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Labrador West Pioneers: Peter and Josephine Rogers

Peter and Josephine Rogers
Peter and Josephine Rogers - Gary Shaw

LABRADOR WEST, N.L.

Over the many years that have passed since the beginning of our community of Labrador West, we have had many stories of the paths taken by folks who have ultimately ended up on the list of folks among us who qualify as true pioneers.

Pioneers, that through the years that they have been here, measured by their actions, and what they have given to our community, they without any doubt are Labrador West pioneers. Peter and Josephine Rogers are certainly on the list.

Peter and Josephine were married on the island of Newfoundland in 1969. Peter was from Dover in Bonavista Bay. Although he was working hard to provide for his young family, the opportunity for a more secure job and better money came to him through Manpower in Gander and he was on his way to Labrador.

He accepted a job with the Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC) as a labourer. Josephine followed shortly after with their two sons in tow, ages three and six. They began their new life together in their new community, full of hope that it would last and Labrador West would — with some hard work and commitment to their new community — provide them with a good and successful life.

It seems as though it worked out pretty good. Peter finished a 30-year career at IOC beginning as a labourer and finishing as a planner for the company in 2005.

They raised their boys, who are now adults and doing well for themselves as well. One of the boys is still in Labrador City and their other boy is in Fredericton, New Brunswick. They also have one grandson in Labrador City who they have every right to be very proud of.

The early years saw them busy raising their family in a new mining community that, as is often the case in the north, was isolated in terms of travel and access to many of the things that the outside folks often take for granted.

They embraced their community and it too embraced them. Life was good and they fit in just fine, quickly becoming an important part of the growth of their lives and their community.

They and their family were quickly engaged in hockey, softball, soccer and darts and were involved in the Beavers and Scouts as well. Josephine has been an active supporter of the Hospital Auxiliary and the swimming programs at the Rec Center. Peter has been an active member of the Canadian Rangers for 30 years in Labrador, no small gift to give to your community and all of Labrador.

Peter and Josephine are cabin and woods people. It’s their wheelhouse. They have their cabin on Esker Road and another remote cabin in Esker. As the seasons come and go, they are always at their cabin sharing the outdoors together and the bounty that the woods and water provides.

Fishing in the summer and hunting in the fall and winter is a regular pastime for them and their cabin friends. The caribou days of yesteryear are certainly a part of the many stories shared at the cabin. The ptarmigan, rabbits and grouse all make some great stories and great bounty in the roaster for them and those who are lucky enough to share with them.

Josephine out-fished Peter this past summer with an eight-pound ouananiche. Better luck next season Peter. Don’t worry about a repeat, sounds like Josephine can usually need someone handy with the net.

Both Peter and Josephine are quick to say that their lives have been great over all of the years. It has been a great and safe place to raise a family, a great community spirit to be part of and share with family and friends, who could ask for anything more.

The last question is as always, any regrets in living their lives in Labrador West, same answer as always, not one.         

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