Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Cultural Tourism workshop with Dale Jarvis - Storytelling Your Site


An introduction to crafting storytelling-based guided tours for sites, museums, and historic places, with storyteller Dale Jarvis.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

“Storytelling Your Site” is a cultural tourism workshop for museum, parks, and historic site staff, archivists, docents, and tour guides, designed to help you improve visitor experience through storytelling.
  • Why use story in heritage sites?
  • How do you search out stories for your site, tell these stories, and make history come alive?
  • How do you encourage people to linger and spend more time exploring?
Instructor Dale Jarvis will answer those questions, and demonstrate how he uses archival material and oral history to find his tales and bring them to life. Along with insider secrets, suggestions for project focus, and examples from his own award-winning projects, Dale will show you how to work with what you have, and how to tie those things together to create a consistent theme that links to your site mandate.

The workshop will provide an interactive, relaxed, and supportive environment. Participants will work individually, in pairs, and in groups. If you haven’t done a workshop with Dale before, he encourages talking, laughter, thinking, and doing!

About Dale Jarvis

Dale Jarvis is the proprietor of the St. John’s Haunted Hike ghost tour and has been storytelling and delivering education sessions for museums and parks for over a decade. As a storyteller, he has worked with venues including Red Bay National Historic Site, Cape Spear National Historic Site, The Rooms, and the Newman Wine Vaults Provincial Historic Site, and he has created a popular site-specific storytelling program for Signal Hill National Historic Site. Dale is a trained folklorist, author of six books on the folklore of Newfoundland and Labrador, and is the founder of the St. John’s Storytelling Circle. In 2015, the City of St. John’s presented Dale with the Legend Award for outstanding enhancements to the tourism industry.

Thursday, March 15, 2018
Admiralty House Communications Museum
365 Old Placentia Road, Mount Pearl
12:30pm - 4:30 pm

This is a half-day workshop (with snacks!)

Cost: $55

Pre-registration is required, and you can book and pay online at www.dalejarvis.ca. If you are registering on behalf of an organization that requires an invoice to pay by cheque, email dale@dalejarvis.ca directly. Workshop limited to the first 20 participants to register. Free parking on site.

About the venue:

Admiralty House Communications Museum, Mount Pearl, tells the story of the region's past, wireless communication, and the tragedy of the S.S. Florizel. It was originally constructed in 1915 by the Marconi Telegraph Co. during the First World War as the top secret H.M. Wireless Station for the British Royal Navy. This station, now the last standing of the 11 identical stations around the world, was built to intercept German naval transmissions, and to track icebergs and ships in distress.

Monday, 29 January 2018

"Lugged off" by the fairies - A Quebec fairy story from Dr. Wilfred Grenfell

The Strathcona, ca. 1910. From Wilfred T. Grenfell, Labrador: The Country and the People
(New York: The MacMillan Company, 1910) 246. Heritage NL website

Most of the fairy stories I have come across from this province are from the Avalon region, with a seeming concentration of fairy stories from Conception Bay. There are other spots throughout the province where fairy stories can be found, and I have heard a few, though not many, from Labrador as well.

This story is from just over the Labrador border, in the Bonne Esperance region of Quebec’s Lower North Shore. But there is a Newfoundland and Labrador connection, since the story itself comes from the famed Dr. Wilfred Grenfell.

The earliest version of the story I have found is from an article entitled “The Log of the S.S. Strathcona” published in the magazine “Among the Deep Sea Fishers” in October of 1903. The magazine was the official publication of the International Grenfell Association. It was published in Ottawa by the Grenfell Association Publication Office, from 1903 to 1981, and details the life of the mission and experiences in Labrador and northern Newfoundland.

In the summer of 1903, Grenfell, travelling on board the S.S. Strathcona, stopped in the community of Bonne Esperance, Quebec, and shared stories with some of the local inhabitants. It was here that Grenfell heard a story about the fairies, which he included in a letter written on July I5th to the editor of the magazine. Grenfell writes,
“I was greatly interested by one of the settlers telling me that last winter he had been ‘lugged off by the fairies.’ He assured me many travellers over some marshes known as Kennedy’s, had at various times been ‘lugged off’ by these same fairies. Certain it was he spent a night away on ground well known to him last winter, and that without food or any preparation for the night. A search party found him returning next day. It had been bitterly cold and there was 12 to 16 feet of snow on the ground, but his own description was that he had heard these fairies, and had had to follow them away from home. 
At night he climbed down into a hole in the snow by the foot of a tree, placed under his feet the still warm body of an Arctic owl that he had shot, and around his legs a dozen or so dead partridges. Then he crouched up in a ball, and pulling his jumper right over his head to keep the draft off and the heat in, he went peacefully to sleep. In the morning he woke up as spry as could be, ‘ne’er a frostburn,’ though it was some time before the blood had done ‘trinkling’ back again into his legs.”
The story evidently made an impression on the then 38-year old Grenfell, because he included the tale, with additional detail, a decade and a half later in his autobiography, “A Labrador Doctor.”

In his book, Grenfell gave the man a name - Harry Howell. Grenfell also added a few details missing from the 1903 version. According to Grenfell, Howell had heard the fairies ringing bells, a sound he had heard before. Grenfell writes,
“He told me later that he was coming home in the afternoon when the blizzard began. It was dirty, thick of snow, and cold. Suddenly he heard bells ringing, and knew that it was the fairies bidding him to follow them - because he had followed them before. So off he went, pushing his way through the driving snow. When at last he reached the foot of a gnarled old tree in the forest, the bells stopped, and he knew that was the place where he must stay for the night.”
Grenfell goes on to note that there “was no persuading the man that the ringing bells were in his own imagination.”