5 Reasons Why You Need to Go to Newfoundland
Even as a Canadian, visiting Canada’s easternmost province sometimes feels like travelling to a foreign land.
Newfoundland is a singular place, with a captivating culture that has in places like Ireland, Scotland and other parts of Canada, yet remains completely its own—and unlike anything else on earth.
While the Fogo Island Inn has helped put the province on the international radar, there’s so much more to see, do and experience on the Rock.
Below I’ve rounded up just a few of the many ways you’ll be moved by a trip to Newfoundland.
“Iceberg, straight ahead!”
Few places in the world offer a better opportunity for iceberg-spotting than Newfoundland. Along the northern and eastern coasts, you can often spot 10,000 year-old glacial giants protruding from the ocean’s surface in nearly every shape and size. July, in particular, is an excellent time to go, as the clear skies and sunny days make for perfect viewing opportunities.
One of the most striking things about the icebergs are the colours. Ranging from snow-white to aquamarine, travellers are often surprised by the sheer beauty of these craggly ice formations. As Newfoundlers like to say (in their charmingly tongue-in-cheek way), “Some pieces just won’t fit inside the Guggenheim.”
Lots of Local Charm
And speaking of Newfoundlanders’ charm, the people alone are enough to make this place a draw.
Newfoundlandlers are undeniably Canadian, but they’re a unique breed unto themselves. Newfoundland has seen its share of hardships thanks to its remote location, some decisions made by past governments, and the collapse of the cod fishing industry that once sustained the province.
But one of the most remarkable things about Newfoundlanders is that, while they’ve become incredibly resilient, they haven’t hardened. An incredible levity permeates the people here. They’re storytellers, jokesters, improvisational musicians and singers.
Everything you need to know about the spirit of Newfoundlanders can be summed up in two words: kitchen party. If you don’t think standing around in someone’s (usually cramped) kitchen sounds like one of the world’s richest, warmest and most immersive cultural experiences, then you clearly have never met a Newfoundlander!
Private Group Walking Trip
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On a list of reasons to visit Newfoundland, the now world-famous Fogo Island Inn occupies a unique place.
On the one hand, the Inn provide san immersive and utterly authentic Newfoundland experience by making masterful use of some of the other elements on this list: the breathtaking local surroundings, the charm of the people, the incredible local food (more on that below).
But on the other hand, the Inn has become a draw in and of itself, both physically and philosophically.
Physically, the structure designed by Newfoundland native Todd Saunders (and seen above) is incredible, all straight lines and clean edges that stand in contrast to the craggly rocks on which it’s built.
Philosophically, the Inn and its accordant non-profit organization the Shorefast Foundation have revitalized tiny Fogo Island by giving the islanders a shared sense of purpose that allows them to connect with guests and travellers by reconnecting with their own roots.
In this way it’s truly unlike any other property on the planet, and completely deserving of all the attention and accolades it’s received.
Fogo Island is far from the only part of Newfoundland experiencing a revitalization, especially when it comes to cuisine.
A slew of new restaurants have opened in the past few years, creating a rich food culture which, as with all things in Newfoundland, is entirely unique to the province.
Chef Todd Perrin, a Newfoundlander who became a favourite on Top Chef Canada, has helped lead the way with Mallard Cottage. Housed in a literal Irish-Newfoundland vernacular style cottage in a small hamlet outside of St. John’s, at Mallard Perrin showcases the provinces’ vast array of wild game, seafood and other local specialities.
The culinary trend toward local and foraged ingredients serves Newfoundland particularly well, as ingredients like cod, bakeapples, oyster leaf, caribou moss and Labrador tea have all popped up on local menus, along with more quirky menu items unique to Newfoundland, including cod tongues, Jigg’s dinner (boiled salt beef and root veg), scrunchions (fried pork fat, a snack), toutons (fried dough and molasses, like doughnuts), flipper pie (made from seal) and, of course, Iceberg vodka.
History and Heritage
It’s impossible to talk about Newfoundland’s present without talking about its past, which includes unrivalled stories of tragedy, hardship and the resilience of the human spirit.
In the 1960s, the government hatched a plan based on the growth pole theory, rooted in the work of the 17thC English economist William Petty.
Petty’s theory assumed that focusing develop in a specific area would result in spin-off industries that would support many more people, so the government of Newfoundland designated certain areas “growth centres” and encouraged rural people to move there, and even went so far as to pay them to resettle.
Because property left behind would be rendered worthless, in some cases people literally picked up their house, mounted it on a float, and floated the entire thing through Trinity Bay to a designated resettlement area.
Entire communities were relocated, causing significant problems for many (especially the elderly, widows and large families with many children), creating a dubious legacy whose effects are still felt today.
This is just one of the reasons Newfoundlanders have become known for their resilience, and one of the things that makes their distinct sense of humour and zeal all the more remarkable.
So Much More to Discover
Of course, these are just a few of the reasons to visit Newfoundland. I honestly don’t think a single blog post can sufficiently capture the spirit of this place, and I hope you’ll come visit so you can find out for yourself.
If you’re interested in planning a trip, feel free to email me, email@example.com, or give me a call: 416-697-5446.
I’d love to give you a proper introduction to this incredible corner of the world.