Friday, June 9, 2023

Living Heritage Podcast Ep232 Mentor-Apprentice Program: Letterpress Printing with Marnie Parsons and Abby Hann

Abby showing off her work outside Marnie's press and shop, Running the Goat.
Photo submitted by Marnie Parsons and Abby Hann.

In this episode we talk with mentor Marnie Parsons, and apprentice Abby Hann who are two participants of Heritage NL’s Mentor-Apprentice Program.

Abby preparing her ink for printing. Photo submitted by Marnie Parsons and Abby Hann.

Marnie first learned letterpress printing from Tara Bryan, who invited her to her studio in the summer of 2000. After working for several years in Tara’s shop, Marnie set up her own letterpress studio in her home in St. John’s. She then moved her shop to Tors Cove in 2013, where it remains. The shop is open to visitors throughout the year.

Abby getting ready to set the type. Photo submitted by Marnie Parsons and Abby Hann.

Abby graduated with a Bachelor of Fine arts from NSCAD University in Halifax in 2020. During her degree she focused on printmaking, primarily using the relief technique. Since then, Abby has maintained a prolific printmaking practice from her home studio and small printing press. Abby has participated in artist residencies in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, and South Africa, while exhibiting prints in multiple solo and group exhibitions.

Check out the episode here:

Monday, June 5, 2023

Heritage Update for June 2023 - New plaques, old memories, and a herd of Lop Chops invades Centreville

Howard House Registered Heritage Structure, St. John's

In the Heritage Update for June 2023: Heritage NL and the St. George’s Indian Band unveil a new bilingual English and Mi’kmaq plaque for the St. George’s Courthouse; as part of the 2023 Winter Carnival in Centreville-Wareham-Trinity and Indian Bay, Heritage NL was asked to lead a Memory Mug Up afternoon at the Wareham church hall; Heritage NL's exhibition proposal for The Early Lebanese Community in Newfoundland receives funding as part of Digital Museums Canada; a herd of Lop Chops and Horsey Chops take over Centreville; and several of our Registered Heritage Structures receive funding through Heritage NL's Maintenance Grant program. 

Download the pdf at:

Friday, June 2, 2023

Living Heritage Podcast Ep231 Mentor-Apprentice Program: Birch Broom Making with Richard and Michelle Park

Michelle and Richard holding two birch brooms at the Gilliams History Society Museum in Gilliams, NL. Photo courtesy of Heritage NL.

In this episode we talk with mentor Richard Park, and apprentice Michelle Park who are two participants of Heritage NL’s Mentor-Apprentice Program.

Richard Park is a retired teacher who was first exposed to the birch broom in 1957 while teaching in the community of Fox Roost-Margaree. Later in 1979 in Francois, he learned the skills to make birch brooms from a fisherman in the community. He has been making birch brooms since, and has made several brooms including many as gifts.

Richard demonstrating how to "run" a birch broom.
Photo courtesy of Richard Park and Michelle Park.

Michelle is a history teacher with an interest in local history and folklore. Since the age of 10 she has watched her father make birch brooms as gifts for family and friends, as well as for the family’s own use. Michelle’s experience was admittedly limited; she helped make brooms in the past and was looking to refine the skill.

The pair offered a Build Your Own Birch Broom (BYOBB) program at the Gillams Historical Society Museum on Wednesdays in August of 2022.

Richard Park holding a spruce root basket, Eileen Murphy holding a birch broom.
Eileen was a mentor in spruce root basketry and she stopped by Richard and Michelle's BYOBB program this summer. 
Photo courtesy of Richard Park and Michelle Park.

Thursday, June 1, 2023

St. George’s Courthouse to Receive New Bilingual Plaque

Join Heritage NL and the St. George’s Indian Band as we present a new bilingual English and Mi’kmaq plaque for the St. George’s Courthouse, now the K'Taqmkuk Mi'Kmaq Historical Museum and Indian Band council office. The plaque presentation will take place during an open house for the K'Taqmkuk Mi'Kmaq Historical Museum.

