Tuesday, November 14, 2023



The Governor General’s History Award for Excellence in Community Programming recognizes innovative programs or initiatives that encourage public engagement in Canadian history.

Heritage NL is receiving national recognition for its Craft At Risk project – an ambitious initiative to research, assess, and address the loss of traditional knowledge and craft in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Craft at Risk engaged more than 1,000 participants in fifty communities with the rich, cultural traditions of Newfoundland and Labrador. In total, the initiative has helped preserve more than twenty crafts, from bark tanning to komatik (sled) making to letterpress printing, revitalizing a wide range of traditions and skills.

The award will be presented by Her Excellency the Right Honourable Mary Simon, Governor General of Canada, at an upcoming ceremony.

To learn more about the Governor General’s History Awards and the 2023 recipients, visit CanadasHistory.ca/GGHA2023.


More information:

Claude-Sylvie Lemery
Communications Manager
514 433-3405

Thursday, October 26, 2023

You are invited to The Old Photo Sharing Sessions in Eastport and Salvage

Photo: Man with cart pulled by bull, Eastport, circa 1939, The Rooms Item VA 14-248

You are invited to
The Old Photo Sharing Sessions

Wednesday, November 8th, 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM
St. Stephen’s Hall, Salvage 

Thursday, November 9th, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Beaches Arts and Heritage Theatre Annex, Eastport

Do you have an old photo album of pictures from the Eastport Peninsula? Heritage NL is hosting two sharing sessions, to help preserve and share old photos for all to see. Heritage NL is looking for old photos of the community, from the 1890s to the 1990s, including anything showing old buildings, garden parties, shops that no longer exist, photos from the old festivals, or cars decorated for weddings. 

“We want to see those snapshots Nan kept in the old biscuit tin in the closet,” says folklorist Dale Jarvis with Heritage NL. “Sometimes photos from the 1970s and ‘80s include buildings or structures that have changed over time, so even if they aren’t ancient photographs, they can still help us document changes to the community.” 

Think of it as a show and tell for your old photos! Heritage NL staff will be on site to scan the photographs and ask questions about who or what is shown. You take home your original photos, and if you bring your own USB flash drive, you can take home a digital copy as well. The digital copies will be used in an Old Picture Show viewing event that will take place later on this November. The event will occur locally and you are all invited to attend.

So go ahead and dig out those old photos, and come out for a cup of tea and a chat with the folks from Heritage NL!

Organized in partnership with the

  Eastport Peninsula Arts and Heritage Society

 and Salvage Fishermans Museum

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Candy boilers, fence builders, and blood pudding makers - celebrating the skills of Tilting, Fogo Island

Tilting NL - Candy boilers, fence builders, and blood pudding makers are featured in a new report celebrating the traditional skills of Tilting, Fogo Island.

Starting in 2022, the Tilting Recreation and Cultural Society (TRACS) and Heritage NL, in partnership with the Community Revitalization Research Program at Queen’s University, set out to identify traditional skill holders in the area.

That research on local knowledge has been released in a colourful new online publication by Heritage NL, with photos and quotes by the participants.

"We wanted to find the ‘hidden gems’ of Tilting traditions," says Dale Jarvis, Heritage NL Executive Director. "We found storytellers, musicians, carvers, lobstermen, keepers of beer plants, and experts on local lore, who are all represented in the study."

Jarvis says the document is a starting point for future research, with many more crafters, makers, and skills-holders to be identified. The report is available on the HeritageNL.ca website.


Monday, September 11, 2023

Job Posting: Records Management Clerk

Job Posting: Records Management Clerk

Heritage NL is seeking a Records Management Clerk, to assist Heritage NL further its goals of fostering a greater appreciation of historic places and living heritage, by digitizing organizational records and community archival and photographic collections, and making those more accessible to the general public. This will include scanning and digitization of photographic and written records, writing of archival metadata, as well as transcription of recorded oral histories. 

