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Harbour Grace opens its gates

The Town of Harbour Grace wants people to let themselves in and get comfortable according to its new branding campaign.

Harbour Grace unveiled parts of its new branding strategy last week at St. Paul’s Church Hall. Here, three members of the Heritage and Redevelopment Committee, from left, Coun. Hayward Blake, Don Regular and Gord Stone, stand next to some of the pieces.

The package was rolled out Monday afternoon at a presentation at the St. Paul’s Church Hall in front of a couple dozen of residents, visitors and town officials.

What they say drew rave reviews from those in attendance. First, Heritage and Redevelopment Committee chairman Don Regular unveiled the new branding logo.

When councillors Gord Stone and Hayward Blake pulled the blue curtain away from it, there was a generous response from the crowd.

It’s a simple design. Harbour Grace is written in a soft blue, with waves and the tag line “Let Yourself In” flowing beneath it.

It’s encapsulated in a pair of opening gates. It’s a tie in to the town’s history and where it hopes to go in the future.

“Harbour Grace is a town with tremendous culture and tremendous history that we want to maintain,” said Coun. Hayward Blake. “We were of the opinion the economic development and heritage need to co-exist. We need to look to the future … but we need to keep a foot steadfast in our past, and I believe the branding initiative that we are launching today really does that.

“It moves us to the future, it lets us into many different opportunities, but it keeps a firm foothold in what brought us where we are today.”

Gates were a common theme. Not only did they play a key role in the town’s new signage, but they also were the primary focus for the town’s collage.

Driving through the various parts of Harbour Grace, it’s hard not to notice the large number of homeowners that still prominently feature cast iron gates on their properties.

That sparked the idea to promote this unique aspect of the town’s history with a collage featuring pictures of a number of the town’s gates displayed proudly.

Many of the ideas, including gates, came from public information sessions over the past couple of months and a meeting with noted Newfoundland folklorist and historian Dale Jarvis. He’s the person who pointed out the large number of gates still being used in Harbour Grace.

His initial photography sparked an idea in the chairman of the committee and the collage was the result of that.

Harbour Grace resident Patrick Collins was one of the couple dozen people in attendance at the event.

He was impressed by what he saw unveiled.

“I have to say I really like the tagline ‘Let Yourself In’ and the open gates,” said Collins. “I think it’s a real strong message there for people who aren’t familiar with Harbour Grace. It’s real welcoming.

“One thing I think wasn’t mentioned was that ‘let yourself in’ is very common in Newfoundland. It shows a lot of trust.”

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