When:      Sunday, June 4, 2023, at 2-4 p.m. 

Where:     183 Main Street, St. George’s, NL

“Heritage NL is pleased to announce a new heritage plaque for the St. George’s Courthouse, as it represents two themes that are not as strongly represented in the catalogue of Registered Heritage Structures: the West Coast of the island and our Indigenous heritage,” says Dr. Lisa Daly, Chair of the Heritage NL board. 

“Heritage NL has much work to do to better represent all people of our province, and being able to present the St. George’s Courthouse with a plaque in both English and Mi’kmaq is a small step we can take to acknowledge and celebrate the Indigenous history and heritage of Newfoundland and Labrador.”

The St. George’s Courthouse is a strong example of the Second Empire style courthouses constructed in the early 20th century by Public Works, and represents St. George’s significance as an early population centre on the West Coast. Throughout the courthouse's 115 year history, it has been used as a community space as a polling station, for dances and public meetings, and now as the K'Taqmkuk Mi'Kmaq Historical Museum. Through the ongoing efforts of the St. George’s Band Council, the courthouse is now a place for the protection and celebration of Mi'kmaq history and culture. 

"We have been working to focus on underrepresented areas, with staff recently on the West Coast to assess currently registered structures and some that have the potential to be recognized,” says Daly. 

“Our recent Heritage Skills Training Program allowed us the opportunity to pair mentors and apprentices across the province, including numerous Indigenous participants who are passing on their traditional skills and intangible cultural heritage to the next generation.”

St. George’s Courthouse Plaque Text:

Built 1903-1904
Recognizable for its curved roof and central tower, this
courthouse shares a similar design with several others built
across the island during this period. It also served as a post
office, meeting space, and as a spot for community dances.
The building is now the Indian Band Council Office and
ktaqmkuk Mi'Kmaw Historical Museum.

Kisitasiks 1903-1904
Weji nenmɨk ta’n teli upmik poqwatikn aqq miawe’k
kini’skwik espɨtek, ula courthouse telik nkutey pukwelkl
pilue’l kisitasiksɨpn kame’k minikuk net tele’kek. E’wasiksɨp
wjit Post Office, Etl mawteskatultimk, aqq wjit i’tliamalkaltimk.
Nekmowey na nike’ ewasik wjit L’nueyey Band
Council Office aqq Ktaqmkuk Mi’kmaw Historical Museum.

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Digital Museums Canada Investment - The Early Lebanese Community in Newfoundland

Photo of Melin and Marion Noah and family in the doorway of their New Gower Street grocery store. Courtesy of City of St. John's Archives

Heritage NL's exhibition proposal for The Early Lebanese Community in Newfoundland receives funding as part of Digital Museums Canada's 2022 investments. Stay tuned as we create this digital exhibition over the next year. 

The Early Lebanese Community in Newfoundland
Heritage NL
The Lebanese community has a long history in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador that is not often commemorated. This virtual exhibit delves deeper into the story behind many well-known local businesses across the province, exploring how one group of immigrants built a unique sense of place while retaining cultural ties to its ancestral homeland.

Heritage NL has produced three exhibitions funded by Digital Museums Canada:
2019 - Remembering the Merchants of Main Street, Windsor
2020 - Carved by the Sea: Heritage Places of Bay Roberts, Newfoundland
2022 - Heritage Underground - A History of Root Cellars in Newfoundland and Labrador

Press Release shared from Digital Museums Canada:

We’re pleased to announce that 19 new projects submitted as part of the 2022 call for proposals were approved for investment.

“The recipients of funding from the 2022 Call for Proposals represent a wide range of compelling subjects from organizations all over Canada,” said Leah Resnick, Director of Digital Museums Canada. “We look forward to working with these organizations to build their digital capacity and bring their projects to life.”

 “Through Digital Museums Canada, the Canadian Museum of History is pleased to honour its commitment to communities across the country in sharing diverse online stories, accessible to all,” said Caroline Dromaguet, President and CEO of the Canadian Museum of History.

