Thursday, October 17, 2019

Heritage interpretation in Atlantic Canada - Breakout session report

Back in September, a contingent of Newfoundland folklorists and cultural workers took part in the "Heritage interpretation in Atlantic Canada: Dialogues between theory and practice"intangible cultural heritage conference, at Cape Breton University in Sydney, NS. We did not get tattoos.

On the last day of the conference, there was a discussion on how best we might be able to promote Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) in Atlantic Canada.

Two sessions ran simultaneously: one on Academic Research moderated by Chris McDonald, who asked the group to consider the question “What should be the future priorities for researchers in ICH?”; and one on Heritage and the Public Sector moderated by Ronald Labelle who asked the group to consider the question “How can museums and heritage centres contribute to the advancement of ICH?” At the end of the sessions, Dale Jarvis moderated a joint presentation of results, and compiled a report and list of future actions.

That report is available here:

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Get back to work, Jarvis!

Well, I'm officially back in the office. I had a whirlwind couple weeks in Jeonju, South Korea, where Heritage NL won the 2019 Jeonju International Award for safeguarding NL's living heritage. It was a blast! I'm sure I'll post more on that anon, but for now, I'm making a list of all the stuff I need to catch up on (Living Heritage podcasts, case studies, our Craft at Risk survey, etc). If you want a quick peek at what happened at the Awards, you can look at the program booklet here:

Monday, September 23, 2019

Heritage NL receives prestigious international award for its work on living heritage

Heritage NL receives prestigious international award for its work on living heritage

Heritage NL’s Intangible Cultural Heritage office has been announced as a winner of the 2019 Jeonju International Awards for Promoting Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH).

The award is funded by the City of Jeonju, Republic of Korea, to encourage safeguarding practices of Intangible Cultural Heritage in the global community. Heritage NL’s Intangible Cultural Heritage office was one of forty-eight applicants from 36 different countries to apply for the awards. Only three applicants (individuals and organizations) were selected as finalists.

“This prestigious international award recognizes the major commitment by the Province, communities, tradition bearers and our team at Heritage NL in safeguarding and building capacity to celebrate the rich and diverse cultural traditions which are the very heart of this great place,” says Dave Lough, Heritage NL board chair.

The prize, valued at $10,000 USD, will be presented at a special ceremony September 27th in Jeonju. Heritage NL will be represented by folklorist Dale Jarvis, who has been the foundation’s ICH Development Officer since 2008. Along with Jarvis, the other recipients will be Ananya Bhattacharya (Secretary, Contact Base, India), and Ahmed Skounti (Professor, National Institute of Archaeology and Heritage Sciences, Morocco). While there, Jarvis will also present on NL heritage programs at the 2019 World Forum for Intangible Cultural Heritage, at the National Intangible Heritage Center (NIHC) in Jeonju.

The mission of the Heritage NL’s Intangible Cultural Heritage Office is to safeguard and sustain the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Newfoundland and Labrador 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. This is achieved through initiatives that celebrate, record, disseminate, and promote our living heritage and help to build bridges between diverse cultural groups within and outside Newfoundland and Labrador.


For more information on the 2019 Jeonju International Awards for Promoting Intangible Cultural Heritage see:

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Historic Commemorations for Red Indian Lake and Dr. Anna Templeton

For Immediate Release
St. John’s, NL

Heritage NL - in partnership with The Rooms and NL Credit Union - will be announcing this year’s designations to the Provincial Historic Commemorations Program (PHCP) on Wednesday, September 18th, at 7:00 pm at The Rooms Theatre, 9 Bonaventure Ave., St. John’s, NL. The Hon. Bernard Davis, Minister of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation - along with representatives of the heritage, craft and Indigenous community - will join Heritage NL at this year’s event.

The PHCP (administered by Heritage NL) commemorates provincially significant aspects of our history and culture. It is unique in that it also recognizes intangible aspects of our culture and heritage – the customs, cultural practices, traditional skills and knowledge that define our province and our people.

Since the Program's inception in 2010, 35 designations have been made, including the two designations being recognized on September 18th: Red Indian Lake as a Unique Place and Dr. Anna Templeton as an Exceptional Person from the Past.

Red Indian Lake has a place in the collective imagination of this province. It has been a place of refuge and a place of promise. The Beothuk spent the last years of their existence on the shores of Red Indian Lake. A century later, as the railway pushed into the interior of the island, Lewis Miller started a logging operation here. The town named after him would be settled by fishermen who traded skiffs and fishing premises for saws and logging camps. Two decades later a mine was established on the northern shore of Red Indian Lake and Buchans was quickly developed, along with a new “company town” way of life. The railway town of Buchans Junction developed as a branch line from the main railroad was constructed to facilitate the transportation of equipment and minerals to and from Buchans mine. At first glance, these four communities have little in common. But they all have a story to tell about how a hinterland became home.   

