Showing posts with label storytelling. Show all posts
Showing posts with label storytelling. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Launching the Seniors Memory Mug Up at the Market!

What are your fondest childhood memories? Which local shop did you frequent? Do you remember the best hill for sliding? Heritage NL, in partnership with the St. John’s Farmers’ Market and the St. John’s Storytelling Festival, wants to know!

“We are looking for people’s memories about local shops, neighbourhood hangouts, skating ponds, and old paths,” says the organization’s public folklorist, Terra Barrett.

Heritage NL will be hosting the Mug Ups at the Community Room at the St. John’s Farmers’ Market the second Sunday of each month, from April 2019-March 2020 at 2pm, starting April 14th.

The Seniors Memory Mug Up at The Market is an informal story sharing session for seniors, where people gather, have a cup of tea, and share memories. The goal of the Mug Up is to help seniors share and preserve their stories. Whatever story is important to them, whether it a personal story, a story about a family member, or a story about the community, the Memory Mug Up program can help preserve and share it.

The events are free! Seniors bring a memory of growing up, organizers in partnership with vendors at the St. John’s Farmers’ Market supply the tea and local food, and everyone has a chat. Seniors will set the themes for each monthly storytelling session, and volunteer to act as hosts and moderators each month. Following the sessions, those who are interested can set up a time to have their stories recorded and archived by one of our story collectors. These stories will be edited into a booklet, which will be launched during the final storytelling session in March 2020.

Come for a cup of tea, a bite to eat, and share a memory or two! If you have any photos bring them along on Sunday, May 12th.

For more information please contact Terra Barrett with the Heritage NL toll free at 1-888-739-1892 ext. 5 or email

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Living Heritage Podcast Ep148 Kids Telling Tales - a storytelling podcast

In this episode of the Living Heritage Podcast, kids from Holy Cross Elementary (2008) and from the Young Folklorists Program of Heritage NL (2011) share some of their favourite traditional tales, local lore, and urban legends! We’ve got death tokens, forgotten graves, heartbroken lovers, and of course, a St. John’s serial killer. Listen, if you dare!

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. Past episodes are hosted on Libsyn, and you can subscribe via iTunes, or Stitcher. Theme music is Rythme Gitan by Latché Swing.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Living Heritage Podcast Ep098 Croatian Tales of Long Ago

Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić might not be the first name you think of when you think of fairy tales, unless, of course, you had a magical Croatian childhood like photographer and researcher Bojan Fürst.

Bojan is the Manager of Knowledge Mobilization at the Leslie Harris Centre of Regional Policy and Development, Memorial University of Newfoundland. Bojan leads the Harris Centre's knowledge-brokering team, connecting community needs with the resources available at the university.

Recently, Bojan has been working to translate some of the literary fairy tales of Croatian author, poet, and essayist Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić, who has been praised as one of Croatia’s best writers for children, and whose work utilizing traditional Slavic names and motifs been compared to Hans Christian Andersen and JRR Tolkien, though her work is not widely known by English-speaking audiences. Today, we’re working to fix that, and delving into the enchanting fairytales of Ivana's imagination and Bojan’s childhood.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Living Heritage Podcast Ep096 The Neighbours: Exploring Stories and Songs with Meghan Forsyth

Dr. Meghan Forsyth is the Project Coordinator and Researcher at the Research Centre for the Study of Music, Media, and Place, and the Director of the Bruneau Centre for Excellence in Choral Music at MUN. She is an ethnomusicologist specializing in music and dance of the Acadian diaspora, and is co-author, with Ursula Kelly, of the forthcoming book The Music of Our Burnished Axes: Songs and Stories of the Woods Workers of Newfoundland and Labrador. In addition to her work at MMaP, Meghan teaches courses in ethnomusicology, musicology and popular music at MUN’s School of Music.

Recently, MMaP launched “The Neighbours: St. John’s” -- an app for mobile devices. In this episode, we chat about how this new app presents fascinating stories from cultural communities in and around St. John’s. Meghan describes how the app enables users to take a walking tour of downtown St. John’s and Middle Cove Beach to hear stories associated with individual locations, and then she gives us a preview of her new book on logging song traditions.

