"Where the skies are oyster grey and houses resemble flavored jellybeans" is how one Instagrammer described Newfoundland and Labrador, and it's easy to see why. While the skies above are often grey and foreboding with the threat of the imminent winter, the houses are a "anarchy of colour", ranging from reds to yellows to greens and blues. This colour scheme seems to be very popular in this area of the world, as it is also done in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, PEI, Nunavut, Greenland and Iceland and I personally love it!
Newfoundland and Labrador is almost unanimously agreed to be the first place Europeans touched North American soil around the year 1000 CE. They believe Lief Erikson, the famous Norse Viking, touched down in three places: Helluland (Baffin Island), Markland (Labrador) and Vinland (Newfoundland). There are other unconfirmed reports of earlier European contact, but Erikson's arrival was the first semi-permanent settlement made by Europeans.
When Europeans finally arrived in the 1496, they soon discovered the area had the best cod fishing in the North Atlantic. The British, French and Spanish clashed several times in this area fighting for the cod, which quickly became a prized commodity in the Old World.
With the expansion of the British Empire and the victory at the Plains of Abraham in Quebec City in 1759, the once prosperous New France fell under British control. Seeing their culture before them torn apart, French pirates and privateers rowed north from Quebec City, up the St. Lawrence River and to Newfoundland where they proceeded to attack and raid British settlements. Nevertheless, the island remained in British hands for several centuries.
In 1869 during Canada's second election Newfoundland considered joining confederation but decided not to. By this time they had become the "Dominion of Newfoundland".
80 years later Newfoundland would fall into unsolvable economic problems. Being independent from Canada during the First World War, it had greatly drained its resources, had struggled to finance itself a railway and was struck heavily with falling fish prices. In 1933 it was obvious the Dominion of Newfoundland would be no more and the legislature voluntarily voted itself out of existence. For 15 years it sat in limbo, unsure if it should form its own independent government, rejoin England or join Canada. On June 3rd, 1948 they had their first referendum to decide the future of their province, but no majority decision was made. A month later on July 22nd, 1948, they did a second referendum and winning 53.2% to 47.7% was the decision to join Canada. On March 31st, 1949 Newfoundland became Canada's 10th province.
Some believe the vote was fixed as documents in 1980 from both the Canadian and British governments revealed both parties wanted Newfoundland to join Canada, with some claiming Newfoundland was used by the British to pay off wartime debts. This is amplified by the rumors that after the second referendum was finished, the ballots were burnt so there would be no second count.
In 2001 Newfoundland officially changed its name to Newfoundland and Labrador.
Newfoundland and Labrador is the final province of our cross Canada series and is the only province I've never officially stepped foot on. After seeing these pictures however, I think I need to put this place high on my bucket list. From jellybean like houses or futuristic architecture, from crashing waves and roaming icebergs, Newfoundland and Labrador is the perfect place to end our series.
The above cover image of this article was taken by Shawn Hudson, an incredible photographer from Newfoundland who is currently living in Nova Scotia. If the last few articles have wet your appetite for more things Maritime, he's the guy to follow!
With that, I'd like to thank you for an amazing 7 weeks of this journey, from Vancouver to St. John's. I hope you learned a bit about my country (I know I learned a ton!) and I hope I inspired you to make the trek up here to visit the place I call home.
Without further adieu, I'd like to introduce you to part 13 of 13, "Instagramming Canada - Newfoundland and Labrador"!
And, as always, a big thank you to my sweetheart Jessica Nuttall for proof reading a countless number of my articles. I couldn't do any of this without you. I love you.
Sign up for a list of 100+ Things to do in Regina!
Ever since visiting the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg last summer, I've wanted to include more about First Nations culture on my blog. Being of European descent, I often feel I am culturally blind to First Nations culture, and I noticed a severe lack of it in my writing. In fact, I feel in past articles a lot of my focus has been on European history in the New World, with only a side note regarding First Nations history. Now, I am trying for there to be more equal representation in my blog.
To finish off my #BucketlistAB series, I thought this article would be the perfect place to flip the tables, and instead focus on First Nations culture, with a European side note. Sometimes it is impossible to talk about one without the other, but I tried to focus more on the First Nations people and their story in this article. Please let me know what you think in the comments below.
A few months ago I entered a contest for a trip for two to visit Philadelphia on Two Bad Tourists. Normally contests like this are limited to United States residents so when I saw this one was open to Canadians I jumped at the chance. I've never won something like this before, so I actually forgot about it until I got the emailing saying I had won. Two Bad Tourists then worked alongside Visit Philly to organise the trip for me and my mother to explore Philadelphia for three days. Visit Philly paid for our flights, hotels and gave us a VIP Pass to experience the city to our heart's content. It is thanks to them that this trip is possible.
Several movies and television shows have tried to capture the essence of Philadelphia over the years – from the boxing Blockbuster Rocky, to the paranormal thriller The Sixth Sense, to It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and even Boy Meets World – but each described the city differently. There is no easy way to approach a city as dynamic as The City of Brotherly Love. With countless layers of art, history, religion and the paranormal, Philadelphia is a city unlike any other throughout the United States.
One thing that surprised me the most about Philadelphia was the history. The city was founded and designed by William Penn, who is also the state of Pennsylvania's namesake. Born in London, England in 1644 he lived through The Great Fire of 1666 and The Great Plague of London from 1665-1666. Both events shaped Penn's life so he designed the city to be strictly stone buildings (to stop fires from spreading) and to have plenty of space between the buildings (as to prevent illness from spreading). This led to the older areas of the city to have winding corridors between old stone walls.
Nestled between the impressive Mount Royal and the majestic St. Lawrence River is Montreal, a city known for its festivals, abstract art, history and mosaic of countless cultures. Montreal is the second largest city in Canada, with a population floating around four million people. While the city is a dynamic mix of Canada's two primary cultures – French and English – there are areas of the city that are culturally specific, such as Little Italy, Greektown and Chinatown. Known for its artistic and liberal mindedness, Montreal also boasts the largest community of homosexuals in North America in their very own "Gay Village".
Being nearly 375 years old, Montreal was pivotal to the creation of New France and Canada and at a time held control over every waterway from the St. Lawrence down to the Gulf of Mexico. Having such incredible influence over the western part of the New World, Montreal hosted the "Great Peace of Montreal" in 1701, which started sixteen years of peace between the French and over 40 different First Nation tribes in North America.
Since its early days, Montreal has been one of the most influential cities in Canada. Montreal housed "internment camps" during World War I, became an ideal location for Americans looking for alcohol during Prohibition, and was the official residence of the Luxembourg royal family during World War II. Montreal held host to the incredible Expo 67, showcasing some of the most incredible architecture of that decade. The seventies saw serious political reformation in Montreal, with many Americans arriving, fleeing the Vietnam Draft. The late seventies paralyzed the city as a terrorist organization, the Front de libération du Québec, detonated explosives throughout the city and kidnapped and killed political figures. These actions forced the Prime Minster to enact the "War Measures Act" and deploy the military into the city to apprehend the terrorists. The eighties and nineties saw two referendums in the province of Quebec to separate from Canada, with Montreal playing a major role in both decisions. The last referendum in 1995 ended with 51% percent of Quebecers wanting to remain part of Canada and 49% wanting to separate.