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Cape Spear National Historic Site – where the day dawns first in the world

Iceberg Alley

Music is part of life here

Coastal surprises are all around

Colourful beauty in downtown St John’s

Fishing stage in Raleigh

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Newfoundland: wilderness, culture, unique food – and more


Newfoundland is Canada’s easternmost province and it’s big – about the same size as California – but thinly populated. It’s where the power of nature helps visitors relax, and it also has a lively culture and unusual history.


The capital, St. John’s, is the easternmost city in North America. There are about 100,000 people in the city, and another 95,000 in the surrounding suburbs. The old downtown area surrounds a perfect harbour that’s sheltered vessels for 400 years. In this area you’ll find scores of pubs, many offering musical entertainment, and restaurants featuring cuisine from around the world. This emphasis on food is a recent development, spurred by young chefs who learned their skills elsewhere and then returned home to open new eateries.


The province has two distinct sections: the Island of Newfoundland at the mouth of the St. Lawrence River, and the much bigger Labrador on the Ungava Peninsula, bordering the province of Quebec (see section on Labrador). Newfoundland has a centuries-old tradition for catching fish, but that has been supplanted as the main economic activity by off shore oil, minerals, forestry, and tourism.


The region is known world over for its abundance of birds and whales. About 5,000 humpback whales and thousands of other cetaceans swim by on their way to summering grounds in the arctic; plentiful fish encourages them to hang around. Similarly, millions of seabirds come here to nest and raise their young with the bounty of the ocean for nourishment.


A third great natural treat is icebergs which break off from glaciers up in Greenland and Canada’s north and drift by the shore to melt in the warmer waters of the Gulf Stream.


On land there are thousands of kilometres of coastal hiking trails, 125,000 moose, about 200 rivers where anglers can catch Atlantic salmon, and thousands of lakes. There’s a 1,000-year-old Viking village in northern Newfoundland that’s been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Another World Heritage Site is Gros Morne National Park in western Newfoundland. It has unusual geology and gorgeous scenery – including fjords.


In recent decades people from around the world have moved here to study, start a business or enter a profession. It’s a mix of old and new and definitely a place that will leave an impression on you.