Top Tourist Attractions in Newfoundland
The main airports on the island of Newfoundland are St John's, Gander, Stephenville and Deer Lake, which also take flights from Europe.
Those worth mentioning in Labrador are Goose Bay, Churchill Falls and Wabush, all of which, apart from Churchill Falls, can be reached from the larger Canadian airports.There are ferry services to Newfoundland from North Sydney (Nova Scotia) to Port-aux-Basques (all year round) or Argentia (mid-June-mid-September), and to Labrador from St Barbe (Newfoundland) and Blanc Sablon (May-December) and Lewisporte and Goose Bay.A road runs between Baie Comeau (Québec) and Labrador City.The old narrow-gauge railway on Newfoundland which linked Port-aux-Basques with St John's was closed in the 1960s. The line from Schefferville to Sept-Îles carries iron ore.Newfoundland, Canada's youngest province, consists of the island of that name together with countless other small islands and an area of some 300,000 sq. km (115,800 sq. mi.). Newfoundland Island, the tenth largest island in the world (roughly 110,000 sq. km (42,460 sq. mi.)) is in the Atlantic off Canada's north-east coast, separated from Nova Scotia by the Cabot Strait and from Labrador by the narrow Strait of Belle Isle, and measures 525 km (326 mi.) from north to south and 515 km (320 mi.) from east to west. Labrador, the peninsula called by Jacques Cartier "the land that God gave Cain", is bordered on the west and south by the Province of Québec and is 1046 km (650 mi.) north to south and 724 km (450 mi.) east to west.Newfoundland Island is part of the Appalachian system and sits on the Continental Shelf. The famous "Grand Banks" offshore to the east and south of the island, which are only 200 m (656 ft) deep, are the world's richest fishing grounds. Newfoundland's varied landscape was shaped by the ice ages, leaving big fiords, moorland, lakes and gentle valleys. The highest point is Lewis Hill (814 m (2,672 ft)) in the Long Range Mountains on the west coast. These are wooded, as are the river valleys, with the rest a rocky wasteland.From the Long Range Mountains the land falls away to the east and north-east. The Central Newfoundland plateau is one of North America's oldest geological formations, going back 400 million years to when it was part of the old Afro-European continent. The landscape in east Newfoundland, with the Bonavista, Burin and Avalon peninsulas, is pleasantly hilly.Labrador is part of the east wing of the Canadian Shield surrounding the vastness of Hudson Bay. The undulating plateau of Pre-Cambrian granite and gneiss is 200-500 m (656-1,641 ft) above sea level, rising up to 1800 m (5908 ft) in the north-east. The coast is a typical fiord landscape.Newfoundland's island climate is characterised by the fogs which occur all year round, caused in summer by the cold air from the Labrador current meeting the warmer air from the landmass, with the process reversed in winter. There are no great swings in temperature, the weather tends mainly to be rainy and cool. Average winter temperatures are between 22°C (28°F) and 29°C (16°F), often accompanied by violent storms, and in the middle of the island the thermometer can fall to 220°C (4°F) and below. Summer is fairly hot and wet on the coast and warmer further inland: the average July temperature is 15.3°C (59.5°F). The island has plenty of rain or snow all year round, especially in the east and on the coast (St John's 1346 mm (53 in.) a year).Labrador has a much more severe climate, with greater extremes of temperature, but less rain. Its northern climate is arctic, with winter temperatures of below 240°C (240°F) for six months of the year. In the three months of summer the average temperatures are around 10°C (50°F). The southern coastal areas are distinctly warmer. Goose Bay averages 214°C (7°F) in January and 21°C (70°F) in July, with an annual rainfall of 737 mm (29 in.).The northern part of Newfoundland Island is largely covered with fir and spruce, while the south is moor and marsh, with a few stunted trees growing on the barren podzol.Labrador's vegetation is predominantly conifers in the south giving way to sparser subarctic birch and small conifers and then the tundra of the far north.Excavations at Port-au-Choix show that Indians were living in Newfoundland, the "cradle of the New World", at least 6,000 years ago. The Beothuk, the original North American Red Indians, were first known to Europeans as "redskins" because of the red ochre they used to decorate their bodies, and hence