Abigail Healy discovers there are natural wonders, a trendy culinary scene and musical moments awaiting visitors in Newfoundland and Labrador
Despite the association with canine breeds, you are just as likely to encounter moose as dogs in Newfoundland and Labrador.
At a recent event at the Mondrian in London, Atlantic Canada Tourism Partnership UK program manager Kelley Keefe explained there are more of the antlered creatures than people in Canada’s most easterly province.
Unsurpringly then wildlife and nature is a key draw for visitors, with bears, whales, dolphins and puffins all in residence depending on the season.
One particularly enticing experience involves the chance to see whales and icebergs simultaneously. Whale watching and iceberg viewing seasons only overlap for a couple of months from late-May to mid-July so it’s important to get the timing right.
Typically clients would view the icebergs by heading out on a boat trip or kayak excursion but for those with less confident sea legs, it’s even possible to view them on a shoreline hike.
Keefe was quick to assert that the province is far more than a one-trick pony, however.
“St John’s is becoming a foodie hotspot too. Here you’ll find some of the best restaurants in Canada and culinary walking tours too. You can go on a hike where you’ll do some foraging and end up eating local seafood cooked on the beach over an open fire,” she said.
Craft breweries are also popular with quirky options including the Quidi Vidi Brewery in St John’s, where Iceberg Beer is brewed using water from 10,000-year-old icebergs, and Port Rexton Brewing Company on Bonavista Peninsula, where its T-Rex Porter tipple is named after the former principal of the schoolhouse in which the brewery is now housed.
Visitors keen to burn off the culinary delights can head to Unesco World Heritage site Gros Morne national park with its hiking trails, or explore Fogo Island, home to just 2,700 islanders.
Keefe added that music fans should aim to visit in summer when the biannual Sound Symposium (July 5-15, 2018) takes over St John’s.
“A highlight is the Harbour Symphony, when music is composed for and played by the ships’ horns in St John’s harbour. You can hear it throughout the city every day at noon,” she said.
Keefe concluded with a key selling point. “It’s the closest province to the UK and can be reached in around five-and-a-half hours via a direct year-round Air Canada flight from Heathrow.”
While a trip to Newfoundland and Labrador could feasibly be done over a long weekend then, having heard about the plethora of activities awaiting visitors, I’m sure they’ll want to stay a lot longer.