Newfoundland and Labrador

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Newfoundland and Labrador GALLERY
2020 2020 Fodor’s Go List Destination

Magnificent mountains, sweeping vistas, colorful wooden houses perched on rocky sea cliffs, hidden fjords, and the deep blue sea define Newfoundland. "The Rock" as the island is sometimes affectionately called, lures visitors with the promise of dramatic landscapes, incredible hiking and outdoor experiences, and the warmth of the people. Canada starts here, from the east, on the island of Newfoundland in the North Atlantic. Labrador, to the northwest, is on the mainland bordering Québec. Along the province’s nearly 17,699 km (11,000 miles) of coastline, humpback whales feed near shore, millions of seabirds nest, and 10,000-year-old icebergs drift by fishing villages.

Off the east coast of Canada, the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, as it is officially called, is a bit of aRead More
contradiction in terms: it's the youngest province—it joined the Confederation in 1949—but its European timeline stretches back to AD 1000, when Vikings made first landfall on the Great Northern Peninsula. They assembled a sod-hut village at what is now L'Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site, calling their new home Vinland. They stayed less than 10 years and then disappeared into the mists of history. Preceding the Vikings were the Maritime Archaic people who lived in the region as long ago as 6,000 years. L'Anse Amour, a 7,500-year-old burial ground in southern Labrador, is the oldest-known cemetery in North America.

When explorer John Cabot arrived at Bonavista from England in 1497, he reported an ocean so full of fish they could be caught in a basket lowered over the side of a boat. Within a decade, St. John's had become a crowded harbor. Soon, fishing boats from France, England, Spain, and Portugal vied for a chance to catch Newfoundland's lucrative cod, which would shape the province's history.

At one time, 700 outports dotted Newfoundland's coast, devoted to the world's most plentiful fish. Today, only about 400 of these settlements survive. By 1992, cod had become scarce from overfishing and the federal government called a moratorium, throwing thousands of citizens out of work. The moratorium is still in place, forcing generations of people to retrain for other industries or leave, and the fishing industry has since diversified into other species, mainly shrimp and crab. The development of one of the world's richest and largest nickel deposits at Voisey's Bay in northern Labrador, near Nain, holds hope for new prosperity, as does tourism and the growing offshore oil and gas industry.

Despite Newfoundland and Labrador's more than 50 years as a Canadian province, its people remain resolutely independent and maintain a unique language and lifestyle. E. Annie Proulx's Pulitzer Prize–winning novel The Shipping News (1993) brought the province to the world's attention, and Newfoundland writers such as Wayne Johnston (The Colony of Unrequited Dreams, The Navigator of New York), Michael Crummey (River Thieves and Galore), and Lisa Moore (February and Caught) continue to introduce international audiences to the province.

Visitors to Newfoundland find themselves straddling the centuries. Old Irish, French, and English accents and customs still exist in small towns and outports despite television and the Internet, but the cities of St. John's in the east and Corner Brook to the west are very much part of the 21st century. Wherever you travel in the province, you're sure to meet some of the warmest, wittiest people in North America. No matter how remote the spot, no one is ever bored in Newfoundland.

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St. John's

Old meets new in the province's capital (metro-area population a little more than 200,000), with modern office buildings surrounded by heritage...

Gros Morne National Park

Because of its geological uniqueness and immense splendor, this park has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Camping and hiking are popular...

Port aux Basques

In the 1500s and early 1600s, there were seven Basque ports along Newfoundland's west coast and in southern Labrador; Port aux Basques was one...

Fogo and Change Islands

Tales of the famous Fogo Island Inn have revived interest in this area for travelers from around the world. While Fogo Island has begun to reinvent...

Greater St. John's

A number of must-see attractions can be found a short drive from the downtown core of St. John's. When you stand with your back to the ocean...

Trinity

Trinity is one of the jewels of Newfoundland. The village's ocean views, winding lanes, and snug houses are the main attractions, and several...

Corner Brook

Newfoundland's fourth-largest city, Corner Brook is the hub of the island's west coast. Hills fringe three sides of the city, which has dramatic...

Bonavista

No one knows exactly where explorer John Cabot landed when he came to Atlantic Canada in 1497, but many believe, based on his descriptions of...

Twillingate

The inhabitants of this scenic old fishing village make their living from the sea and have been doing so for nearly two centuries. Colorful...

L'Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site

Around the year 1000, Vikings from Greenland and Iceland founded the first European settlement in North America, near the northern tip of...

St. Anthony

The northern part of the Great Northern Peninsula served as the setting for The Shipping News, E. Annie Proulx's 1993 Pulitzer Prize–winning...

Gander

Gander, a busy town of 11,000 people, is notable for its aviation history. During World War II, the airport here, now called Gander International...

Ferryland

The main road into Ferryland hugs the coastline, where tiny bay houses dot the steep hills. Ferryland is one of the oldest European settlements...

Clarenville

Pleasant little Clarenville has a marina, a small bird sanctuary, and a monument commemorating the landing of the first transatlantic telephone...

St-Pierre and Miquelon

The islands of St-Pierre and Miquelon, France's only territory in North America, are but a ferry ride away from Newfoundland. Shopping and dining...

Deer Lake

Deer Lake was once just another small town on the Trans-Canada Highway, but the opening of Gros Morne National Park in the early 1970s and the...

