Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Interesting Newfoundland Facts

Here are some really interesting facts about Newfoundland. I am sure you will enjoy reading these facts.

Showy Lady's Slipper orchid (Cypripedium reginae) , the largest and most beautiful northern orchid in North America is found in western Newfoundland. Because of its rarity, this orchid is imperiled in the wild.

The ocean around Newfoundland is home to more than 20 species of whales at one time of the year or another, making Newfoundland one of the best whale viewing locations in the world. Humpback whales, Fin whales, Minke whales, and Sperm whales, are some the common whales around Newfoundland.

Contrary to much popular opinion, Newfoundland is not a part of northern Canada. Corner Brook, Newfoundland, in terms of latitude, is a little distance south of Vancouver, British Columbia. Corner Brook is on the same latitude as Paris, France. St. Anthony, on the northern tip of Newfoundland, is on the same latitude as London, England.

The first known St. John's Regatta was held on September 22, 1818 to celebrate the coronation of King George III in 1761. Mention of the race was made in the 'Mercantile Journal.' The Custom House won the race of 2 miles in 25 minutes.

The producing oil fields off eastern Newfoundland are so profitable that the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador is now off of the Canadian equalization plan (the equalization plan, made possible by the Canadian Constitution, allows the Federal Government to send money from financially richer provinces to financially poorer provinces) .

The MV Caribou, which plies the waters between Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, is named in honour of the S.S. Caribou which was torpedoed and sunk by a Nazi submarine on October 14, 1942.

Shortly after the United States was attacked on September 11, 2001, air traffic controllers at Gander airport, Newfoundland, used their emergency Y2K plans to help safely land dozens of transatlantic aircraft that were headed toward North America. The Y2K emergency plans had been ridiculed as unnecessary when no major problem occurred after clocks changed from 1999 to 2000 (midnight, December 31, 1999), but the Y2K plans may have saved lives at Gander on September 11, 2001.

The population of Newfoundland in 1800 was approximately 10,000 (ten thousand) people.

Shannon Tweed, Playboy's Playmate of the Year for 1982, was born in Newfoundland, in 1957. Since 1983, Shannon Tweed has lived with Gene Simmons, former lead performer with the rock band KISS.

The ceilings of the Council Chamber and the Assembly Room in the Colonial Building in St. John's were painted by Polish fresco painter Alexander Pindikowski in 1880. Mr. Pindikowski had been serving a 15 month prison sentence for passing forged cheques - his sentence was reduced by 1 month for his work. In 1940, the ceiling work was restored by local painter Clem Murphy.

The Black Spruce (Picea mariana) was proclaimed the Provincial Tree of Newfoundland in May, 1991. The Black Spruce has had a significant social and economic impact on the provincial economy: it is the favoured tree of the pulp and paper industry, it has played a prominent role in the lives of aboriginal people and in local folk medicine, and it is very hardy and grows well throughout the province.

The Pitcher Plant (Sarracenis purpurea) is the official flower of Newfoundland and Labrador. It was chosen as the provincial flower in 1954 by the Newfoundland Cabinet. Queen Victoria chose the Pitcher Plant to be engraved on the Newfoundland penny in the late 1800s.

In terms of phonetic differences (spoken accents), with the exception of Newfoundland, the English speaking regions of Canada have much more in common than the English speaking regions of the United States (see The Atlas of North American English).

During the War of 1812, at the naval Battle of Lake Erie (September 10, 1813), 28% of British casualties (39 men) were suffered by Newfoundlanders (Google 'Newfoundland Regiment of Fencible Infantry').

Newfoundlanders received a special commendation from Major-General Issac Brock on the fall of Detroit during the War of 1812 (Google 'Newfoundland Regiment of Fencible Infantry').

The Long Range Mountains in southwestern Newfoundland are part of the Appalachian Mountains. They are now eroded down to the root of the original mountains which were as high as the Himalayan Mountains in their day.

There isn't one homeless person, or one person living on the streets, in Newfoundland and Labrador. This is likely because of strong social ties (people generally know each other), strong community churches, provincial government programs to help the disadvantaged, and ages old respect among people (it's shameful to have homeless people in a community, so something is done about it).

Newfoundland forms an almost perfect equilateral triangle on a map. Port aux Basques to L'Anse aux Meadows to St. John's are all nearly the same distance apart.

Prince Charles and Princess Diana visited Newfoundland in 1983. Princess Diana planted a tree on Government House grounds in St. John's.

About 4000 years ago, people of the Maritime Archaic Tradition occupied the entire coastline of Newfoundland and Labrador. A cemetery of these people has been excavated by archaeologists at Port aux Choix on the Great Northern Peninsula. In this cemetery have been found a wealth of artifacts including more than 100 human skeletons, domestic dog skeletons, great auk (Pinguinus impennis) remains, wolf remains, musical instruments, a specimen of native copper, fire-making sets, hunting equipment, artifact manufacturing equipment, religious objects, etc.

