Friday, February 18, 2022

Living Heritage Podcast Ep214 Repair and Restoration with Rex Passion


Participants of wooden window workshop led by Rex Passion. 
Rex is the fourth person from the right standing up. 
Photo by Harnum Photography.
In this episode of the Living Heritage Podcast we talk with Rex Passion about historic restorations and repairs. Rex describes his background, what brought him to Newfoundland, his work on Kent Cottage, and leading workshops and demonstrations to teach traditional skills. Rex apprenticed as a cabinetmaker and carpenter in California and Boston in the 1970s. In 2006 he sold his construction company and architecture firm, Classic Restorations, and subsequently moved to Torbay. His vocation of restoring old houses became his avocation, heritage preservation. He currently sits on the Landfall Trust Board of Directors, and recently taught a wooden window repair and restoration workshop with Heritage NL.


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.

Saturday, February 12, 2022

Ice Cutting and Salmon Fishing in Newfoundland and Labrador

In the twentieth century, the salmon fishing industry was intertwined with many other industries. It was common practice for fishermen to cut blocks of ice from frozen ponds in the winter using various types of saws (Figure 1) and store them in sawdust to later use in transporting their freshly caught salmon to merchants when the fishing season opened. Sawdust was an abundant byproduct from sawmills and acted as an insulating layer for ice which prolonged the use of ice well beyond the cold winter months. This made ice cut from ponds in the winter accessible in May and June when the salmon fishery opened.

Figure 1: Image reads: a "double bit" axe is referred to an axe with two blades, the handle was usually short. My father had one in his household when he was a boy. Often people would have one side sharp for cutting wood, and a dull side for cutting ice in the winter when they would take a load of wood from the woods and carry it home over. Image courtesy of Memorial University Digital Archives Initiative.

Once the ponds froze over, ice would be cut into large 18-20 inch square blocks using a pit saw and hauled by horse and sleigh to ice houses and sawmills to be unloaded into piles of sawdust (Figure 2, Figure 3). In Harbour Breton, ice from Beaver Pond was being cut out at nearly 20 dory loads per ice house. These ice houses were filled with sawdust and protected from sun exposure to ensure the preservation of ice for several months.

Figure 2: Ice cutting in Cape Broyle on Beaver Pond circa 1950s. Image courtesy of Andrea O’Brien taken from Mr. Ronald O’Brien’s collection.

Figure 3: Ice cutting in Gaultois, Newfoundland circa 1887 (Wells 2014).

In Whiteway, a community in Trinity Bay, several families such as the Burgess’, George’s, Legge’s, and Jackson’s, were operating sawmills while also salmon fishing in the summer and ice cutting in the winter.

Albert Legge has many memories of his family’s sawmill and their salmon fishing. Albert recalls an ice house located in New Harbour operated by a fish merchant named Ernest Woodman. Woodman, likely with the help of his sons, would also cut ice in the winter time and store it at his ice house until local fishermen had fish to sell which was then packed in ice and sent to markets. Likewise, Clifford George remembers an ice house in New Harbour that was built of boards into a large square area filled with sawdust where ice blocks were buried.

Legge remembers that in the 1950s there was an ice house owned by his family located on a pile of sawdust from their mill. The Legge’s did not cut ice themselves, instead they filled their ice house with ice from Woodman’s ice house in New Harbour. The ice from Woodman was delivered to their ice house by truck rather than horse. The ice was stored in the house in piles of sawdust (Figure 4) until May when the salmon fishery opened. Albert remembers that salmon were caught on a berth along the shore at a point called Salmon Point, which was the perfect spot to place a salmon trap. After catching their salmon, the fish would be cleaned and packed into wooden boxes filled with broken ice blocks before being shipped to New Harbour where it was then sent off to market.

Figure 4: Image reads: … they cut it and _ in _ in square blocks about two feet by two feet. They had ice-grips and they would stick the grips into the ice and _ and bring it through the ice house an' put sawdust on it. … They would have a rope over their shoulders an' they would haul it over the ice to the ice house which was near the pond.Ice house was made of wood; it was usually....just thick wood, an' sometimes not - just clapboard, not _ not even thick woods. .... Oh it was probably about forty feet long and about thirty feet wide an' as high as _ 'bout thirty feet high. .... It was in the open _ an open place right at the foot of the pond. Image courtesy of Memorial University Digital Archives Initiative.