Download the mp3

Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Merchants and Memories Mug Up at Marjorie Mews Library

Yesterday, we went to the Marjorie Mews Public Library for our Merchants and Memories Mug Up. As it was our third Mug Up event at the library we decided to have a theme, the Merchants of St. John's. This topic triggered memories and sparked the interest of many people who grew up in St. John's or visited the area. As people arrived at the library, we had to keep adding chairs to the space, widening our circle of chairs to eventually accommodate 56 people. While we were all crowded into the room, the event was a great success and we heard many marvelous stories! In anticipation of the popularity of the event, we decided to implement the use of a talking stick, which was passed around the room in order to give each participant a chance to tell their stories and hold the attention of the crowd. With such a large group, this was a wise choice!

A participant holds up the talking stick as she shares her story 
Participants shared stories about shopping in the downtown area of St. John's, both as St. John's residents and people who made trips to town with a specific list of items to buy and places to visit. As well as the main streets of Water and Duckworth, there were memories of the early days of the Avalon Mall, and the taxis and businesses of Brazil Square. People also shared stories of being employees of many of the well known shops and businesses of the area. They talked about their first job experiences, and shared stories about working in the area. One story was told of a bull accidentally being set loose on Water street, and a woman talked about working at the Newfoundland Savings Bank when a hold-up took place.

Many people came with fond memories of family businesses, and insider stories that started with "maybe I shouldn't say this but..." We heard about shops that had been passed down through generations, and the early days of well known businesses like Mary Browns.
Carol Ann Smith showing a Goobies Christmas Toyland advertisement
Carol Ann Smith talked about her families store, W. R. Goobie Ltd, and brought along a framed advertisement which referred to the store as "Santa's first stop." The ad lists the names and prices for Christmas gifts and decorations that would have been familiar sites in the participants childhood. There were many other stories shared of downtown St. John's which took place at Christmas. Any mention of the Christmas Raffle brought about smiles, and the magic that the window displays in downtown shops brought to families picking up their Christmas gifts.

Overall it was a wonderful event and we could have shared more stories well into the night.

Do you have any memories of the important shops when you were growing up? Did you win something at the Christmas raffle? What was your favorite place to eat? Do you remember your first shopping trip downtown?

~ Kelly

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Barbary Pirates, Sallee Rovers, and the Legend of Turk's Gut. #FolkloreThursday

The community of Marysvale, Conception Bay, was originally known as Turk's Gut. The exact origin of the name is lost in the mists of time. But many legends have sprung up over the centuries to account for it, and most of them agree on the name being linked to the seventeenth-century history of piracy in the waters of Conception Bay. One of the earliest and shortest accounts comes to us from the Most Rev. Michael Francis Howley, in his “Newfoundland Name-Lore” column in the Newfoundland Quarterly, March, 1907. He writes,

Near Brigus we have Turk's Gut. In explaining the name of St. Barbes, I mentioned that in early days our seas were infested by pirates from Barbary. These terrible corsairs, who did much damage around our coasts, were called by the old English settlers by the generic name of Turks, and the names above mentioned record the memory of some adventure, or landing by them in these harbours.

By 1949, the legend had expanded slightly. In that year’s Christmas Annual, writer LEF English noted,

The Sallee Rovers... were supposed to have their lairs on the Barbary Coast in Africa. The vessels were partly manned by Turks, but many renegade French and English took service with these organized robbers. Some of their ships operated in Newfoundland waters as shown by the records. We see then that pirates actually did visit Newfoundland and that the possibility of treasure trove on lonely headlands or in sheltered bays is after all not so remote. There still exist some relics of those old sea rovers, for instance the name Turk's Gut near Brigus recalls a legend that the Sallee raiders once had there a quiet rendezvous. Spanish doubloons and pieces of eight still hold a fascination, and there is no doubt that he who goes treasure hunting in Newfoundland will find at least enough hair raising stories to reward his efforts, and maybe, maybe, will uncover the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Writer and publisher PJ Wakeham expanded the story for inclusion in his New Land Magazine in 1962, and again in 1968. Wakeham spins a bloodthirsty yarn, likely based more on his own imagination than on historical fact. In his version the pirate not only gains a name, Isstovatison, but also gains a captive, Madame LaBlonc, the wife of a French naval officer. Isstovatison’s ship is wrecked, a treasure is recovered and buried, and the ship’s cannons are used to fortify the pirate’s lair. All is well till Admiral LaBlonc sails to Newfoundland to save his wife from the Turk’s clutches:

Realizing that his end was at hand, the infuriated pirate turned and thrust a heavy cutlass into the breast of Madame LaBlonc, and putting a loaded pistol to his own head, he blew his brains out before he could be restrained. When Admiral LaBlonc entered the pirate’s hide-out, he found his wife badly wounded and beside her body lay the crumpled body of the Pirate of Turk’s Gut. Despite the best of medical care, Madame LaBlonc died that afternoon onboard her husband’s ship just as the shadows of night were closing in over Conception Bay.

Do you know a different version of the legend of Turk's Gut? I'd love to hear from you if you do! Email me at or comment below!

- Dale Jarvis

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Merchants & Memories: What was your favourite shop when you were young?

Merchants & Memories Mug Up
Where was your favourite place to shop when you were young? What stores hold particular memories? Where was your favourite diner or soda shop? Which restaurants had the best service? Who was your favourite butcher, cobbler, hat maker, or dress maker? Where was the best place to buy penny candy? Do you remember your first job? And let's settle that age-old question: who served the best fish and chips in St. John's? We want to know! We'll put the kettle on, you bring your stories.

The Memory Mug Up is an informal story sharing session for seniors, where people gather, have a cup of tea, and share memories.

Merchants & Memories Mug Up
Marjorie Mews Public Library
12 Highland Drive
2:30pm, Wednesday March 29th

photo:  A. Harvey and Company premises. World War II censored photograph collection.
Collection GN 181, Item A 54-149 [1942-1945]. The Rooms

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Big Black Bull of Hollow Tree - a Newfoundland Folktale. #FolkloreThursday

In July of 2010, we recorded traditional storyteller Alice Lannon sharing her story, "The Big Black Bull of Hollow Tree" at the 18th Annual Conference of Storytellers of Canada-Conteurs du Canada, in St. John's, Newfoundland.

Alice Lannon was well-known and highly respected on the island as a teller of traditional and community tales. She told stories at festivals, workshops and special heritage events, and credited her gift as a storyteller to her grandmother Mary (Strang) McCarthy. Her grandmother retold the stories she had been told by an elderly aunt, who was born in Lawn around 1820. These stories were passed on orally in the family for about 175 years. In 1991 some of these stories were preserved in a book which Alice co-wrote with her brother Michael McCarthy “Fables, Fairies & Folklore of Nfld.” Alice went on to co-author two more books with Mike "Ghost Stories from Newfoundland Folklore" and "Yuletide Yarns."

Alice passed away March 28th, 2013, but you can listen to her fabulous telling of The Big Black Bull of Hollow Tree on Memorial University's Digital Archives Initiative.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Living Heritage Podcast Ep060 Cousin Silas and The Moose Woman

Elinor has been telling stories for over 25 years . She was inspired by many, including Newfoundland fiddler and storyteller, Emile Benoit, Rita Cox, Bob Barton and Laura Simms. After 22 years as an administrator with the Newfoundland Public Libraries, she left to devote more time to storytelling, working with the “Learning Through the Arts” programme in schools in Western Newfoundland, before moving to Nova Scotia in 2011. Lifetime member, former Administrator, retired Webmaster of Storytellers of Canada/Conteurs du Canada, she received the Storytellers of Canada/Conteurs du Canada “Storykeeper Award” in 2015.

In this podcast, we discuss how Elinor started in storytelling, her new project “Cousin Silas and the Moose Woman”, and the work of Silas Tertius Rand who was a Baptist Missionary and Mi’kmaq story collector. We also discuss several stories Silas collected and published and what the future holds for Elinor’s storytelling projects.

Listen on the Digital Archive:

Photo: 1880-1887 ca. The Reverend Silas Tertius Rand and two Mi'kmaq boys Amherst, N.S. Photograph: R. S. Pridham

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Living Heritage Podcast Ep059 Tales from the Alaska Highway

Kathy was raised in a remote village on the Alaska Highway in northern BC, but wanderlust has taken her far from her roots. She’s always loved telling tales. One day she stumbled upon the world of traditional storytelling, and she was hooked! Since then, Kathy’s performed original stories and world folktales in schools, libraries, concerts and festivals across Canada and internationally. Highlights include the Scottish International Story-telling Festival, a Nordic storytelling conference in Iceland, and most recently- sharing tales with school children in South Africa. Her stories have been published in various venues, and included on several CD anthologies.

