A Few Things to Love about Newfoundland and Labrador
I’m originally from Toronto, which definitely makes me a city girl, but I am lucky enough to say that I have lived in the beautiful province of Newfoundland & Labrador. I moved to Newfoundland in my second year of high school and it’s actually where I graduated, after graduating I moved back to Toronto, but my family still resides there, so I make sure to visit every year.
There is so much to see in Newfoundland, from the friendly people to the immaculate sunsets, visiting this Canadian province is a trip you shouldn’t pass up.
I’d like to share a few sights and traditional foods that I enjoy coming back to every year. I hope that you too get a chance to explore some of the things that I love about my second home.
I HAD to start this list off with the FOOD… I mention Jiggs Dinner in Toronto and no one knows what I’m talking about. I mean, you can always make your own here on the mainland, but it’s just a traditional dinner that honestly just tastes better on the island. After doing some research, I see that Jiggs dinner is popular in most Atlantic provinces This meal is eaten on Sundays and most typically consists of is: Cabbage, turnip, carrots, potatoes, salt beef, turkey, peas pudding, bread pudding, stuffing, and gravy made from the drippings of the roasted meat. But again, these are the typical ingredients that I grew up on eating; everyone can add their own tweaks to the recipe. I must say that this is most definitely a part I miss about being home; it’s pretty much a Thanksgiving dinner EVERY Sunday and everyone in Newfoundland will say that their Nan makes it the best… I know mine does.
We mostly just learn about icebergs in our Geography books or think of places like Alaska and Greenland, but when it comes to Newfoundland, it is one of the best places in the world to see icebergs. Did you know that these the icebergs in Newfoundland’s east coast float from western Greenland’s glaciers? What’s known as ‘Iceberg Alley’ reaches from the coast of Labrador to the southeast coast of the island of Newfoundland, this is the best place to watch. In fact, in a few areas of the island, icebergs can be seen all year round. Fact: Did you know that only 400 miles from Newfoundland’s coast was where an iceberg sank the infamous Titanic?
The history of Newfoundland almost seems endless. In many fishing towns that still stand today, you will find communities filled with colour and some filled with abandoned and historic buildings that make up the towns heritage. One thing that I always found neat was that the Vikings once stood here 1000 years ago, in what is known today as L’Anse Aux Meadows—this is the first Viking settlement found in North America and was discovered in 1960. There are also a number of harbours on the island, one of which I lived in for three years. These harbours usually contain fisheries that have helped sustain the province; many people made and still make a living catching cod from the North Atlantic.
Most of my whale watching was done from the ferry to Newfoundland from Nova Scotia, since we usually chose to drive every year, but in Newfoundland the ocean is your doorstep and it is what makes the province one of the best places for whale watching. 22 species of whales and dolphins can be found in Newfoundland’s waters and it is where the largest population of humpbacks visit every year. You can even book a tour boat, sea kayak, or just see the whales from walking trails, cliffs or sandy beaches.
George Street is located in St. John’s and is literally two blocks of bars, pubs and restaurants. I have had so so much fun here. Not feeling the live music at one bar? Literally go next door to the next… each vibe is different, that’s why its so great. It’s the center of entertainment for the district and the variety of music is totally diverse. I can promise you, you have never seen anything like it, and the amount of people is insane! George Street is best known for its two annual festivals, Mardi Gras and the George Street Festival, which is six full days, a time when people all over the island come to celebrate and have a good time. I’m telling you, George Street is a must if you plan to visit.
The People and Culture
Last but not least, the people of Newfoundland. I cannot express enough how kindhearted and welcoming almost everyone on this island is and it’s a reputation that you hear about far and wide. From their storytelling abilities to their sense of humour, Newfoundland definitely has a culture of its own and it’s the people in the community who keep it alive. One thing I’ll never get over, and still to this day have trouble understanding, is the language. With accents rooted in western England and southern Ireland, Newfoundland even has its own dictionary and encyclopedia. “Whadda ya’at b’y?” is just one of the phrases that you won’t hear anywhere else. It’s also known that Newfoundlanders love to have a good time, whether it be a kitchen party—yes, literally a party in the kitchen with instruments and booze—or partying on George Street, it’s never a dull moment. Fact: if you have heard of the musical Come From Away, this surrounds the week of the September 11th attacks and tells the true story of when residents in a small town (Gander) in Newfoundland welcomed thousands of stranded passengers into their homes.
To keep up with Mariah’s travels, check out her Instagram @mariahpardy