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Trails, Tales and Tunes wows Gros Morne

Story by Adrian Brijbassi Managing Editor

ROCKY HARBOUR, NEWFOUNDLAND & LABRADOR — The Newfoundland kitchen party is one of those experiences travellers to Canada’s easternmost province will want to discover, if only to know what all the fuss is about. While they occur all the time and while Newfoundlanders are the friendliest of people and eager to extend an invitation, kitchen parties aren’t on the tourist itinerary. They need to be sought out.

I was fortunate to find one at the Ocean View Hotel, adjacent to Gros Morne National Park, a couple of months back. The kitchen party involves good food, great traditional music and lots of drink. Also, laughter galore. I met Shirley Montague, an integral part of the thriving arts community in Western Newfoundland and a founder of Trails, Tales & Tunes, an annual celebration that exudes the province’s way of life and gives visitors a hint of the kitchen-party atmosphere that goes on here all year long.

Musicians, including the sensational Sherman Downey & the Ambiguous Case, will perform, writers will give readings, artists will display their work, and chefs will prepare culinary treats during the festival that runs from May 17-26. The event is in Norris Point, which like Rocky Harbour is a lovely nook of a community that lies on the periphery of Gros Morne, a gargantuan national park that is celebrating its 40th anniversary.

“I grew up in a family where everybody played, a big extended family, and the kitchen where I grew up was the gathering place for music,” Montague said, while discussing the inspiration for Trails, Tales & Tunes. “There has been a real sense of pride in writing about our own environment in recent decades. The stories are very much a sense of place, a sense of people, a sense of who we are, and people love to share music in this province. People invite you into their homes, share a drink with you, bring you to the dance floor and just offer a lot of real genuine authentic small-town hospitality.”

You’ll have plenty of chances to earn an invite to a home kitchen party or get a taste of the atmosphere of one during the festival that kicks off a string of celebrations during spring and summer in this part of the province.


More About Trails, Tales & Tunes

Dates: May 17-26, 2013 in Norris Point, Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland and Labrador
Website: Trails, Tales and Tunes Festival
Schedule: Click here for the full list of events
Tickets: Most tickets are by donation. Contact the event coordinators for details. Telephone: 709 458-3399; email:


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Adrian is the editor of and Adrian has won numerous awards for his travel writing, travel photography, and fiction, and has visited more than 55 countries. He is a former editor at the Toronto Star and New York Newsday, and was the social media and advocacy manager for Destination Canada. His articles have frequently appeared in the Huffington Post, Globe & Mail, and other major publications. He has appeared on national and local broadcasts, talking about travel, sports, creative writing and journalism. In 2019, he launched Trippzy, a travel-trivia app developed to educate consumers about destinations around the world. He also edited "Inspired Cooking", a nutrition-focused cookbook featuring 20 of Canada's leading chefs and in support of the cancer-fighting charity, InspireHealth. "Inspired Cooking" was created in honour of Adrian's late wife and co-founder, Julia Pelish, who passed away of brain cancer in 2016.

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