Sunday, March 18, 2012

Celebrating Grand Falls-Windsor’s Mill Lunch Baskets

In Newfoundland and Labrador traditionally-made baskets come in many shapes, sizes and styles and can be crafted from a variety of materials. Central Newfoundland has the mill lunch basket. While the origin of this distinctive two-handled splint style lunch basket is unknown, some workers began the tradition of crafting their own, and the lunch basket became a firm part of mill culture.

“It was a regular sight to see men walking to work carrying large woven lunch baskets, laden with home cooked food. Whether they be rectangular or oval, made from juniper, birch, or even steel, these baskets were a symbol of hard work and financial security,” says Dale Jarvis, a folklorist with the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador (HFNL). “Mill lunch baskets were once so popular nearly every pulp and paper mill worker in Newfoundland used one to bring hot meals to work.”

To celebrate that history, the Heritage Foundation is organising a series of events around the tradition of basket making in Newfoundland.

On Sunday, March 25th from 1-3pm at the Mount Peyton Hotel, Grand Falls Windsor, HFNL will be hosting an event called “Tea ‘n’ Baskets”. This free event is an opportunity for those who still have mill lunch baskets to come out and show your basket and share your memories. Bring your basket, refreshments provided. HFNL staff will be on hand to photograph mill baskets, to become part of an educational website.

Jarvis will also be leading a public workshop on oral history while in Grand Falls-Windsor, intended to give a background on how to conduct research interviews. It will give people a chance to try their hand at creating interview questions and conducting an interview. The workshop will take place Saturday, March 24th, at the Mount Peyton Hotel.

HFNL’s Intangible Cultural Heritage program was created to celebrate, record, and promote our living heritage and help to build bridges between diverse cultural groups within and outside Newfoundland and Labrador.

For more information, or to register for the workshop, contact Dale Jarvis at 709-685-3444, or email

No comments: