City Makeover

A common occurance in the City of St. John's, NL after the long winter is Spring cleaning.  Several communities like St. John's in Newfoundland and Labrador gear up to obtain bulk garbage, clean foilage from falling leafs etc.  However, St. John's especially, has been growing a reputation of dirt on our city streets.  Why?  Well, it's obvious that a clean city is not priority in the city budget.  Perhaps its burried deep within the budget of tourism, considering the influx of associations across the country that decide to have their conventions here. 

Among several other visitors to the city each year, we are now welcoming cruise ships earlier and this year, in Spring!  They come and visit and their unfortunate comments reflect how dirty the city is when they walk about downtown St. John's.  It might be best to put them on a tour bus right away and take them to CBS, Conception Bay South, and a ferry ride over the ocean on account of the lack of TLC St. John's has been given to its pedestrian areas. 

Downtown St. John's basically consists of three main thorough fairs.  Harbour Drive, Water Street and Duckworth Street.  Then you're heading in to up-town towards Long's Hill, King's Bridge Road, Hamilton Avenue or Rawlin's Cross. There are beautiful resting places throughout the city yet, the commonly used routes, bus routes especially, could use a city makeover using our City's Tourism budget dollars as one area of good investment. 

Instead of advertising on media, install park benches garbage cans, bill-board maps saying, "you are here", and sites to see in the area before hopping on the next bus to Bowring Park.

The recent investment in the few seating areas on Water Street has been dissapointing to Duckworth Street vendors since the inception of the pedestrian mall.  Season 4 is about to begin.

Vendors on Water Street will be closed to vehicle traffic during the summer months, yet Duckworth Street remains the same.  Visitors to the downtown region will most likely miss out on Duckworth Street vendors due to the 'action' being on the street below. The on-going debate continues yet, the surplus of litter and dog feces is not helping the matter and Spring clean up is done for the downtown region.  Therefore, our hard earned tax dollars going towards the tourism budget should include attiributes to making the city more clean and comfortable in the very least for those who like to be a tourist in their own town. 

St. John's is the captial of Newfoundland and Labrador and the largest city in the province. Statistics on the amount of visitors that come to our city are readily available and yet it would much more than ideal to say I would rather be writing about a satisfied welcome, however, St. John's lacks in comparison to larger cities that spray-wash their streets overnight for cafe and shops to open up to fresh pedestrain traffic the following morning. 

A survey link has been included if you wish to vote. External link opens in new tab or windowCity Makeover The response will be shared with the powers that be at the City of St. John's, NL.


Fred's Records hosts album launch, Garbage Street

It's Saturday afternoon, and the downtown region is beginning to bussel with Springtime community activity.  After a few enjoyable coffees, it was time to go shopping, for music. And why not? A chance to take in the album launch of Garbage Street by Mick Davis and Thin Love! At St. John's oldest record store, Fred's Records! The show was fantatastic!

A grand crowd enjoyed the all ages show at the Duckworth Street store with the latest groovy tunes by the band. One of St. John's finest talents, External link opens in new tab or windowMick Davis and Thin Love, filled the room with unlookers to catch a glimpse of the show and an autograph by the artists. "An album launch at Fred's Records is an ideal location for an all ages show to truly get a glimpse of the artists and their work", said Tony.

A quote from Mick himself will tell you how exciting it is!  "This album was created by six people: Allan, Craig, Jill, and myself, plus engineer and 5th Beatle, Krisjan Leslie, and Duncan Major, our jacket designer. (I will say how much I love this cover art: I love it!) I wrote the bulk of these songs as we were recording."

Host and long-time employee of Fred's Records, Tony Ploughman, couldn't hide his enjoyment as he kept the store in regular operation for the show.  Tony has a keen ear for good music and talent. His years spent with quality hand picked mentions includes Mick Davis.  As the band played unlookers were able to browse the store, see the band and meet up with others.  "Regular business operates as per usual during our shows", said Tony.

