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The Rooms launches exhibition catalogue

CIBC senior vice-president and Eastern Canada region head Sylvain Vinet (left) and The Rooms director Anne Chafe at the Monday evening launch of the companion catalogue for the exhibition of the same name, “Beaumont-Hamel and the Trail of the Caribou.”
CIBC senior vice-president and Eastern Canada region head Sylvain Vinet (left) and The Rooms director Anne Chafe at the Monday evening launch of the companion catalogue for the exhibition of the same name, “Beaumont-Hamel and the Trail of the Caribou.” - Juanita Mercer

The stories of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians during the First World War at The Rooms’ “Beaumont-Hamel and the Trail of the Caribou” exhibit are now available in print.

The companion catalogue was launched at an event at The Rooms Monday evening, and the book is now available for purchase at the gift shop.

“Beaumont-Hamel and the Trail of the Caribou: Newfoundlanders and Labradorians at War and at Home 1914-1949” tells stories that were gathered by The Rooms for the exhibit, as well as new stories unique to the book.

It includes the fascinating story of the Women’s Patriotic Association volunteer who knitted socks for soldiers and tucked a note inside with her name on it. Those socks wound up with a Canadian soldier who was fighting alongside a Newfoundland soldier in northern France.

The Canadian realized he had socks knitted by the Newfoundland soldier’s mother.

“She felt so happy that she knew her son had received these socks,” said The Rooms director Anne Chafe. “However, unfortunately he died on July 1st at Beaumont-Hamel.”

This catalogue of stories from The Rooms’ exhibition of the same name compiles many of the stories on display in the exhibition, plus other stories exclusive to the hardcover book. Over 500 Newfoundland and Labrador families contributed information and stories. -Juanita Mercer
This catalogue of stories from The Rooms’ exhibition of the same name compiles many of the stories on display in the exhibition, plus other stories exclusive to the hardcover book. Over 500 Newfoundland and Labrador families contributed information and stories. -Juanita Mercer

Chafe said stories in the book “run the gamut of bravery, to sadness, to happiness.”

“This is not about the strategy of war and the war battles — this is all about the people.”

The award-winning exhibition, and now this publication, both document the effects of the First World War on the province — on those who fought, on the families and communities left behind, and on the politics, economy and future of the province.

A copy of the catalogue will be sent to every school in the province as a resource for students, but Chafe expects it will also find its way into many homes around the province.

More than 500 families in the province contributed information found inside the book when they shared their families’ personal stories and memorabilia.

“We’re so thankful to all of the families who came out and donated or lent material for the exhibition that you’ll see in the catalogue, and we certainly couldn’t have done this without them,” Chafe said.

“Our First World War collection was very small when we started this initiative, so it couldn’t have happened without them, and we’re really hoping this book will sit on many coffee tables across the province, and people will be proud to see their family stories told this way.”

The catalogue is also thanks largely to a $100,000 contribution made by CIBC in June 2016.

“CIBC is very proud to partner with The Rooms on this important project that will save the memories and commemorate the sacrifices made by Canadians during the First World War,” said CIBC senior vice-president and Eastern Canada region head Sylvain Vinet.

“We are so pleased to see its completion and look forward to schoolchildren benefitting from all the hard work that went into preserving this very significant part of our history.”

juanita.mercer@thetelegram.com

Twitter: juanitamercer_

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