Newfoundland and Labrador - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
(Version 3.7 - May 27, 2012)


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  1. How do I get further information about visiting Newfoundland ?


  2. Where can I find some information about taking the ferry from North Sydney, Nova Scotia to Port aux Basques, Newfoundland ?

  3. How large are the ferries and why do they arrive at Channel-Port aux Basques?

  4. Is there a daily bus service that crosses the island of Newfoundland ?

  5. Is there a bus service that travels up the Great Northern Peninsula to St. Anthony ?

  6. I heard that it's possible to get a boat tour of Western Brook Pond, the stranded inland fjord at Gros Morne National Park. Where can I get more information?

  7. Who discovered Newfoundland and when ?

  8. What is the relationship between Labrador and Newfoundland ?

  9. When is the best time of the year to visit Newfoundland ?

  10. Are there any glaciers on the island of Newfoundland ?

  11. Where's a good place to view the icebergs ?

  12. Why are the houses in many communities in Newfoundland painted in highly varying colours ?

  13. What is the phone number of the St. John's Airport?

  14. I visited Newfoundland last year, and I didn't see any poverty. I had always heard there was poverty in Newfoundland?

  15. Are there any bears in Newfoundland?

  16. In order to avoid bad weather, is it better to take the ferry at night or during the day? I'm worried I'll be so far out at sea.

  17. I'm very interested in Newfoundland, and I'd like to read a good book of fiction about the place before I arrive. What do you suggest?

  18. I don't like National Parks, Provincial Parks, Reserves, or any other such areas. They are places inhabited by employees who often break their own rules, and they are only the result of ideas hatched by people who consider themselves the elite. Nature includes humans doing what humans naturally do. Where can I find the REAL Newfoundland?

  19. Where can I find topographic maps and navigational charts of Newfoundland?

  20. What is the origin of the word Newfoundland?

  21. Is it possible to fly direct nonstop from Europe to Newfoundland?


How do I get further information about visiting Newfoundland ?

You can phone the Newfoundland Government Tourist Office toll-free at 1-800-563-6353 or write to them directly at: Department of Tourism, PO Box 8730, St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada, A1B 4K2. You can also fax them at (709) 729-1965. They'll send you a Travel Guide and a road map. By phone, they'll answer your questions.

Or you can go to these websites for more Newfoundland information:

VisitNewfoundland

YouTube Newfoundland and Labrador

Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism
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Where can I find some information about taking the ferry from North Sydney, Nova Scotia to Port aux Basques, Newfoundland ?

You can go directly to Marine Atlantic, which operates that ferry service (the ferry trip takes between 5 and 7 hours).

Their phone number is: 1-800-341-7981

and their website is: Marine Atlantic

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How large are the ferries and why do they arrive in Channel-Port aux Basques?

The ferries are among the largest ice breaking passenger ferries in the world. They look like cruise ships and they can each take 1200 passengers and 350 cars. The gulf crossing between North Sydney and Port aux Basques is a memorable lifetime experience in itself. Taking the ferry trip will greatly enhance your personal prestige.

The ferries arrive at Channel-Port aux Basques because it's (by far) the quickest way to get to Newfoundland. The trip takes about 5-6 hours. If the ferries arrived in Corner Brook for example, the trip would take an extra 5-6 hours (10-12 hours total time), but driving to Corner Brook from Channel-Port aux Basques takes about 2 hours. If the ferries arrived in St. John's, the trip would take up to 24 hours. And all of this assumes good weather. Also, when there's bad weather in Atlantic Canada, and the ferry schedule is disrupted, the quickest way to clear up the back-logged traffic is by travelling through Channel-Port aux Basques. If the ferries arrived in Corner Brook, the trip would be twice as long, and twice the number of ferries would be needed to move the same amount of traffic to Newfoundland. If the ferries arrived in St. John's, 4 times the number of ferries would be needed. The drive to St. John's from Channel-Port aux Basques takes about 10 hours. So, it's quicker to arrive in Channel-Port aux Basques and drive to St. John's, rather than travel to St. John's by ferry. It's always quicker and easier to arrive in Channel-Port aux Basques.

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Is there a daily bus service that crosses the island of Newfoundland?

Yes. There's a very good bus service that travels from Port aux Basques to St. John's (and St. John's to Port aux Basques) each day. Total cost in 2011 for an adult is $117.00 each way. The bus service is operated by DRL Coachlines and it connects with the gulf ferry service that joins Port aux Basques, Newfoundland and North Sydney, Nova Scotia. Tickets are bought on the bus. At Port aux Basques, the bus leaves the ferry terminal at 8:00 AM. In St. John's, the bus leaves at 7:30 AM. The bus stops at many communities across Newfoundland and it arrives at its final stop of the day at about 9:30 PM. The total distance covered is approximately 900 kms (550 miles). Here's a hyperlink:

Trans Newfoundland bus schedule

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Is there a bus service that travels up the Great Northern Peninsula to St. Anthony ?

Yes, the Viking Express travels from Corner Brook to St. Anthony daily. The phone number is (709) 634 - 4710, and their office is situated at the Millbrook Mall in downtown Corner Brook.
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I heard that it's possible to get a boat tour of Western Brook Pond, the stranded inland fjord at Gros Morne National Park. Where can I get more information?

Contact the Ocean View Motel at Rocky Harbour. Their toll-free number is 1-800-563-9887. The local number is (709) 458-2730. The walk from the highway to the dock at Western Brook Pond takes about 40 minutes. The boat tour takes 2-3 hours. Cost per person is about $30.00. There are other rates for children and families.
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Who discovered Newfoundland and when ?

Aboriginal people first discovered Newfoundland thousands of years ago, but in their present day oral tradition there is no individual associated with their discovery of Newfoundland.