the name for them brought back to Europe by John Cabot.The sensational diggings at L'Anse aux Meadows between 1961 and 1967 revealed traces of a Viking settlement from around 1000 ad, possibly making the legendary Leif Erikson, one of their number, the first discoverer of Newfoundland and hence North America. The island was rediscovered in 1497 by John Cabot, an Italian whose real name was Giovanni Caboto, but who was in the service of England, although Basque fishermen were already fishing the rich waters of the Grand Banks as early as the 14th c., but keeping the existence of those waters to themselves. Soon the seas off the "new found land" were keeping the whole of Europe supplied with fish. This contact with Europe had fatal consequences for the native peoples, and the last Beothuk died in St John's in 1829. Labrador's Montaignais and Inuit only managed to avoid the same fate because their lands were of no interest to the colonialists.Newfoundland effectively became Britain's first colony when Elizabeth I was declared its Queen in St John's in 1583. For a century the island was in practice ruled by the "Fishing Admirals", the British West Country merchants who made rules to prevent any permanent settlement that would provide them with competition. Some small English fishing communities managed to establish themselves nevertheless, although they never actually succeeded in getting colonial status. The French, however, did set up a colony, with a Governor, in Plaisance (Placentia) in 1662, and conflict between the French and the British over the island only ended in 1713 with the Treaty of Utrecht when the British got Newfoundland and the French ended up with just St-Pierre and Miquelon.In the years that followed Newfoundland was settled by the Irish, Basques and English West Countrymen. Newfoundland became a self-governing dominion within the British Commonwealth in 1855. During the Second World War an economic boom was created by the Allied military bases. Although Newfoundland took part in the Québec Conference in 1867 it did not become the tenth province of the Canadian Confederation until March 31st 1949, following a 52 per cent vote in favour at a referendum.Labrador has known human habitation for about 8,000 years (L'Anse Amour), and the Inuit in the north and the Naskapi Indians in the south long resisted French and English attempts to settle the coastline. John McLean began exploring the interior on behalf of the Hudson's Bay Company in 1839. The railway line between Sept-Îles (Québec) and Schefferville in central Labrador, completed in 1954, enabled exploitation of iron ore deposits discovered at the end of the 19th c. Goose Bay, an important Allied base during the Second World War, is now used by NATO.During the night of the 14th to 15th April 1912 the SS Titanic, on her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York, struck an iceberg over the Newfoundland Bank and sank within three hours in the waters of the Atlantic. Only 703 of the 1308 passengers and 898 crew of the supposedly unsinkable ship survived. The wreck now lies on the sea floor at a depth of 3797 m (12, 462 ft).Newfoundland is unusual for Canada in having a very homogenous population: 99 per cent of the "Newfies" are English-speaking and more than 95 per cent were born on the island. About 2700 speak French, and they live mainly in the north-east and south-west of Newfoundland (St George's, Port-au-Port) and in Labrador. The only native peoples to have survived are the Micmac Indians.About 95 per cent of the population of the province live on Newfoundland, although at 5.1 persons per sq. km (2 per sq. mi.) it is still very thinly populated. About a fifth of the population live in the St John's commuter area, while the rest are in the fishing villages along the coast. Originally people lived along the whole length of the coast but in the 1970s they were grouped into small communities of one to two hundred as part of a resettlement campaign.With a population of only 0.1 per sq. km (0.03 per sq. mi.), Labrador is virtually uninhabited, apart from the coast and the iron ore workings. Two Indian tribes live in the north-east and south-west of Labrador, the Naskapi and Montagnais. The Inuit community numbers about 2600, and they get their living from the sea.
L'Anse aux Meadows National Historic Park at the far northern tip of the Newfoundland Great Northern Peninsula is the place to experience Viking history. It has the unique distinction of being a UNESCO Protected Cultural Monument.