Members of the Burgess family also have many memories of the family sawmill constructed in 1916, and their involvement with the salmon fishery. Robert Burgess recalls that his family would cut ice from Jimmy Rowe’s pond and then bury it in piles of sawdust at their sawmill. The Burgess’ sawmill is still intact on the property and the saws used to cut ice remain there. Robert recalled that:

Once the ponds froze over, the horse and sled would be driven across the pond in the morning, logs would be hauled out before lunch time, lunch was eaten and our uncles would change out the sweat-filled clothes, then head back across the pond to bring out more wood. This continued until the pond ice broke up in the spring.

When salmon was caught in the bay months later, the ice blocks would be dug up and used to transport salmon to keep it fresh. The family also manufactured the boxes that they were shipping the iced salmon in. There are many memories of the family catching and selling salmon. In 1912, a letter from Great Aunt Nellie to Henry Burgess, Bob’s great-grandfather, sent in advance of her travels back home to Whiteway from the United States: “I hope you will get a salmon after I get home. I suppose you got all the potatoes in the ground by this time. I am so glad that Rich is going to stay at home this summer” (Figure 5). The Burgess family also used the ice they cut and preserved in sawdust to transport freshly caught salmon to merchant families such as the Harnum’s in Hearts Delight, Cramm’s in Green’s Harbour and the Moores in Carbonear, and many others (Figure 6,7).

Figure 5: Part of Great Aunt Nellie’s handwritten letter to Henry Burgess in June 1912. June was the prime month to catch salmon. Image courtesy of Robert Burgess.

Figure 6,7: Receipts of salmon transactions between Richard Burgess, Robert’s grandfather, and Hedley Harnum, a merchant in Hearts Delight have been saved, recording that in June 1933, Harnum had purchased salmon from Burgess. Image courtesy of Robert Burgess.

Ice cutting also had domestic purposes. In Central Newfoundland, Corduroy Ponds was an excellent location to cut ice in the winter. Leonard Young, a Mi’kmaq man who grew up near the ponds, kept a dog team and horses in the late 1930s and 1940s (Figure 8). Young would cut timber in the area and his horse would haul sleighs full of wood to the sawmill Young operated on his property. In the winter, Young cut ice blocks from the pond and his horse hauled them back to the sawmill where they were stored in sawdust. Ice blocks were stored here until the summer where they were dug out of the sawdust and delivered to customers in Grand Falls Windsor. Young supplied ice blocks to households as some families in town were still using ice chests.

Figure 8: Leonard Young with his horse, unknown date. Image courtesy of Corey Sharpe.

Special thanks to Andrea O’Brien, Robert Burgess, Clifford George, Albert Legge, Corey Sharpe, and Doug Wells for providing us with many memories, details, and photographs about ice cutting and salmon fishing in Newfoundland.


Barras, Maryssa., and Dale Gilbert Jarvis
2021 Burgess Property, Whiteway, NL: Site and Building Survey. Heritage NL Fieldnotes Series, 015, February 2021.

The ICH Blog 
2021 What Did You Do with Sawdust in Whiteway?

Wells, Doug
2014 Putting Up Ice: Beaver Pond: A Municipal Heritage SIte in Harbour Breton. Intangible Cultural Heritage Update, Number 053 August-November 2014.

Friday, February 11, 2022

Living Heritage Podcast Ep213 Millinery with Mad Hatter Sara Anne Meyer

Sara Anne Meyer modelling a tricorn fascinator she created.  

In this episode of the Living Heritage Podcast we talk with Sara Anne Meyer about all things millinery! This includes the history of millinery, her interest and background with the craft, and some of the hats and fascinators she has created over the years.

Sara Anne Meyer is a multi-faceted performer, costumer, maker and poet born and raised in the St. John's arts community. She is an avid observer of intangible history and a folklore enthusiast. But above all things, she is mad as a hatter.


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.

Saturday, February 5, 2022

Folklore Photos: Trinity Restoration Project

Today’s Folklore Photos come from the Trinity Restoration Project collection currently in the works of being digitized and uploaded to Memorial University’s Digital Archives Initiative. Trinity, a community located in Trinity Bay, has a long history associated with fishing beginning with the migratory fishery. This led the community and its surrounding areas to become important fishing and mercantile communities, eventually leading to settlement starting in the eighteenth century. There have been many projects in the community carried out to preserve and restore its cultural heritage, such as the Trinity Restoration Project. This project featured the restoration of dozens of buildings, primarily household dwellings, throughout the community in 1979 and into the early 1980s. These Folklore Photos highlight just one of the many building restorations under this project.

