"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.
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If you follow my blog, you know I love history. History is what makes us who we are today. It defines our accomplishments and highlights our failures. Most importantly, it helps us move forward as a society.
A lot of my focus is Saskatchewan's history, but there's plenty of amazing history to be told in our neighbour province of Alberta too. From First Nations culture, through to early pioneers, the oil boom and the legacy the province today, there is always something to learn about when visiting Alberta.
Just over a year ago I wrote an article about the glockenspiel that once stood in downtown Regina. I had fond memories of the glockenspiel as a child and was sad when they took it down to renovate the park. I was even more sad when they didn't put it back up, and I was angry when I discovered it was sitting in a junkyard (sorry, outdoor "storage facility") for the past ten years. That article got a lot of attention, from both the public, the city and the press. Today, efforts are being made to restore the bell back to its original location.
I'm telling you this because preserving heritage – may it be a 25-year-old bell, or a fourth century building – is important. Without heritage, we lose who we are. Often, the desire to move society forward steps over the heritage and causes it to get lost. As impressive as tall glass buildings might be, nothing is better than a smoky red brick structure.
Saskatchewan is beginning to realize how important this is – and thankfully it's happening now and not in a few decades after everything is gone. But, our neighbours have been on the heritage preservation band train for several years now, especially in Alberta.
My article "8 Places to Visit in Regina" is by far my most popular article, being read over 7,000 times in the past 6 months. In honour of the anniversary of my blog (and because 1 of the 8 locations mentioned before is now closed), I decided to do a sequel and talk about 8 more places to visit in Regina. This was really easy as Regina is growing at an extraordinary rate and new, incredible places are opening almost every week.
After the Regina Cyclone huffed and puffed and blew down the majority of houses across the city in 1912, Annie Darke asked her beloved Francis Darke to build her a house that could withstand even the worse things Saskatchewan could blow at it. Being one of the richest and most influential men in Regina’s history, Francis Darke took up the challenge and began to create his wife their very own stone castle.
This massive fortress served as their dwelling for the remainder of their days, until Francis Darke passed away in 1940 and his widowed wife passed away in the very house he had built her, twelve years later.