This will be a 52 week position at $20/hr, based in St. John's.  The applicant will have a background in records management and/or library and information sciences, experience in transcription, strong computer skills, and knowledge of various digital media formats. An archival background or work experience, or work with community heritage organizations, is an asset. 

This position is funded through the Job Creation Partnerships (JCP) program, so applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Be a resident of the province;

  • Canadian citizens or permanent residents legally entitled to work in Canada;

  • Meet the definition of EI-eligible;

  • Be approved by the Department under Section 25 of the Employment Insurance Act as insured participants who are active EI claimants; and

  • Have an employment plan that identifies that the JCP work experience being considered supports a reasonable occupational goal.

Heritage NL’s role is to safeguard and sustain the heritage of Newfoundland and Labrador for present and future generations everywhere, as a vital part of the identities of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, and as a valuable collection of unique knowledge and customs. 

Deadline to apply: Wednesday, September 20th

Send resume and cover letter to:


Dale Jarvis, Executive Director, Heritage NL

PO Box 5171

St. John's, NL

Canada A1C 5V5

Thursday, August 31, 2023

Interview with Joan Smith about the Heart's Content Cable Staff Houses

Photo of the Cable Staff Houses, taken from the side of #2, with the Superintendent's House in the background (Heritage NL, 2023)

This week I went to Heart’s Content to visit and interview Joan Smith, a long time resident of Heart’s Content. She is one of the last people in the community to remember the Cable Staff Houses #1 and #2 as they were when they were owned by the Cable Station and employees of 
the station lived in them. 

She had many stories and memories of the houses, specifically house #1 as she was friends with Ann Bonfield who lived in there with her father, Mr. Bonfield, and sister Eileen. Mr. Bonfield was originally from England and came over here to work in the Cable Station. His first wife died during childbirth and his second wife died when Ann was very young. So it was just the three of them in the house, along with their housekeeper who would do the washing and cooking. Joan says she was the “grandmother type” and would stay there overnight to be able to get up early and get the girls ready for school. The Bonfield’s lived there from 1945 to the early 1950s.

It was well known in the community that people who lived in these houses previously were different, or as Joan described them, “snobbish”. They thought they were superior to the locals. No one from the community was ever allowed into the Cable Staff Houses, unless they were hired as a housekeeper for example. But Joan said Mr.Bonfield was different. She was welcomed into their home and she remembers having many meals there and spending time with Ann. Joan remembers one instance where in highschool she and Ann were to sing in a concert and Mr. Bonfield trained them. They sang ‘O Come, All Ye Faithful”. She said that they sang the song so many times she will never forget it, in both English and Latin! Mr. Bonfield was also trained as a watchmaker when he lived back in England so when he moved to Heart’s Content he would repair peoples watches and clocks, and he would never charge them. Mr. Bonfield did keep to himself, but Joan said he was always nice to the children in the community.

During the interview Joan brought out a bowl of gooseberries, which were a light green colour. She explained that they were actually from a European gooseberry tree, as the berries are green when they are ripe, rather than the regular red colour we see from the gooseberry trees here in Newfoundland. Joan said Mr. Bonfield told her brother to go up to the Cable Staff House and take the gooseberry tree. Now it resides in Joan’s yard. They are a bit bigger than Newfoundland gooseberries and were very flavourful! The tree must have come over from England when the other trees, such as the huge copper beech trees and maples, were brought over to be planted in the yard of the Cable Houses. Joan remembers the trees in the yard always being big, she would see them as she and her family walked up the hill to church.

Joan also remembers the Rendell family who lived in house #2. Mr. Rendell was originally from Heart’s Content and was able to get work in the Cable Station. His wife was from Newfoundland, so they were different from previous people who had lived in the houses. They had three children, two boys, Roland and Wallace, and a girl, Phyllis. Unfortunately, Wallace, the youngest boy, passed away two years ago and Joan said it would have been great if I could have spoken with him since he actually lived in one of the houses. But I was able to listen to a clip from the Heart’s Content Cable Conference in 2016, where Wallace Rendell and Ted Rowe discuss their memories of growing up in a cable town. Rendell discusses a lot of his memories about living in the cable staff houses. Here is a link to that discussion if you are interested!