In this podcast, we discuss growing up on the Alaskan Highway, Kathy’s family’s roots in the area, her father memories and work on the Alaskan Highway, and we focus on her upcoming storytelling show the “Alaskan Highway Road Show” celebrating the 75th anniversary of the highway.

Listen on the Digital Archive:

Photo of Kathy Jessup and Dale Jarvis by Kelly L. Jones.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Living Heritage Podcast Ep058 Tomboy Survival Guide

Ivan Coyote is the award-winning author of ten books, the creator of four short films, and has released three albums that combine storytelling with music. Ivan is a seasoned stage performer and long-time road dog, and over the last eighteen years has become an audience favourite at storytelling, writer's, film, poetry, and folk music festivals from Anchorage to Amsterdam. Ivan's 11th book, Tomboy Survival Guide, was released in the fall of 2016 with Arsenal Pulp Press. In this podcast, we discuss the writing process, performing, Ivan’s new book Tomboy Survival Guide, trans and queer stories shared after Ivan’s performances, and their latest projects.

Listen on the Digital Archive:

Photo courtesy   

Thursday, July 28, 2016

"Sharing the Memories – stories of Harmon AFB" a huge success! Listen in here!

We had an amazing night last night sharing stories and memories at the CanAm Lodge here in Stephenville. I want to thank these three generous, funny, and knowledgeable men for giving their time and their tales: Bill Pilgrim (left), Ron Olson, and John F. Young (seated). We made a rough recording of the night, and you can listen in and hear them spin their yarns.

Thanks to Debra Coughlin for organizing and pulling together speakers, to Larry Bentley and the gentlemen of CanAm Lodge for hosting us all in their historic building, and to the audience that packed the room and then stuck around to share their own stories. It was a memorable night!

Download the mp3

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Living Heritage Podcast Ep041 The power of storytelling, with Dennis Flynn

Dennis is a freelance writer/photographer/storyteller and a native of Colliers, Conception Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador. In 2003, he received a National Writing Award of Excellence from the Canadian Community Newspapers Association. His photographs and articles have been featured in various museums, magazines, books, newspapers, websites, and other publications. Dennis enjoys gathering and sharing stories and images that celebrate Newfoundland and Labrador’s unique people, unusual places, and the particular insights, and local humour.

In this podcast we talk about giant squid, lobster raffles, connection to place, grandfathers, hunting the wren, writing, the Hindenburg,  Dennis's life-long love of tales, and the power that storytelling has for us all.

Recorded on 3 March 2016

photo courtesy Dennis Flynn (


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.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Drinking About Heritage: The Bad, Better and Brilliant open mic! #nlheritage

This Thursday, 21 April 2016, whet your whistle and chat with heritage folks! Come to the historic Crow's Nest (which has been designed a Registered Heritage Structure by HFNL) for an open mic story night about heritage work in the province! We are limited to the first 40 people who want to participate (it is free!), so register now!

Image: Lay of St. Dunstan by George Cruikshank

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Stick out your thumb: hitching for stories from Newfoundland and Nova Scotia

Andrea McGuire, a folklore graduate student at Memorial University, is currently seeking interviews with past and present hitchhikers in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. She is collecting stories from people who used to hitchhike, people who hitchhike in rural communities, people who hitchhike nationally/internationally, and drivers who pick up hitchhikers. Each interview will take approximately one hour, and will be drawn on for Andrea’s master’s thesis. Do you have a hitchhiking story to share? Get in touch with Andrea by phone at 709-771-2216, or via email at She would love to hear from you!

The proposal for this research has been reviewed by the Interdisciplinary Committee on Ethics in Human Research and found to be in compliance with Memorial University’s ethics policy. If you have ethical concerns about the research, such as the way you have been treated or your rights as a participant, you may contact the Chairperson of the ICEHR at or by telephone at 709-864-2861.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Taking in Strangers - Quebec and Newfoundland Stories with Louise Moyes

TAKING IN STRANGERS - Quebec and Newfoundland Stories

MARCH 17-21, 2015 @ 8pm at the LSPU HALL
Call the Hall 753-4531 or Book online at
Tickets $28/ $22 seniors, students, artists, groups of 5+

On the road from Montreal to St. John's via ‘forgotten coasts’, Louise Moyes finds threads of Newfoundland and Quebec, home and the road, deceptions and truth. Kept company by a ‘bag lady’ beloved by many, Louise weaves "a bit of history and a lot of humanity" (The Telegram) in this one-woman tour de force.

