“Newfies” bear the brunt of many a Canadian joke, but they’re having the last laugh: raw natural beauty, charming little villages and welcoming locals should push Newfoundland and Labrador towards the front of your to-visit list.
Pretty wooden houses painted the colours of the rainbow cling to cliffsides and 10,000-year-old icebergs the size of castles drift past their front doors. Humpback, minke and blue whales (to name a few) dance offshore and half a million puffins nest in the rocks – count them if you don’t believe us.
Newfoundland and Labrador is almost three times the size of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island combined, and is blessed with 29,000km (18,125 miles) of craggy coastline. The province is filled with historic towns and landmarks documenting the region's indiginous aboriginal inhabitants, Viking visitors and maritime heritage.
Water Street on St John’s claims to be the oldest street in North America. And it is strange to think that you are actually closer here to Ireland's Cape Clear than to Ontario's Thunder Bay (though not so odd when you hear the local dialect – grab a copy of the Dictionary of Newfoundland English if you get stuck).
Newfoundland and Labrador is also a place of ancient landscapes, such as the unique and beautiful geological features of the UNESCO-listed Gros Morne National Park, or the colossal mountain ranges of the Torngat, Kaumajet and Kiglapait and their primeval exposed rock.
Many of the province’s indigenous people (the First Nations, Métis and Innu) still reside here, often in isolated communities. And the European descendants are fiercely proud of their roots, so if an Atlantic storm hits, dive into the nearest pub and enjoy an all-day knees-up, with fiddlers and accordion players cranking out Celtic-inspired tunes.