These scanned polaroid photographs are of an abandoned two-and-a-half storey residential building originally owned by a gentlemen documented as Mr. R. Tibbs. The date of construction is unknown, however in 1979, the structure was owned by Peter Blodgett. The Trinity Restoration Project provided the opportunity to restore this property from its state pictured above in 1979 where the once vibrant paint was fading and the front doors and windows were all boarded up.

A lot of work needed to be done! In 1980, the original roof shingles were removed and replaced. Similarly, the old clapboards were replaced and given a new coat of paint. This building is one of the several dozen that underwent varying degrees of restoration thanks to the Trinity Restoration Project.

The scanned polaroid photographs from the Trinity Restoration Project are in the process of being uploaded to Memorial University of Newfoundland’s Digital Archives Initiative (DAI). The full collection uploaded thus far is available online at:

Friday, February 4, 2022

Living Heritage Podcast Ep212 Craft at Risk and Mentor-Apprentice Program with Dale Jarvis and Lara Maynard


Dale Jarvis and Lara Maynard at dry stone wall workshop in Brigus.
Photo by Harnum Photography. September 2021.

In this episode of the Living Heritage Podcast we talk with Dale Jarvis and Lara Maynard of Heritage NL about the 2021 Craft at Risk List, and the Mentor-Apprentice Program. We learn the background of the projects, some of the issues that face traditional craft, and what Heritage NL is doing to ensure the transmission of traditional knowledge and skills. We also learn a little about the nine Mentor-Apprentice pairs who are currently involved with the program.

Dale holds a BSc in Anthropology/Archaeology from Trent University, and a MA in Folklore from Memorial University. For many years he oversaw Heritage NL’s Intangible Cultural Heritage Office which helps communities to safeguard their traditional culture. Dale has contributed as a board member and volunteer to many local arts and heritage organizations. Former newspaper columnist, and author of several books, he is a tireless promoter of local traditions.

Lara studied English and Folklore at Memorial University and has been working or volunteering for local or provincial heritage organizations and initiatives for 20 years. A former Municipal Outreach Officer with Heritage NL, she is back on board to help deliver heritage skills training around the province.

If you want more information on the Craft at Risk List or the Mentor-Apprentice Program please visit our website for all the details:

Our next deadline for Mentor-Apprentice Program application is February 10, 2022


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.

Friday, January 28, 2022

Living Heritage Podcast Ep211 Creating Period Clothing with Linda Badcock

Ladies having tea outside the Hiscock House.
Left to right Historic Sites staff: Linda Badcock, Joan Kane, Sheila Vokey, and Donna Vey.
Credits: Provincial Historic Sites

In this episode of the Living Heritage Podcast we talk with Linda Badcock about making period costumes, sourcing materials and patterns, the skills needed to pipe or sew cartridge pleats, and how she learned these skills.

Linda retired after close to twenty years as a Historic Sites Officer with Provincial Historic Sites. One of her passions during this time was creating realistic period costumes for several sites across the province. We also touch briefly on millinery or hat making which is listed on Heritage NL’s Craft at Risk list.


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.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

A Hudson Bay Company building, a historic community lodge, and two family homes: meet NL's latest heritage properties.

Heritage NL designates four properties as Registered Heritage Structures

Four historic properties in Cartwright, Pouch Cove, Fortune Harbour, and Summerside have been awarded heritage designation by Heritage NL.  The designations include a Hudson Bay Company building, a historic community lodge, and two family homes. 

The Cartwright Hudson’s Bay Company Staff House was built in 1926 for staff of the HBC under district manager (William) Ralph Parsons (1881-1956). Parsons, a native of Bay Roberts, began as an apprentice clerk with the HBC  in Cartwright at the age of 19 and soon rose through the firm’s ranks. The Staff House is believed to have been built by a crew from Coley’s Point, led by a Greenland, who had previously built a school in nearby Muddy Bay. In addition to staff and visitors of the Hudson’s Bay Company, the Staff House was home to a Newfoundland Ranger and his wife in the late 1930s.  During World War II the house was rented by the Royal Canadian Air Force for $15 per month, during which time two towers were erected on either side for use in aerial navigation.

