Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Traversing Canada Tuesdays: Newfoundland And Labrador

image from here
highlighting added by me

Last week I started a new series on my blog called "Traversing Canada Tuesdays" which is an up close and personal look at Canada. This is as much for me as it is for anyone else! We started with Saskatchewan, and now we're headed all the way east to Newfoundland and Labrador. I've been to Newfoundland twice and absolutely LOVED IT both times. It is such a unique and beautiful place.

Although technically this province is named Newfoundland and Labrador, most people forget about the "and Labrador" part. This must drive the people who live in Labrador a little insane. Newfoundland is the darker orange area of the map and it is an island. Labrador is the lighter orange area of the map and it is connected to mainland Canada, just east of Quebec.
I think this is on the walk to Signal Hill
Vikings came from Greenland to live in Newfoundland at L'Anse Aux Meadows about 1000 years ago. However their settlement was only discovered in the 1960s. Aboriginal and Inuit peoples in this province have been traced back 7,500 years, and the first European to land in Newfoundland was John Cabot in 1497. Fishing vessels started to come over from Europe every summer to fish the cod.

Mostly English and Irish settlers came to Newfoundland, and by 1855 Newfoundland was a self-governing British colony. When Canada formed in 1867, Newfoundland resisted joining because they felt closer to Britain. But as with many places, the Great Depression had a lasting effect on Newfoundland. Britain took direct control again and by 1948 there was a lot of pressure to join Canada. There were a couple of referendums, and although the vote was close, in 1949 Newfoundland became Canada's newest province.
me at Cape Spear

Cape Spear is North America's most easterly point and St. John's is the oldest English-found city in North America. Just a little north of St. John's you can watch humpback whales and icebergs drifting down from Greenland.

As you can see from the pictures, Newfoundland is very rocky. People who live there call it "The Rock." Newfoundland also has rolling hills and trees which can grow in its cool, wet climate. Because of its unique placement among ocean currents, Newfoundland ends up with a lot of fog. The interior of Labrador has a subarctic climate with short summers and long, cold winters. However, coastal Labrador has a climate more like Newfoundland.
a house on the water near St. John's
This province is mostly made up of small towns and villages. Some towns are only fly-in communities and have no roads. And some of the outports (coastal fishing communities) have more boats than cars! St. John's is the biggest city at 100,000 people.

Newfoundland used to be known for its cod industry, but as the fish declined, the government of Canada shut down the cod fishery. This left many people out of work. Some people fished for other things such as halibut, crab, lobster, and salmon. Many people left Newfoundland to find work. A significant amount of the workers in Alberta's oil industry come from Newfoundland. However, Newfoundland has its own source of oil too. The Hibernia Oil Field is a large oil field 80 metres beneath the ocean, about 320 kilometres from St. John's and millions of barrels of oil are extracted from it each year.
I think this is on the western coast of Newfoundland at Port Aux Basques.

Some (potentially) interesting Newfoundland facts:

People from Newfoundland not only have their own accent, but they also have their own English dialect. When I was in Newfoundland, I had to ask people to repeat themselves more than once. Since I "came from away" I don't think they were surprised.

Six moose were brought to Newfoundland in 1878 and 1904. It was hoped that they would multiply to provide a source of meat for the province. Today there are more than 120,000 moose on the island. The only moose I have ever seen were while driving down a deserted road in Newfoundland at night. Two moose were trotting on the road ahead of me for about a mile (longest five minutes of my life) while I followed at a safe distance.

The Newfoundland dog and the Labrador dog can be traced back to this province.
I love this row of colourful houses in St. John's 

Since Newfoundland is the closest North American point to Europe, it boasts some of the world's firsts. In 1901, the world's first transatlantic wireless message was sent from England to Signal Hill in St. John's. In 1919, the world's first non-stop transatlantic flight took place between St. John's and Clifden, Ireland. It took 16 hours.

Newfoundland has it's own time zone, Newfoundland Time Zone. (Seriously click on that link and read the Wikipedia article -- it is really interesting! And a little bizarre!) Instead of being an hour different from its nearest neighbour, it is only half an hour different. Our national station used to advertise for TV shows and they would say "Watch for insert show name here on Thursdays at 8pm local time, 8:30 in Newfoundland." So the time difference between Ontario and Newfoundland is an hour and a half. And you may remember that Newfoundland is not the only province to do whatever they want with time :)

Just 25 kilometres, sixteen miles, off the southern coast of Newfoundland are the islands of St-Pierre and Miquelon. They are French and the people living there have French citizenship. I have never been there, although I would love to visit sometimes. I'll just have to remember to bring some Euros with me!

Capital: St. John's
Population: 512,000
Provincial flower: Purple Pitcher Plant
Provincial bird: Atlantic Puffin

Reference book: Newfoundland and Labrador by Rachel Eagen,  "Canada Close Up" series printed by Scholastic Canada


  1. So cool!!! I mostly like that this province is named after dogs. Or vice versa, I suppose, but whatever. :) And so weird that their time is a half hour different..that must be confusing!!

  2. How in the world have I missed so many posts? I am so sorry. I am a bad blog friend. What an interesting providence. I kind of want to visit them all now.


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