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May 11, 2006
(Tourism, Culture and Recreation)

Minister announces funding for special celebrations in historic communities

Tom Hedderson, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, today announced an investment of $475,000 over three years to help heritage groups plan for upcoming major anniversaries in Brigus and Cupids.

Under Budget 2006, the department will provide $175,000 to the Historic Sites Association of Newfoundland and Labrador to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Captain Bob Bartlett�s trip to the North Pole in 2009; and $300,000 to the Cupers Cover Heritage Foundation to assist with planning the Cupids 400th Anniversary in 2010.

"The years 2009 and 2010 will mark two very important chapters in the history of the province," said Minister Hedderson during a news conference at the Cupids Museum. "This is an incredible opportunity for these communities to build recognition of these important stories and to put the spotlight on this region."

The year 2009 is the centenary of Captain Bob Bartlett�s famous expedition to the North Pole in 1909. Bartlett, who kept detailed journals of all his voyages, captained the ship that took Admiral Peary to the North and allowed him to win the "Race to the Pole." While planning is still in the early stages, it is hoped that the celebrations will include a visit by the Ernestina - formerly known as the Effie Morrissey - the two-masted schooner that Bartlett sailed on numerous Arctic expeditions beginning in 1925.

"We are very excited to be working with the community of Brigus on events to explore arctic connections for the year 2009 in recognition of Bartlett and Peary�s trip to the North Pole," said Catherine Dempsey, executive director of the Historic Sites Association of Newfoundland and Labrador, which operates Hawthorne Cottage, Bartlett�s original family home in Brigus. "Bartlett is a seafaring icon and his trips to the north were very important to our understanding of our arctic waters and our scientific studies. He opened up the north to the south."

The following year, 2010, will mark the 400th anniversary of John Guy�s settlement in Cupers Cove in 1610. Cupers Cove represents the earliest known English colony in Canada and the second British settlement in the New World. The Cupers Cove Heritage Foundation is planning various initiatives, including community events and a legacy project to protect and interpret the archaeological remains of the Cupids site.

"This anniversary will help create a lasting legacy to John Guy and the history of Cupids," said Roy Dawe, chair of the Cupers Cove Heritage Foundation. "This is a chance for the community to work together to plan a series of memorable events and activities that will no doubt attract a lot of new visitors to the region."

The special celebrations funding is part of a broader strategy under the recently launched cultural plan to develop more creative communities and regions. This government recognizes that large cultural events foster pride and identity, as well as develop tourism, especially in rural areas.

"These types of events educate locals and visitors about our history and celebrate our rich past," said Minister Hedderson. "They also mobilize and invigorate communities to work together to develop a strong cultural tourism product. After all, many of the tourists who come here are looking for an authentic experience. They want to learn about our heritage."

Under Budget 2006, the government announced an investment of $17.6 million over the next three years to implement the province�s first cultural plan. Entitled Creative Newfoundland and Labrador: The Blueprint for Development and Investment in Culture, the plan outlines major policies and directions to preserve, support and develop our province�s rich cultural resources //

Media contact: Susanne Hiller, Communications (709) 729-0928, 728-7762,

2006 05 11                        12:00 noon

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