn
Dennis Flynn can certainly spin a yarn, so sit back, and listen to tales of giant squid, lobster raffles, connection to place, grandfathers, hunting the wren, his life-long love of tales, writing, the Hindenburg, and the power that storytelling has for us all.

Number 2 - A Brief History of Knitting in Canada, with Shirley Scott
Newfoundlanders and Labradorians love knitting, and if you know knitting in this province, you've probably come across Shirl The Purl! Shirley talks about how she learned to knit, the history of knitting in Canada, her time researching for her book, and Newfoundland trigger mitts.

Number 1 - Remembering life in Coomb’s Cove, with Winston Fiander
Nostalgia wins out our number one spot for the first half of 2016! Winston Fiander was born in 1940 in Coomb's Cove, Fortune Bay. In this episode we talk about Winston’s boyhood growing up in Coomb’s Cove, his time spent on his father’s schooner, Peddler Joe, and what the community did on Sundays.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Commemorating WWI veteran Robert J. Mercer in Bay Roberts.

This afternoon, I was pleased to attend the renaming ceremony for the Bay Roberts Council Chambers, located in the Bay Roberts Cable Building Registered Heritage Structure, which was designated by the Heritage Foundation of NL in 1998.

Today, the chambers were named to honour WW I Veteran Robert J. Mercer, who was also the town’s first mayor in 1951. The council chambers were absolutely packed, with many representatives of the Mercer family, including sons, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild! Guests spoke about Mr Mercer's contributions to the community, the Royal Canadian Legion, the Masonic Order, and the Church Lads Brigade. Congratulations to the town and to the Mercer Family!

Placenames and Mapping Memories in Cupids

Last night, the Cupids Historical Society and the ICH Office of HFNL held a well-attended and fun night to help the society map out placenames and locations of local historical interest. We heard fabulous stories about walking trials, spots which were fairy-haunted, kissing spots, where capelin would roll, the best places to pick blueberries, old barbershops, bonfire night, and where the boys from Cupids would lie in wait with rocks to throw at the boys from Brigus who would dare come courting the girls of Cupids!  We learned about The Arch, The Crawling Rock, the Tunnel, Newman's Point, The Bog Hole, and a host of other names. 

The Cupids Historical Society now has the work of compiling all this information as part of its on-going research. Thanks to Dale Russell-Fitzpatrick (Dale #1!) for inviting us, and the Cupids Legacy Centre for hosting!

If your community would like a similar workshop event in your town, give us a shout at 1-888-739-1892 x2, or email me at

- Dale (aka Dale #2!)

Photos courtesy Dale Russell-Fitzpatrick and the Cupids Historical Society. 

Boxes Under the Bed? Digitization and Oral History

Grand Falls-Windsor Oral History Collection
Have an oral history collection you don’t know what to do with?  Need help digitizing these collections?
The Heritage Foundation is looking to help you out!

Maybe they’re in your storage room, or in your bottom desk drawer – those shoeboxes of cassettes, CDs or reel to reel tapes that were collected by a summer project, seniors’ group or JCP worker. These were the recordings that were going to preserve the voices of the past – but here they sit with no voice at all! You don’t know what’s on the recordings, you don’t know much about who made them – maybe you don’t even have the equipment to play them!

As part of the Collective Memories project the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador is looking to help community organizations, municipalities, and church groups digitize their oral history collections to make them accessible for future generations. Collected stories will be made available through Memorial University’s Digital Archives Initiative, which is a free, public website where the HFNL stores the photos, videos, and interviews it collects.

The Collective Memories project is part of HFNL’s ongoing Intangible Cultural Heritage program. The program works to safeguard the living heritage of the province for present and future generations everywhere, as a vital part of the identities of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, and as a valuable collection of unique knowledge and customs.

The Heritage Foundation has worked with several groups around the province to help digitize their collections. This includes the School of Nursing, and Grand Falls-Windsor’s Hiram Silk Collection. Keep your eye on Memorial University’s DAI for the Cape Race and Grand Falls-Windsor collections which are coming soon!

How can you access to those voices from the past? How can you preserve and use them? Contact the Heritage Foundation! If you would like more information on how your group can get involved please contact Terra Barrett toll free at 1-888-739-1892 ext. 6 or


Thursday, June 23, 2016

Chatting about Scottish and English Intangible Cultural Heritage with Suzy Harrison

Suzy Harrison is a second year PhD researcher at Nottingham Trent University, in the United Kingdom, and is funded through the AHRC Midlands3Cities Doctoral Training Programme. Her research analyses current attitudes towards intangible cultural heritage in England, and looks to reveal the challenges which it faces through closer examination of intangible heritage in the East Midlands. Her research is also looking at opportunities to possibly adopt practices at a local or national level which may exist in other countries.

