March Newsletter 2013
Dear Residents and Friends
Tourism Elliston has set the dates for both the summer and fall festivals. The Bird Island Puffin Festival kicks off on Sunday, July 14 and concludes on Sunday, July 21. The Roots, Rants, and Roars Festival has been set for Friday, September 20 and Saturday, September 21. As each festival ended planning for this year’s festivals started, but will move into high gear within the next couple of months. Both festivals were highly successful last year. The Puffin Festival generated a net profit of approximately $13,000 and the Roots, Rants, and Roars netted $20,000. Tourism Elliston has a contractual agreement to put $10,000 of that amount up front into this year’s Roots, Rants, and Roars Festival budget.
The Volunteer Commitment in Elliston has established the Bird Island Puffin Festival as one of the top 10 “must see” events in Newfoundland and Labrador. This same commitment has placed Roots, Rants, and Roars as the premier culinary festival in this province and one of the best in all of Canada. Not bad for a community of just over 300 residents!
With the success of these festivals comes much publicity. Approximately 40 media representatives came to Elliston last year to cover the Roots, Rants, and Roars Festival. Leading national and international media personnel highlighted not only the festival activities, but also the community backdrop—especially the beautiful coastline, beach, berry grounds, and our iconic root cellars. This was all free publicity which normally would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Newspaper, magazine, and television coverage have heightened the interest abroad for both of our festivals. Local businesses in Elliston and the region have already and will continue to reap the rewards of this tremendous advertising. Last year, every accommodation from Trinity to Elliston was at full occupancy. Tourism Elliston is proud to be a generator of this economic prosperity for local businesses.
Tourism Elliston is proud to announce several new partnerships and donations toward our 2013 Puffin Festival. Terra Nova Foods, St. John’s, have partnered with Tourism Elliston to supply five 20 lb. pails of salt beef free of charge, 20 aprons for our kitchen staff, and a large festival banner. Gord Chaytor, General Manager and Vice President of Sales and Marketing for the company, says he is looking forward to partnering with Tourism Elliston for this wonderful event and would be delighted to attend. The Old Port salt beef is a household name and I am sure the Jiggs dinners to be served will live up to Old Port’s slogan—“Trust the Name, Taste the Flavour.” I am looking forward to meet Gord in person on behalf of Tourism Elliston and hopefully this partnership can continue for many years.
Custom Computer Centre, Bonavista, has been a major partner for many years; they always donate a major prize that we use as a ticket promotion. Last year, the company donated a netbook. This year, we have partnered in a 50-50 cost on a 51” Samsung Plasma TV. Tickets are $2.00 each or 3 for $5.00 and are currently on sale at seven locations: Collins Quick Stop, Elliston; Pondside Grocery, Catalina; Custom Computer Centre, Parts Place, Tremblett’s Convenience, Audrey’s Grocery, and Durdle’s Red Circle all located in Bonavista. Tickets will also be available at the festival or can be purchased at the Tourism office. The draw date has been set for Sunday, July 21, 2013. Get your tickets soon as there are a limited number available (3000).
Tourism Elliston would like to thank Mrs. Leora Coles who made and donated 14 puffin quilts for the previous Puffin Festivals. Her quilts were always unique and each year presented a different look and emphasis on specific details of our culture and landscape. Unfortunately, Mrs. Coles is no longer able to donate a quilt due to an injury she has sustained after a car accident. Her quilts were always a major attraction for our ticket booths and greatly contributed to our fundraisers. However, Tourism Elliston is pleased to announce that Linda Warren-Bray from Stitches from the Rock, Charleston, has agreed to make a quilt for us this year. She will attend the Puffin Festival to present us with this quilt. We thank Linda for her donation and look forward to working with her in the years to come. These donations have ensured the success of the Puffin Festival and always will.
Unfortunately, Nanny’s Root Cellar Kitchen did not open last year. The restaurant is a key asset for this community as it really helps us to tell the “subsistence” story. A traditional restaurant with a traditional menu goes hand-in-hand with the subsistence theme. To ensure that we do not lose another season, Tourism Elliston purchased the assets of the restaurant from the previous owner. The fact that we already had ownership over the building added to the reasoning for us to also own the assets and inventory. Last July, Tourism Elliston placed an expression of interest in the hopes that we might be able to lease the building and the assets to have the restaurant up and running. The worst-case scenario for us would be that we would have to run the business ourselves. We are very pleased to announce that Pinnacle Rock Industries Ltd. have agreed to lease the building and assets owned by Tourism Elliston and operate Nanny’s Root Cellar Kitchen as a restaurant for 2013. Zackery Durdle and Cheryl Butler, both of whom have worked in the industry in St. John’s, will oversee this new business. Zackery, who is originally from Birchy Cove, and Cheryl, who hails from Bell Island, will bring their culinary skills and experience to Nanny’s Kitchen. An early May opening is anticipated. Tourism Elliston and certainly all residents wish them every success in this new venture.
Tourism Elliston has partnered with Sir William Ford Coaker Heritage Foundation, Rising Tide Theatre, and Trinity Historical Society in a Targeted Initiative for Older Workers Program (TIOW). The Coaker Foundation is the proponent of this proposal which will see Elliston receive three employees to work in the tourism industry. I am sure many of you have seen the ad for this initiative either on the community ad channel or in retail establishments here in Elliston and throughout the region. Participants had to be between the ages of 55-64 to qualify. The deadline to apply was March 27, 2013.
