CHARLOTTETOWN, NL – Sandy Campbell of Charlottetown found his gift early in life. As an advocate for his community, he has spent decades helping to make Charlottetown a great place to live and raise a family.
Born in Campbell’s Cove in 1938, Campbell moved to Charlottetown with his family when he was 15-years-old.
He fished with his father Alex and, after Alex passed away, became skipper of his dad’s crew while in his early twenties.
“I grew up fishing in a small fishing community called Triangle,” the 80-year-old said during a recent phone interview. “When my father died I took over his operation.”
Campbell married Laverne (House) Campbell of Daniel’s Harbour.
The couple have five children, 12 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
In 1966, Campbell opened a small grocery store in Triangle.
In 1979 he built a hotel in Charlottetown.
“We owned the hotel and we’ll be retired from that 18 years the first of July,” Campbell said.
Over the decades, Campbell has volunteered with numerous groups including the Canadian Rangers, Health Liaison Committee, Grenfell Regional Health Services, Fisherman’s Committee, Local Service District and with his community’s town council.
“You have to get to know politicians to get money for your district and for your town and that was no easy task... but nevertheless you don’t give up,” Campbell said when asked about his years on council.
When asked if he had a favourite politician, Campbell spoke fondly of the late Lawrence O’Brien. O’Brien represented Labrador in the House of Commons from 1996 until his passing in 2004. O’Brien was 53-years-old at the time of his death.
“Lawrence was a good man and did a lot of good things.”
Campbell also mentioned his great-niece Cartwright-L’Anse au Clair MHA Lisa Dempster.
In 2017, Campbell was honoured by MP Yvonne Jones and presented with the Labradorians of Distinction Award. Jones established the award to mark the 150th year of Canadian Confederation and to celebrate the social, cultural and economic contributions Labradorians have made to their communities.
In addition to his numerous volunteer efforts, information about his Labradorians of Distinction Award also noted that Campbell was an advocate for the construction of the Charlottetown clinic and the introduction of Newfoundland lobster to St. Michael’s Bay.
Campbell’s accolades also include a 20-year Achievement Award for the Charlottetown Inn, Charlotte Certification of Recognition for Volunteer Services and a Certificate of Contribution for his years of service to the Grenfell Regional Health Services Board of Directors.
Information from the Labradorians of Distinction Awards also tout Campbell as an avid storyteller and holder of cultural knowledge for the south coast of Labrador. He enjoys sharing his traditional skills and knowledge with younger generations.
Campbell also knows a great deal about his family’s roots.
“The Campbells came from Scotland in 1842,” he said. “They came to Labrador to work for the Hudson’s Bay Company. My great-grandmother was the Honourable Lydia Brooks.”
Lydia (Brooks) Campbell has been described as one of Labrador’s best known historical figures.
Campbell has lived through many changes in the area.
“When the fishery closed there was nobody left in Triangle. And when I was in St. Anthony first there was no paved road.”
Charlottetown was a church town decades ago, Campbell said.
“A lot of young people used to go to church... I went to the Pentecostal (Church) first with my mother but when we got married I went to the Gospel Hall with my wife.”
Campbell is happy to have all five of his adult children living in Labrador.
He encourages others to get involved with their community. However, he said, life is different today than it was years ago.
“In olden days more people got involved then (than) the younger people today because the younger people are getting work here and there and they have to travel more.”
When asked about life in Charlottetown, Campbell said, “It’s a good life.”
Life is what you make it, he added.
“Any good thing we can do, we should do it now and not defer. We are only passing this way once,” he said.
The Northern Pen’s recurring feature looks at the lives of seniors along the Northern Peninsula and southern Labrador. If you know a local senior with an interesting story to tell, email or call the Northern Pen: firstname.lastname@example.org or 709-454-2191.