Mountains and fiords make up the dramatic landscape of Gros Morne National Park. This is one of Newfoundland's most popular attractions, with hiking trails and sightseeing boat excursions.
South Avalon Peninsula Driving Tour
Follow the eastern and southern coastline of the Avalon Peninsula from St John's to Argentina, taking in two of the world's most important reserves for seabirds at Bay Bulls and Cape St Mary's. Start out on Highway 10 south out of St John's.
Cape Spear Lighthouse National Historic Park
Open all year round, Cape Spear National Historic Park, on Highway 11 11 km (7 mi.) south of St John's, is the most easterly point in North America, and has Newfoundland's oldest lighthouse. Dating from 1835 it was in operation until 1955 and is now an interesting museum. In addition there are massive half-ruined gun emplacements from the Second World War, including the barrels of two guns each weighing 30 tons and having a range of 13 km (8 mi.).
Address: Box 1268, St John's, NF A1C5M9, Canada
Opening hours: May 15 to Sep 6: 8:30am-9pm
Sep 7 to Oct 15: 10am-6pm
Sep 7 to Oct 15: 10am-6pm
Entrance fee in CAD: Family $9.80, Adult $3.90, Senior over 64 $3.40, Child 16 & under $1.90, Child 5 & under FREE
Useful tips: The restored lighthouse is open to visitors from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., May 15 to October 15.
Facilities: Gift shop
Castle Hill National Historic Site
Castle Hill National Historic Park is between Placentia and Highway 100. It is the site of English and French fortifications, whose history is told in the Interpretive Center. Fort Royal was built by the French in 1693 then handed over 20 years later to the British, who renamed it Castle Hill. There is a magnificent view from here over Placentia Bay, and from Le Gaillardin, 10 minutes' walk away, a redoute built by the French in 1692.
Clarenville is a small town on the east coast of Newfoundland. Just outside of the town is golfing and an alpine skiing area, providing for year round tourism.
Terra Nova National Park is known for its fiords and dramatic coastline. In spring icebergs drift by, and in summer kayakers and canoeists take to the waters. Winter offers cross country skiing opportunities.
The icy-cold Labrador current flows through the 17 km (11 mi.)-wide Strait of Belle Isle which separates Labrador from Newfoundland, into the Gulf of St Lawrence. Southern Labrador was traditionally the summer fishing grounds for centuries of fishermen heading here from Newfoundland.
The town of Gander is noted for it's history of air service, being a strategic location during WWII and a departure point for both national and international fights today. It is also home to the North Atlantic Aviation Museum.
Gander International Airport
Gander has an International Airport providing transatlantic flight service. This airport's international role serves largely as a stop over emergency point for transatlantic flights, offering medical assistance and other technical support for aircraft in emergency situations. The airport does offer regular service between Gander and larger destinations within Canada.
North Atlantic Aviation Museum
The North Atlantic Aviation Museum in Gander explores the history of flight in this area from the time the airport was established and deals with the advances in aviation.
This quaint Newfoundland village located on the Kittiwake coast is a true slice of rural life. Filled with interesting homes and friendly people, Twillingate is a town not to be missed. Originally settled in 1738 and known as Toulinguet, the town has a long history related to timber, sealing, and fishing.Very near to Twillingate is the Long Point Lighthouse built in 1889. It has a range of 22 nautical miles and is an excellent location to watch for whales and icebergs. Twillingate has an annual festival called Fish, Fun & Folk that takes place during the last full weekend in July. Also of note is the Twillingate Theatre Company that performs at the historic Cameron Hall.
Grand Falls-Windsor, Canada
The town of Grand Falls-Windsor, north-west of St John's has a couple of attractions, including a museum and a recreation of an Indian village. The town is the result of the amalgamation of Grand Falls and Windsor, which took place in the early 1990s.One of the town's largest employers, the pulp and paper mill owned by Abitibi Bowater, closed in 2009.
