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mark wood

by Mark Wood

Migrating Newfoundlanders

While visiting Brewery Lane recently I had the honour of being introduced to a wine-making customer who admitted that “ She didn’t drink beer but still read my stories.”

It was the nicest thing anyone has said to me in a while so this one goes out to you, my Dear, and even though it’s a beer story it may be retold over a great quantity of wine.

(Ahem.) The photographer Yousef Karsh once captured the image of Ironworkers hundreds of feet above the streets of New York City, perhaps in the early ‘60’s. The photo represented pure Americana, the brave, skilled tradesmen building the NY skyline and (my favorite part) most of the men portrayed were from Avondale and Harbour Main.

I always thought the photo was a rare co-incidence but due to a history of outmigration there are more Newfoundlanders scattered around the world than there are here at home.

Apparently there are NF reunion festivals in Ontario where more than 250,000 people attend. They’re comprised mostly of Bell Islanders who settled in Cambridge and their Command Post is Dick Stoyles store where they get their hard tack, salt fish and the beloved Savoury from Mt. Scio Farm.

And what about our adventurous young MUN graduates that went to Japan to teach English? They’ve been there for many years, long enough for a goodly sum of the population to speak English fluently with a strong NF accent.

And should they venture out into the world they can bawl out “How’s she goin’?” and someone will reply “Grand, just grand.”

* A print of the Karsh “Ironworker” photo is at the Legion in Harbour Main. A photo of Bell Island graces Dicks store in Cambridge.

Mark is also a regular columnist with The Independent (.ca) newspaper.