Newfoundland: Home of the Conscientious Columnists

Alex Harrold
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If you have been paying attention to the last couple of columns, you would know that we are on the road, driving through this vast country of ours as well as the one next door. This is the most leisurely trip we have ever taken, and as a consequence, we have begun to notice things along the road that we hadn't noticed before this. Naturally, the things you see along the way afford you the opportunity to compare what we have that other places don't have as well as what they have that we don't.
No one should ever leave this place without keeping in the back of their mind an opportunity to seize on something that might work well here that we don't do or have. The first example of this that I saw was the large billboard just outside of Nackawic, New Brunswick advertising themselves as the "home of the world's largest axe." I was really quite inclined to take the exit into Nackawic to see the world's largest axe for myself, but before I got a chance to relay this information to my driver, she was already well past the exit and the opportunity was lost for now. But that's the way it is with a large billboard advertising the world's largest something or other. It makes you want to go see it for yourself.

That explains why we will someday set as our destination Glendon, Alberta, apparently, "home of the largest perogy." I think I remember eating a perogy but I'm not exactly sure what they look like, be it normal size or particularly large. It also left me wondering if anyone has ever gone to either Glendon, Alberta or Nackawic, New Brunswick for the sole purpose of seeing their largest doohickey.

That of course took me to the next question as to whether or not we had anything that we could claim to be the world's largest that might attract the occasional curious tourist. Some might say that we have the largest provincial debt per capita, but that's not exactly something people might want to come to see, assuming you could see it to begin with. Experiencing it is bad enough.

Having driven the TCH from St. John's to Port Aux Basques at least more than once would reveal that there are no billboards in Newfoundland advertising that we are the home of the world's largest anything. I asked my wife what she might think would be worthy of advertising in Newfoundland as the world's largest whatever, and being an outport girl from before Westport had a road, her initial idea was to construct the world's largest touton. Clearly, this is an initiative that requires a committee.

I thought about addressing this from the perspective of having a contest where you like-minded readers would contribute ideas worthy of being described as Newfoundland being the home of the world's... whatever. It doesn't have to be the world's largest thing. It could be the world's softest. Or loudest. Or dumbest. For example, we could become home of the worlds dumbest Pamela Anderson stunt. The government could build an interpretation centre where a three-minute video of Pamela's visit here with her $1 million check for the Sealers Association could be shown over and over and over again. The only problem that might arise with that is that there are likely quite a few other North Americans who wouldn't get that we were showing the video as a dumb stunt. It wouldn't take much imagination to end up with tourists asking each other why we didn't take the money after they viewed the video.

If you're up for it, why don't you put your head around this and see what you can come up with? Nothing against my wife, but we ought to be able to do better than being the home of the largest touton. Then again, a touton has to be on at least the same level as a perogy. And, I'm sure it's a lot better than my initial idea of building the world's largest seal club. There's a scattered person out there, actress or otherwise, who would think we were serious.

Keep in mind, it should be something interesting enough to get people to turn off of the TCH. If Nackawic is used as an example, the opportunity to exit should also be longer than normal.

Organizations: Sealers Association

Geographic location: Newfoundland, Alberta, New Brunswick St. John's Port Aux Basques Westport

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