Newfoundland & Labrador is Canada's most eastern province, with Labrador attached to the northwest corner of Quebec and Newfoundland hanging off into the Atlantic ocean as an island. The name for this province is Portuguese, but also has significance in the native language of Inuttitut. Newfoundland means "terra nova" in Portuguese, which translates to "new land." The name Labrador is derived from the surname of Fernandes Lavrador, a Portuguese explorer. It also translates to "the big land" in Inuttitut.
Newfoundland & Labrador has a long history of habitation, dating back 9,000 years. While many different indigenous groups occupied the land in relative harmony, by the time of European contact only the Beothuk remained. The Beothuk passionately protected their culture by avoiding contact with European settlers as much as possible.
When the English began to expand beyond the coastline violence intensified between the Beothuk and settlers, each competing for the resources of the sea and land. In 1829, after being decimated by violence, tuberculosis and starvation, the Beothuk were declared extinct. However, Vikings also visited Newfoundland & Labrador, and may have taken Beothuk women with them back to Europe. This means that some Icelanders may carry Beothuk DNA.
On march 31st, 1949, Newfoundland & Labrador officially became part of Canada. It is a province that diligently protects its history and celebrates the diverse people that call it home. When you visit Newfoundland & Labrador, you can expect, "dramatic coastlines, sweeping barrens, thick boreal forests, and ancient rock formations... The living landscape is its own wonder – teeming with seabirds, moose, caribou, and rich marine life." Benefiting from offshore oil production, Newfoundland & Labrador remain closely tied to the sea.
Looking for a way to celebrate Canada 150 with Newfoundland & Labrador? Newfoundlandandlabrador.com suggests the following 10 activities to ring in this birthday (hint: they must all be done in Newfoundland & Labrador):
- Be the first person in North America to see the sunrise.
- Walk along the earth's mantle.
- Snorkel with the Humpback whales.
- View fossils that represent the beginning of life on this planet.
- Kayak with 10,000 year old icebergs.
- Sleep in a Lighthouse.
- Hike to one of the four corners of the earth.
- Visit the Vikings
- Meet the Polar Bears in the Land of Spirits.
- Take a picture on Jellybean Row.
Check back in Thursday for the inside scoop on must-see's in Newfoundland & Labrador!
Newfoundland and Labrador is, perhaps, one of the most overlooked and underrated provinces in Canada. Don't brush aside this underdog: it has a lot to offer. Here are three things you need to check out during your next trip:
St. John's: This gorgeous city "is the perfect combination of big-city luxury and traditional small-town charm. It is the oldest and most easterly city in North America... Wander down the narrow, criss-crossing streets naturally carved by horse and carriage.... Pass the colourful jellybean row houses... [Visit the] iconic Cabot Tower, a castle-like structure built to commemorate the 400th anniversary of John Cabot’s discovery of Newfoundland... (newfoundlandandlabrador.com). You could spend a lifetime in St. John's and never cease to be amazed by all it has to offer.
L'Anse Aux Meadows National Park: Walk in the footsteps of the Vikings. These Norse explorers first landed on Newfoundland & Labrador 1,000 years ago, and L'Anse Aux Meadows is the only official, authenticated Viking settlement site in Canada. Board a replica of Leif Erickson's ship, try axe-throwing, blacksmithing, weaving, pottery and yearn spinning. Gather in the kitchen to learn all about the Norse tales of Thor, Loki, Erik the Red and more. Canada's connection to the Vikings is undeniable and a thrilling part of our history.
Food, Brews & Sweets: Have you ever wondered what a craft beer made from glacial water tastes like? Have you heard the rumors of how good Newfoundland Chocolate's sweets are? Have you been craving a decadent meal from Raymonds, Canada's #1 rated restaurant? If you said yes to any one of these, Newfoundland & Labrador is for you. With a surprisingly diverse and active food and dining scene, this province does not disappoint. Whether you are in the capital or a small coastal hamlet, great eats await.
What places have you explored in Newfoundland & Labrador? Let us know in the comments!
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