By Mark Squibb/March 10, 2022
Harbour Main-Chapels Cove-Lakeview is one of 181 communities across the province getting provincial government funding for special Come Home Year projects.
The town’s Tourism, Cultural and Heritage Committee is putting the $2,000 towards the creation of interactive story maps of areas of interest that are linked to the town’s website.
Committee chairwoman Catherine Ann Kelly said the group had been looking for a way to share its knowledge of the area with visitors.
“We know we have beautiful hiking trails, we live in a really historic space rich in heritage and culture; how do we share that with people who want to come here? Our idea, our project, is to create an interactive map of hiking trails and areas of interest within the community, that is linked to a website,” she said.
Kelly said that as the town doesn’t have a museum or tour guides, this is an interactive way for people to experience the community.
“Harbour Main is filled with beautiful hiking trails, but if you didn’t know where to go, you would never know they existed,” said Kelly.
Ashley Smith, also of Harbour Main, is assisting closely with the project.
She explained the committee hopes to partner with a computer science student at College of the North Atlantic or Memorial University to develop a geographic information system (GIS) map overlayed with a graphic design layer to make the interface look more visually appealing. The GIS integrates location data with descriptive information.
People would be able to access the map through an app or website. The idea of the project is that, using your phone or tablet or computer, you can scroll over a location on the map and read a short history of French invasion and battles, or perhaps a more personal story, such as where so-and-so met or had their first date.
“Walking around the community, my family has been here since the 1700’s, and so I’m saying to Ashley, ‘This is where my mother was born,’ and ‘This is where my great-great grandfather was born,’ and this is where they moved when the electricity came in,” said Kelly.
Part of the story gathering component of the project is funding dependent, but they hope to hire a special project coordinator to help with the story collection on a larger scale should they receive some extra money. Those applications have already been submitted.
Smith, who moved from Ontario seven years ago but now calls Harbour Main home, said the greater narrative thread of the project is what home means to each one of us.
“What does ‘Home’ actually mean?” asks Smith. “Because ‘Home’ to us means something very different than what ‘Home’ would have meant several generations ago. Or maybe it’s not, maybe there is a common thread there. But you have to explore those layers to really understand.”
To that end, the project may help highlight some of the changes that have taken place in the community over the years — even if those changes have been in word only.
“One of the beaches that we have here, the name changes depending on the generation,” explained Smith. “It’s the same beach, but you know roughly what generation people are from depending on how they refer to the beach — it’s either Luke’s Beach or Mary’s Beach or Chapel’s Beach.”
As per the funding requirements, the project has to be finished by August, and both women hope the trail map is up and running by the middle of summer.