Tourism Elliston has also applied for a Job Creation Program for interpretative guides for 2013. Our application has been received by the Department of Education and Advanced Skills. We hope to receive confirmation of this proposal in the near future.
Tourism Elliston has requested some financial assistance from Canadian Heritage’s Building Communities Through Arts and Heritage Program for the Puffin Festival and the Roots, Rants, and Roars Festival. Last year, we received $16,800 from this program toward the Roots, Rants, and Roars Festival. We wish to receive assistance for both festivals this year. A special thanks to Canadian Heritage for their generous donation.
Last year, we also partnered with Atlantic Lottery. Atlantic Lottery provided Tourism Elliston with a $1,000 cheque which we used to help cover some of the many expenses of the festivals. We hope to partner with them again for the current festival season.
In December of last year, we partnered with the Ryan family to present two $200 educational scholarships in the memory of Ack Ryan, a director with Tourism Elliston for many years. The scholarships were presented at the recent awards night at Discovery Collegiate.
David French, a long-time supporter and entertainer at the Puffin Festival, is unsure of the role he might play at the 2013 Puffin Festival. We hope he may feel well enough to help us out again this year. David has agreed again to donate $200 cash to this year’s Peninsula Idol. Thank you, David!
Last year, more than 150 desserts were donated to our two festivals. We would like to extend our appreciation to all residents and friends of Tourism Elliston in the region for this. A special thanks to our friends at the Coaker Foundation who supplied us with 20 desserts for Roots, Rants, and Roars. Without these donations the festivals would not have been as successful as they were.
During the last tourist season, 4,700 tourists visited the Visitor Interpretation Centre at the Elliston Adventure Craft Shop located in the Ryan’s Building. Approximately 12,000 tourists visited our puffin site. Elliston has no doubt become a major tourism destination on the Bonavista Peninsula. Last year, I did about ten bus tours and we expect the number to be much higher this year. I have already booked six tours and Adventure Caravans, an international company, will no doubt be looking for our interpretation of the puffins and root cellars. Tourism Elliston was financially rewarded last year for doing those bus tours which certainly helped to cover our office expenses.
Tourism Elliston is currently working on the establishment of a new website. We anticipate that it will be up and running before this year’s Puffin Festival.
Tourism Elliston has also applied for funding within two student programs. An application for funding has been filed to Canada Young Works to provide one student to work out of the Tourism Office. We have also applied to the Canada Student Summer Job Program. Both of our applications have been received and we wait for word on funding for these programs.
Last October, as a part of our Active Living Program, we partnered with the Autism, Alzheimer’s, and kidney dialysis groups in the Bonavista area to walk the Klondike Trail. Each group supplied sponsor sheets and the Walkathon raised much needed funds for each group. Unfortunately, because of the rainy season, the Klondike Trail was not suitable for our Walkathon so we chose the Sandy Cove-Maberly route.
We partnered with the Town of Elliston to sponsor a “Pizza & Pop” get-together with our summer student employees. The students worked hard and did a great job at the park. Thanks to Donna, at the town, for her commitment to the students and for her part in the organization of the event.
Tourism Elliston is working with Mr. Robert Tilley with the ultimate aim of finding funds for the stabilization and restoration of the Tilley House. We are interested in telling the Merchant *Planter story of Robert Tilley and his son, Arthur Tilley. The Rooms, in St. John’s, has concise documentation spanning 40 years (1850-1890) of Elliston’s history. On behalf of Tourism Elliston, I have written Mr. Larry Dohey, Manager of Collections and Projects at The Rooms, asking him if they would supply us with an electronic format of the “Tilley Collection.” This collection represents, if not the oldest, one of the oldest records on the Bonavista Peninsula. No doubt this would augment the subsistence story that Tourism Elliston continues to tell. It would be a valuable display or exhibit for the community of Elliston. We are currently awaiting a response.
Tourism Elliston would also like to thank the Salvation Army Band for coming to Elliston again this year to our tree lighting ceremony, and thank the volunteers who helped us put the lights on the tree. Instead of cutting a tree down, we decorated the large tree next to the root cellar by Betty’s house. It proved to be the perfect tree and is most definitely the environmentally friendly way to go.
Tourism Elliston has also submitted a “Green Team Proposal” to Conservation Corps Newfoundland and Labrador to construct one root cellar and restore two others. This program is aimed at individuals between the ages of 16-30 and is more than just an employment program. The Green Team Proposal provides opportunities for our youth to gain valuable skills through meaningful community work. The program encourages team work, creative thinking, problem solving, and it aims to contribute to long-term sustainable development in a region. We are hoping that one of the corporations identified by the Conservation Corps will understand that the Green Team Proposal is a worthwhile project and completely finance it. If we are not successful, we will submit the proposal again the following season.
Committee wise, Tourism Elliston has been a little short-handed recently. Myrtle recently lost Ches and has taken some time off. We hope she will soon rejoin our committee on a daily basis. John has had some major health concerns in the recent months and we wish him a speedy recovery. The Recreation Committee recently lost a great volunteer, Steward Baker. Our sympathies go out to the Baker family. Steward was also a very valuable volunteer with Tourism Elliston.
On behalf of Tourism Elliston, I thank you for your volunteer contribution to our committee and the town. Tourism Elliston and I look forward to an exciting 2013 tourism season. Feel free to contact me anytime at 468-7080.
Event Planner for Tourism Elliston