Her­itage value

The Compass - - OPINION - An­drew Robin­son is The Com­pass’ ed­i­tor. His favourite tra­di­tional folk song is “Matty Groves” and he can be reached at ed­i­tor@cb­n­com­pass.ca.

Driv­ing along Wa­ter Street in Car­bon­ear th­ese days, you’ll no­tice there’s a lot of ac­tiv­ity hap­pen­ing at the large stone build­ing known as Rorke’s Stone Jug.

Built in the 1860s, the prop­erty has not been in use since The Stone House bar closed in 2008.

It would have been a real shame to see that build­ing go to waste. One needs to only look at what hap­pened one town over with Ri­d­ley Hall in Har­bour Grace. That his­tor­i­cal stone struc­ture was due to un­dergo sub­stan­tial ren­o­va­tions in the 1990s, but that vi­sion was quashed by an un­for­tu­nate case of ar­son. That build­ing now ap­pears to be a lost cause.

The value of her­itage in this prov­ince is in­creas­ingly rec­og­nized as one of New­found­land and Labrador’s supreme as­sets. Whether it’s his­toric struc­tures or old folk tra­di­tions, there’s a pub­lic in­ter­est in th­ese mat­ters with po­ten­tial eco­nomic spinoffs abound.

In Pla­cen­tia, an in-progress ex­hibit fo­cus­ing on the “Voices of Pla­cen­tia Bay” (see Page A10) will tie in nicely with the Voices of Pla­cen­tia Bay Fes­ti­val, an event that cel­e­brates the area’s sto­ried mu­si­cal her­itage. Of­fer­ing a fur­ther av­enue to ex­plore that her­itage is a smart move on the lo­cal his­tor­i­cal so­ci­ety’s part.

It seems that vol­un­teers are of­ten heav­ily in­volved in ad­vanc­ing her­itage causes. But some­times it takes peo­ple with deep pock­ets too. That would ap­pear to be the case with Rorke’s Stone Jug.

On Fogo Is­land, a lot of money has been spent on the mas­sive and fancy Fogo Is­land Inn and the es­tab­lish­ment of the Shore­fast Foun­da­tion. Both place a heavy em­pha­sis on the links be­tween cul­ture and the econ­omy.

While the inn it­self has a mod­ern look, lo­cal cul­ture played a sub­stan­tial role in its de­sign. The struc­ture re­sem­bles a tra­di­tional fish­ing stage, though on a much grander scale. Fur­ni­ture and quilts filling the inn’s in­te­rior also took into ac­count lo­cal build­ing and quilt­ing tra­di­tions.

With a bit of cre­ativ­ity and a com­mit­ment to rec­og­niz­ing the value of our unique cul­tural her­itage, there are plenty of op­por­tu­ni­ties out there to cre­ate attractions that will make peo­ple want to ex­plore com­mu­ni­ties.

Of course, such en­deav­ors are not just about CFAs (come from aways). Valu­ing her­itage is equally about valu­ing your com­mu­nity. Work to pro­mote her­itage builds com­mu­nity pride and in­vests peo­ple in the fu­ture of where they live.

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