Category Archives: Canada’s Maritime Provinces

The end of my Newfoundland adventure

My Newfoundland trip was almost over and as is often the habit when I know my holiday is near the end, I want to drag it out a little longer. As I drove back down the west coast before heading east to St. John’s, I stopped at every point I thought might be of interest—first Bird Cove that turned out I needn’t have bothered, then Arches Provincial Park, that was definitely worth a look.

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The Vikings of L’Anxe aux Meadows UNESCO Heritage Site

Along the thirty or so kilometres to L’Anxe aux Meadows from St Anthony, I finally spotted a tiny piece of white floating in the distance. That was my iceberg, the only one I was going to see. Had I started my visit on Newfoundland’s west coast and travelled east, instead of the reverse, I would have been three weeks earlier and probably spotted something substantial.

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What is it about rocks?

Because of the rich pickings from marine life in Port au Choix, this was another ancient spot where once early Inuit groups, then the Dorset Paleo-Eskimo, and finally the Beothuk had lived over the last 3 000 years before Europeans arrived to chase the Beothuk inland where they couldn’t survive. On the way I spotted a moose in the distance crossing the road. The huge animal stopped briefly as it munched its way through the forest.

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Gros Morne National Park

After my Fleur des Lys detour, I drove to Corner Brook on the western side of Newfoundland and arrived late in the afternoon. This was close to Newfoundland’s largest, most well-known national park. Gros Morne had been established as a reserve back in 1973, then a UNESCO heritage site in 1987, and finally a national park in 2005. This was not only due to its diverse landscape, but its clear evidence of continental drift exposing plate tectonics. 

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Fleur des Lys 

Because another connection with Newfoundland’s past inhabitants was found in Fleur des Lys, I tried to book accommodation there. With a population of around two hundred residents, this explained why there was nothing available, so I had to drive north into the village and out again on the same day. From the harsh winters, the highway to this remote location was a series of ups and downs and sunken holes, so even though there was little traffic, it was slow going.

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Boyd’s Cove’s Beothuk past

In one of my Canadian studies courses I was compelled to complete when I first came to Canada, I learned about the Beothuk—the original inhabitants of Newfoundland. They covered their bodies in red clay to ward off mosquitoes and when Europeans arrived, they mistakenly gave them the name, red skins. 

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 Carmanville Wetlands

Musgrave Harbour turned out to be a nice surprise despite its early name—Muddy Hole. Not only did I stay in a cute two-bedroom cabin where I had a washing machine, but there was a great beach with lots to explore and a good restaurant right against the sea. My eye was on Carmanville Wetlands however, almost thirty kilometres ahead.

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Deadman’s Bay Provincial Park

This straight stretch of coastland against the Atlantic Ocean with fine grained white sand was known as Straight Shore. I drove through Lumsden that in the 18th century had been visited by French fishers, then known as Cat Harbour.

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Tera Nova National Park

Many of the places I stayed were B & Bs, mostly run by women, like my Bonavista stay. They usually had one or the other reaction when I rolled in and they discovered I was travelling alone. I’d see a far away look in their eyes as if they wished they could do the same and never would, or there’d be that question, “Aren’t you afraid to travel around alone?” I almost burst out laughing the first time I heard this. In Newfoundland? Where you don’t even lock a car door? Must be the safest place on earth.

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