The first known European individual associated with the discovery of Newfoundland is the Viking Leif Eiriksson who landed at L'Anse aux Meadows, near St. Anthony on the northern tip of Newfoundland, in the summer of 1000 or 1001 AD. We know this because his discovery is written down in trustworthy sagas that are preserved in European museums, and Viking ruins were found in 1960 at L'Anse aux Meadows where the sagas implied that they would be found.

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What is the relationship between Labrador and Newfoundland ?

The Judical Committee of the Privy Council (Britain) let stand, in 1927, Newfoundland's claim to Labrador. Labrador is a part of the province and it contains about 5-6% of the population of the whole province.

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When is the best time of the year weatherwise to visit Newfoundland ?

The weather in Newfoundland is variable, but it's probably better than you think. We rarely get hurricanes or tornadoes. The temperature usually doesn't fall below -15C (-24F) in winter and it usually doesn't rise above +25C (+77F) for long in the summer. Evenings are usually cool and pleasant. Generally speaking, the beginning of June to the end of October are good visiting months. There usually isn't much snow until after Christmas.

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Are there any glaciers on the island of Newfoundland ?

No. The last glaciers that existed on the island of Newfoundland may have been here as little as 500 years ago, but today you have to go to northern Labrador to see glaciers.

However, in Western Newfoundland it is possible to see snow on the mountains until August in most years.

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Where's a good place to view the icebergs ?

L'Anse aux Meadows, Twillingate, Bonavista, and the northern half of the Avalon Peninsula are all good possibilities. Ask around and it will quickly become clear where they can be seen. Icebergs can be seen from April until the end of August in most years (sometimes in September also). For up to date information, try this link:

Icebergfinder

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Why are the houses in many communities in Newfoundland painted in varying colours ?

There's no one reason for this, however it makes sense to have houses in coastal communities painted in varying colours so that fishermen at sea can more easily find their way home. The mass effect of a group of different colours at a distance, against a background of green in summer and white in winter, acts as a navigational aid. Otherwise, the choice of colours is often a personal statement of individuality. It should be mentioned that this practice isn't unique to Newfoundland, it's common to see houses of different colours in other coastal areas of the world.

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What is the phone number of the St. John's Airport?

The phone number of the Information Desk of the St. John's Airport is (709) 772-0011.

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I visited Newfoundland last year, and I didn't see any poverty. I had always heard there was poverty in Newfoundland?

The cost of living is lower in Newfoundland, so we don't have to earn as much money to buy the same things that you buy. Prices are lower here. City people especially spend a lot of time paying to solve problems that don't exist here. Newfoundland is now a major oil producing province of Canada, and about a third of Canada's oil is produced by Newfoundland (offshore). Hence, Newfoundland is becoming more prosperous daily.

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Are there any bears in Newfoundland?

Yes, there are black bears in Newfoundland, but you are unlikely to see one since they are generally shy. If you see a black bear cub, leave the scene immediately (slowly). Never get between a bear and a bear cub. You are unlikely to survive. The bear will kill you. Believe it. 

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In order to avoid bad weather, is it better to take the ferry at night or during the day? I'm worried I'll be so far out at sea.

There's no difference whether you take the ferry during the day or during the night. But in the summer, when most tourists visit Newfoundland, the weather is rarely bad. And keep in mind that on a clear day, there's never any time when you will be out of sight of land on the North Sydney - Port aux Basques ferry crossing. You won't be as far out at sea as you think. Relax. There are more than enough powerful lifeboats on the ferries, and the crews are well trained for any emergency.

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I'm very interested in Newfoundland, and I'd like to read a good book of fiction about the place before I arrive. What do you suggest?

The Colony of Unrequited Dreams by Wayne Johnston, Alfred A. Knopf Canada, Toronto, 1998. Paperback/Vintage Press 1999 - ISBN: 0-676-97215-2

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I don't like National Parks, Provincial Parks, Reserves, or any other such areas. They are places inhabited by employees who often break their own rules, and they are only the result of ideas hatched by people who consider themselves the elite. Nature includes humans doing what humans naturally do. Where can I find the REAL Newfoundland?

Government officials in Newfoundland and Labrador possess a very high standard of ethics and honour. Newfoundland is an easy place to move around in, and to meet people. You'll find what you are looking for if you travel around and stop once in a while to meet people. Most of Newfoundland is Crown land, so you can get out and walk through the countryside almost anywhere.

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Where can I find topographic maps and navigational charts of Newfoundland?

For topographic maps contact:

Department of Government Services and Lands
Lands Branch
Howley Building, Higgins Line
PO Box 8700
St. John's, Newfoundland
A1B 4J6
Telephone: (709) 729-3304, Fax: (709) 729: 6136

For navigational charts contact:

Campbell's Ships Supplies
PO Box 274, 689 Water Street
St. John's, Newfoundland
A1B 4J6
Telephone: (709) 726-6932, Fax: (709) 739-9890
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What is the origin of the word Newfoundland?

After John Cabot returned from Newfoundland in 1497, King Henry VII rewarded him with a pension of 10 pounds. This was written into the daybook of the King's payments as "Item to hym that founde the new Isle - x li" [x li = 10 pounds]. After subsequent voyages by other explorers, the royal records referred to the "new isle" as "the new Ilande," or "the new Ile" until September 1502 when these descriptive names were replaced with the words "the new founde land" and "the newe founde launde." Thus, the word "Newfoundland" originates directly from the royal daybook of Henry VII.

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Is it possible to fly direct nonstop from Europe to Newfoundland?

Yes, in the summer months between June and September, Air Canada has a direct flight from Heathrow Airport, London, England to St. John's, Newfoundland. Here's a link to Air Canada's website:

http://www.aircanada.com/en/home.html

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