Labrador's varied landscape was shaped by the ice ages, leaving snaking fiords, sharp coastal cliffs, moorland, lakes, and gentle valleys. The vast region of Labrador is largely inaccessible, but it is the offshore “Grand Banks” that has some of the world's richest fishing grounds, and that are the island's most famous legacy. Fog, which occurs all year round, characterizes the coastal climate. Prepare to be intrigued by our rich history, culture and the natural beauty of whales, icebergs, wildlife and breathtaking scenery.
TOP 8 PLACES TO VISIT
1.L’ANSE AUX MEADOWS NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
The green plain with some moorland, lies at the northern tip of Great Northern Peninsula. Six houses made of grass sods probably built by the Vikings around the year 1,000 was rediscovered in 1962. It is the only authentic trace of Viking settlement in the New World and the oldest known European settlement in North America to date. The historic site has a reconstructed long house, workshop, and stable where costumed interpreters demonstrate age-old tasks and answer questions. Norstead, a living-history museum with a slightly livelier feel and more Viking-style buildings is a second Viking attraction.
2.SIGNAL HILL NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
The historic site overlooks the Atlantic Ocean, St. John’s harbor and the small historic downtown. The first transatlantic wireless signal was received by Guglielmo Marconi from here in 1901. The landmark Cabot Tower commemorates the 400th anniversary of John Cabot's voyage. Hiking trails lead along the perilous cliffs including the difficult North Head Train from the Queens Battery Barracks down to Battery Road.
3.CAPE SPEAR LIGHTHOUSE NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
At the most easterly point in North America, 11 kilometers south of St. John’s, the most oldest lighthouse can be found. Dating back from 1835 the lighthouse was in operation until 1955, and is now an interesting museum. In addition, there are massive half-ruined gun emplacements from the Second World War, including the barrels of two guns each weighing 30 tons and having a range of 13 kilometers. It is a popular spot to watch the sunrise as well as sight whales, seabirds, and icebergs.
It was previously an outpost for fishing, but in recent years it became an expansive artist retreat. The island culture and an old Irish dialect are distinct from that on the main island of Newfoundland.
Built on the site of an 18th military fort, Fort Townshend, that was eventually buried under ground. Opened in 2005, The Rooms is a cultural facility in St. Johns and houses the Art Gallery of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Provincial Museum of Newfoundland and Labrador. The building can be seen from almost any point in St. John's.
Built in 1910 and preserves the memory of all those who served their country during wartime. It was originally home to the Armed Lads Brigade, where they received training before they joined the First and Second World Wars. Uniforms, rifles and more tell the stories of these times. The Polar bear exhibition was opened in 2000. Other exhibits are from the fishing industry and the general way of life in previous centuries. Panoramic views from here where it is situated on top of a hill quaintly named "Old Maid".
7.CASTLE HILL NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
The colony of “Plaisance” was founded by the French in 1662, and the Fort Royal built in 1693. It was renamed by the British 20 year later to Castle Hill, when it was handed to them because of its strategic location. The historic site is located between Highway 100 and Placentia, where two ferry routes begins and ends. It is the site of historic English and French fortifications, and an interpretive center. There is a magnificent view over Placentia Bay.
8.NORTH ATLANTIC AVIATION MUSEUM
The museum opened in 1996 and is dedicated to preserving and presenting stories and artifacts highlighting Gander’s role in the development of Trans Atlantic Aviation. It is located on the Trans Canada Highway, in the town of Gander, NL, the property is located immediately adjacent to the Tourist Information Center. The exhibit, covering the time period from 1935 to 2001, provides a rich narrative of Gander’s fascinating history. You can learn how the town earned the nickname “Crossroads of the World” why it was know throughout the Eastern Block, and hear the story of Gander’sunexpected role, in the days following 9/11.
OTHER PLACES TO VISIT
The best way to get around Labrador is by the Metrobus Transit System. Other transport available is taxis, car, buses and ferries.
Labrador nudges Canada’s northern frontier so temperatures are mild in spring, with comfortable cool-to-warm summers and chilly winters. During the peak spring iceberg-watching season, average temperatures hover between 2°C - 6°C. Summer highs average 17°C during the whale-watching season though they can sometimes top 25°C during short but pleasant summers. From November to March, winter in Labrador is colder than the rest of the province with daytime averages of -8°C, so bring warm winter gear for snowshoeing, dog-sledding and back country skiing.