Newfoundland and Labrador
Article: Barbara A. Lane Photography: K. Bruce Lane

Newfoundland and Labrador is the birthplace of North American civilization and has remained in many ways delightfully unspoiled and unique.  Britain's oldest colony and Canada's newest province, Newfoundland includes the world's 16th largest island as well as the mainland portion, Labrador, which stretches all the way to the Arctic circle.

Majestic mountains, dense evergreen forests, dramatic fjords, rolling fertile farmlands and wind-swept barrens blend one into the other, offering some of the world's most breathtaking scenery.  Tiny by some standards, Newfoundland and Labrador is home to more lakes and rivers than anywhere else in North America.
The rushing waters of the province's two main rivers, the Humber and the Exploits, abound in trout and salmon, their banks edging into thick pockets of fir, birch and spruce where the world's largest black bear roams.  In the interior of the island, roam the lynx, the moose and the fox, while Labrador sustains the largest caribou herd in the world.

In spring and early summer, millions of tiny, silver-edged capelin rush to the shores of Newfoundland's hidden coves and bays to deposit their eggs among the beach rocks.  Pods of whales, attracted by the hoards of capelin,  laze just offshore, feeding and frolicking in the deep Atlantic waters. One of North America's largest nesting colonies of gannets, along with rare species such as kittiwakes and razorbills, pepper the cliffs of Cape St. Mary's Seabird sanctuary.
In Newfoundland and Labrador even the very rocks are of interest and have important tales to tell.  There are rock formations in Labrador that date back billions of years, virtually to the birth of the planet.  And along the island's southern Avalon at Mistaken Point near Trepassey, are some of the oldest marine fossils in the world.

Just as Newfoundland and Labrador is the heart of North American civilization, the people of this province are the heart of Newfoundland and Labrador.  From the Inuit, Montagnais and the Nascopi, whose cultural identities have survived for thousands of years, to the descendants of West European settlers, Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are a hardy folk whose rich sea heritage and unmatched sense of humour have seen them through good times and bad.
A people of old-world values and centuries-long traditions, they are known around the world for their warmth and friendliness. Hardworking and steadfast, they have made a living from the sea and the land, all the while taking from their backgrounds the best of many cultures and moulding it into a unique one, as rich and fascinating as their history.

It is a culture that spans two continents and five centuries - one that can be found in the abundance of folklore passed from one generation to another, its traditional music, its plethora of literature and its vibrant and active arts community.  Even the island's dialects with their lilting hints of old Ireland and the harshness of cockney English speak of roots to the old world.  The colourful language and descriptive sayings are echoes of a long and enduring history.
Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are as risk-taking as the European merchants who sponsored the search for the new world, as enduring as John Guy who founded North America's first permanent settlement and as visionary as John Cabot who rediscovered an entire continent.

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