Monday, November 22, 2021

Some photos from the Hant's Harbour Post Office (and revisiting an interview with the postmaster)

Heritage NL was in Hant's Harbour last week, and we had a quick look at the old post office/telegraph office. This small building has an intriguing history, but the elements have not been kind to it lately. Dale Jarvis took the opportunity to take a few photos, which you can see below.

For more on the building, you can see an adaptive reuse study we did in 2020: 

or you can listen to our interview with telegrapher and former postmaster, Clarence Snook:

Friday, November 19, 2021

Living Heritage Podcast Ep209 Dry Stone Walling with Ken Tuach

Ken Tuach. September 2021.
Photo by Harnum Photography.

In this episode of the Living Heritage Podcast we talk with Ken Tuach about dry stone walling in Newfoundland and Labrador, his family's history in stone work, and the dry stone craftsman certification process. We also hear snippets of audio from the stone wall workshops Ken led as well as a short clip from Lara Maynard with Heritage NL on the importance of Heritage Skills.

Dry stone wall workshop at Lakeview, Brigus.
September 2021. 
Photo by Harnum Photography.

Ken Tuach is the owner and operator of NL Flagstone, a quarry in Pynn's Brook, NL. NL Flagstone produces quality masonry and landscaping stone and has been operating since 1994. The also create stone installations including outdoor living spaces, patios, paths, seating, stairs, etc. Ken is a certified level three dry stone craftsman and led two dry stone workshops for Heritage NL in Brigus this fall.

Dry stone wall workshop at Kent Cottage. 
October 2021. 
Photo by Harnum Photography. 


Living Heritage 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.

Thursday, November 18, 2021

History of Lebanese Businesses in NL - Help tell the story!

 (ad for J. Basha's Corner Glass Shop, Curling, 1957, Western Star)

Heritage NL is working on a project to document and share historical information about the establishment of Lebanese businesses in Newfoundland and Labrador, and we'd love your input. If you have relatives who worked with or for a family-run Lebanese enterprise, let us know! We're looking for memories and stories, old family photos we might be able to scan, or people who might be willing to sit down for a cup of tea and do an oral history interview. Or maybe you just want us to keep in touch about the information we gather! Help us tell this fascinating story!

Fill out the survey here: 

Join us at The Rooms on November 25 for a photo presentation on NL's Lebanese heritage: 

Friday, November 5, 2021

Penton Forge, Joe Batt's Arm

Penton Forge, October 2021.

During the first week of October, Andrea and I were on the road. We visited Change Islands to do a People, Places and Culture workshop and Fogo Island to do some fieldwork. During our visit we stopped in to the Penton Forge in Joe Batt's Arm.

Penton Forge, circa 1970s.

This forge was built in the 1930s, and used until the 1970s. We met with Madonna Penton who had reached out about the forge. Her late husband Leo, and his younger brother Tim worked on getting the forge back up and running.

Leo with some of his grandchildren digging up horseshoes from the ash bed.

Tim is continuing the work on the forge including installing clapboard on the outside. Leo and Tim's grandfather Peter Penton who was trained by another local blacksmith, Jimmy Besso.

Peter Pentons certificate dated in 1940.

This short video shows some older photos of Penton Forge, and shares some of the memories of the blacksmith shop.

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Heritage NL Craft at Risk

Two of the province’s leading cultural bodies are worried about a decline in traditional craft skills.

Newfoundland and Labrador is known for its traditions and culture, heritage skills, arts, and crafts. Some of those, like rug-hooking, have seen a resurgence in interest. Others, like birch broom making or Indigenous basket-making traditions, face an uncertain future.

Concerned about the loss of traditional know-how, Heritage NL and the Craft Council of NL are working to document these crafts at risk and developing a new funding program to encourage the sharing of heritage skills.

The Heritage NL Craft at Risk List 2021 features 55 crafts, 10 of which are listed as critically endangered. These include things such as bark tanning, harness making, and the fabrication of tin flat-bottom kettles. An additional 32 crafts are listed as endangered, while 12 crafts are listed as currently viable. One craft, rope making, is listed as having become extinct in the last generation.

Heritage NL Craft at Risk List 2021

“The promotion and support of craft producers in the province is a vital part of maintaining and developing the cultural diversity that makes Newfoundland and Labrador unique,” says Rowena House, Executive Director of Craft Council of NL. “This furthers the preservation of traditional craftsmanship while pushing the boundaries of fine craft among the provincial producers.”

Recognizing the importance of tradition-bearers to the transmission of craft, Heritage NL has developed a new grant program designed to pass on these skills at risk. The new Mentor-Apprentice program has funds of up to $10,000 per grant, split between a teacher/learner pair, to help maintain those crafts which the organizations have listed as either critically endangered or endangered.