The Pouch Cove Clifton Lodge (Society of United Fishermen’s Lodge #46) has the distinction of being the only SUF lodge built in the district of Cape St. Francis. The Lodge was founded in 1900 and named after James A. Clift, the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge in St. John’s.  The existing building was constructed from 1924 to 1926 to replace the original lodge that was opened in Pouch Cove in 1900. In addition to voluntary labour and donated building materials, its original construction cost was $700!  In addition to SUF meetings the building hosted Women’s Sewing Circle events, political meetings, trap berth draws, concerts, wedding receptions, soup suppers, dances, movie showings, and various other community meetings, social gatherings, celebrations and events, until the mid 1970s.  

Gillespie/Ballard House in Fortune Harbour was likely built for the Gillespie family sometime between 1830, when the first Gillespie (Mary Gilasby) was recorded in Fortune Harbour, and 1850. The house was purchased by Nellie Ballard, a native of the now-abandoned community of Fleury’s Bight, and has remained in the Ballard family for three generations. The Gillespie/Ballard House is an excellent surviving example of a true “second generation” style of saltbox. Houses of this type resemble earlier saltboxes in form but are generally larger in both footprint and height. On the rear, a continuous roof slope descends from the peak to a one-storey linny. 

Loder Homestead was first settled by John and Mary Ann Loder around 1850 when the couple moved their growing family from the area of Gilliams/Meadows to become Summerside’s first permanent residents. After some success in fishing, sawing, and boatbuilding the family built the present house in the 1860s or 1870s. By the 1930s, the Loders acted as general merchants for the area, and the house was continuously occupied by the family until the mid-1990s.

“The buildings that are designated are important parts of our history,” says Dr. Lisa Daly, Chair of Heritage NL. “They reflect multiple parts of our culture, such as mercantile histories, the fishery, and community partnerships and organizations, demonstrating varied architectural styles that reflect this place, our people, culture, and environment.”

Heritage NL was established in 1984 to preserve one of the most visible dimensions of Newfoundland and Labrador culture - its architectural heritage. Heritage NL designates buildings and other structures as Registered Heritage Structures and may provide grants for the purpose of preservation and restoration of such structures.


Monday, January 24, 2022

Saving Traditional Skills in the Tri Town Area and surrounding communities in partnership with the Great Northern Peninsula Community Place Corporation

 If you know of someone crafty or with know-how of traditional skills in the Port au Choix region, a local group wants to meet them!

The Great Northern Peninsula Community Place Corporation and Heritage NL are working together to make a list of people with traditional skills and know-how in the Tri-Town (Hawkes Bay, Port Saunders, and Port au Choix) area. 

Everyone from boatbuilders to basket weavers are wanted. Already, the project has identified people in the area who are willing to share skills around sewing, knitting, crochet work, and net making and mending.

“Every year, there seems to be fewer people who know how to make traditional crafts,” says folklorist Dale Jarvis, Heritage NL’s Executive Director. “This is an exciting local project that we are happy to support, to see who is still in the area with the knowledge of how to make the tools, objects, and crafts of yesteryear.”

The project is the idea of the new GNP Community Place, a community center located on the main street of Port au Choix NL, set up to help build on community strengths and assets. Overlooking the harbour, this community heritage building will offer a safe, accessible place for people from all over the Great Northern Peninsula to gather to participate in inter-generational health and wellness initiatives.

Local researcher Destiny Penney has been hired to interview local crafters and seniors, and to compile a list of people in the region who are willing to share their skills. For more information, or to nominate someone with local knowledge, email

The project is jointly funded by Heritage NL and ICOMOS Canada’s Youth in Heritage Program.

Pictured: Cutting wood in Port aux Choix. Photo courtesy of Decks Awash Photographs, Memorial University Archives and Special Collections.

Friday, January 21, 2022

Living Heritage Podcast Ep210 Revitalization of St. Paul’s Anglican Cemetery with Ian Morris and Kevin Toope

Updated war memorial in St. Paul's Anglican Cemetery. November 2021.
Photo courtesy of Trinity Historical Society.

In this episode of the Living Heritage Podcast we talk with Ian Morris and Kevin Toope of the Trinity Historical Society about the work of the society, their adopt a headstone project, and their research and revitalization plans for the St. Paul’s Anglican Cemetery. We also hear some of their favourite stories from their research, and their own connections to the cemetery.

The Trinity Historical Society preserves and promotes the history of Trinity, through the acquisition and preservation of artifacts and archives, and through the promotion and acquisition of historic properties. The Trinity Historical Society was organized in 1966. Originally the Trinity Historic Sites Committee, it was formed on February 7, 1964 to gather information on the history of Trinity and to preserve it for future generations. In 1971 it was incorporated under the laws of Newfoundland and it is a registered Charitable Organization.


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.