Witless Bay Ecological Reserve

Four small islands and the water surrounding them make up the reserve, the summer home of millions of seabirds—puffins, murres, kittiwakes,...

Placentia

Placentia was first settled by 16th-century Basque fishermen and was Newfoundland's French capital in the 1600s. The remains of an old fort...

Terra Nova National Park

Newfoundland's first national park, established in 1957, offers natural beauty, dramatic Bonavista Bay coastline, rugged woods, and many outdoor...

Cape St. Mary's Ecological Reserve

The third-largest nesting colony of gannets in North America resides here, at the most accessible seabird colony on the continent. A paved road...

Grand Falls–Windsor

This central Newfoundland town is an amalgamation of two towns that were joined in 1991. The papermaking town of Grand Falls was the quintessential...

Brigus

This compact historic village on Conception Bay is wonderfully walkable, with a public garden, winding lanes, and a teahouse. Brigus is best...

Stephenville

The former Harmon Air Force Base is in Stephenville, a town best known for its summer theater festival. To the west of town is the Port au Port...

Cupids

Cupids is the oldest English colony in Canada, founded in 1610 by John Guy, to whom the town erected a monument in 1910. Nearby is a reproduction...

Harbour Grace

Harbour Grace, once the headquarters of 17th-century pirate Peter Easton, was a major commercial town in the 18th and 19th centuries. Beginning...

Salmonier Nature Park

...

Grand Bank

One of the loveliest communities in Newfoundland, Grand Bank has a fascinating history as an important fishing center. Because of trading patterns...

Boyd's Cove

Between 1650 and 1720, the Beothuk (an indigenous culture know as the "Red Indians" to settlers due to the use of red ocher body paint) main...

St. John's

Old meets new in the province's capital (metro-area population a little more than 200,000), with modern office buildings surrounded by heritage...

Gros Morne National Park

Because of its geological uniqueness and immense splendor, this park has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Camping and hiking are popular...

Port aux Basques

In the 1500s and early 1600s, there were seven Basque ports along Newfoundland's west coast and in southern Labrador; Port aux Basques was one...

Greater St. John's

A number of must-see attractions can be found a short drive from the downtown core of St. John's. When you stand with your back to the ocean...

Trinity

Trinity is one of the jewels of Newfoundland. The village's ocean views, winding lanes, and snug houses are the main attractions, and several...

Twillingate

The inhabitants of this scenic old fishing village make their living from the sea and have been doing so for nearly two centuries. Colorful...

Corner Brook

Newfoundland's fourth-largest city, Corner Brook is the hub of the island's west coast. Hills fringe three sides of the city, which has dramatic...

Bonavista

No one knows exactly where explorer John Cabot landed when he came to Atlantic Canada in 1497, but many believe, based on his descriptions of...

Gander

Gander, a busy town of 11,000 people, is notable for its aviation history. During World War II, the airport here, now called Gander International...

L'Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site

Around the year 1000, Vikings from Greenland and Iceland founded the first European settlement in North America, near the northern tip of...

St. Anthony

The northern part of the Great Northern Peninsula served as the setting for The Shipping News, E. Annie Proulx's 1993 Pulitzer Prize–winning...

Ferryland

The main road into Ferryland hugs the coastline, where tiny bay houses dot the steep hills. Ferryland is one of the oldest European settlements...

Clarenville

Pleasant little Clarenville has a marina, a small bird sanctuary, and a monument commemorating the landing of the first transatlantic telephone...

St-Pierre and Miquelon

The islands of St-Pierre and Miquelon, France's only territory in North America, are but a ferry ride away from Newfoundland. Shopping and dining...

Deer Lake

Deer Lake was once just another small town on the Trans-Canada Highway, but the opening of Gros Morne National Park in the early 1970s and the...

Witless Bay Ecological Reserve

Four small islands and the water surrounding them make up the reserve, the summer home of millions of seabirds—puffins, murres, kittiwakes,...

Grand Falls–Windsor

This central Newfoundland town is an amalgamation of two towns that were joined in 1991. The papermaking town of Grand Falls was the quintessential...

Placentia

Placentia was first settled by 16th-century Basque fishermen and was Newfoundland's French capital in the 1600s. The remains of an old fort...

Terra Nova National Park

Newfoundland's first national park, established in 1957, offers natural beauty, dramatic Bonavista Bay coastline, rugged woods, and many outdoor...

Cape St. Mary's Ecological Reserve

The third-largest nesting colony of gannets in North America resides here, at the most accessible seabird colony on the continent. A paved road...

Brigus

This compact historic village on Conception Bay is wonderfully walkable, with a public garden, winding lanes, and a teahouse. Brigus is best...

Stephenville

The former Harmon Air Force Base is in Stephenville, a town best known for its summer theater festival. To the west of town is the Port au Port...

Cupids

Cupids is the oldest English colony in Canada, founded in 1610 by John Guy, to whom the town erected a monument in 1910. Nearby is a reproduction...

Harbour Grace

Harbour Grace, once the headquarters of 17th-century pirate Peter Easton, was a major commercial town in the 18th and 19th centuries. Beginning...

Salmonier Nature Park

...

Grand Bank

One of the loveliest communities in Newfoundland, Grand Bank has a fascinating history as an important fishing center. Because of trading patterns...

Boyd's Cove

Between 1650 and 1720, the Beothuk (an indigenous culture know as the "Red Indians" to settlers due to the use of red ocher body paint) main...

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