The very best in local entertainment – from movies and television to music and sports. This is the best of Newfoundland and Labrador 2019 entertainment edition.
What can you say at the end of the decade about the final year that was for we here in Newfoundland and Labrador.
We’ve always punched above our weight, producing some of the finest actors, artists, craftspeople, musicians and athletes on a global scale. 2019 was no exception to that rule.
The year that was…
From the little story that dominated the summer that saw Newfoundland and Labrador spotlighted globally, to the retirements of some of our finest, to breakout turns in film, solo efforts that deserve the tip of the cap, anniversaries, acknowledgments and milestones, the past year produced numerous buzz worthy headlines and plenty to write about from an arts and entertainment perspective.
And while it is damn near impossible to cover all the movers and shakers in the entertainment world, a select few stories we covered here in The Newfoundland Herald through 53 issues stand out above the rest.
In no particular order or ranking of importance, here are some of the stories, news and names that dominated media in the entertainment world here on ‘The Rock’ in 2019.
Allan Hawco: Action star
It seems that Allan Hawco keeps himself atop these type of ‘best of’ lists year in and year out, a true testament to the staying power and longevity of the beloved actor. Appearing in nationally and internationally viewed shows Street Legal and Departure, Hawco’s most high profile role of the year came as Coyote in Amazon’s big budget action series Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan. Hawco filmed his scenes in South America, rubbing shoulders with star John Krasinski. Who would have thought Jake Doyle would meet Jim Halpert!
Dildo’s World Debut
There aren’t enough pages in this magazine to run down the saga that was Dildo, Newfoundland’s primetime adventure, one that saw the tongue-and-cheek named town spotlighted internationally on Jimmy Kimmel Live.
NTV’s Amanda Mews was at the centre of the entire story, even going so far as to journey to Los Angeles with co-worker Glenn Andrews, appearing on Kimmel’s late night series and interviewing the man himself. Let’s hope the honorary mayor heads to Dildo in 2020!
All Hail, Mary
We’ve known for decades that Mary Walsh is the matriarch of comedy here in Newfoundland and Labrador. That has now been recognized on a national level, as Walsh was the recipient of the Earle Grey Award, celebrating a lifetime achievement in television, at the 2019 Canadian Screen Awards. Fans won’t have to wait long to see Walsh at home, as she’s tapped to host the 2020 ECMA’s in St. John’s.
Breakaway Rock stars
There has been a resurgence in the amount of talent NL is producing on the ice. From the Growlers local talent, to prospect Abby Newhook and national athlete Shailyn Snow, to NHL ready Clark Bishop and Evan Fitzpatrick.
Two of the breakout stories of the year included Alex Newhook, drafted by Colorado, and Dawson Mercer, who suited up for Canada, and won gold, at the World Juniors.
Fearless Year for Kellie Loder
Making the move to the mainland, Kellie Loder has catapulted to a monster 2019, with Loder’s latest single Fearless becoming a massive hit. The single was featured in the trailer for the film Superpower Dogs. Loder has likewise toured both nationally and internationally.
Hickey Comes Home
Paralympic athlete Liam Hickey has represented his country on more than one occasion, performing at a world class level in sledge hockey as well as basketball.
It’s a hell of a thing to take to the ice or court abroad, but to do it in your home country is something else entirely. That was exactly the case as Hickey suited up alongside his fellow Canadians for the Canadian Tire Para Hockey Cup in Paradise this past December.
Hickey, the heart and soul of the club, helped lead the Canadians to the gold medal match against the United States, besting Russia in the semi-finals. Sadly they would come up short of the at-home feel good story, but this doesn’t lesson the impact of Hickey’s big year!
Big Brother Showmance
Love can find us in unexpected places. In the case of Samantha Picco and Adam Pike, it just so happened to bite them on the set of Big Brother Canada.
Pike and Picco became an instant hit with fans and locals alike following their on-screen turned real life Showmance turned Romance. The pair of Newfoundlanders spoke with The Herald post season, explaining “We’re just so lucky to have each other to lean on. I can’t imagine coming out into the real world by myself and not having anyone that I could relate to.”
Silver Anniversary for Shanneyganock
Shannyganock have long been regarded as one of the more iconic trad bands in all of Newfoundland and Labrador. 2019 marked something of a special milestone for the group anchored by founding members Chris Andrews and Mark Hiscock, as the b’ys celebrated their 25th anniversary to close out the decade. Not to rest on their laurels, Shanneyganock closed out 2019 by releasing what is sure to be a local holiday classic. Their latest winter-ready hit That’s What Christmas Means to Me has become something of a viral hit online and social media, receiving hundreds of thousands of streams.
It can be argued that 2019 was the breakout year for Mark O’Brien. The Paradise native starred in sports biopic Goalie, slasher/horror film Ready or Not, locally shot thriller Hammer, the soon-to-be-Oscar nominated Marriage Story and the riveting crime drama series City on a Hill. Not bad Marky! Not bad at all!
Bob Cole’s Final Game
He’ll go down as a piece of Newfoundland and Labrador’s sports Mount Rushmore. Following a career that extended through five decades, Newfoundland’s beloved broadcaster Bob Cole called his final game.
His final play-by-play broadcast took place on April 6, 2019 at the Bell Centre in Montreal. The legend Cole was synonymous with Hockey Night in Canada.
Tim Baker Goes Solo
What do you when a chapter closes in a storied career? You write a new book. Tim Baker, frontman to beloved rock band Hey Rosetta!, released his debut solo album Forever Overhead in 2019. Further year highlights included headlining the annual Folk Festival.
Kaetlyn Osmond Skates Off
She’ll go down as one of the most decorated athletes in the history of the island. Kaetlyn Osmond, former World and National Champion and Olympic medalist, hung up her skates on May 2nd, 2019, retiring from active competition after a career for the history books. The Marystown native was back on home soil for the Rock the Rink Tour in late November.
Growlers Win Kelly cup
We wouldn’t quite call it a miracle on ice, but the little-engine-that-could ECHL franchise Newfoundland Growlers winning it all to hoist the Kelly Cup in their inaugural season is as close to storybook as you’ll find in 2019.
The newest pro-sports franchise in Newfoundland and Labrador, the Growlers ran the table, with no shortage of help from a slew of Newfoundlanders, including playoff MVP Zach O’Brien, Marcus Power, Captain James Melindy and the newly retired NHL veteran Adam Pardy.
The Growlers bested Brampton, Manchester, Florida and Toledo to win the Kelly Cup, at home no less, on June 4th, 2019