A couple of years ago, when the houses were owned by Ed and Lynda Woodley, they had an open house where people from the community could go inside and see the houses. Joan remembers going in. She said they did a good job restoring the house to what she remembers, with the only differences being the bathroom downstairs and the bathroom on the landing. Joan says that many people back then didn't have a bathroom inside, and if they did they were upstairs. Originally the downstairs bathroom was a butler’s pantry and the one on the landing was a small room, which could have been a number of things like a sewing room for example. The houses are incredible and if you ever get a chance to visit I highly recommend! 

The time I spent with Joan was impactful as I was able to learn about her and her childhood, but also her memories of the Cable Staff Hoses and Heart’s Content. I enjoyed learning about the people who lived in the houses and the memories that still surround them. We are always open to more stories about the Cable Staff Houses so do not hesitate to reach out to us!

If you’d like to learn more about the Heart’s Content Cable Staff Houses #1 and #2 click the link below and you’ll be directed to our field note on them!


Thursday, August 24, 2023

Endangered Crafts featured in Saltwire Article

Photo by Cameron Kilfoy/The Telegram.

Recently, Terra Barrett, Heritage NL's Intangible Cultural Heritage Program Planner was interviewed by Saltwire about endangered crafts in the province. The article touches on our Craft at Risk program including the Mentor-Apprentice program. If you want to learn more check out the article below. It also features, Melissa Tarrant, Manager and Business Mentor with Anna Templeton Centre discussing their recent workshops. 

Reviving Traditions: Local workshops breathing new life into endangered craft of Newfoundland and Labrador

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Avondale Railway Station on the St. John's Morning Radio Show


Picture was taken in the Avondale Railway Museum with Ted Doyle, son of the last Station Agent for Avondale and part of the last family to live in the station!

If you tuned into the St. John's Morning Show on CBC Radio One this morning you would have heard an interview done with Emlyn Tuck, our summer student Historic Buildings Researcher, where she talked about the Avondale Railway Station and the research that was conducted for it! If you missed it, no worries! Check out the link below to listen!


If you'd like to learn more about the Avondale Railway Station check out the following links to our website!


Heritage Update for August - Heritage at work in communities across the province

In this month's Heritage Update: heritage restoration is underway on both the Our Lady of Mercy Roman Catholic Church restoration on the Port au Port peninsula, and Sacred Heart Church, Open Hall; a feature on exterior bell towers or campaniles; a Craft at Risk and Heritage Skills Training Program Update; Heritage NL staff go in search of women's stories related to Registered Heritage Structures; a new plaque for Winter Home in Clarke's Beach; we dive into the history of the Avondale Railway Station; and some news from the ongoing restoration of the Fowler House in Brigus. People have been busy!

Download the pdf here

Contributions from:

Jarvis, Dale Gilbert
Barrett, Terra M.
O'Brien, Andrea
Lanphear, Juliet
Barker, Anne
Tuck, Emlyn
Burfitt, Stephen

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Heart's Content Cable Staff Houses #1 and #2: Got any stories?


Heart's Content Cable Staff Houses #1 and #2 (Heritage NL, 2017)

Heritage NL is looking for information about Cable Staff House #1 and #2 in Heart's Content! This building is a duplex and housed many people since being built in 1882, so there's lots of history there! If you have any stories or know anyone who used to live in the houses don't hesitate to let us know! We'd love to learn more about the history of the buildings and the people who came through their doors!

If you have any information you can email research@heritagenl.ca or take part in our survey, at the link below:

To learn more about the Cable Staff Houses check out the following links to our website!