Canada: Terra Nova – Newfound Land

Two days ago, I arrived in Terra Nova National Park. My cabin is lovely – but its location somewhat odd: The Trans Canada Highway that cuts right through the Park is so close that you can hear the cars; and right next to the cabin, a huge cell phone antenna mast has been installed recently which gives the retreat on a little hill and surrounded by trees a surreal character…

Cabin and neighbouring antenna mast

The good thing is that it is located in close neighbourhood to the Park’s headquarters where the rangers and researchers are based, including David Saunders, who has been assisting the artists in residence at Terra Nova for many years now. And he knows about the essentials! He provided a bike for me to use which is crucial as the distances even to the campground and the visitor center are not to be underestimated (which I actually did…). After taking me grocery shopping in his hometown Glovertown which is about 20 km away (and the closest town with a food store) he gave me a wonderful tour around the park areas accessible by car. We also went to Terra Nova town which was founded as a railway station. The complete Newfoundland railway system was closed down in the 1980s and the rails removed, but you can still see the trail where they were running.

Old railway bridge and former railway track at the town of Terra Nova

In the evening he and his wife and son invited me for supper (sic.) in their cabin. We went there by boat – the only way to get there! The boat trip was absolutely amazing: peaceful inlets and sounds, beautiful coastlines with scattered cottages. We saw ospreys and bald eagles, and everybody agreed that it was the perfect evening…

View over Terra Nova Park from Blue Hill

Parks Canada owns another cabin in the Park: totally remote and about 30 km by boat towards the open ocean at Park Harbour – and I was offered to be dropped off there for a couple of nights… My heart starts beating faster by excitement just by thinking about it.

My work in the Park will be related to the discovery of and early Euro immigration to Newfoundland. The Center of Newfoundland Studies at Memorial University in St. John’s provided me with digitized versions of historic maps. In the Park, I want to shoot a video sequence coming in from the ocean by boat. Moreover, as I learned yesterday that David’s father grew up on Flat Island, a small island off the coast which had been settled by his ancestors more than 200 years ago, I would like to make an interview with him and possibly others from the family about their childhood on the island. Coming from Europe – the Old World – it is exciting to me that the history of Euro Newfoundland settlers – who have obviously shaped the present society – is alive today in the sense that there are desendants of the early immigrants around that can tell the story of their families right from their arrival in the New World onwards, as it was reported to them over the generations…

Newfoundland has preserved the spirit of the days of our planet’s exploration and discovery – it has remained Terra Nova, the New Found Land to the present day.

Map dated from 1602

Rona Rangsch / / Art, Residencies, Travelling / Permalink

About Rona Rangsch

Rona Rangsch studied physics at the Universities of Cologne and Saarbrücken where she graduated in 1996. After scientific research activities at several renowned institutions she made physics her hobby to start a carreer as a media artist. She was trained in multimedia design at ca-medien.colleg Essen and attended Kunstakademie Düsseldorf as a guest student. Rona was awarded a number of international residency and research grants. Besides exhibiting her own work in Germany and abroad she co-curates the exhibition and residency programs of Künstlerhaus Dortmund where she is a member since 2003. (

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