Showing posts with label Bonavista. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bonavista. Show all posts

Friday, August 25, 2017

#FoodwaysFriday - When Historic Places Meet Food: The Boreal Diner

The Boreal Diner. Photo by Katie Harvey, 2017.

This past weekend, I went on a little road trip around Bonavista, Port Union, Port Rexton and Trinity. I saw so many beautiful buildings, visited a variety of museums and art exhibition, and revelled in the breathtaking scenery that these unique communities have to offer. Also, I ate a lot of delicious food.

I had supper at The Boreal Diner Friday evening. It is located on the east end of Church Street in Bonavista. The restaurant opened in 2016, and is quickly becoming a hot-spot to dine. The architecture was the first feature that grabbed me upon arrival. It is a beautifully restored, late nineteenth-century building with a mid-pitch gable roof. 

Upstairs interior. Photo by Katie Harvey, 2017.

This house was constructed in 1872 by master carpenter Robert Ryder and his father, Allan. It was home to George Templeman and Mary Ann Cuff and their five children, Ronald, Christine Agnes, Heber John, Frances and Arthur Spurgeon. The Templemans had occupied this area of town since the early 1800s, and there are six properties belonging to the family that are still standing today. However, this house is the oldest surviving of the Templeman properties. 

A couple of years ago, the building was going to be demolished, but was instead purchased by Bonavista Living and restored. Sylvie Mitford and Jonathan House now operate The Boreal Diner from this location, serving locally foraged foods, Newfoundland-raised meats and seafood. 

Prior to renovations. Photo courtesy Bonavista Creative.

Under construction. Photo courtesy Bonavista Creative.

That evening we ate steamed mussels in wine, with garlic scape aioli and homemade sour dough bread for an appetizer. The main course was an orange-ginger tofu stir fry with rice noodles, mushrooms, broccoli, pickled turnip and radishes topped with sesame seeds and fresh herbs. For dessert, I indulged in a mixed berry crumble with slivered almonds. 

Steamed mussels. Photo by Katie Harvey, 2017.

Orange-ginger stir fry. Photo by Katie Harvey, 2017.

The food was scrumptious and the atmosphere was lovely. There is something about eating food in an old, historic building that makes the experience much more enjoyable. 

-Katie Harvey

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Heritage Update for October/November 2016

In this month's edition of the Heritage Update, we explore the value and meaning of heritage places, look at photogrammetry as a tool for recording buildings, document the legacy of the merchants of Windsor in Central Newfoundland, take a peek at the Methodist Central School in Bonavista, announce the 12th Annual Heritage Places Poster Contest, and share the story of the Melita Hynes’ House in Harbour Breton. We also want your input on rethinking Heritage Foundation NL’s programs and services.

Download the newsletter here as a pdf

photo: Melita Hynes’ House in Harbour Breton, courtesy Doug Wells.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Memories of Lych Gates in Newfoundland - gateways for the dead

This undated photograph shows an unidentified woman standing in front of the lych gate, the entranceway to the grounds of the Alexander Chapel of All Souls, located on Coster Street in Bonavista.

The elaborately beamed lych gate is a feature typical of Anglican churchyards. Traditionally, it was the sheltered point at which the coffin was set down at a funeral to await the clergyman's arrival. In some instances, a portion of the burial service was performed while the coffin rested inside the gate. A common feature in English churchyards, the concept of the lych gate was transplanted to North America. "Lych" is a form of the Anglo-Saxon word "līc" meaning body or corpse.

Once common, the only surviving Newfoundland example I know of is in Bonavista. The original lych gate was constructed circa 1899 and was financed by the Church of England Women's Association of Bonavista (1).

One S. Rees of Bonavista, in a letter dated Dec. 7, 1893 to the St. John's Evening Telegram, noted,
Dear Sir, - on Monday the 4th inst., there was no small stir here among the members of the C.E. Sewing Class, and one would naturally ask the cause. But a poster would apprise of the fact that a “sale of work,” under the auspices of the above ladies, was about about to take place; its object, to provide funds to provide a lych gate for the new cemetery. At about 6.40 p.m. the doors were open to purchasers, and when I arrived a few minutes later - considering inclemency of weather - quite A Crowd Had Gathered.
According to the author, the amount raised, $76, "was far above expectation" (2).

The Anglican Cemetery on Forest Road in St. John's also had a lych gate, which was torn down at some point in the second half of the 20th century. It is shown on aerial photographs from 1961, but was removed afterwards. According to HNFL Executive Director George Chalker, it was removed possibly to allow motorized hearses access to the cemetery.

If you have memories, or photographs, of lych gates in Newfoundland, I'd love to hear from you. You can call me at 1-888-739-1892 ext 2, or email me at

- Dale Jarvis

(1) Simms, Gavin. "Gateway to yesterday: Anglican Chapel recreates long lost entranceway." The Packet, November 20, 2008.

(2)  Rees, S. "Pleasant Social Event At Bonavista. Sale of Work by the Church of England Sewing Class - Object: a Lych Gate for the New Cemetery." Evening Telegram (St. John’s, NL) 1893-12-16

UPDATE - 17 March 2014:

You can read or download the final version of this research at Lych Gates in Newfoundland

Monday, June 11, 2012

Make and Break Engines: Running the Past Into the Future

- The Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador -
- recognizes iconic marine engines in 2012 Provincial Folklife Festival - 

There is a sound that was once ubiquitous to the waters in Newfoundland that has sparked the interest of the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador (HFNL). Putt-putt; putt-putt – the sound of Make and Break engines once filled the skies from dawn to dusk as busy fisherman worked to sustain their families and their island.

This summer HFNL wants to restore the interest that Newfoundlanders once had in these rhythmic engines. A series of oral history interviews, to be conducted throughout the island, will lead up to the 2012 Provincial Folklife Festival in Bonavista, which will focus on the iconic marine engines. Events for the festival will be held on Saturday, August 4 in Bonavista, as part of the town’s inaugural Church Street Festival.

Joelle Carey is a public folklore intern with HFNL and a graduate student in Memorial University’s Department of Folklore.

“By working on this project we hope to promote the marine history of the province,” says Carey. “It’s a great opportunity to get people talking about these engines that are such an important part of life in Newfoundland and Labrador.”

The oral history project will take the form of interviews conducted by Carey throughout the summer months. These interviews, along with pictures of the motors found, will then be added to Memorial University’s Digital Archives Initiative. This archive will be accessible to the public online.

The Heritage Foundation has secured the partnership of Parks Canada through association with Ryan Premises National Historic Site in Bonavista.

“Through the many conversations I have had in organizing this event, I am repeatedly inspired by the glazed-eyes that come over people and the small smiles that appear on their faces as they recall their particular fond memories of times spent on or near the water,” says Pat Carroll, with Parks Canada.

“The Ryan Premises National Historic Site of Canada is honoured to be a part of this event,” says Carroll, “and to have a role in the celebration and rejuvenation of one of the resounding traditions of Newfoundland and Labrador, Atlantic Canada and of the whole of Canada.”

The festival events will take place in Bonavista on August 4 and will include a Make and Break flotilla and a parts swap.

HFNL would like to hear from anyone with memories or an interest in Make and Break engines. If you are interested in getting involved by sharing your stories or if you have an engine, please email or call, toll free, 1-888-739-1892 ext. 5.