Topics covered in this year’s new digital projects include:
  • Diaspora: Montréal Jewish Community (QC); Lebanese community in Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Community History: Early coal mining in the Bow Valley (AB); Lithuanian immigrants and the War of 1812 (ON); a community festival in Saint-Eustache (QC); the impact of the SS Atlantic shipwreck (NS)
  • Art and Architecture: Inuit art (MB); Winnipeg modernist architecture (MB); NFT artmaking (ON); Franco-Ontarian illustrators (ON); Acadian stained glass (NB)
  • Women: Women in medical illustration (QC); women journalists in the early 20th century (QC)

In all, DMC received 39 proposals for the Medium and Large investment streams, and 20 proposals for the Small stream from museums and heritage organizations across the country. Projects were selected through a competitive process by an arm’s-length advisory committee.

See the full list:
Approved Projects

Eligible organizations are invited to apply during the next Call for Proposals, which opens on Thursday, June 15, 2023. For more information, please visit the DMC website.

Friday, April 21, 2023

Yarns and Yarns Kick Off - West Coast

See you there!

Are you a knitter, spinner, or hooker? Heritage NL is hosting a series of Yarns and Yarns events, to help preserve and share knitting and other textile knowledge and memories.

We invite knitters, spinners, or hookers of all ages to come together for an evening of crafting and storytelling followed by a mug up with tea/coffee and snacks.

“We are interested in hearing stories about how you learned to knit, spin, or hook” says Terra Barrett, ICH Researcher with Heritage NL. “Often textile crafts are not formally documented or recognized and this project aims to change that. So come out and share your story!”

Yarns and Yarns is a project to recognize, record, and celebrate the importance of knitting and crafting to Newfoundland and Labrador. The main objective of Yarns and Yarns is to combine traditional knitting and crafting knowledge with social participation through a series of ten Yarns and Yarns mug ups or workshops. These mug ups will combine a knitting circle with story telling for community members, where people gather, have a cup of tea, enjoy healthy snacks, and share memories.

Heritage NL is partnering with three local groups to host Yarns and Yarns events on the west coast. If you are a knitter, spinner or hooker we want to see you! Bring your latest projects and come out to share how your learned your craft. 

  • Thursday, May 4th, 1-3pm - Yarns and Yarns with Our Lady of Mercy Museum - Our Lady of Mercy Heritage Museum, 101 Main Street, Port au Port West
  • Tuesday, May 9th, 6:30-8:30pm - Yarns and Yarns with the Knit Wits - Pasadena Place, 19 Tenth Avenue, Pasadena
  • Wednesday, May 10th, 1pm -3pm - Yarns and Yarns with Kindred Spirits Knit 'n Yarn - Salvation Army, 20 Church Street (corner of Chapel Hill), Deer Lake

This project has been funded by the Government of Canada's New Horizons for Seniors Program.

If you are interested in hosting a Yarns and Yarns event in your community reach out to Terra Barrett at or 709-739-1892 x2.

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

On the road to Humber Valley - we are coming your way in May!

Department of Highways Trucks, 1930s
used during the construction of the highway
between Corner Brook and Deer Lake, courtesy Deb LeDrew

Attention all knitters, crocheters, snowshoe makers, people who know traditional recipes, and anyone who makes, crafts, or creates objects - Heritage NL is looking for you!

The Humber Valley Skills Inventory, part of the Humber Valley Thriving Regions project, will identify existing knowledge holders in the area, including craft producers, bakers, farmers, foragers, brewers, printmakers, fly tyers, beekeepers, cooks, artists, antler carvers, and makers of all kinds.  We are looking for anyone with skills and knowledge about the making of everyday objects, skills, art, and crafts from these communities:

Steady Brook, Little Rapids, Humber Village, Humber Valley Resort, Pasadena, Pynn’s Brook, Little Harbour, St. Judes, Deer Lake, Reidville, Cormack, and Howley

The end product will be a publicly-available listing of local skills holders. For examples see:

If you wish to be listed in the Inventory, email or fill out the survey at 


Heritage NL will be at three open-to-all meetings where you are encouraged to come and learn about the project.  If you are crafty, bring an object you made to show and share!