Tony's description sums up the atmosphere. "You get a performance that's up close and personal, intimate...unlike any other. You'll probably hear a story you won't hear anywhere else.  And everyone is there to celebrate the music.  The sound is beautiful.  Wooden ceilings and floors, and after the show the performers hang out, sign copies, and meet and greet while we crank the new album over the main. That's the vibe, the amazing energy at a Fred's Instore."

Live shows are not uncommon in St. John's and they offer an upclose exchange of the artists and their music through their audience. Several large acts have enjoyed playing here in Newfoundland and Labrador.  Many will comment on how welcomed they feel by fans as artists perform at our local venues to entertain.  The next venue for Mick Davis and Thin Love will be at Iceberg Alley Performance June 2024 where several acts will take place over the duration of a week.

If you would like to purchase Mick Davis and Thin Love, the latest album, Garbage Street, contact Fred's Records for an array of musical talent, albums, CD's and music memorabilia.

The Etsy Market

Meghan Fahey, Team Captain of Etsy Market, and I had a chance to meet up at the St. John’s Etsy Market on Saturday, May 11th.  The Atlantic Place was buzzing with activity of all sorts of creative talent, from handmade purses, and ornaments, to seal skin and jewellery. Meghan’s booth, External link opens in new tab or windowDriven to Ink, was kept busy as people caught a glimpse of unique cards, all handmade where many just couldn’t say no! All beautifully handcrafted, there was a greeting card there for all sorts of occasions.

As one of the captains of Etsy market, Meghan, along with Liza-Ann Tucker of External link opens in new tab or windowNan's Attic Round The Bay, and team photographer, Kara O’Keefe, have brought about a great opportunity for local market and vendors for NL.

Curious to know more, I asked Meghan a few questions as to how Etsy Markets work.  It’s quite an organized system of selecting vendors that will participate in their upcoming markets.  Jury markets, as they term it, select the vendors that will compliment their next venue.  Be that the time of year, what a vendor has to offer and of course, space!  Not everyone will get selected. 

The process involves applying for one of the 3 markets held each year.  The next one will be September 29th and November 17th at the Farmer’s Market.  The Spring Downtown Market held this past weekend at the Atlantic Place attracted approximately 2000 people of all ages.  There was something there for everyone.

The first Etsy Market in St. John’s was held at the Anna Templeton Centre in 2015 and continues to expand. Concentrating on hand made craft and vintage, The Etsy market team leaders along with Captain Meghan had 46 vendors at this year’s Spring Downtown Market. I asked Meghan how one can get involved. 

“The next application comes out the end of May 2024.”  Meghan explained, a 3-to-4-week application process then takes place and gives vendors ample time to prepare for the next Etsy Market.  The cost is $80.00 a booth.  The application will be posted on Facebook or Instagram.

Solar Storm 2024 Brings Aurora Borealis

The biggest solar storm in 20 years hit Earth in the early hours of May 10th, knocking out radio transmissions in Asia, eastern Europe and eastern Africa.  As beautiful as they are, the aurora borealis continues to remind us that our biggest star in the galaxy, the sun, is more powerful than anything else.  As we rely heavily on electricity for our well being, cellular technology, and radio frequencies to fly our airplanes, generate refridgeration, watch our computers, all of it can be taken away in a moment during a solar storm.  Electrical grids disrupted can sometimes take months to repair depending up on the damage caused. 

Most of us are aware of the need to conserve energy these days as our blue planet keeps reminding us of how vulnerable we are.  Turning off the lights, turning down the air conditioning or turning the down the heat, careful use of our electricity all helps in lessening the intensity that brings solar storm activity.  With over 8 billion people on earth, over 75% of us use electricity in our daily lives.  Together we can use it more wisely.  To help all ages understand a little bit more about the universe, here is a link to the External link opens in new tab or windowMighty Sky, music by Beth Nielsen Chapman.