"A series of priceless gifts...a delicate blend of movement, monologue, music and sound. A great evening of entertainment." (The Telegram)

Taking in Strangers is based on interviews with residents of the isolated south coast in Newfoundland and the Lower North Shore of Quebec (into Labrador), by way of Montreal and St. John's.

An updated version of a show that sold-out at the LSPU Hall 15 years ago (and has since been performed in Quebec, Vancouver, Germany, and Brazil and toured NL schools), Taking in Strangers reflects on themes of rural development, homelessness and mental health, woven through funny and moving stories on everything from quitting smoking and how to have fun in an ice storm, to the tragedy of losing one's child . The beloved 'bag lady', the proud and beautiful Marilyn (Trixie), accompanies Louise throughout this story of their 15 years on the road between St. John's and Montreal.

On Tuesday March 17, stay for the artists and rural community developers panel: Anne Troake, Tom Gordon, John Fisher, moderated by Michael Clair, with the theme: Re-imagining Rural NL: “Making our rural communities viable into a bright and vibrant future.”  Co-sponsored by Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Two community approaches to oral history programs - #oralhistory

I'm always keeping an eye open to see what other community organizations and towns are doing with oral history and the collection and sharing of local stories.

Today, two different oral history projects ended up in my inbox, and I figured I would share them.

The first is from the community of Waterford, Ontario. Local freelance writer Brenda Dredge has been collecting local stories and writing them up in the community newspaper. In a February 27th article entitled "Oral history of bygone Waterford businesses," Dredge documents how she sat down with two residents, Bob and Marg Mason, to talk about the history of small businesses in the Southern Ontario town. She writes,
"While I have always known Waterford was once a thriving little business centre - thanks to stories told by my late maternal grandparents - I did not fully realize just how thriving it really was. The Masons were able to 'walk' me down Main St. and list all of the businesses that once operated there."
You can read Dredge's full article here.

Meanwhile, in Orlando, Florida, the College Park Neighborhood Association’s Historical Committee has been busy organizing what they call "Oral History Nights." College Park is a a distinct neighborhood within the city of Orlando. It derives its name from the many streets within its limits that were named for institutions of higher learning such as Yale, Princeton, and Harvard. Journalist Michael W. Freeman explains that,
 "Oral History Nights are special events sponsored by the committee, when they invite longtime residents to gather and talk about what the neighborhood was like in past decades, and recall College Park as they remember it growing up."
You can read the full article about Oral History Nights here.

I love the idea of Oral History Nights, which is very similar in some ways to the "Mug Up" program developed by our colleague Martha MacDonald at the Labrador Institute.  

If you know of a community in Newfoundland and Labrador doing something creative with local oral histories, give me a shout at

Monday, November 4, 2013

Stories and Superstitions of Bay Roberts

Throughout the month of October I spent a great deal of time working on our current collection project on the folk culture and beliefs of the Bay Roberts area. This involved traveling to and from Bay Roberts to visit and interview long-time community residents. During these visits I queried them on everything from what it was like to live there in the old days, the remedies they used when doctors were scarce, and some of the unusual or ghostly stories they were told as children. Needless to say, while the project is not yet complete, the people of Bay Roberts have been so enthusiastic and welcoming that our growing body of material is already richer than I could've expected.
Mr. Gerald French of Bay Roberts, in his home behind Cable Ave.
My most recent visit was with a man named Gerald French who was born and raised on a property just behind Cable Avenue (which is now a registered heritage district). His father was a caretaker for the Western Union Company, so Gerald had many memories to share about what life in and around the cable office was like. He is also a great storyteller and recalled a few ghostly tales he was told as a child. One of which took place on the dark streets of Bay Roberts, Barnes' Road to be exact, before the days of the street lamp. A man was out walking and it was very dark, so he cursed out-loud, wishing for a jack o'lantern to appear and light his path. All of a sudden, a large light appeared in front of him. It gave him such a fright, that he ran the rest of the way home. I've now heard many such stories, most taking place in the days before the street lamp came to town. As Wilbur Sparke's explained, "A man once said to me: 'I'll tell you about the ghosts. All the ghosts left when the electric lights came.' Now that's an interesting bit of psychology."