Anna Templeton is perhaps best known today for a craft centre named in her honour in downtown St. John’s. But our province's modern crafting scene would not exist as it does today without the woman herself. She was a pioneer of the province’s cottage craft industry. Through her work with the Jubilee Guilds and the Department of Education, Templeton made craftwork accessible and profitable for rural women. She empowered women to learn new skills, gain personal confidence and earn their own income. Anna defied societal expectations of women through her fieldwork and her leadership as she championed the wider recognition of traditional crafts and craftspeople. She contributed to the creation of the Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador and to the textile arts diploma at the College of the North Atlantic. The province’s vibrant craft industry owes its modern prominence in no small part to the foundations laid down by Anna Templeton.

For more information on the Commemorations program visit

Heritage NL is a provincial crown agency with a mandate to stimulate an understanding of and an appreciation for the architectural heritage and intangible cultural heritage of the province. For more information visit

For Further Information Contact:

Andrea O’Brien
1-888-739-1892 ext 4

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Newfoundland word of the day: Suent - possessing a smooth, pleasing curve

Jerome Canning at work, by Tobias Romaniuk

"Suent" is one of my favourite Newfoundland words, and one that I first heard used by master boatbuilder Jerome Canning. In an article in Downhome Magazine by Tobias Romaniuk, he is quoted as follows:

“And all the time you’re looking at it, because you’ve got to trust your eye [that] she was looking good,” Jerome says. “You draw it on paper; you make a model. The boat had to look good, that nothing sort of looked clumsy, that it had a nice, suent look.”

Folklorist David Taylor includes this definition in his MA thesis on boatbuilding in Winterton:

SUENT: a term used in Winterton to describe any surface which has the proper amount of smooth, unbroken curvature. For example, a hull consisting of smooth, "fair" curves would be called a "suent" hull, while a hull exhibiting many humps and hollows, or other signs of unevenness would not. 

And the Wooden Boat Museum of NL gives this:

Suent: A gradual and smooth curve over a surface area or length of plank or board.from 

Have you heard this word used? If so, comment below, or send me a note!

Friday, September 6, 2019

Have you taken the Cod Liver Oil Challenge? You can, this Saturday!

This Saturday, as part of the free-to-the-public event Doors Open, the James J. O’Mara Pharmacy Museum (located in one of our Registered Heritage Structures) dares you to take their Cod Liver Oil Challenge!

"My favourite part about doing the challenge (besides watching the reactions) is hearing about people’s experiences with having to take cod liver oil," says Deanna Walter, Museum Manager. "Whether it was lining up for a spoonful every day at school (apparently they used the same spoon for everyone) or parents and grandparents having a barrel of it on hand for their family. People have very strong memories and opinions about the stuff."

Take the challenge, and get a certificate to prove you downed your dose!

Saturday, September 7th, 10am-4pm

For more on Cod Liver Oil, read Larry Dohey's Archival Moments blog post here.

Dale Jarvis wants your schoolyard stories and classroom memories, this Sunday!

Archives and Special Collections (Coll. 137 26.02.008), Queen Elizabeth II Library, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, NL

Heritage NL goes Back to School - at the Farmer’s Market!

Do you remember bringing splits to school for the fire, or being in a school play or concert? Did your school have indoor plumbing, or not? Did you take a school field trip to Bowring Park? Are you a retired teacher or educator? Or maybe you were the reason your teacher wanted to retire! We want to hear your memories!

This Sunday, folklorist and storyteller Dale Jarvis is hosting a “Back To School” Memory Mug up at the St. John’s Farmer’s Market, 2pm. You bring a memory of your schooldays, we’ll supply the tea and biscuits, and we will all have a chat. It’s free, open to everyone, and there won’t be a test at the end.

Back To School Memory Mug Up
Community Room, St. John’s Farmers’ Market,
245 Freshwater Road
Sunday, September 8, 2019

For more info:

Dale Jarvis
1-888-739-1892 x2

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Preserves Making Workshop, Brigus, Sept 14th

Landfall Cottage in Brigus is running a preserves workshop! Space is limited if you want to participate!  Info below:

Fairies, fetches, and blasts! #FolkloreThursday #LivingHeritagePodcast

Have you always wanted to know what a fairy blast is? Do you head to the woods with bread in your pockets? Listen to this podcast to learn more about fairy traditions in Newfoundland. Dale and Terra listen to audio clips of local fairy stories, and discuss the beliefs surrounding the fairies in Newfoundland. Tune in to hear about personal fairy accounts, stories of those who were fairy led, and learn how you can avoid fairies in the woods. If you have a fairy story let us know at

Download the mp3


The Living Heritage Podcast is about people who are engaged in the heritage and culture sector, from museum professionals and archivists, to tradition bearers and craftspeople - all those who keep history alive at the community level. The show is a partnership between HeritageNL and CHMR Radio. Theme music is Rythme Gitan by Latché Swing.