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Newfoundland and Labrador

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Travel Guide North America Canada Newfoundland and Labrador

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Introduction

Norris Point fishing boats, Newfoundland

Norris Point fishing boats, Newfoundland

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Only joining Canada in 1949, Newfoundland and Labrador is the youngest of Canada's provinces and yet has a wealth of history, from the aboriginal peoples living in the area, to the Vikings who landed in Newfoundland in the time around 1000 AD, to John Cabot, who came in 1497. Today, Newfoundland and Labrador offers the natural beauty of the rugged coastline, dotted with "jellybean houses" in beautiful colours, a chance to see whales playing among icebergs, and a chance to drink something called "Screech," kiss a fish and be considered one of the locals.

For more tourism information, check out the official tourism site of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador

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Geography

Newfoundland and Labrador is the most easterly province in Canada, and is located on the north-eastern corner of North America. The Strait of Belle Isle separates the province into two geographical divisions, Labrador, which is a large land mass connected to mainland Canada, and Newfoundland, which is an island surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean. The province also includes over 7,000 tiny islands. Newfoundland is roughly triangular, with each side being approximately 400 kilometres, and has an area of 108,860 km2. Newfoundland and its associated small islands have a total area of 111,390 km2. Newfoundland extends between latitudes 46°36′N and 51°38′N.

Labrador is an irregular shape: the western part of its border with Quebec is the drainage divide of the Labrador Peninsula. Lands drained by rivers that flow into the Atlantic Ocean are part of Labrador, the rest belong to Quebec. Labrador’s extreme northern tip, at 60°22′N, shares a short border with Nunavut. Labrador’s area (including associated small islands) is 294,330 km2. Together, Newfoundland and Labrador make up 4.06% of Canada’s area.

Labrador is the easternmost part of the Canadian Shield, a vast area of ancient metamorphic rock comprising much of northeastern North America. Colliding tectonic plates have shaped much of the geology of Newfoundland. Gros Morne National Park has a reputation as an outstanding example of tectonics at work, and as such has been designated a World Heritage Site. The Long Range Mountains on Newfoundland's west coast are the northeasternmost extension of the Appalachian Mountains.

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Cities

St. John's, Newfoundland

St. John's, Newfoundland

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Sights

  • Gros Morne National Park (Unesco world heritage sight)
  • Terra Nova National Park
  • Viking site L'anse aux Meadows (Unesco world heritage sight)
  • Avalon Wilderness Reserve, with a huge population of karibous.
Squid drying in the sun, Newfoundland

Squid drying in the sun, Newfoundland

© All Rights Reserved Utrecht

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Activities

Kiss the Cod

The "Screech-In" is a ceremony where non-Newfoundlanders or “come-from-aways” become honourary Newfoundlanders by drinking a shot of Screech rum, repeating some phrases in a Newfoundland dialect and kissing a cod. The Atlantic cod was abundant in the waters off Newfoundland, and much of the province was employed in the fishery industry. In the early 1980s, the cod stocks collapsed due to overfishing, however the cod still holds a place of honour in Newfoundland.

Come-from-aways who perform the "screech-in" will get a certificate that names them as honourary Newfoundlanders and members of the Royal Order of Screechers.[1]

Whale watching

The waters around Newfoundland have a very rich and varied wildlife, which can be viewed on whale watch excursions and if you are lucky even from land you can see the whales just offshore. There are about 22 different sorts of whales, the Humpback whale being the most impressive sight. Of course there are also opportunities to see dolphins, seals and different species of birds on these trips.

Fisherman's door, Newfoundland

Fisherman's door, Newfoundland

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The best locations on Newfoundland are along the coast of the Avalon Peninsula in the southeast of the island, especially south of the capital St. John's. Also on the eastern shores there are good possibilities like from Twilingate and Trinity.