Heritage NL Mentor-Apprentice Program

“One possible project could be a master boatbuilder taking on an apprentice during the construction of a regionally-specific boat type, for example,” says Dale Jarvis, Executive Director of Heritage NL. “Our staff will work with the mentor-apprentice team to help focus their final product, and to record and photograph their work for posterity.”

There are three deadlines for the pilot granting program, in December of this year, and February and April of 2022.

The project is supported by the Labour Market Partnerships program, Department of Immigration, Skills and Labour, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Information on both the list and the granting program are available through the Heritage NL website -


For more information contact:

Dale Jarvis, Executive Director
Heritage NL
709-739-1892 x1

Thursday, October 14, 2021

How to Run a Scanning Party

Carbonear Scanning Party, July 2021.

Are there photos in your community you would like to preserve for future generations? Do you want a visual record of the people, places, and events in your town? Would you like to have an accessible archives of photographs?

Your community should host a Scanning Party!

A Scanning Party is an informal photo collection session for heritage groups, small museums and archives, or town councils. Community members come to a Scanning Party prepared. They bring their own photographs to be scanned at the event and then taken back home with them the same day.

The goal of a Scanning Party is to help digitize and preserve community photographs as well as make them accessible to community members.

We've put together an easy how to guide to help you learn how to host one in your community. 

Click here to view the guide!

Friday, October 1, 2021

Living Heritage Podcast Ep208 Industrial Heritage with Anatolijs Venovcevs

Twin Falls plant.
Photo courtesy of Anatolijs Venovcevs. 

In this episode of the Living Heritage Podcast we talk with Anatolijs about industrial heritage in Newfoundland and Labrador and specifically his fieldwork in Labrador this summer. We also chat about the impact industrial heritage has on the landscape, the history, and the people of a place.  

Anatolijs Venovcevs is a PhD candidate whose work looks at the legacies of mines, mining towns, and mining development that occurred during the twentieth century in Labrador, Canada and the Kola Peninsula in Arctic Russia. His research interests include contemporary and industrial archaeology, mining and extractive industry, Soviet history, Northern and Arctic Canada and modern ruins. 

Open pits at the IOC mine in Labrador City.
Photo courtesy of Anatolijs Venovcevs. 

Living Heritage 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.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Heritage Update 085 - September 2021: Root Cellars, Research, and Rita Remembers Labrador!

In this edition of the Heritage Update newsletter: our new intern Sarah Roberts brings you up to date on our Digital Museums of Canada project tracking the history and evolution of root cellars in the province; Michael Philpott shares a summary of the research we've been doing on St. George's Anglican Church in Brigus; Lara Maynard has a report on our workshops and training program; Andrea O'Brien documents the work we've been doing with the Town of Fortune to reimagine a purpose for the old Victoria Hall Masonic Lodge #1378; Terra Barrett visits with  Rita Fitzgerald in North River (photo above) and reminisces about life on the Labrador; while Dale Jarvis fanboys about a historic potato. 

Download the pdf here:

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Hurricane Larry forecast ends Heritage NL’s lucky workshop weather pattern

Media release 

For immediate release

From: Heritage NL

Date: 08 September 2021

Hurricane Larry forecast ends Heritage NL’s lucky workshop weather pattern:

It looks like Hurricane Larry could put an end to Heritage NL’s lucky streak of good weather for outdoor workshops this year!

“Since our traditional skills workshops series launched this summer, we’ve been very lucky with weather during outdoor events, avoiding even rain showers. We’ve had workshops in cemeteries with people cleaning and repairing old headstones on the Southern Shore and in Salvage, done a bit of masonry repointing at the Anglican Cathedral in St. John’s, and built wriggle fences in Ferrryland and New Perlican,” says Lara Maynard, Heritage NL’s training coordinator. 

But now that Environment Canada has issued a Hurricane Watch on top of a Tropical Cyclone Information Statement, Heritage NL has had to make the call to postpone this weekend’s clapboard workshop scheduled for Port de Grave.

John Duchow, a carpenter who specializes in heritage restoration, was set to lead a workshop on repairing clapboard at Porter House Museum in Port de Grave this Friday and Saturday. That wooden building began as a fishing family home in the early 1900s, is a Registered Heritage Structure, and currently has some siding issues that the workshop would help address with a teaching opportunity. But potential high winds and rain could make it unsafe for registrants to travel to the workshop, climb scaffolding, or impossible to do the basic clapboard repair tasks or painting.

“We’ll reschedule the workshop for the spring,” says Maynard. “And cross our fingers that we’ll get a new lucky streak with our Newfoundland weather!” 

Meanwhile, anyone who would like to follow the organization’s calendar of workshops as they are booked is invited to follow Heritage NL on Eventbrite (, or website or social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) pages.