"I would never trade moving to St. John's for anything"

Kudzaishe Chikowe reflects on the personal growth she experienced living in St. John’s as an international student. Positive things have really come out of it.

Identity Community Family Challenges Education Experience Mentality Difference African Community

Eastern Owl: Newfoundland’s all-women, all-nations drum group

Jenelle Duval talks about the all-women, all-nations drum group, Eastern Owl, and their project of education and community-building with Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in the province.

Identity Community Music Culture Education Indigenous People Experience Mentality Music Making

“I have to eat rice!”

Dr. John Wang reflects on his early days in St. John’s as an international student from Korea, unprepared for the very different food scene of his new home. He realized that he didn’t always like what he could buy. Dr. Wang remembers thinking, “I have to eat rice!”

Food Student Life Culture Challenges Education Experience Cooking Grocery Trade

The impact of social distance

Kudzaishe Chikowe and Rufaro Makamure tell a difficult story about not feeling accepted upon their arrival in Newfoundland from Zimbabwe. “When people understand more, you get to integrate properly.”

Identity Change Challenges Experience Encounter Difference Sociality African Community Public Culture

Capelin tourism in Middle Cove

Walter Burry describes the changing capelin fishing scene at Middle Cove Beach. In recent years, the fish have been arriving later and are smaller. People come from all over to participate in and observe the annual harvest.

Food Change Culture Challenges Festivity Encounter Trade Travel Tourism

A perspective on the saying “Newfoundlanders are friendly”

Wanjiru Nderitu responds to the saying “Newfoundlanders are friendly,” with a narrative that runs contrary to the island’s reputation. Listen to Nderitu’s intriguing story to hear about her experience.

Identity Newfoundlanders Culture Challenges Experience African Clothing African Clothing Encounter Sociality

On being Indigenous in St. John’s

Stacey Howse reflects on her experiences of racism and stereotyping as a seventeen-year-old Mi’kmaq woman who moved to St. John’s to attend Memorial University of Newfoundland. “I don’t think that any young person should feel ashamed of who they are, their culture, or where they are from,” she says. Today, her role at the First Light St. John’s Friendship Centre helps to effect positive social change.

Identity Culture Education Indigenous People Experience Mentality Indigenous Experience Sociality Racism

A quest for fish

Restaurateur Tak Ishiwata is always on the lookout for fresh produce and seafood in St. John’s. He points to the irony of the circuitous route taken by fresh tuna before it arrives at his restaurant.

Food Culture Challenges Experience Grocery Culture Shock Trade Japan Japanese Food

On raising children

While Canadians often talk about liberty and freedom, Alwell Oyet sometimes feels restricted by the customs in Canada. He reflects on the cultural differences between Nigeria and Canada with regard to raising children.

Identity Community Family Challenges Education Mentality Difference Canadian Culture Nigerian Culture

Wearing the hijab in St. John’s

Parisā reflects on the politics of wearing the hijab, the headscarf worn by some Muslim women in public, and her experiences as an Iranian woman in St. John’s.

Religion Culture Challenges Experience Encounter Employment Clothing Sociality Muslim Community

On food and feeling at home

Sometimes it is hard to find staple ingredients for home cooking in the grocery store. Kudzaishe Chikowe and Rufaro Makamure talk about foods from their home country of Zimbabwe, cooking in St. John’s, and differences in food practices across African cultures.

Food Music Culture Challenges Grocery Traditional Food African Community Ghanaian Food Home

The Beothuk and public imagination

A monument in Bannerman Park, St. John’s, is dedicated to the Beothuk and the memory of the people that were here before the city was built. Jerry Evans, an award-winning artist of First Nations and Inuit descent, notes how little is known about those first inhabitants of this place. He makes a case for the further commemoration of Indigenous Peoples and their histories in and around the city.

Identity Community Culture Challenges Festivity Celebration Indigenous People Beothuk People Belonging

Refugee groups and multiculturalism

The late Pastor Ross Sacrey describes some of the difficulties facing new immigrants and refugees in St. John’s. In a small city with small numbers of some newcomer ethnic groups, services are often more multicultural than targeting a single ethnic group. He and his parish do their best to accommodate any and all needs.