We talk about local traditions, football, ICH politics and Suzy's research on the differences between ICH policy in Scotland and England. It's an ICH gabfest!

Download the mp3

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Cupids Workshop - What's in a Name?

This Thursday, June 23rd, residents of Cupids will start to map out what their heritage means to them, with a little help from folklorist Dale Jarvis.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, our living heritage is rich and diverse. It includes historic buildings and places, ballad singing, snowshoe-making, accordion playing, knitting, mummers and jannies, berry picking, boat building, and much more. We tell stories, make clothes, build stages, shear sheep, and spin yarn. We have a complex knowledge of place, the seasons, and the movements and patterns of animals from moose to cod fish. If we lose these important parts of our living heritage, we will also lose important resources that can keep our communities going culturally, economically and socially. But where do we start?

Dale Jarvis, folklorist with the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador, will be leading a community conversation about historic places, trails, old stories, place names, traditions, and local knowledge.

Come for a cup of tea, and tell us what matters to you in Cupids. It will be a FREE and FUN community workshop with snacks and door prizes, sponsored by Cupids Historical Society Inc.

Thursday June 23rd
Legacy Hall, Cupids Legacy Centre

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Tuesday's Folklore Photos - The Trefoil Guild

Participants of the last presentation of the day.
Today’s Tuesday Folklore photos come from the Girl Guides of Canada’s 2016 National Trefoil Guild Gathering. The gathering took place at Memorial University from June 15th-19th. The opening ceremonies were held on Wednesday and there were workshops, and lectures on Thursday.

The Trefoil Guilds are found across Canada and are groups for active or retired Guiders aged 30 years and older who want to stay in involved with Girl Guides. If you would like to learn more about the Trefoil Guild listen to Dale’s interview with Pat Burton as part of the Living Heritage Podcast.

On Tuesday morning Dale emailed me to ask if I would be able to give 4 presentations of an hour and fifteen minutes at the Trefoil Guild’s gathering. Due to the weather on the coast of Labrador he was stuck in Makkovik at the Nunatsiavut Heritage Forum for longer than anticipated and he wouldn’t make it back in time.
My kind of event - folklore, basket making, and rug hooking all on one floor!
I spent most of Tuesday pulling together a presentation on Newfoundland and Labrador History and Folklore and Thursday morning I headed to the university to present to the Guiders. There were workshops on rug hooking and pillow tops, square dancing and basket making, as well as healthy habits and computer techniques.

I gave a brief overview of Newfoundland and Labrador history and then moved into the basics of folklore, forms of folklore practised in the province, who the Heritage Foundation is as well as some of the programs the Foundation offers. As a long-time (19 years!) Guider myself I finished the talk by discusses how forms of folklore can be found in guiding through ghost stories, camping tales, adapting songs to fit the guiding program, and spontaneously making up new verses for songs. It was a long day of presentations but the lovely women I met made it most enjoyable!

~Terra Barrett

Friday, June 17, 2016

Wandering Pavilion - Call for Volunteers

We were asked by the folks at Wandering Pavilion if we could pass along their post!
We're looking for volunteers to collect stories using the Wandering Pavilion

The goal of the Wandering Pavilion is to empower individuals, groups and organizations to use architecture and urbanism to make their communities better. The pavilion brings people together to start a proactive and positive discussion about built environment, public space and community. What does your neighbourhood need, a vegetable stand? If so, what does that look like, where would it go? The Wandering Pavilion provides the physical building blocks to see what this would look like, it makes your ideas a reality for a brief period. This temporary installation serves as a catalyst to show people what their ideas look like and bring the people together who can actually make it happen.

In a similar style to the Story Corps project, we will be collecting stories at the Wandering Pavilion this summer from July 10-22 tentatively. We need people to help us get these stories. We'll have a list of questions focused on the built and natural environment that can help start conversation. We're looking for volunteers to fill one or more 3-4 hour time slots recording audio and/or sorting through the audio we receive.

To say thanks for helping out, we'll give you a certificate for a free lunch. To record the stories you'll be able to use the University's sound recording equipment. We'll use the stories we record to put together a podcast released as a season of a show called Sounds like an Earful. To confirm your participation and reserve a time slot please contact Emily Campbell at For more information about the Wandering Pavilion, visit our website.