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Newfoundland and Labrador

Contributed by Leanne Guenther

Newfoundland mapNewfoundland is one of Canada's ten provinces.  It is an Atlantic or "Maritime" province.  It can be found on the East Coast of the country, near the Atlantic Ocean.

Newfoundland was Britain's first North American colony, claimed by John Cabot in 1497.  Sir Gilbert officially proclaimed Newfoundland a colony of England in 1583.  (To relate it to U.S.  History, this was 3 years before the Virginia Colony of Roanoke and 37 years before Plymouth Rock).

In 1931 Newfoundland became a Dominion, of equal status within the British Empire as Australia, New Zealand, Canada and South Africa.  However, the Great Depression caused problems for the Dominion and they reverted back to a colony of Great Britain.  On June 22, 1948 a referendum on the future of the nation was held and Union with Canada narrowly won.  Newfoundland joined the Canadian Confederation in 1949.

You can find out a lot of interesting information about the province at

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flagThe Provincial Flag

The Newfoundland and Labrador provincial flag was adopted in 1980.  The white represents snow and ice, the blue represents the sea; red represents human effort and gold represents our confidence in ourselves.

The Provincial Flower

pitcher plant

Photo by Leanne Guenther
pitcher portion of a Pitcher plant

pitcher plant

Photo by Leanne Guenther
flower of a Pitcher plant

The pitcher plant was declared Newfoundland and Labrador's provincial flower in 1954. 

This amazing plant eats insects -- they become trapped and rot inside the pitchers.  The plant then soaks up the nutrients.  There are tiny downward facing hairs inside the pitcher that prevent the insect from climbing back out when they fall in. 

View large photo to see the hairs.

atlantic puffin - from wikipedia commonsThe Provincial Bird

The Atlantic Puffin was made Newfoundland and Labrador's provincial bird in 1991.  This sea bird lives in the cold ocean waters feeding on small fish such as herring.

They usually mate for life.  The female lays one egg each year in an underground burrow.

We were on a bird watching trip in Atlantic Canada and saw puffins.  They were hilarious to watch!  They would eat fish until they were so full they couldn't fly anymore.  Then they'd have to float on the water for awhile, resting after their big meal.  Every so often, one would try to take off again -- sometimes they'd make it and sometimes they'd just skip over the waves in a rather ungraceful attempt before deciding to take another break.  So, yes, puffins can fly (as long as they aren't too full -- Hmm, I feel that way sometimes after Christmas dinner at grandma's house!


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