Community Religion Challenges Experience Catholic Community Multiculturalism Sociality New Canadian People Refugees

Canned spaghetti

Guido Del Rizzo talks about how the Italian food scene in St. John’s has changed over the past 45 years. When he first came to Newfoundland, the only pasta available was American canned spaghetti. Guido is happy to report that, these days, there are more options.

Food History Challenges Experience Drink Grocery Trade Italian Food Canadian Food

“I couldn't get a job”

Chinenye Oyet explains how she started her successful business in St. John’s. She couldn’t get a job without Canadian education or experience, so she started braiding hair. Now she owns Toya Beauty Supplies and International Market.

Small Business Challenges Education Grocery Employment Trade Material Culture Fashion African Community

On defecting at Gander: “I was looking for a better world”

Juan Perez talks about his life in Canada after escaping “the system” in his native Cuba and in Russia, where he studied. A member of the relatively small Latin American community in St. John’s, he describes the parties and celebrations that bring the group together.

Identity Community History Politics Experience Government Trade Russia Cuba

Catalogues as souvenirs

Larry Dohey shares this story about Portuguese fishermen being invited into people's homes while in St. John’s. Of all the objects of fascination to be found in these homes, the most mesmerizing for the young visitors from Portugal were the Eaton’s and Sears catalogues.

Community Portuguese Fishermen Family Encounter Trade Material Culture Home Wealth Portuguese Community

“As an Asian person in Newfoundland...”

Andrew Kim reflects on the assumption some people have that any Asian person they see is Chinese. He is a Canadian with Korean heritage but says he doesn’t mind being perceived as Chinese.

Identity Newfoundlanders Culture Experience Mentality Chinese People Korean People Sociality Sociality

Foraging for fiddleheads

Tak Ishiwata, owner and chef of Basho Restaurant, remembers the limited food selection in stores when he was growing up in St. John’s. He recounts how he foraged for wild ingredients to expand his family’s food options.

Food Family Culture Challenges Education Cooking Grocery Nature Play

Africans in Newfoundland and Labrador

Dr. Zainab Jerrett talks about the various African communities in St. John’s from the 1990s onwards. It may surprise you to hear just how far-reaching the connections can be. Her storytelling is rich in detail and human experience.

Change Culture Education Trade Newfoundland History Language African History African Community African People

On halal meat: “That’s the best we can do”

How do practicing Muslims in the St. John’s area get their halal meat? Mohammad Neamun Nasir says that they have had to make some creative arrangements given that there are no halal butchers in the province. “It’s not perfect, but it's the best we can do.”

Food Religion Ceremony Culture Mentality Traditional Food Trade Islam Ethnic Grocery

“I think I have the best of both”

Tak Ishiwata talks about learning to cook Japanese food as a child from his mother, Fumiko Ishiwata, as there was no Japanese food available at that time in Newfoundland. Born in Newfoundland to Japanese parents, Tak feels that he understands both cultures.

Identity Food Small Business Family Culture Trade Cultural Fusion Japanese Food Intergenerationality

“Do you know how to cook peas and rice?”

“Do you know how to cook peas and rice?” Vicki Carbage asks. Her excitement while sharing the recipe is contagious. “Beautiful meal,” she concludes. Try it yourself!

Food History Culture Mentality Cooking Grocery Sociality Lebanese Food Canadian Food

“Pescadores Bacalhau”: A poem to Portuguese fishermen

Enriqueta Duarte reads a poem she wrote about the hard life Portuguese fishers and their families, with the men away at work off the coast of Newfoundland. You can sense the emotion as she relays her feelings. Enjoy listening to Duarte near the end as she reads in Portuguese.

Portuguese Fishermen Family Religion Experience Experience Portuguese Language Fishing Poetry Portuguese Community

Che Bello: An Italian Restaurant in St. John's

Gail Chancey loves cooking fresh Italian food, but sometimes the ingredients are hard to come by. Here she talks about the ups and downs of life as a restaurateur in St. John’s. You can hear the busy restaurant in the background.

Food Family Italian Restaurant Challenges Experience Trade Family Business Italian Food Produce

The Chinese head tax in Newfoundland

In this story for CBC Radio, journalist Azzo Rezori reports on the unveiling in 2010 of a monument in downtown St. John’s that commemorates the Chinese head tax that was in effect in Newfoundland from 1906 to 1949. Rezori says this monument is a warning: “Beware of hate.”

Community History Challenges Politics Mentality Chinese People Government Commemoration Racism

“I like to have Portuguese food in Portugal”

Paula Mendonça tells us that she tends not to make dishes from her native Portugal when she is in Newfoundland. Having the pleasure of Portuguese food when she goes to Portugal for a visit is like a welcome home. Paula loves traditional Portuguese food and thinks there are some similarities between Portuguese and Newfoundland food cultures.

Food Culture Portuguese Food Multiculturalism Trade Tourism Home Newfoundland Food Portuguese Community

Diwali celebrations, happiness, and religion

Nikhil Joshi talks about the fun of Diwali celebrations growing up in St. John’s and how he learned to associate happiness with religion. He realizes now that many people have a different relationship with religion.

Community Religion Change Festivity Celebration Indian Culture Experience Material Culture Hinduism

Running wine for Portuguese fishermen

Bob Button recalls a humorous tale from his childhood in downtown St. John’s: running wine through the city’s alleyways between Portuguese sailors and their local patrons. Of course, back then, people turned a blind eye.

Portuguese Fishermen History Drink Encounter Employment Trade Communication Portuguese Community Boyhood

Child discipline and social services

N. K. describes some of the cultural differences and challenges facing new Canadians when it comes to raising and disciplining children, especially as they enter the school system.

Culture Challenges Culture Shock Immigrant Experience Difference Refugee Experience African Community Children Racism

On being African in music and dance

“We will entertain you with our faces and our music.” Kudzaishe Chikowe and Rufaro Makamure talk about singing with their group, Zimsoc, and the stereotyping they experienced as African performers.

Identity Challenges Forced Culture Difference Sociality Music Making African Music African Dance African Community

“I’m a Ukrainian Canadian”

Ivan Muzychka talks about his identity as a first-generation Ukrainian Canadian. He describes how he negotiates his Ukrainian roots and identity as a Newfoundlander.

Identity Community Family History Experience Ukrainian Culture Ukrainian Language Immigration Ukrainian People

The kindness of neighbours

Fumiko Ishiwata recalls her first experience driving in St. John’s in winter, getting stuck in the snow. She remembers the kindness of her neighbours.

Identity Newfoundlanders Experience Mentality Encounter Winter Weather Language Transportation

“I was the only one who spoke Japanese!”

In the early 1960s and 1970s in Newfoundland, there were few Japanese speakers who also spoke English. Dr. C. W. Cho was one of them. He tells the story of being called in to help explain to the authorities what had happened when a Japanese fisherman got into trouble.

English Language History Culture Japanese Language Drink Encounter Japanese People Trade Fishing

The desire to belong

Guido Del Rizzo reflects on his early days in Newfoundland. Sometimes, he says, we shy away from our heritage when we reach a new place and try to change in order to fit in.

Identity Change Culture Mentality Belonging Immigrant Experience Heritage Language Names

Japanese language and identity

Miki Lee reflects on growing up with a feeling that she was “not really Japanese” and different from the rest of her family for being “so Canadian.” She felt guilty until she realized that Dr. David Suzuki (the famous Canadian scientist of Japanese heritage) never learned to speak Japanese either.

Identity English Language Challenges Education Japanese Language Mentality Canadian Culture Japanese Culture Literature

Building community in unusual places

José Rivera believes that it is through newcomers’ feelings of community that successful settlement is achieved. People find and make new community connections in some unusual places.

Community Religion History Government Multiculturalism Trade Immigration Spanish Language Latin American Culture

“Who are you?”

“Who are you?” can be a complicated question with different answers depending on your background. Dr. Ankur Ralhan, who grew up in Newfoundland with parents who immigrated from India, describes navigating cultural and generational differences at home.

Community Family Indian Culture Experience Mentality Culture Shock Caucasian Culture Intergenerationality Expectations

Tony’s Tailor Shop

Tony Silver Jr. is the grandson of Antonio da Silva, who arrived in St. John’s in 1917 as a stowaway on a fishing ship from Portugal. What started in the 1960s as a custom suit-making enterprise grew and adapted as local tastes changed. Still in operation, Tony’s Tailor Shop is going strong.

