All of us who have found our way to Labrador West and ended up staying here for the long haul, have a storied life’s journey to share.
This place has a way of grabbing your heart and soul, which ends up providing the vehicle that turns our lives into something that really matters on so many levels.
By the time any among us have 40 or more years punched as residents of Labrador West, we surely have a story to be told. Tony Stead is a no better example of this Labrador West magnet that has grabbed a good many of us.
Tony arrived here as a young man from Little Catalina on Trinity Bay, Newfoundland. Fresh out of school as an electrician, he began his career in his trade with the Iron Ore Company of Canada and began his life with his wife Christine in 1973 as Labrador West residents.
Tony worked his whole career with I.O.C. with his well-earned retirement in 2004. During these years he and Christine raised their two sons and have watched them grow into adults who have given them four grandchildren to share their lives with.
Tony represents all that is defined in a woodsman. He is a hunter, a fisherman, trapper and a cabin person with Christine. Tony is like the weather in Labrador - he changes with the seasons as they begin and end, focusing his attention and passion to the many adventures that each season brings.
If you find yourself looking for him, you can try his house in town but you will be more successful most times in finding him at the cabin.
When the season is right he will be fishing speckles, lake trout and Ounaniche that will provide a meal, a fresh fisherman’s platter from his many “spots” that he has fished over the years.
In the fall the hunt will be on for a moose, either on the island or Labrador depending on how the tag draw goes. We could sit by the old wood stove at the cabin all night long and listen to the stories from Tony of the “good old days,” of the caribou hunt in Labrador West.
There is no place that Tony hasn’t been on the hunt for the caribou and the stories and memories that he has is a part of our Labrador West history in the outdoors.
Trapping as the winter moves in, marten, fox, beaver and otter are on his list with some rabbit snares for a fine feed along with some ptarmigan to thicken the stew. It has been an ongoing and important part of his life from the beginning of his time in Labrador.
He doesn’t have much down time. He has been a member of the Canadian Rangers for the past 31 years with constant involvement and efforts in the many training exercises and initiatives that represent the important mandate that the Rangers provide to the vast and often unforgiving expanses of the “Big Land.”
Tony has been, particularly since his retirement, involved in prospecting initiatives on his own and has been engaged in exploration projects for various mining companies on an ongoing basis. Any project that gets him out on the land seems to suit him best.
Tony is the classic representation of what is one of our most valuable resources from Labrador West. His entire Labrador West life has been spent with him being a good neighbour, always being available to lend a helping hand to anyone who may need it, both in town or down in the country.
The number of sheds and cabins and recreation rooms in Labrador West that Tony has wired for folks in his “spare time” are too many to count.
At the end of it all, any time you need a hand or just by chance bump into Tony and have a chat, you come away feeling good.
Feeling good that we have Tony and other folks like him as our neighbour and our friend in Labrador West. Once again, folks taking care of the things that matter.