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Mar 02 2011

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Newfoundland and Labrador

Newfoundland and Labrador is the easternmost Atlantic province comprising of two main parts: the island of Newfoundland and mainland Labrador (located northwest of the island), thousands of small islands included. The name Newfoundland is derived from English as “New Found Land” (a translation from the Latin Terra Nova). The origin of Labrador is uncertain; most authorities credit it to João Fernandes Lavrador, a Portuguese explorer, and lavrador a title meaning “landholder”.

Interesting facts about Newfoundland and Labrador:

  • Newfoundland and Labrador’s capital and largest city, St. John’s, is Canada’s twentieth-largest Census Metropolitan Area, and is home to nearly 40 percent of the province’s population.
  • Approximately 94 percent of the province’s population resides on the Island of Newfoundland (including its associated smaller islands), of which over half live on the Avalon Peninsula.
  • The Island of Newfoundland has its own dialects of English, French, and Irish. The English dialect in Labrador is similar to that of Newfoundland. Labrador also has its own dialects of Innu-aimun and Inuktitut.
  • People live in fishing villages along the coast and small rural communities.
  • About 60% of the people live in towns and cities.
  • There are many bays and deep fiords along the coastlines.
  • Pack ice and icebergs can be seen off the coastline.
  • Much of the island, south and central Labrador is covered with thick forests, many rivers and lakes.
  • Torngat Mountains in Labrador are the most spectacular mountains east of the Rockies
  • Gros Morne National Park (west coast of Newfoundland) has mountains, forests, lakes, sand dunes
  • Terra Nova National Park (east coast of Newfoundland) has rocky cliffs, rolling hills, forests, lakes and ponds
  • Continental Shelf off the coast includes shallow areas (banks) and deeper areas (troughs and channels)
  • Main exports are oil, fish products, newsprint, iron ore and electricity.
  • Iron ore is produced in Labrador. (Steel is made from iron ore.)
  • Oil and gas are found under the Grand Banks.
  • Churchill Falls in Labrador is the second largest hydroelectric power plant in the world.
  • Fish processing is an important industry.
  • Forests (mostly coniferous trees) cover one third of Newfoundland.
  • Titanic, sank in 1912 after hitting an iceberg south of Newfoundland.
  • A transatlantic telegraph cable was laid on the bottom of the ocean from Ireland to Heart’s Content, Newfoundland in 1866.

Time Zone

Newfoundland has its own time zone, the Newfoundland Time Zone, and is 3.5 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time.

Labrador is situated in the Atlantic Time Zone.

Climate

The island of Newfoundland enjoys winters that are surprisingly mild by Canadian standards, between 0°C and -5°C., though with a high rate of precipitation. The average temperature in Newfoundland in the summer is between 10°C and 20°C. Labrador, by comparison, has cold winters, between 10°C and -25°C, and brief summers with temperatures between 5°C and 15°C. Newfoundland’s climate can best be described as moderate and maritime. The maritime climate produces more variable weather, ample precipitation in a variety of forms, greater humidity, lower visibility, more clouds, less sunshine, and higher winds than a continental climate. Newfoundland experiences more fog than any of the other Atlantic Provinces.

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