Labrador West Pi­o­neers: Gor­don and Stella Avery

The Aurora (Labrador City) - - Editorial -

This ver­sion of our Labrador West Pi­o­neer’s is a story of a truly re­mark­able cou­ple. Gor­don first came to Labrador to work on the Twin Falls project in 1958 and ‘59. He re­turned to the is­land at the end of this project and came back to work on the Churchill Falls project in the early 1970’s.

When Gor­don re­turned home to Ivany’s Cove New­found­land, lo­cated be­tween Hil­lview and North Branch, he and his wife Stella made the de­ci­sion to make a move to Labrador West and give it a try and see how things were go­ing to work out in 1975.

One of the fac­tors in this in­cred­i­ble leap of faith was that they moved, lock stock and bar­rel with six chil­dren be­tween the Gor­don and Stella Avery

ages of four and 13 to Labrador West. It must have worked for them, they are still here.

They be­gan their time in Labrador West with their six chil­dren in a rented house for a time and then to the Trailer Court. From there, they pur­chased their home on Bal­sam Street in Labrador City, where they have re­mained to this day.

Gor­don worked 25 years for the Iron Ore Com­pany of Canada un­til his re­tire­ment. They have been blessed with 10 grand­chil­dren and 10 great-grand­chil­dren dur­ing their 58 years of mar­riage so far.

They look back on all of the years in Labrador West with great fond­ness as they have lived an in­cred­i­ble life of shared pas­sion for the great out­doors and all of the trea­sures it has held for them.

To­gether in the early years they packed up their gear and all six young­sters and boarded the train to be dropped off at Demille Lake and then hike the trail for 1.5 miles to the shores of Shabog­amo Lake and set up camp for a big fam­ily time of fish­ing.

When the road and the bridge crossed the Os­sak in ‘93, they quickly broad­ened their ter­ri­tory to ex­plore all of the new fish­ing and hunt­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties that this new ac­cess of­fered them.

They were quick to pass on the pas­sion and les­sons of the “Big Land” to the young­sters who have to this day em­braced it as an im­por­tant part of their life­style and are now pass­ing it on to their chil­dren.

Gor­don and Stella are now re­spec­tively 81 and 77 years of age. This age doesn’t seem to play any neg­a­tive roll in their de­sire to be nes­tled away at their cabin. They can’t wait to pack up and head into their cabin — the 75 kilo­me­tres each way with the snow­mo­bile and sleigh full of gear into their cabin at the Simms River on the Esker Road is clearly the wheel­house to the true hap­pi­ness they con­tinue to share with each other.

They have both so­lar and wind power, a satel­lite ra­dio and a big wood­pile for warmth from the stove — all the com­forts re­quired for a great time to­gether at the cabin.

Stella is quick to say that al­though she spends a fair amount of time knit­ting and cro­chet­ing, she spends equal time out­side.

Gor­don is just as quick to say that Stella has been his part­ner at his side hunt­ing, fish­ing and trap­ping to­gether over all of these years.

They grow their own po­ta­toes and goose­ber­ries and pick the berries the “Big Land” of­fers up each year. They also share a Labrador coast and North­ern Penin­sula ad­ven­ture each sum­mer for the salmon fish and all of the other ad­ven­tures that a time out there gives them. No story of Gor­don and Stella can be told with­out the men­tion of their con­stant com­pan­ion, Mag­gie, the dog who shares all of their ad­ven­tures with them.

As al­ways, the fi­nal ques­tion to them, any re­grets in the twists of fate that has given them their lives in Labrador? They both laughed and looked at each other and said to­gether, not one.

Don’t for­get, aged 81 and 77 and the en­thu­si­asm of teenagers, for their next ad­ven­ture on the “Big Land”. Wow, what a won­der­ful, shared story.

GARY SHAW - SPE­CIAL TO THE AURORA

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