Just northwest of Ontario is the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Well over 90% of the half-million population lives on the island of Newfoundland, just offshore to the southeast, separated from Labrador by the Straight of Belle Isle. There are more than 7,000 tiny islands which are part of this province as well. The province is quite large, a little smaller than California, so planning ahead is important!
Gros Morne National Park is one of Labrador’s finest features; its shifting tectonic plates are a World Heritage Site. The Park has a dense population of moose, so be on the lookout! Labrador’s climate ranges from subarctic to polar tundra – brrrr! Torngat Mountains National Park is quite pristine; you can see 3.9 billion year old rocks!
Newfoundland’s climate is milder and the Gulf Stream moderates its winters; the province welcomes the majority of its visitors June - September. Capital and largest city, St. John’s, is found at the southeastern tip of the Avalon Peninsula on Newfoundland. Over 150,000 people call this metro area home - you may be surprised when you see their brightly painted houses – just one of St. John’s unique features! There is a nice selection of Newfoundland hotels in this city, great for your visit’s home base. See the city via the Grand Concourse, an interconnected, 125 km long walkway between sites. The well-positioned city is utilized by various cruise lines as home port, bringing many visitors to town.
Signal Hill National Historic Site overlooks the city; Cabot Tower memorializes the founding of Newfoundland by John Cabot and the first transatlantic transmission received by Marconi in 1901. Terra Nova National Park is found where the North Atlantic Ocean meets boreal forest in northeastern Newfoundland. This Park is roughly a 3.5 hour drive from St. John’s and offers guided eco-boat tours for exploring this vast outdoor wonderland. Mistaken Point Ecological Reserve, at the southeastern tip of the peninsula, features the oldest complex life forms found on Earth, over 500 million years old!
Summer is the best season for fishing, hiking, taking a whale or iceberg watching tour, or attending cultural and music festivals. But the other seasons aren’t without merit: golf and leaf peeping are popular in the fall, while winters offer skiing, snowmobiling and snowboarding opportunities. Migrating populations of whales, birds and salmon are plentiful, so take at least one boat tour.
Last but not least, this province claims to have no snakes, skunks, raccoons, poisonous insects or arachnids – even no ragweed! If that’s not enough to convince you to visit Newfoundland and Labrador, nothing will!