"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.
Last year I put together 50 Images That Showcase Regina, and it was very successful. However, I did that article early into the year and missed out on some pictures I would take later, so I decided to do it again this year. These pictures were all taken either in late 2015 or in 2016.
If you guys enjoy this article as much as you liked the last one, I might start making this an annual thing.
Some of you may recognize a few of these pictures from earlier in the year, but there should be a few here that none of you have ever seen before.
When I was younger, I really loved winter. I loved sledding, snowball fights and building snowmen. One of my favourite pastimes was visiting a little outdoor ice rink a few blocks from my house. Every winter my friends and I would climb over the walls of the rink and goof around on the ice. When we weren't falling over our feet, we'd play hockey with whatever snow chunks we could find. As these events became more frequent, we often talked about playing real hockey on the rink. Eventually, we would end up playing hockey, but we'd settle for the street in front of our houses instead.
Beyond childhood, the only other time I went skating was in high school. Everybody else's ice skating skills had improved with age, but mine were still that of a fourth grader. I remember standing in the rink, struggling to shoot while holding my balance, only to have a classmate swoop in and steal my puck! Ever since then, I've stuck to floor hockey.
As I got older, my love for winter dwindled. Now I find it cold, icy, dark and sometimes miserable. My blog usually slows down in the winter for this very reason. I've been trying to get out and enjoy our longest season of the year, but it's hard. Most days I just want to stay inside.
Last summer my family and I tried fishing up in Northern Saskatchewan. We had a great weekend, but we caught nothing. I wasn't too disappointed though, as I have never actually caught a fish. After 25 years of fishing and failing, I have officially given up on the sport.
That is until I was invited to visit Medicine Hat, Alberta and go sturgeon fishing on the South Saskatchewan River. I was hesitant, but I said yes. I really didn't want to spend eight hours out on the water just to come home empty-handed, but I figured to give it one more shot.
My guide for the day, Brent Thorimbert, picked me up at my hotel around 8:30 a.m. and drove us to a valley located just outside of Medicine Hat. We got out on the water about 9 a.m. and arrived at our fishing spot twenty minutes later. Brent explained that sturgeon fish are "bottom feeders" so they swim along the bottom of the riverbed and eat up bugs and small fish. Our fishing lines were weighted for this very reason. The bait should sit on the riverbed and would get sucked up by an unsuspecting sturgeon.