Virtual Travel – Atlantic Provinces

Just because we are done with the States doesn’t mean we are done with the virtual travel. It’s off to Canada, where we will travel east to west, starting with the Atlantic Provinces.

With just over 2 million people in the size of California, it is sparsely populated, but full of adventure.

 

Newfoundland & Labrador

2016 09 05 18 Across Newfoundland

 

Newfoundland was the home of the first European landing in the Western Hemisphere when the Vikings arrived around the year 1000, 500 years before Columbus. Today it is paired with Labrador to make up the province.

Cape Spear is the easternmost point of North America. The cliffs overlooking the ocean were used as a fort during World War II, with many remnants still onsite.

There has been a lighthouse on this point since 1836, with this one dating from 1955.

 

 

St John’s is the largest city and capital of the province, with a metro population of around 200,000. It is situated on a naturally protected bay.

2016 09 05 87 St Johns NL Signal Hill

 

 

St John’s is known for brightly painted homes, known as Jellybean Houses. The legend is they were painted that way so fishermen could see them in the fog, but in reality it was a marketing campaign from the 1970s that lead to the expansion of the style.

2016 09 05 71 St Johns NL

 

 

The Quidi Vidi neighborhood is a traditional fishing village that has had some gentrification and is a popular tourist and party spot.

2016 09 05 74 St Johns NL

 

 

In my travels around the world I have been to a number of unusually named places, but this town, named for the long thin pin that goes through the hole on the side of a row boat to hold the oar on, attracts the most attention.

Jimmy Kimmel has featured this town on his show, and has paid for a ‘Hollywood’ type ‘Dildo’ sign to be erected on a hillside.

 

 

Gander is a small Newfoundland town that for many years was the stopping off point for international flights between Europe and the United States. By the 1960s the airplanes had sufficient range to make the trip non stop, and Gander Airport was largely abandoned.

The unused international arrival hall is a time warp to 1960, in pristine condition.

On 9-11 all the flights were grounded, with 38 large aircraft unexpectedly arriving, leaving 6,000 passengers and crew stranded in a town of 10,000. The response of the townspeople was amazing, and remains a legend to this day. They housed and fed all those unexpected visitors for a couple of days until they were able to travel to their destinations.

2016 09 06 27 Gander NL

 

 

Gros Morne National Park is where the Appalachian Mountains reach the Atlantic Ocean. It is a spectacular place with widely diverse landscapes.

2016 09 07 60 Gros Morne National Park NL

 

 

The town of Port Aux Basques is one of the two ferry terminals to the mainland in Newfoundland.

The town has always been a gateway to the province. It was also the destination for the first Trans-Atlantic cable.

 

2016 09 07 124 Port Aux Basques NL

 

 

The ferries are some of the largest in North America, with one having a capacity of 600 automobiles, although most trips have a significant number of semis.

It is a floating parking garage.

2016 09 04 53 Ferry to Newfoundland

 

 

 

 

Nova Scotia

Latin for New Scotland, Nova Scotia has an extensive Atlantic coastline.

 

2016 09 04 6 Drive Through Nova Scotia

 

 

The Nova Scotia countryside is scenic, with many lakes and hills.

 

 

The town of Truro had streets limed with elm trees, but they were killed in the Dutch Elm disease that impacted much of the eastern continent.

Truro has turned 43 of those trees into sculptures.

2016 09 08 4 Truro NS

 

 

Halifax is Nova Scotia’s largest city. It is the largest city in the Atlantic Provinces.

It was settled in the mid 1700s.  (photos from Wikipedia)

Clockwise from top: Downtown Halifax skyline, Crystal Crescent Beach, Central Library, Sullivan's Pond, Peggy's Cove, Macdonald Bridge

 

 

 

 

New Brunswick

New Brunswick borders Maine for hundreds of miles, sharing a similar culture.

 

 

2016 09 03 17

 

 

 

Saint John is one of the 3 larger towns in the province, although none are very large.

Carleton Martello Tower National Historic Site offer a nice overview of the city.

 

 

The Fundy Coast is very scenic, looking more like the Pacific Coast than the Atlantic.

2016 09 03 52 Fundy Trail NB

 

 

The Bay of Fundy has some of the highest tides in the world, going up and down more than 40′ most days. Low tide allows you to walk around on the sea floor, before making the quick trip back up the stairs before it comes back in .

The tides also leave some rivers dry for periods of each day. In Moncton this tidall bore results in a wave twice a day large enough for surfers to ride it for miles.

2016 09 03 98 Hopewell Rocks NB

 

 

Fredericton is the Provincial Capital.

2016 09 08 39 Fredricton NB

At almost 1300′ long, the Hartland Covered Bridge is the longest in the world. Driving through it feels like you are in a wooden tunnel.

2016 09 09 4 Hartland NB

The Grand Falls is a 75′ drop on the Saint John River in the town of Grand Falls. The day we were there most of the water was shut off.

2016 09 09 14 Grand Falls NB

 

 

 

 

Prince Edward Island

The smallest province by area and population (the 3 Canadian ‘territories’ have lower populations), PEI was for many years separated from the mainland, reached only by a ferry.

That all changed in 1997 when the 8 mile long Confederation Bridge was completed.

The island’s largest industry is tourism.

 

(photos from CNN.com)

Confederation Bridge | The Canadian Encyclopedia

19. PEI confederation bridge.

 

15. PEI Cavendish beach

5. PEI Thunder Cove

 

 

 

Tomorrow – Quebec!

 

 

 

 

 

Newfoundland – Late Summer 2016 Road Trip – Day 11 – Across the Province

Knowing we had a long drive today across Newfoundland to reach Gros Morne National Park at a reasonable time, we left the chic hotel for breakfast at McDonald’s. Although we got our usual McDonalds breakfast, we did notice lots of new choices offering a healthier menu than in the states. Egg on bagel, wraps, and a case of fresh pastries looked yummy. The locals with their Irish slanted accent greeted us a warm welcome and a good day as we left. Newfoundlanders like to talk and are very friendly.

On the way across Newfoundland we took a brief detour to see Dildo. Yes there is a town in Newfoundland called Dildo, which seems to have come upon hard times. Located on a picturesque inlet, there is not much there except the Needs Convenience Store, the Dildo Post Office and the Dildo Interpretive Centre, which was closed so it will remain a mystery what they interpret.

2016 09 06 5 Dildo NL.jpg

Oh yes, apparently once a year they have the Dildo festival. Supposedly it was once used for a long fairly thin pin stuck in the edging of a row boat to act as a pivot for the oar. Regardless after about 10 minutes we had had enough and moved on.

2016 09 06 7 Dildo NL.jpg

As we continued across Newfoundland we continued to be amazed at how much traffic there was for a province the size of California with less than a half of a million people. But the Trans Canada Highway (the TCH) was well built, with numerous third lanes for passing the trucks. We made a brief stop at Terra Nova National Park to stretch the legs and enjoy a beautiful overlook, complete with two Red Chairs, which are a Canadian tradition.

2016 09 06 14 Drive across Newfoundland.jpg

Our next stop was in We drove to Gander, Newfoundland to see the Gander International Airport. Gander is well know as a stop off in the early days of aviation for flights going to and from Europe made a fuel stop here. While it is still an active airport, their famous international lounge has been closed off  from use, but still visible from an upper level overlook.

Decorated in the mid-century design that looks pristine yet today, complete with a 72-ft mural of people and birds representing hope, wealth, and peace was painted across the top portion of the wall. The blocks of colorful terrazzo floor spanned the large room. A wooden sculpture of a bird stood at one end of the room; supposedly kissing the top of the head of the bird gives you good luck.

2016 09 06 27 Gander NL.jpg

Gander is near the great circle route between U.S. East Coast cities and London. On September 11, 2001, with United States airspace closed due to the terrorist attacks, Gander International Airport played host to 38 airliners, totaling 6,122 passengers and 473 crew members. With not enough hotel and restaurants to accommodate the stranded flyers, Gander’s residents hospitably brought homemade bagged lunches to the flyers as they stepped off the plane and converted schools and large buildings for temporary shelters. Some residents offered their homes as additional lodgings when the public buildings were filled. To thank the town for its role in helping thousands of temporary transients in the wake of the attacks, New Yorkers gifted Gander with a piece of steel from the World Trade Center’s south tower.

2016 09 06 18 Gander NL.jpg

Finally we reached Gros Morne National Park on the western side of Newfoundland, where we had to go another 60 miles to get to our hotel in the town of Cow Head, giving us a preview of what we would see tomorrow. It is amazing to see the mountains and fjords, and realize you are on the east coast, not west coast.

2016 09 06 56 Gros Morne National Park NL.jpg

As we made our way north we stopped at a number of overlooks, as well as Lobster Head Cove, complete with a lighthouse.

2016 09 06 64 Gros Morne National Park NL.jpg

We paused for a time at an area where you could look back at Western Brook Pond, and the 2000′ high cliffs that line it. Unfortunately it was a few miles off in the distance, but I had made boat tour reservations for the next day to see it up close.

2016 09 06 73 Gros Morne National Park NL.jpg

Finally we arrived in Cow Head, and checked into our room at the Shallow Bay Motel, with our ocean view room – literally 5′ out our window. The motel also had a restaurant and theater.As you can imagine there aren’t many restaurants in some place called Cow Head, Newfoundland, so we had dinner at the hotel.

2016 09 06 78 Gros Morne National Park NL.jpg