Storytelling is a tradition in Newfoundland and Labrador

Sight of Portuguese seafarers

Storyteller Marketing in Newfoundland and Labrador

Storyteller marketing in Newfoundland and Labrador has a long tradition. Whether in storyteller events, at parties with friends or in literature - the Newfoundlanders tell stories. Willingly. Inventive. Adventurous. Newfoundland is made for stories of all kinds: icebergs protrude from the ocean in the distance. The wind carries the smell of seaweed into the country. In the distance you can hear the breathing whales and observes the flight of puffins in front of the cliffs of "the rock". This is what the Newfoundlanders lovingly call their island in the St. Lawrence Gulf.

Land of a thousand stories: Newfoundland © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline
Storyteller marketing has a long tradition in Newland and Labrador

The island's cemeteries face the sea. As if the people who are buried here wanted to look back on their adventures on the edge of the island. Some of the islanders come from another island known for its storytellers and writers: Ireland. No wonder, then, that Newfoundland is home to a number of Canada's finest writers: Wayne Johnston, Michael Crummey, Michael Winter, Kenneth Harvey.


John Guy's landing on Newfoundland © courtesy Cupids Legacy Center
John Guy's landing on Newfoundland © courtesy Cupids Legacy Center


Newfoundland and Labrador - the land of storytellers

Among the stories of the storytellers are stories of personalities whose adventures are typical of the people of Newfoundland. It starts with the beginning of the settlement on "the rock". Sir John Guy landed in Cupids, which is about an hour's drive north of the island's capital St. John's. At this point he made the first attempt to colonize the island permanently. He himself only stayed here for one winter (1610 to 1611). Then he sailed back to his hometown of Bristol, England. But the place on the east coast of Newfoundland owes to him the reputation of being the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in Canada. It is North America's second oldest place. Only Jamestown, Virginia, is older, if only by three years.


The "Roosevelt" under Captain Bob Bartlett © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline
The "Roosevelt" under Captain Bob Bartlett - storyteller marketing in Newfoundland and Labrador


Arctic Stories by Captain Bob Bartlett

Not far from Cupids we hear from Captain Bob Bartlett at Hawthorne Cottage in Brigus. As captain, he accompanied the "Roosevelt" Commander Robert Peary on his attempts to reach the North Pole. The "captain" came from the place on the Atlantic coast. His parents and sisters lived here. He kept coming back from his voyages in the Arctic.

Bob Bartlett was famous for his leadership skills. He proved this on the Karluk expedition, which was pursued by misfortune. He took the lead when Vilhjalmur Stefansson left the expedition. After being stranded in the ice for months, Bartlett and the Inuit hunter Kataktovik marched 700 miles from Wrangel Island over the ice into the Chukchi Sea and through Siberia. From Alaska, he organized a rescue operation for his companions who had stayed behind. He later received the Royal Geographical Society's highest award for the courage he had shown in doing so.


Joe Smallwood, loving storyteller marketing in Newfoundland and Labrador
Joe Smallwood, affectionately known as "Joey," ran storyteller marketing for Newfoundland and Labrador


"Joey" Smallwood, storyteller marketing for Newfoundland and Labrador

We hear and read again and again on our trip through Newfoundland from Joe Smallwood, the island's first Prime Minister after joining Canada. We had read Wayne Johnston's book "The Colony of Unfulfilled Dreams" prior to the trip. In it the author describes the life of Joe Smallwood. The novel is the best preparation for a trip through this province for everyone who wants to get to know the soul of the region better. There is hardly a better way to approach the Newfoundland mentality than this book.

Another reading I recommend for this is Annie Proulx's “Ship Reports”. We come across this book again and again along the way. Once we even spend the night in the same hotel as the crew of actors in the film. The two main actors Kevin Spacey and Juliane Moore stayed during the filming at the Fisher's Loft Inn in Port Rexton near Trinity.


Coast at Trinity, Newfoundland - Storyteller Marketing in Newfoundland and Labrador
Coast at Trinity, Newfoundland


Newfoundland dogs are storytellers

Then there are the stories that life in Newfoundland writes. These are nowhere near the worst. On the contrary, they show the humor of the people on the island in their own way. Despite all adversities, they never lose their sense of humor and good humor. So Tineke Gow, the owner of the Artisan Inn in Trinity, accompanies us over a bad corrugated iron road to the local lighthouse. With a twinkle in her eye, she tells us that the local car mechanic has only just passed away. So if we need a spare tire ... We can guess the rest.


Mareike and Tineke Gow Storyteller Marketing in Newfoundland and Labrador
Conversation with Mareike and Tineke Gow in Trinity - Storyteller Marketing in Newfoundland and Labrador


Stories that life writes

Tineke reports from the local carpenter. He is over 1,90 meters tall and now over eighty years old. Because of its size, it has had a piece of jewelery in the living room for years. His coffin, which he made himself. "After all, it doesn't fit in one of the coffins that are otherwise common," she says with a giggle.

She tells of the tour guide of a tourist group who lied the blue of the sky to one of his passengers when the bus drove past an inlet near Trinity. In the middle of it the buoys of an oyster farm could be seen. When asked what it was, he replied, “Yes, you know, that's how people bury their dead in Trinity. The ground here is so rocky that it is impossible to maintain a cemetery. Therefore you hang the dead upside down in the water ... "

Source: On-site research with the support of Tourism Newfoundland and the Canadian Tourism Commission as well as Tineke Gow from Artisan Inn in Trinity

The travel memories Other travel bloggers can be found at this link.

Text: © Monika Fuchs
Photos: © Copyright Monika and Petar Fuchs

Storytelling is a tradition in Newfoundland and Labrador
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