  • Monday, May 8th, 7-9pm - Cormack Skills Show and Share - Cormack Town Hall 
  • Tuesday, May 9th, 6:30-8:30pm - Yarns and Yarns with the Knit Wits - Pasadena Place, 19 Tenth Avenue, Pasadena
  • Wednesday, May 10th, 1pm -3pm - Yarns and Yarns with Kindred Spirits Knit 'n Yarn - Salvation Army, 20 Church Street (corner of Chapel Hill), Deer Lake
  • Thursday, May 11th, 7-9pm - Deer Lake Skills Show and Share  - Humber Lodge, 2 Poplar Road
  • Saturday, May 13th, 1pm -3pm - Pasadena Heritage Society AGM - Royal Canadian Legion, 92 Main Street. You can register with Pasadena Heritage at to help plan number of attendees. Coffee, tea and treats will be provided!

Friday, April 7, 2023

Living Heritage Podcast Ep230 Mentor-Apprentice Program: Moccasin Making with Loretta John and Kevin Drew

Completed moccasins. Photo courtesy of Kevin Drew.

In this episode we talk with mentor Loretta John, and apprentice Kevin Drew who are two participants of Heritage NL’s Mentor-Apprentice Program.

Mrs. John has over 45 years’ experience making moccasins. She originally learned the craft from Ms. Johnson (known as Doctor Granny among the Mi’kmaq) of Eskaosni First Nation. Since learning her craft, Mrs. John worked at the Glen John Craft Shop in Miawpukuk First Nation for year until she retired. She has shared her skills and knowledge through one-on-one mentoring and group workshops.

Kevin Drew has worked with the Glen John Craft Shop for several years now. Over that time, he has worked with many crafters in the community, having an opportunity to observe different Mi’kmaq crafts. Over the course of his time at the craft shop, Kevin has focused on beading and embroidery work.

Kevin Drew sewing a moccasin. Photo courtesy of Kevin Drew.

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, April 5, 2023

The Staff Cable Houses: Part of the Telecommunications History of Heart's Content

In February of 2023, Heart's Content, NL and Valentia, Ireland, were added to the Tentative List for UNESCO World Heritage Status, one step closer to recognition ten years in the making. The two sites for the first Transatlantic cable, laid in 1866, connected Europe and North America and enabled quicker and more reliable communication between the two continents. The Anglo-American Cable Company established a permanent cable station in Heart's Content in 1875/76. One of the buildings they constructed was the Cable Staff Houses, a duplex for housing employees of the cable station. 

Photo of the Cable Staff Houses #1 and #2 in 2017.

Built in 1882, the house was designed by J.T. Southcott, a prominent architect in Newfoundland for introducing the Second Empire Style of architecture. 

The duplex has undergone significant restorations since its designation as a Registered Heritage Structure in 1995 to preserve and maintain this building. The Cable Staff House has a mansard roof, an architectural feature associated with the Second Empire Style and Southcott's designs. 

The Cable Staff House Mansard Roof (L): Prior to restoration in mid 1990s (R): Following restorations in 2017.

The building also has decorative eaves brackets, visible in the pictures below.

Before and after pictures of the buildings eaves brackets. (L): Picture prior to restoration in 1990s (R): Photo after restoration in 2017.

Photo of the Cable Staff House's windows. (L): Photo from mid 1990s (R): After restoration in 2017.

Another key design element of the Cable Staff Houses is the variety of styles of windows, some of which are 2/2 while others are larger and multi-paned. The house also has several dormer windows, which were restored in 2018. 

The Cable Staff Houses received the Newfoundland Historic Trust's Southcott Award for Restoration in 1999.

You can learn more about the Cable Staff Houses at the links below: