Newfoundland and Labrador Book of Everything: Everything You Wanted to Know About Newfoundland and Labrador and Were Going to Ask Anyway

Newfoundland and Labrador Book of Everything: Everything You Wanted to Know About Newfoundland and Labrador and Were Going to Ask Anyway

by Martha Walls



Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780978478445
Publisher: MacIntyrePurcell Publishing, Inc
Publication date: 08/01/2007
Series: Book of Everything Series
Edition description: Revised
Pages: 192
Product dimensions: 4.90(w) x 6.90(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Martha Walls is a history professor based at St. Francis Xavier University.

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Newfoundland and Labrador Book of Everything

Everything you Wanted to Know about Newfoundland and Labrador and were Going to Ask Anyway

By Martha Walls

MacIntyre Purcell Publishing Inc.

Copyright © 2011 MacIntyre Purcell Publishing Inc.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-926916-39-2


    Ode to Newfoundland

Sir Cavendish Boyle, Governor of Newfoundland from 1901 to 1904, penned the Ode to Newfoundland, as a testament to his love and affection for his adopted island home. It served as the national anthem from 1907 (the year Newfoundland became an independent Dominion) until Confederation in 1949. In 1980 the ode became the provincial anthem, making Newfoundland and Labrador the only province in the country to have one.

    When sun rays crown thy pine clad hills,
    And summer spreads her hand,
    When silvern voices tune thy rills,
    We love thee, smiling land.
    We love thee, we love thee,
    We love thee, smiling land.

    When spreads thy cloak of shimmering white,
    At winter's stern command,
    Thro' shortened day, and starlit night,
    We love thee, frozen land.
    We love thee, we love thee
    We love thee, frozen land.

    As blinding storm gusts fret thy shore,
    And wild waves lash thy strand,
    Thro' spindrift swirl, and tempest roar,
    We love thee windswept land.
    We love thee, we love thee
    We love thee windswept land.

    As loved our fathers, so we love,
    Where once they stood, we stand;
    Their prayer we raise to Heaven above,
    God guard thee, Newfoundland
    God guard thee, God guard thee,
    God guard thee, Newfoundland


Newfoundland and Labrador:

A Timeline

9000 Before Present: First people inhabit southern Labrador after glaciers retreat. Their descendants probably crossed to the Island of Newfoundland about 5000 BP.

1000 AD: Norse "Vikings" land near Black Duck Brook at L'Anse aux Meadows. Artifacts unearthed in the early 1960s support theories of brief settlement.

1497: Italian explorer John Cabot, sailing under the English flag, reaches the east coast of Newfoundland. Cabot claims the 'new founde land' for England.

1583: Sir Humphrey Gilbert arrives in Newfoundland with letters from Queen Elizabeth I authorizing him to stake the territory in her name and reiterating Cabot's previous claim.

1610: Looking to strengthen England's position in North America, the London and Bristol Company sends John Guy and 48 colonists to settle at Cupids.

1620: Sir George Calvert is granted land on the Avalon Peninsula. Three years later the royal Charter of Avalon secures these rights and titles to more land between Ferryland and Petty Harbour, over to Placentia Bay and up to Conception Bay. He calls his territory the Province of Avalon.

1662: Plaisance (now Placentia), a French capital, is founded with a governor and 80 settlers when King Louis XIV decides fortification and colonization are needed to protect French fishing grounds.

Skraelings Meet The Vikings

For centuries, Norse sagas offered clues that Vikings had visited North America long before Columbus "discovered" it in 1492. In the 1960s, Helge and Anne Stine Ingstad's archaeological findings at L'Anse aux Meadows on the northernmost tip of the Northern Peninsula showed that the Norse encountered the province's First People five centuries before European fishermen dropped anchor off the coast.

The archaeological findings offered evidence of an ancient Norse settlement dating to about 1000 AD, the year Leif Eriksson came ashore somewhere along North America's east coast. Debate surrounds the precise location of this landing, but the L'Anse aux Meadows discovery confirms Viking settlement; some believe that Newfoundland may have been the site of the Viking's "Vinland."

A second group of Viking settlers with as many as 135 men and 15 women spent several summers at L'Anse aux Meadows gathering wood and pelts that were in much demand in Greenland. On these visits the Vikings met, and for a time traded with, local people. Known to the Vikings as Skraelings, they were most likely Beothuk or Innu.

For unknown reasons, however, relations soured. Outnumbered by the unwelcoming Skraelings, the Vikings returned to Greenland, having spent fewer than five years in North America.

1696: After decades of shifting control between the French, British and Dutch, St. John's falls to French forces led by Pierre le Moyne, Sieur d'Iberville.

1699: King William's Act is the first British legislation applied to Newfoundland. It creates the fishing admiralty system of government.

1713: With the Treaty of Utrecht, France surrenders all of Newfoundland to England except for the French Shore on the north and west coasts.

1729: Naval Captain Henry Osborne is appointed the colony's first English governor.

1763: The Treaty of Paris ends the Seven Years' War and, with it, French claims to North America. France retains St. Pierre and Miquelon and the right to catch and dry fish along Newfoundland's French Shore, providing French fishermen leave the colony each season by September 10.

1791: The British Parliament passes legislation to create the first civil court in the colony. John Reeves is appointed Newfoundland's first judge and, in 1792, its first Chief Justice.

1816: The first of several major fires sweeps through St. John's, leaving more than a thousand people homeless.

1824: The British Parliament restricts the powers of Newfoundland's surrogate courts, repeals the authority of fishing admirals, and establishes a permanent Supreme Court with civil and criminal jurisdiction, on- and offshore.

1829: With the death of Shanawdithit, Newfoundland's aboriginal Beothuk peoples are recognized as being extinct.

1832: Newfoundland gets its first representative government; an elected House of Assembly and a Crown-appointed executive branch. The local legislature opens under Governor Sir Thomas John Cochrane.

1834: The new legislature creates the Savings Bank and allows the treasury to issue notes. The notes are recalled by 1857 but the bank prospers until it is sold to the Bank of Montreal in 1962.

1850: The Colonial Building, on Military Road in St. John's, is opened for the first time. It houses the provincial parliament until 1960.

1854: The Union Bank of Newfoundland is opened and incorporated. It is so successful that in 1857 it forces the closure of the Bank of British North America.

1855: Newfoundland gets full responsible government; Executive Council members are now appointed from the elected members of the House of Assembly.

1863: Legislation establishes the colony's money as dollars and cents, with the first one-, five-, ten-, twenty- and two-hundred-cent coins being issued in 1865.

1866: The 4,828 km-long Atlantic cable, laid from Ireland by the steamship The Great Eastern, is landed at Heart's Content — the first telegraph link between Europe and North America.

1869: Unsure of whether a union with other British colonies will raise or lower taxes, improve services, or debilitate the economy, Newfoundland votes "no" to joining the Canadian federation.

1881: The Newfoundland Railway Company begins construction of the first railway line, intended to link St. John's and Halls Bay (near present-day South Brook). Plans include a branch line to Harbour Grace.

1885: The St. John's Electric Light Company builds the colony's first generating station (the Flavin Lane Station) for the Terra Nova Bakery. In October, Newfoundlanders' eyes light up along with the display windows of 11 Water Street merchants.

1892: A carelessly dropped pipe, a stable full of hay, and a poorly timed closure of the city's water supply culminate in the Great Fire. The inferno rages through St. John's, destroying most of the city. More than 11,000 people are left homeless.

1895: Bell Island's iron ore mines open and remain in operation until 1966. During that period, over 80 million tonnes of ore are produced for a global market.

1895: Newfoundland, on the brink of bankruptcy, considers joining the Canadian federation, but a last-minute loan deftly negotiated by Sir Robert Bond saves the colony and Newfoundland again votes "no."

1898: The first mail and passenger train crosses Newfoundland from St. John's to Port-aux-Basques in June. The last passenger train will run the line in 1969; the last freight train in 1988.

1901: Guglielmo Marconi successfully receives the first transatlantic radio signal on Signal Hill in St. John's. It was sent from Ireland, 3,400 km away, and proved radio waves would follow the curvature of the Earth.

1904: The French give up all rights to the French Shore, retaining the islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon and rights to fish Newfoundland waters.

1908: The Fishermen's Protective Union (FPU) is established and spawns a political party. The FPU fares well in the 1913 election but the demands and political complications of Newfoundland's participation in the Great War destroys its momentum.

1915: A vote held on the total prohibition of the sale and consumption of alcohol receives about 5,000 votes more than needed to enact the ban. Prohibition becomes law in 1917.

1919: John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown leave St. John's and fly 3,041.7 km in just under 16 and a half hours to land in Clifden, Ireland, completing the first flight across the North Atlantic.

1923: The Salvation Army helps open the Grace Hospital, Newfoundland's first maternity facility.

1925: The Newfoundland Hotel, which costs an estimated $1 million, opens for business. Modern and impressive, the edifice reflects a new social and economic period in St. John's.

1927: The Judicial Committee of the English Privy Council settles the Labrador Boundary dispute between Quebec and Newfoundland, though Quebec still does not agree.

1933: Newfoundland is again on the brink of bankruptcy. Still unconvinced about joining Canada, Newfoundland asks Britain for help and trades its elected assembly for a Crown-appointed commission.

1948: Newfoundlanders must choose between a reformed Commission Government, the pre-1933 constitution, and joining the Canadian federation. After two referendums, a slim majority of Newfoundlanders favour confederation.

1949: On March 31, Newfoundland becomes Canada's tenth province.

1949: Joey (Joseph Roberts) Smallwood becomes leader of the provincial Liberal Party and Premier of the new province. His anti-confederate opponents become members of the Progressive Conservatives (PC).

1954: The government of Newfoundland and Labrador begins an out-port resettlement program. By 1975, 40,000 people and 250 communities have been relocated.

1972: After 22 years and six election wins, Smallwood is relieved of his duties. Conservative (PC) Frank D. Moores becomes the second premier.

1974: After seven years and nearly a billion dollars, the electric power station at Churchill Falls in Labrador is complete.

1979: The Hibernia oilfield, the fifth largest discovered in Canada, is identified off the Grand Banks.

1979: Brian Peckford, PC, becomes the province's third premier.

1989: Thomas Rideout, another PC, becomes Newfoundland's fourth premier. His tenure is short — after one month he is defeated by Clyde Wells' Liberals in a general election.

1991: Joey Smallwood dies at home in St. John's.

1992: Ottawa places a moratorium on the cod fishery because of declining stocks. The move is intended as a short-term solution, but is extended indefinitely in 1993.

1993: Significant deposits of nickel, copper and cobalt are discovered at Voisey's Bay in Labrador. Inco, one of the world's largest nickel companies, acquires rights in 1996.

1996: Brian Tobin resigns as federal Minister of Fisheries to become leader of the province's Liberal party and premier.

1997: The oil platform at Hibernia, the largest in the world, begins producing. At 224 m tall, the platform is half as high as the Empire State Building, and more than 30 m taller than the Calgary Tower.

Outport Resettlement

Outports — small, isolated coastal fishing communities — were the first places Europeans settled here and are the oldest European communities in Canada. In the mid-20th century, however, steps were taken to dismantle these centuries-old villages.

In 1954, the provincial government began to relocate outport residents to "growth centres." In 1965, the federal government became a partner in the scheme, believing that relocated Newfoundlanders would earn better livelihoods and have easier access to social services. Cash payments in return for compliance proved a powerful incentive to cash-strapped fishers; by 1975, 250 outports had been abandoned. Almost 40,000 people, roughly 10 percent of the Newfoundland population, had been resettled.

By the late 1970s, critics were calling resettlement a failure. Unable to secure fishing licences in growth centres where fishing grounds had long been allocated, relocated families were caught in a web of unemployment. Some former residents returned to the outports but the majority did not. Some kept, and still keep, summer houses in abandoned outports, but in many respects it destroyed communities that had been in existence for 200-300 years.

2000: Deputy premier Beaton Tulk becomes premier when Brian Tobin heads back to Ottawa and federal politics. He holds office for nearly four months until Roger Grimes is sworn in.

2001: An amendment to the Constitution of Canada officially changes the name of the province to "Newfoundland and Labrador."

2003: After twelve years of Liberal rule, PC Danny Williams is elected as the province's ninth premier.

2005: A comprehensive new deal is reached with Ottawa on sharing of offshore revenue. It is hailed as an economic turning point for the province.

2006: A small cod fishery is reopened for the first time since 1992, allowing a 2,500 tonne catch. The move is in response to fishers' anecdotal evidence of increased stocks. Scientists remain unconvinced of cod-stock recovery.

2006: In late June, citizens are appalled by Auditor General John Noseworthy's revelations about millions of dollars misused by elected representatives of all three parties over the previous decade.

2006: Skip Brad Gushue, a 25-year-old Newfoundlander, leads the Canadian men's curling team (with second Russ Howard, third Mark Nichols, and lead Jamie Korab) to its first-ever Olympic curling gold — the first Newfoundland and Labrador-based athletes ever to win the top Olympic medal.




"JAMB" is four Newfoundlanders who recognize a good thing when they see it. They are known individually (some far and wide) as John Baird, Andy Jones, Mary Lynn Bernard, and Brenda O'Brien. Says Mark Ferguson, curator of history at The Rooms Provincial Museum (a CFA — come-from-away — who married into the group and strong-armed it into revealing a few ways to feel great in a harsh place), "the answer appears to be make it simple, naturally."

1. Enjoy a swim in the cold North Atlantic: Yeah, but don't plunge in just anywhere: the secret is finding a sandy beach with a warm stream running into it. JAMB recommends Northern Bay Sands, Salmon Cove, Burgeo, or Windmill Bight.

2. Take a trip to a resettled community: There are boat tours to islands in Placentia or Trinity Bays, and in some places (such as British Harbour, TB) you can hike in. Sit, be quiet, reflect, have a boil-up — but leave the place as you found it: quiet, but speaking volumes.

3. Eat fresh: Forget what you learned about fish from growing up on the mainland — if you can get ultra-fresh cod, pan-fried and golden, your taste buds have a ticket to heaven. Keep your eye out for a place that adds fresh chanterelles to the meal, and you're over the moon. If you can't find a spot that takes this approach, at least ask a local for the best place to get fish and chips. You must not visit the province without having a good fish experience.

4. Head immediately for the coast when someone says the capelin are rolling: It's the thing to do and everyone knows it. Some take their buckets to get a feed, others go to watch the humpbacks chase the capelin almost onto the strand — and the rest are there just because it's where the action is, only once a year. Capelin roll all around the coast when the season (and the beach) is right. In season (June or July), one of the best spots on the Avalon to watch humpbacks from shore is the long gravel stretch by St. Vincent's, where they lunge after capelin only a few metres from shore.

5. Pat a Newfoundland pony: They're tiny, they're sweet, and there aren't very many of them. Say hello, when you get a chance.


Excerpted from Newfoundland and Labrador Book of Everything by Martha Walls. Copyright © 2011 MacIntyre Purcell Publishing Inc.. Excerpted by permission of MacIntyre Purcell Publishing Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Janice Wells

This type of book is long overdue and I wish I had thought of it first. There are thousands of interesting facts and stats about Newfoundland and Labrador for visitors and Newfoundlanders alike. (Janice Wells, travel writer)

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