Iceberg watching

Every spring and early summer the eastcoast of Newfoundland is the showpiece of watching icebergs, drifting away from the icefields near Greenland and North Canada. They can be seen as south as St. John's, but usually one of the best places to see them is in near Twilingate and Trinity.

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Weather

Newfoundland and Labrador is home to a variety of climates and weather. One of the main reasons for this diversity is the geography of the province. The island portion of the province spans 5 degrees of latitude, which is comparable to that of the Great Lakes. The province has been divided into six climate types, but in broader terms Newfoundland has a cool summer subtype of a humid continental climate, which is greatly influenced by the sea since no part of the island is more than 100 kilometres from the ocean. Northern Labrador is classified as a polar tundra climate, southern Labrador has a subarctic climate.

Of all the cities in Canada, St. John's is the foggiest, snowiest, wettest, windiest, and cloudiest, with more days of freezing rain and wet weather.[2]

Anglican church, Trinity, Newfoundland

Anglican church, Trinity, Newfoundland

© All Rights Reserved Utrecht

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Getting There

By Plane

Newfoundland has two international airports – St. John's International Airport (YYT) and the smaller Gander International Airport (YQX).

By Car

If you prefer to get to Labrador by road, you can drive to Labrador City and Wabush via Quebec Route 389. The Quebec Highway meets unpaved Route 500, which crosses Labrador to meet the ferry and coastal boat at Happy Valley-Goose Bay.
There are no bridges to the island of Newfoundland. See the By Boat section for details on car ferries to Newfoundland.

By Rail

Rail services are operated between Sept-Îsles, Quebec and Wabush, Labrador by the Iron Ore Company of Canada’s Quebec North Shore & Labrador Railway.

Durrell bay, Newfoundland

Durrell bay, Newfoundland

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By Boat

The main surface links to the Island of Newfoundland are by superferry from North Sydney, Nova Scotia. Superferries carry hundreds of vehicles and passengers daily between North Sydney and Port aux Basques in southwestern Newfoundland, and between North Sydney and Argentia, a 90 minute drive from St. John's in The Avalon, from June to September.
For details check their website Marine Atlantic

In summer, a passenger ferry operates between Saint Pierre and Miquelon, a little piece of France just off of the Burin Peninsula, and Fortune, just 19 kilometres away.

A coastal passenger and freight vessel also sails along the north shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence from Natashquan at the end of Quebec Route 138 to Blanc Sablon on the border between Quebec and Labrador. From there you can drive on Route 510 as far north as Cartwright and take a ferry from there to Happy Valley-Goose Bay, or take the Strait of Belle Isle ferry from Blanc Sablon to St. Barbe on Newfoundland’s west coast.

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Getting Around

Trinity village, Newfoundland

Trinity village, Newfoundland

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By Plane

In addition to the two international airports in St. John's and Gander, Newfound and Labrador has domestic airports in Deer Lake, Stephenville, and St. Anthony in Newfoundland, and Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Churchill Falls, and Wabush in Labrador.

By Car

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador offers a time and distance calculator for drivers at their site: Road Distances in Newfoundland and Labrador, which includes links to google maps for directions.
Some of the options to rent a car include the following companies:

By Bus

DRL Coachlines operates a number of scheduled bus services throughout the province. There is a daily scheduled bus service between St John's and Port aux Basques along Route 1 and it stops along the route in Gander, Grand Falls-Windsor and Corner Brook. In Labrador, the main connections include infrequent services between Red Bay and Cartwright mainly.

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Eat

Twilingate, Newfoundland

Twilingate, Newfoundland

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Sleep

Apart from Labrador, there are plenty of options to spend the night. Summer camping grounds and some hostels provide the lower range of accommodation while you will find luxurious hotels in places like St John's. There are also many midrange places, like motels and small hotels and a wide range of B&B's, which is an excellent opportunity to meet some locals as well.

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References

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This is version 21. Last edited at 7:13 on Dec 10, 12 by Utrecht. 12 articles link to this page.

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