Despite the apparent demise of the ghost story telling tradition (due to the proliferation of the street lamp), a recent trip to Ascension High School offered us many a spooky tale. Indeed, of 35 students in Mrs. Welsh's grade 10 English class, most had a ghost story to share with us that they had heard from friends or family. Below is a story told by Jesse Rideout about a ghost-fisherman giving his friend a helping hand from a watery grave. 

I've also been interested in collecting superstitions from the people I visit. Mr. French offered this one, which he still believes in to this day: "You didn't like a black cat crossing in front of you. And the crows, even now if we're driving, we'll cross at the crows. Just put your finger like this..." He then took a finger and crossed the air in front of him. "Lots of time when we're out I'll say, 'They'll say we're nuts, b'y!' " His wife Eliza assured me that it's true. When he's driving in traffic he'll say to her, "Eliza, cross out that crow will you?" He says it every time, he doesn't miss a crow.

Another superstition that involves making a cross with your finger came from Greta Hussey's book "Our Life in Lear's Room, Labrador." Greta is another person that I interviewed for this project and her book is filled with old superstitions, remedies, and traditions. The one I found most fascinating is that in the Hussey family, when a hand or foot would fall asleep, they would make the sign of the cross on the bottom of the foot or the palm of the hand. I suppose it was meant as a cure for numb appendages.

A few other good luck/bad luck superstitions were offered by Olivia Bradbury from Ascension High. She said: "Cross your socks when you take them off before going to bed to prevent bad dreams."  And: "Exit through the same door you entered from on Fridays, or bad luck ensues." Olivia also reiterated Mr. French's belief that crows are indeed, very bad luck to see.

This project is going very well, and I hope to find more stories, cures, remedies and superstitions before the fall season is up. Please feel free to be in touch with your own, no matter where you are from in the province:


 Paula Roberts wrote in and said that she too crosses out single crows. It seems if just one crow crosses your path it's considered bad luck, but two or more have a whole different meaning. Here is a rhyme she learned as a child about crows and luck:
"One for sorrow,
Two for joy,
Three for a kiss,
Four for a boy,
Five for silver,
Six for gold,
Seven for a story that's never been told." 

Thanks Paula!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A Ghost Ship Called the Blue Jacket

In preparation for Halloween, I've been listening to some spooky tales that I've recently had the pleasure of recording in and around the Bay Roberts area. Here is a clip of 92 year old Greta Hussey of Port de Grave talking about when her father saw an infamous ghost ship called the Blue Jacket. Greta is a fantastic story-teller and it was wonderful to have the opportunity to spend time with her.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

In Requiem: Alice Lannon, Storyteller and Tradition Bearer

It is with great sadness that I have to report the passing of one of Newfoundland and Labrador's treasures, Mrs Alice Lannon. Alice passed away this morning at the Palliative Care Unit of the Miller Centre here in St. John's.

Pat, Alice's daughter, emailed me today with the news. Pat writes, "She had been diagnosed with cancer in the fall. In the past few months all the medical people who have treated her were exposed to a few stories along the way. A week ago today she was admitted to the Miller Centre with her health deteriorating rapidly. She amazed everyone on Friday and Saturday and was obviously delighted to tell stories to everyone."

Alice was one of the last great tellers of traditional Newfoundland fairytales in the province, who learned many of her stories orally from her grandmother. In 2010, when Newfoundland hosted the Storytellers of Canada/Conteurs du Canada national conference, Alice was one of the gems of storytelling we chose to highlight. She was a regular performer at the St. John's Storytelling Festival, and someone we all loved. We were fortunate enough to have recorded her session at the SC-CC conference, and the stories she told that day are part of the permanent collection on Memorial University's Digital Archives Initiative.

To better understand her important place in the oral traditions of the province, listen to her introduction by the Department of Folklore's Dr. Martin Lovelace.

Or, better yet, stop what you are doing for the next 17 minutes, and listen to Alice tell one of my favourite Newfoundland folktales, "Open, Open, Green House."

We've lost a treasure today. I'll miss you Alice, very much.

Alice will be waked on Fri. Sat. and Sun. at Maher's Funeral Home in Placentia with her funeral on Monday morning @ 11:00 am from the Our Lady of Angels Roman Catholic Church in Placentia.

Condolences can be sent through their website: