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Videos detail Janice Hardy Walsh’s connection to Battle Harbour, Labrador
It was a case of being in the right place at the right time.
Janice Hardy Walsh was born and raised in Carbonear, but spent her summers visiting her working father in Battle Harbour.
“I spent 22 summers there growing up,” Walsh told TC Media. “In order to see dad, who worked there from May to November, that’s where we would go. As soon as school closed, perhaps even before school closed, we would go to Battle Harbor. My school friends used to tease me because I’d come back and forth to Newfoundland. They used to call me Ms. Battle Harbour.”
That connection to Battle Harbour has recently landed Walsh in not one, but two Newfoundland and Labrador tourism ads.
The two ads, Connection and Journey Back, were filmed in August of 2016, and uploaded to the Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism YouTube channel Wednesday, Mar. 8.
My school friends used to tease me because I’d come back and forth to Newfoundland. They used to call me Ms. Battle Harbour. Janice Hardy Walsh
Walsh, not long retired from teaching primary children in Clarenville, where she taught for over 20 years, says she wanted to reconnect with Battle Harbour. In the summers of 2015 and 2016, she revisited Battle Harbour, performing as a volunteer tour guide, guiding tourists around the island and telling them stories from the past. She says she just happened to be at the right place at the right time.
“When I retired from teaching a couple years ago, that was my goal — to spend the summer there. I wanted to go back and reconnect. Last summer I just went down for a few weeks and I just happened to be ‘Johnny-on-the-spot’. Tourism Newfoundland was there … and they invited me to be a part of it,” said Walsh.
“I didn’t expect it to be like it was … I thought I might be a little spec. I didn’t think they were gonna use the vocal parts as much. It’s lovely. It’s amazing. They were great people.”
Walsh told The Packet that Journey Back is special because she was able to discuss her father at great lengths.
“He kept everything. All of those artifacts that he kept, all of those silly, crazy, things, they’re all catalogued there in Battle Harbour, they’re all on display … He would search, and he had such a passion for it. He would search for what things were. Some of the strangest objects on Earth are in Battle Harbour. And he would find out what they were for.”
Icebergs, cod-jigging and bake apples.
“Icebergs, cod jigging, bake apples, the hiking … It’s just all there. It’s a wonderful spot,” said Walsh.
For Walsh, her opportunity to reconnect to Battle Harbour, a place she has loved all her life, has now become an opportunity to share Battle Harbour with the world.
“For me to be able to tell a little bit of the story so that people pay attention, and want to come, and want to help it survive for the other generations, I think that’s humbling for me. I just did it because I just want it to survive. I can’t imagine being to the point were you can’t get back to Battle Harbour.”
“The people there are beautiful people. Once you’re there you just have a hard time letting it go.”
From left to right, Janice’s mom (Olive [Pardy] Hardy), Daphne (Butt) Smith — the cook at Battle Harbour now — Walsh, and brothers Keith and Bob Hardy, circa approx. 1974.