Deer Lake, Canada
Deer Lake is a small town at the base of the Northern Peninsula. It is one of the main hubs for this area of Newfoundland with an airport.This little town offers a few recreational opportunities, including, golf, skiing, fishing and other water based activities. Many people choose to base themselves here and do day trips to surrounding areas, including Gros Morne National Park.
Avalon Wilderness Reserve
The Avalon Wilderness Reserve protects the Avalon Woodland Caribou. The conservation project began in the early 1960's when the herd had dwindled to a few hundred animals - by 1998 there were over two thousand. The Reserve is a collection of diverse landscape including forests, ponds, rivers, and thickets.Avalon Wilderness Reserve offers the opportunity for hiking, canoeing, skiing, hunting, bird and wildlife watching, fishing photography, and wilderness camping.
Corner Brook, Canada
Corner Brook is Newfoundland's second largest city. There are a number of interesting attractions to see including, The Corner Brook Museum and the Sticks and Stones house, made of stones and small flat sticks.The town is picturesquely situated along the waterfront. A driving tour leads from the town along the coast of the Bay of Islands.
Corner Brook Museum and Archives
The Corner Brook Museum and Archives is housed in a building completed in the 1920's. It served as a Post Office, Telegraph Office, and Court Room.The heritage of Corner Brook is highlighted along with guided tours, community archives, children's activities and educational programs.
Address: 2 West Street, Box 232, Corner Brook, NF A2H6C9, Canada
Opening hours: Jun 30 to Aug 31: 9am-5pm
Sep 1 to Jun 29: 9am-4:30pm; Closed: Sun, Sat
Sep 1 to Jun 29: 9am-4:30pm; Closed: Sun, Sat
Entrance fee in CAD: Adult $5.00, Students $3.00, Child 11 & under FREE
Useful tips: Open upon request from Sept 1 to June 14.
Sir Wilfred Grenfell College Art Gallery
Established in 1988, the Sir Wilfred Grenfell College Art Gallery provides diverse visual art displays. The exhibits feature contemporary and historical art, and highlight many Newfoundland based artists.Sir Wilfred Grenfell College Art Gallery features both a permanent collection and changing exhibitions.
Port Aux Basques, Canada
Port Aux Basques, a small town in the south-west corner of the island, is a major ferry port with service to the mainland. The ferry runs between North Sydney, Nova Scotia, and Port aux Basques and takes approximately six hours.
Central Newfoundland is still largely untouched wilderness. Mostly marsh and moorland, it is covered with typical northern vegetation such as sheep laurel, caribou moss and Labrador tea, from which the Indians used to make a brew when they traveled.This route covers 676 km (420 mi.) and traverses the island almost to the Avalon isthmus before turning south to the Burin Peninsula. The main stretch of the route is along the TransCanada Highway, Newfoundland's only east/west road, which at Springdale touches on Notre Dame Bay, where there are many picturesque little fishing villages.From the Burin Peninsula it is possible to make a trip to enjoy the French atmosphere of St-Pierre and Miquelon.Highway 1 runs along the north shore of Grand Lake and Sandy Lake between the two ranges of the Long Range Mountains. Lobster House and Mount Sheffield stand out on the other side of the lakes.
Western Newfoundland is a land of rugged grandeur, with fast-flowing rivers, pine forests and rich and unusual flora and fauna.The route down the west coast again mainly follows the TransCanada Highway, starting at Port aux Basques, where the ferry berths from North Sydney, Nova Scotia. Taking the highway northwards the Gulf of St Lawrence is on the left and the barren Long Range Mountains are on the right.Halfway between Port aux Basques and Corner Brook is the Port au Port peninsula. Corner Brook is a popular starting point for trips into the center of the island and for getting to Labrador. Gros Morne National Park, the next stop, is about 1000 sq. km (386 sq. mi.) and has the most spectacular fiords in North America.From the park Highway 430 runs close to the west coast of the Great Northern peninsula.
Map of Newfoundland Attractions