Small Business History Clothing Tailor Trade Fashion Family Business Style Portuguese Community

The Jewish community in Newfoundland

In this story, Claire Frankel-Salama invites us into the mindset of a Jewish immigrant to Canada and describes the challenges such immigrants faced during the first half of the twentieth century.

Religion Culture Challenges Politics Canadian History Government Jewish History Immigration Jewish Community

“We are the most popular food stall at the Regatta”

The Indian food stall at the annual St. John’s Regatta on Quidi Vidi Lake started out small but is now the most popular food stall at the Regatta. The stall is an important fundraiser for the St. John’s Hindu Temple.

Food Newfoundlanders Change Culture Hindu Tample Trade Taste Leisure Indian Food

Indian culture in Newfoundland

Bageshree Vaze says she learned about the diversity of Indian culture while growing up in St. John’s. Immigrants from all regions and cultures of India socialized together in Newfoundland because their numbers were not sufficient to form separate associations. She feels fortunate to have experienced firsthand the cultural diversity of her home country.

Community Family Education Indian Culture Mentality Multiculturalism Diversity Provincialism Dance

Creating a business opportunity: Sahara Craft

While she was still a student, Wanjiru Nderitu turned a gap in the St. John’s craft market into a business opportunity, which has helped fund her education and support her and her daughter. “It’s been good!” Nderitu says.

Small Business Challenges Education Employment Material Culture Crafts African Community Kenyan Crafts Jewellery

The Michael family’s story of immigration and settlement

Lorraine Michael talks about her roots in St. John’s through this story of her family’s immigration from Lebanon to Newfoundland in the early 1900s. Although they faced many challenges, her family built a successful business and a strong community that celebrated Lebanese culture.

Identity Music Challenges Celebration Belonging Difference Racism Jazz Culture Arabic culture

Getting used to Newfoundland customs

Andreia Santos explains how it took her some time to get used to removing her shoes while in other people’s houses, as is the custom in Newfoundland. She is used to it now but still finds it strange to walk around other people’s houses without shoes.

Challenges Festivity Celebration Footwear Clothing Material Culture Fashion Customs Style

“There was nowhere for Muslims to pray”

Dr. Mahmoud Haddara describes the challenge that practicing Muslims encountered inside the St. John’s airport, trying to find a place to pray. “We have five daily prayers, so anytime you’re anywhere you’re bound to have a prayer time,” explains Dr. Haddara. The St. John’s Muslim community received a welcome response when they spoke to airport authorities in St. John’s about this challenge.

Religion Culture Inclusion Multiculturalism Trade Travel Islam Muslim Community Muslim Community

An urban powwow

The Spirit Song Festival in St. John’s celebrates Newfoundland and Labrador’s Indigenous artists. Jenelle Duval talks about plans for the 2018 festival that profiles both Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists and their joint creations. The festival is part of the first urban powwow (gathering) in St. John’s.

Music Culture Festivity Politics Celebration Indigenous People Visual Art Tradition Collaboration

Finding love in Bannerman Park

Allan Byrne recounts the story of his aunt, Adelaide Byrne, and her chance meeting in Bannerman Park with Douglas Black, a sailor ashore in St. John’s from a British navy ship. It was wartime and he was not in port for long.

Community Newfoundlanders History Politics Encounter Government Soldier Military Love

The expropriation of a St. John’s neighbourhood: “It tore apart the community”

Lorraine Michael describes the impact of the municipal government’s decision to expropriate the area around Barter’s Hill and New Gower Street in St. John’s. “Every block on New Gower had at least one store, and people lived up over their businesses. There was a real community that was torn apart in the process,” she explains. One positive element to come out of this was the rerouting of Barter’s Hill, which originally came straight down from Lemarchant Road and was incredibly steep.

Community History Change Politics Expropriation Government Sociality Geography Geography

“The weather doesn't help”

Ted Kwon reflects on the challenges for international students from contemporary Korea adapting to life in Newfoundland. “The weather doesn't help,” he says.

