Category Archives: Newfoundland and Labrador

Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador – I’ve “Come from Away” to L Anse aux Meadows, Red Bay and Corner Brook

Although I had the pleasure of living and working in Canada for four years (Vancouver) I (like many Canadians) had never made it to Newfoundland which I think is closer to the UK than it is to Vancouver.

It was a gap I very much wanted to fill and it was really nice to stop off at three more obscure parts of the island – populations ranging from 2800 to about (aboot ???)350.

First we visited L Anse Au Meadows. A charming village and the opportunity to get out on the ocean in a fishing vessel looking for whales. Very excited to see two killer whales, humpbacks and dolphins. Almost made me forget how nauseous I was feeling!

Then to Red Bay – a real teeny tiny place that nevertheless has a statue of Leif Erikson the explorer on the dockside.

And then Corner Brook where we followed the footsteps of Captain Cook. Who knew he spent five summers in Newfoundland learning cartography and other useful things before he went on to discover The Antipodes? The wood piles are collected by the locals in anticipation of Winter and the orange boats are called Dorys and used for fishing although the fishing industry is much depleted as the big players take over.

All the people we met (and they really did describe us as “Come from Away” – a musical I will be seeing next month in NYC which tells the true story of the people in Gander who took in 6000 stranded passengers post 9/11 shut down of the skies) were welcoming and kind. At each church the locals had baked for us and rustled up coffee. Truly a special group of people in that part of the world. And the sun does shine there too!

Loved it.

Canada, Labrador, Happy Valley Goose Bay

Well back to one of my most favourite countries in the world. I suspect that many of my Canadian friends have never visited this remote spot with a population of 9000 of which about 3000 work on the army base.

Weather was pouring rain – actually very unusual for this time of year but it did mean less mozzies so that was good.

We were the first cruise ship to visit in 30 years so although it was tipping it down the locals rolled out the red carpet for us. Lovely welcoming people.

First stop was a chat with a local who breeds and trains sled dogs. I swear he loves those dogs more than anything. Really interesting to hear how important it is for him to keep up the local heritage. AND there were Mounties on arrival – cant resist those RCMP boys in their Red uniforms.

Then on to Them Days – a nfp magazine of local history and also a visit to the Moravian church which included home made partridge soup and cakes made by the church ladies as a welcome to us (including cloudberries which are in season). Who needs the Great British Bake-off?

And then to meet a character called Joe Gaudie who is 79 and hand makes canoes which he sells across North America just by word of mouth. He has painters for the outsides – beautiful craftsmanship and a great story teller.

Finally a stop at Birch Island Conservation Area – a beautiful spot – even in the rain – where another local lady talked to us about growing up here before it became a national conservation area. She had so many lovely memories although I think life must have been tough in the middle of nowhere!