9 things you didn’t know about Newfoundland and Labrador

Battle Harbour, Labrador - Photo by John Chambers

Battle Harbour, Labrador – Photo by John Chambers

As of the 2014 season, Adventure Canada has been operating in Newfoundland and Labrador for twenty years. Over that time, we’ve learned to appreciate some of the unique, and lesser-known features of Canada’s easternmost province. Here are a few.

1. The Miawpukek First Nation in Conne River, Newfoundland, is one of the most economically successful First Nations in Canada. This Mi’kmaw community places a high value on traditional values, including canoe-building and handicrafts.

2. Gros Morne National Park helped change our understanding of the world. The park’s outstanding geology includes visible protrusions of the Earth’s mantle, and crust, which led to insights into tectonic plate theory and continental drift.

3. L’Anse Aux Meadows, Newfoundland is the site of the only authenticated Norse settlement on the North American mainland. Now a National Historic Site, the location was discovered by closely studying the text of ancient Viking sagas.

4. Red Bay, Labrador, is Canada’s newest UNESCO World Heritage Site. For several decades in the 1500s Red Bay was home to a thriving whaling station, seasonally run by Basques whalers. Multiple shipwrecks from the era lie in the harbour.

5. Battle Harbour, Labrador preserves a classic cod fishing station, with superbly kept wharves, warehouses, ‘flakes’ (drying racks), a working general store, church and houses. Battle Harbour is a living museum of the traditional salt cod industry.

6. Ever wonder what the Wonderstrands were? Two pristine sandy stretches of 20km and 25km along the eastern shore of Labrador are the leading contenders for the phenomenal beaches mentioned by Norse explorers.

7. Rigolet, on the Labrador coast, has a unique place in literature: a fictional, future version of the hamlet (called Rigo), appears in the novel The Chrysalids by John Wyndham. In our time, the area is a haven for minke and humpback whales.

8. The ghost settlement of Okak, Labrador straddles the tree line – and two cultures as well. The site was home to a Moravian mission from 1776 to 1919, and at its heyday was the centre of a large Labrador Inuit presence in the area.

9. Torngat Mountains National Park in Nunatsiavut, the semi-autonomous Inuit region of northern Labrador, contains Canada’s highest peaks east of the Rockies, framing dramatic fiords. The Torngats teem with wildlife, including polar bears and caribou.

Visit Newfoundland and Labrador on these Adventure Canada trips:

Newfoundland and Wild Labrador, June 29-July 12, 2014
Greenland and Wild Labrador, September 11-24, 2014

Picturesque Newfoundland

One passenger aboard our recent Newfoundland Circumnavigation had an amazing story to tell. Keen photographer John Chambers had earned his passage with a picture.

That’s right: John was the winner of the 2012 edition of Photolife‘s annual photo contest, “The World We Live In” in the Amateur category. You may have seen his extraordinary Arctic wolf portrait on the cover of the contest issue of the magazine – it’s sublime.

John was an enthusiastic traveller, leaping at every opportunity to grab great shots. He was kind enough to share some of his favourites with us here.

St. John's is a beautiful and fascinating city, one of North America's oldest.

St. John’s is a beautiful and fascinating city, one of North America’s oldest.

Rock formations south of St. John's near Bay Bulls are spectacular.

Rock formations south of St. John’s near Bay Bulls are spectacular.

Fogo Island was once considered one of the four corners of the Earth.

Fogo Island was once considered one of the four corners of the Earth.

The restored fish station at Battle Harbour is a national treasure.

The restored fish station at Battle Harbour is a national treasure.

Reconstructed Viking sod house, circa 1000 A.D.

Reconstructed Viking sod house, c. 1000 A.D. at L’Anse Aux Meadows.

Castle Island off the Labrador coast is famed for its columnar basalt.

Castle Island off the Labrador coast is famed for its columnar basalt.

Saddle Island, at Red Bay, once housed a Basque whaling station.

Saddle Island, at Red Bay, once housed a Basque whaling station.

Spruce stacked to dry in traditional fashion.

Spruce stacked to dry in traditional fashion in Red Bay, Labrador.

Gros Morne National Park is considered 'The Galapagos of Geology'

Gros Morne National Park is considered ‘The Galapagos of Geology’

The tiny outport of Francois is only accessible by boat.

The tiny outport of Francois is only accessible by boat.

The Sea Adventurer proudly flies the AC flag.

The Sea Adventurer proudly flies the AC flag.

Tiny St. Pierre preserves the culture and heritage of France.

Tiny St. Pierre preserves the culture and heritage of France.

The easternmost point in Canada.

The easternmost point in Canada, Cape Spear.

St. John's features one of the world's great ocean harbours.

St. John’s features one of the world’s great ocean harbours.

Enter this year’s edition of The World We Live In, sponsored by Adventure Canada, and you too could win one of many spectacular prizes.