Student Life Education Experience Korean People Difference Sociality Weather Nature Memorial University

Musical collaboration and inspiration: “I knew then that I had to visit the source of this music”

A musical collaboration at the Sound Symposium in St. John’s marked the beginning of Curtis Andrews’ passion for the music and culture of Ghana in West Africa — a style of music not commonly heard in Newfoundland. That project was a transformative experience for Andrews, who says, “I knew then that I had to visit the source of this music.”

Music Festivity Education Celebration Encounter Ghanaian Music Music Making Éwé Culture Sound Symposium

A Portuguese procession through the streets of St. John’s

The day that thousands of Portuguese fishermen processed through the streets of St. John’s singing and carrying religious statues was an unforgettable experience for many of the local people who witnessed it. Larry Dohey talks about the procession, which took place in 1955 to mark the centenary of the Basilica of St. John the Baptist.

Portuguese Fishermen Religion History Festivity Celebration Material Culture Home Portuguese Community Catholicism

“There was a piano in every home”

Vicki Carbage sings excerpts from a couple of songs that she remembers from her youth, when there were lots of parties and it seemed like there was a piano in every home. She laughs as she admits that she cannot dance like she used to.

Community Music Festivity Celebration Music Making Lebanese Culture Musical Style Musical Instruments Dance

The Portuguese fishers and church services in Latin

Larry Dohey reflects on Latin services at the Basilica in St. John’s and the Portuguese fishermen who spent long months away from their homes.

Community Music Family Festivity Celebration Catholic Community Latin Dance Portuguese Community

Ganesh Chaturthi: “All the locals are looking”

Ganesh Chaturthi is a traditional Hindu festival that is marked every year by Hindus in St. John’s with an event at Middle Cove Beach. Following a procession, a burning clay idol is sent out into the ocean. Dr. S. Bharati Reddy talks about how difficult it can be to engage younger members of the community in events like this.

Religion Change Festivity Celebration Encounter Indian Community Ritual Ocean Intergenerationality

A convict with a special talent

Larry Dohey recounts the intriguing story of Alexander Pindikowski, a Polish artist who arrived in Newfoundland in 1880. Convicted of forgery, he was sentenced to time in the penitentiary in St. John’s. His sentence was shortened when it was discovered that he had impressive painting abilities, and he was put to work painting a ceiling fresco in Government House. Listen to the end of the story to hear some interesting speculation about a face in the fresco.

Polish People Newfoundlanders History Visual Art Government Trade Painting Law Love

“It was the height of winter”

When Danai Kusikwenyu left her home country of Zimbabwe in January, it was warm, and people were dressed in shorts. She was shocked when she arrived in St. John’s the following day. “It was the height of winter,” she recalls.

First Impressions Education Experience Arrival Winter Weather Fashion African Community Nature

Who brought soccer to Newfoundland?

Who brought soccer to Newfoundland? Guido Del Rizzo chimes into the debate, noting that it was British and Irish merchants, not Portuguese, who first brought the sport to Newfoundland.

History Encounter Portuguese People Sports Portuguese Culture Irish Culture Folklore Portuguese Community British Culture

First impressions of St. John’s

Paula Mendonça reflects on travelling to Newfoundland as an international student from Portugal. She was apprehensive, but once she landed in St. John’s and saw the first road sign right outside the airport, everything was fine.

First Impressions Education Experience Film Arrival Weather Nature Expectation Portuguese Community

Portuguese fishermen and harbour soccer

As a child, Bob Button would watch the Portuguese sailors play informal games of soccer down at the harbour in St. John’s. He played with them a few times and regularly earned some change by lending them a net to fish their ball out of the water.

Portuguese Fishermen Music Festivity Sport Encounter Clothing Musical Instruments Games Portuguese Community

A local Jewish hero

Lewis and Grunia Ferman were members of the Bielski partisans, a Jewish resistance group during the Second World War. After the war, the couple emigrated to Newfoundland. Although the Fermans later moved to Toronto, they left behind something special at the St. John’s synagogue. Claire Frankel-Salama tells the story.

Family Religion Ceremony History Film Jewish History Jewish Community European History Jewish Culture

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