Ever since I was little I was always told to look at the bright side of things, because the glass is always half full. Even if the world seems like it is ending, there is always something to hold onto.

The glass was half empty on Tuesday morning in 2005 for my hometown of Stephenville when tragedy struck as the rain filled rivers flooded the streets and houses of all low lying areas. 200 of the 8,000 residence’s were evacuated from their houses as a state of emergency was called. The devastation of this flood still remains in the hearts of the residence’s to this day; even I, being 5 years old, will always remember trying to cross the bridge to make it to school Tuesday morning but there being nothing but water. The following is the link to the CBC news story following this event.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-floods-cause-state-of-emergency-evacuation-1.564206

The link below will direct you to photographs taken of the town during this devastating time.

http://www.nr.gov.nl.ca/nr/mines/outreach/disasters/flooding/stephenville05.html

In 2011, the Walk-A-Ways Parks and Trails Committee decided it was time the glass stopped being half empty and put some beauty back into our town. The flood zone, map inserted to the left, is known for such because it is where former residence’s were relocated from due to the flood of 2005. This committee has worked tirelessly to transform something full of devastation into something that can be appreciated by all of the people of Stephenville and any who come to visit.

It is now transformed into Blanche Brook Park, filled with walking trails, fossils, a garden and the river that flows alongside the park. This is a place where people can come to learn about the heritage of the 2005 tragedy and also appreciate that bad things can become beautiful with a little bit of work.

 

 

 

For the obvious reason, this is my favorite place to be because it is incredibly beautiful. The garden is filled with many different types of flowers that explode with color, it is breath taking to be so visually appealing but also have an aroma so sweet. It is the perfect place to go for a walk with a friend, maybe your dog, even just somewhere to sit down to enjoy the scenery. It is literally a place to stop and smell the roses.

For the not so obvious reason, this is my favorite place for what it represents. This is a place that was destroyed by a natural disaster, people’s homes were taken away from them, a place they lived, made memories, and grew every day. Things they cannot get back, some material but some more abstract. This was something that no one could control or prevent, which is why it took such a toll on the people of Stephenville.

Living in such a small town, everyone is affected or knows someone affected by such a tragedy; but it brings out the best in people. This place represents so much destruction but it is full of the most natural beauty you can find. It is a place given by members of the community for members of the community.  It is a place that was associated with grief but now it is turned into something beautiful. I admire the people who made this place a reality, they had the mind set that the glass is always half full, there is always a bright side to any circumstance, it is truly inspiring. To walk through this park and think about all the hard work put into this place just to bring some joy to members of my community will forever be another reason why I love representing this community so much.

I fell in love with this place on evening walks with my mom, it was hard not too. Now it will always be  place for a walk, somewhere to spend time with someone else, but mostly somewhere to think. No matter what is happening in your life, the best thing you can do is get some perspective; to take five minutes out of your day to walk through or sit in this park and realize the things in your life you have to be grateful for.

 

Blanche Brook Park will always be my favorite place in my community, it is a place of beauty of all sorts and it is a place everyone needs to experience!!!!!!!

Thank you to every incredible person that made this place a reality!!!!!

Love Jess xoxo

Written by: Jessica

38 Responses to My Newfoundland Hot Spot

  1. Stephen Boulos says:

    Beautiful post Jessica!!!!! Wonderful job

  2. Unknown says:

    Well written, and absolutely beautiful ❤️

  3. Ashley Fitzgerald says:

    Jessica, I love reading your posts ❤️ You have an amazing attitude, and always write from the heart.

  4. Ken Mills says:

    Good luck and you are a great person to represent our town, province and country

  5. Love this post Jessica! You’re a wonderful representative of our province.

  6. Sharon says:

    Great job Jessica, we all love our new green space created by volunteers. It is my favorite place to walk and enjoy the smell of flowers and sound of water running while getting fresh air. There are always people around and enjoying the space.

  7. Carol says:

    Jessica:
    You are an intelligent, caring and very capable young woman and I am so proud you are representing Newfoundland and Labrador in the Miss Teen Canada Pageant. Wishing you a happy journey and best of luck in Toronto !
    Xo

  8. Perry says:

    Awesome blog. That such a beautiful park replaced a natural disaster zone is a testament to the people of the town.

  9. Martha wall says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more Jessica. This tragic dwelling has been reform into beauty tranquility and a great place to burn a few calories and clear your mind . Well written , Martha artha

  10. Melanie says:

    What an awesome job Jess! You are truly amazing, inspiring and so talented! I am so proud of you and support you 100% on your journey to the Miss Teen Canada Pageant ! Can’t wait!! Xoxo

  11. Michelle O'Quinn says:

    Such a wonderful representation of our small town community pride Jessica ! Your talents never cease to amaze me… beautifully written. So proud of you and all your hard work to be the best person you can be

  12. Rob says:

    Well done Jess. Very informative. Here’s a challenge; try to make the pictures expand when clicked, Esp the click of the map of the flood plain.

  13. Andy says:

    The story of the flood is historical but is also inspirational. Despite the tragedy for families, others have made the site a legacy to how tragedy can inspire hope. The families and Town saw the beauty within the devastation and together made it reality. Nice story Jessica.

  14. Debbie wells says:

    Jessica, you have captured beautifully the real meaning of community spirit. Stephenville is proud to have you as its representative . Good luck in Toronto.

  15. Michelle O'Quinn says:

    Beautiful article and beautiful person

  16. Shannon Skinner says:

    Well done Jessica! Incredible story of our small community. So proud of you !

  17. Councillor Don Gibbon says:

    Jessica, I take this opportunity to wish you good luck in your venture to become MissTeenage Canada on August 13th 2017.. , just wanted you to know how proud
    we all are of you.. Jessica everyone is rooting for you,, Councillor Don Gibbon

  18. Betty Murphy says:

    Jessica
    Not only was this an informative article but interesting as well. Adding your personal touches was awesome. Loved reading it! You have the ability to go far. Enjoy your experience in Toronto and good luck!
    Love Betty

  19. Leslie says:

    Jessica,
    I enjoyed reading each and every word on your blog. You have a wonderful way with words and I am touched by your inspiring story.
    You make Kippens, the surrounding communities and Newfoundland proud. As you know, Newfoundlanders are everywhere. Therefore, your fan club is worldwide.
    Be your beautiful self and enjoy this experience to the maximum. Good luck!

  20. Linda and Henry Skinner says:

    Great writing about our little town. It’s great to see something good come from a terrible hardship.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *