A Community Voices story by Marilyn Dumaresq.
In the years before we had the Arena in L'Anse au Loup one had to travel to Point Amour to participate in arena activities. This meant we had to drive about 4 km. on a narrow gravel road to the arena after leaving the main highway.
Both our children, William and Tanya, were involved in minor hockey so approximately twice a week during the winter months, my husband Bill and I made the 25 km. trip from L'Anse au Clair to the arena. On Monday, Jan. 21, 1991, we left as usual for the scheduled hockey practice around 6 p.m. I think it was snowing lightly at the time. At the end of the one and a half hour practice we left the arena and were shocked that a blizzard was raging outside. Everyone jumped into their vehicles and started away. We got just a little ways past the small community of L'Anse Amour when our truck got stuck in a snowbank and everyone behind us also became stuck. Some 4 wheel drive vehicles ahead of us did manage to get through and safely home that night.
Anyway, the occupants of the last car walked back to one of the houses in L'Anse Amour to call for the blower to come and clear the road. However, the Department of Highways said it was not safe for them to come out in a blizzard. This message was passed up the line to all the cars and trucks leaving us with the dismal thoughts of spending a long night in the truck.
However, a short time later, two skidoos with komatics in tow came from L'Anse Amour and gathered us all up. They had to make two trips each to get everyone. Though it was only a few minutes in the komatic, it was very wild with the snow blowing in one's face. Our family was taken to Cecil and Rita Davis' house along with 10 others increasing their household of four to eighteen. Each of the other three houses took in one or two more people. Having only moved to L'Anse au Clair 3 ½ years before, I wasn't acquainted with people outside of L'Anse au Clair so didn't know what to expect. However, Rita welcomed us all in with open arms and soon there was a huge pile of outdoor clothing on the porch floor.
Cecil's mother was living there at the time but when Rita realized that a whole group of people would be descending on them, she put Mrs. Davis to bed before we got there as she was afraid that she might think there had been another shipwreck. Mrs. Davis had been a young mother there back in 1922 when the SS Raleigh was shipwrecked off Point Amour and hundreds of sailors had suddenly descended on them and had remained for a couple of months before being rescued.
Anyway, Rita got us all settled away for the night. As Bill and I were the only couple we got to sleep in Lisa's bedroom. Lisa, Rita's teenaged daughter, slept with her grandmother. Tanya , being the only girl playing hockey at the time, slept on the floor of our room. I think Philip Chubbs and Levi Snook got to sleep in a bed or on the sofa but all the boys slept on the floor of the rec room. I was amazed at the number of homemade quilts Rita dug out of her closet so that every person had a quilt to wrap up in.
In the morning Rita set about getting breakfast for everyone. She said God must have been looking out for us as she had just baked 14 loaves of bread the day before and had picked up 5 dozen eggs from Joe Hancock's farm. After a good breakfast, the men went out to dig out their cars, I helped wash up the dishes and cut up vegetables for a big pot of soup for lunch and the children entertained themselves playing board games. The storm had abated overnight and the blower came through around noon so we got back to L'Anse au Clair around 4 in the afternoon.
In the end, it turned out to be not only a rather exciting experience but one full of warm memories of Rita Davis and her family. I think this experience inspired Rita to open a Bed and Breakfast a few years later and she has been sharing her wonderful hospitality with many tourists from all over the world ever since.
I am looking for old photos from the LAnse Amour arena to add to this page. If you have photos to add to this page would you please e-mail them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org