This most easterly province of Canada is made up of the island of Newfoundland (where over 90% of the population resides) and mainland Labrador to its northwest, separated by the Strait of Belle Isle.
With the North Atlantic Ocean at its doorstep, Newfoundland and Labrador (commonly referred to as ‘The Rock’) is home to “Iceberg Alley”, one of the best places in the world to view icebergs.
On a sunny day (in season), view these 10,000-year-old glacial giants from many points along the northern and eastern coasts – With varying shapes and sizes and colours ranging from snow-white to the deepest aquamarine.
The East Coast Trail is a series of 24 wilderness paths totaling 265 km, allowing you to view ocean splendors from the shore while traversing towering cliffs and headlands, sea stacks, deep fjords, and to visit numerous lighthouses, friendly communities, abandoned settlements, and ecological reserves.
The meeting of the cool Labrador Current and the warm Gulf Stream creates an abundance of marine life that attracts thousands of whales (22 species including minke, sperm, pothead, blue, orca, and the world's largest population of humpbacks), and provides rich nesting grounds for millions of seabirds (gannets, puffins, storm-petrels, etc).
Inland, keep an eye out for rare birds such as the European golden plover, Northern wheatear, harlequin duck, piping plover, and birds of prey such as hawks, falcons, ospreys, owls, and American bald eagles.
On the west coast of Newfoundland, Gros Morne National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is where you’ll find dramatic fjords, the Long Range Mountains, and North America's northernmost part of the International Appalachian Trail.
This is home for more than 120,000 moose (one of the highest population densities in North America), one of the world's largest caribou herds, and some of the continent's biggest black bears. Oh my!
Continue all the way to the tip of the island and you’ll feel you’ve gone back to the time of the Vikings; L’Anse aux Meadows is home to the earliest known European settlement in the New World – The archaeological remains at have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.
On the mainland of Northern Labrador, Torngat Mountains National Park encompasses a vast, untouched wilderness area and some of the oldest mountains in the world.
Newfoundland (the island) and Labrador (the vast territory to the north of the island) is Canada’s most easterly province, located on the northeastern edge of North America.
Altogether, it is a little smaller in area than California, slightly bigger than Japan, and twice the size of the entire United Kingdom – with over 29,000 kilometres of unspoiled coastline, including the dramatic fjords often seen on postcards and advertisements.
In this large open space is a population of just over 520 thousand – Over one third of which lives in the capital city of St. John’s (which shares the same latitude as Paris and Seattle). This leaves a whole lot of wide open space just begging to be explored.
Above all, Newfoundland and Labrador is known for its friendly people (Having one of the Top 10 Friendliest Cultures in the World, according to Macleans magazine), their storytelling abilities, their sense of humour, and the unique way in which they speak.
There are more varieties of English spoken in Newfoundland and Labrador than anywhere else in the world. Dating back four centuries, accents are flavoured by Western England and Southern Ireland.
There are also French and Aboriginal influences that have helped shape the colourful language. And since it is off the beaten path, the multitude of dialects and traditions that have long since evolved in other countries, remain preserved right where they are.
And it’s not just about the accents; the Dictionary of Newfoundland English was first published in 1982 and contains hundreds of words and phrases you'll find nowhere else.
Even though Newfoundland and Labrador is the youngest province in Canada (joined confederation in 1949), it is considered one of the fastest growing in the country with booming oil and gas, mineral exploration, and marine and IT industries.
On the creative side, the capital of St. John's is brimming with musicians, artists, writers, dancers, and craftspeople from the province, throughout Canada, and around the world – and all are drawn to Canada's eastern edge by its inspiring natural beauty.
St. John's is fast becoming the cultural capital of Canada with one of the highest concentrations of writers, musicians, actors, and comedians on a per capita basis.
Notable personalities from the province include musicians Great Big Sea, political satirist and tv personality Rick Mercer, and early 20th century poet, E.J. Pratt.
The warm/dry weather tends to arrive later here than elsewhere in Canada, meaning outdoor adventure is generally saved for the months of June (Spring) through September (Fall).
Spring to early summer (April through June) is the best time to view icebergs along the east coast ('Iceberg Alley’). This is also the best time for spotting whales, which can be seen breaching the surface of the water and playing along the shores. For tourists keen on viewing whales and seabirds, it should be noted that they migrate north at this time – and can often be plentiful through to early fall. The opposing southerly iceberg migration allows for brief intervals where all three may happily coexist. Fog is very common along the coastlines, especially around the fjords of Gros Morne and especially in the spring.
Summer (July and August) is perfect for all kinds of outdoor activities, from hiking to kayaking. You may also catch a glimpse of icebergs and whales, or enjoy a summer music festival or cultural event. While the temperature frequently reaches shorts and T-shirt weather, the fresh ocean air is bound to keep you cool.
Fall (September and October) is a crisper (and less ‘buggy’) version of the summer and is a beautiful time to hike in Newfoundland and Labrador amongst the colourful fall foliage. This is also the perfect time to sample sweet, fresh blueberries, partridgeberries, blackberries and crowberries. Bakeapples, also called cloudberries, are a local favourite. You'll find these unique, flavourful berries in everything from jams and jellies to tarts and pies.
Winter (November through March) comes with a generous amount of snow, great for snowshoeing and skiing. Temperatures rarely rise above freezing and can be as low as -20°C. Dress in plenty of warm clothing.
Prepare for any season by dressing in layers and bringing rain gear. We recommend visiting Environment Canada’s website for information specific to the region in which you are travelling.