The first train from St. John's to Port aux Basques arrived on June 30, 1898. Railroading ended in Newfoundland on October 1, 1988.

Bonfire Night (or Guy Fawkes Night), the evening of November 5, is still celebrated in many parts of Newfoundland. The bonfires are generally lit as part of a community event to mark the escape (deliverance) of King James I of England (James VI of Scotland) from a plot to kill him, his family, most of the British aristocracy, and both Houses of Parliament (King and company) in November 1605. Guy Fawkes was discovered with explosives (red handed) in the basement of the Houses of Parliament before the explosives could be detonated. He was later executed.

It has been illegal to hunt Pine Marten (Martes americana atrata) on the island of Newfoundland since 1934 because of low population numbers. The total population is approximately 300 animals.

There are 18 trees that are native to Newfoundland: Red Pine, White Pine, Black Spruce, White Spruce, Balsam Fir, Tamarack/Larch, Trembling Aspen, Balsam Popular, Showy Mountain Ash, American Mountain Ash, Mountain Maple, Red Maple, Pin Cherry, Choke Cherry, Speckled Alder, Yellow Birch, White Birch, and Black Ash (rare).

Many non-native (exotic) trees also grow in Newfoundland. These exotic trees are mostly found in private collections. Among the exotic trees growing in Newfoundland are Douglas Fir, Korean Fir, Siberian Fir, Nordmann Fir, Black Locust, Ponderosa Pine, Sitka Spruce, and Garry Oak.

Arctic Hares are native to Newfoundland, but Snowshoe Hares were introduced from Nova Scotia in 1864 and 1876. They were released at the same time by local Magistrates. Hares are often erroneously called rabbits.

The Newfoundland Timber or Grey Wolf became extinct on the island of Newfoundland in the 1930s.

The coyote arrived in Newfoundland during the winter of 1985, when heavy ice in the Gulf of St. Lawrence allowed passage from Nova Scotia.

There are no snakes, skunks, deer, porcupines or groundhogs on the island of Newfoundland. Chipmunks were introduced to Newfoundland from Nova Scotia in 1962 and 1964, and today they are plentiful in the Codroy Valley of southwestern Newfoundland where cultivated (farm) oats are a favourite treat. There is no ragweed pollen on the island either (a very common allergen).

The motto of Newfoundland and Labrador is "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God" from Matthew 6:33 in the Holy Bible.

Newfoundland is actually 3.5 hours west of Greenwich, and hence has its own proper time zone. The Newfoundland Standard Time Act of 1935 enshrined this time zone before Newfoundland joined Canada in 1949.

Newfoundland routinely has one of the lowest crime rates in Canada.

44 species of orchids are native to Newfoundland.

Traditionally, Newfoundlanders watched the black bear on February 2 since there are no groundhogs on the island.

The only authenticated Viking site in North America is located at L'Anse aux Meadows, north of St. Anthony, on Newfoundland's Great Northern Peninsula. The remains of the sod houses used by the Vikings can still be seen there, along with some of their artifacts.

Newfoundland is the 16th largest island in the world. Visitors should keep this in mind when planning a visit; it is not possible to see the whole island in just a few days and at least 10 days are needed for even a brief look around.

Squirrels were introduced to Newfoundland in 1963 (The Canadian Field Naturalist, Volume 90, pp. 60-64) and they have now colonised the whole island.

Moose are not native to Newfoundland, but today there are more than 100,000 on the island. 1 pair was introduced in 1878 from Nova Scotia (not thought to have survived). 2 pairs of moose were introduced on May 14, 1904 from New Brunswick. All of the moose in Newfoundland today are descended from the 1904 moose and possibly also from the 1878 moose.

For bird-watchers, the Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus) can be seen along the coast from Port aux Basques to Cape Ray during the summer months (until August). Dozens were seen in 1997. Nesting areas are marked.

Between 1857 and 1949 Newfoundland issued its own postage stamps. They are still valid for mail posted anywhere in Canada.

Not all of Newfoundland was covered with glaciers during the last ice age. Parts of the Codroy Valley in southwestern Newfoundland were largely ice free.

The ski resort at Marble Mountain, near Corner Brook, has nearly 30 ski runs; the highest run has a vertical drop of almost 1600 feet (485 metres). Corner Brook hosted the Canada Winter Games between February 20 and March 6, 1999.

The Hibernia oilfield, off the east coast of Newfoundland, contains more oil than 40 of the 44 oilfields in the North Sea. Combined, the Hibernia and Terra Nova oilfields contain more than 1 billion barrels of recoverable oil. In 1999, the Hibernia oilfield was the most profitable oilfield in Canada.

The Mayflower stopped in at Renews (eastern Newfoundland) in 1620, to pick up supplies, during its voyage to present day Massachusetts, U.S.A.

Source: , Interesting Facts Blog

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