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Newfoundland and Labrador ( ; , Irish: Talamh an Éisc agus Labradóir, ) is a province of Canadamarker on the country's Atlanticmarker coast in northeastern North America. This easternmost Canadian provincemarker comprises two main parts: the island of Newfoundlandmarker off the country's eastern coast, and Labrador on the mainland to the northwest of the island.

A former colony and dominion of the United Kingdommarker, it became the tenth province to enter the Canadian Confederation on 31 March 1949, named simply as Newfoundland. Since 1964, the province's government has referred to itself as the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, and on 6 December 2001, an amendment was made to the Constitution of Canada to change the province's official name to Newfoundland and Labrador. In day-to-day conversation, however, Canadians generally still refer to the province itself as Newfoundland and to the region on the Canadian mainland as Labrador.

As of July 2009, the province's population is estimated to be 508,925. Approximately 94% of the province's population resides on the Island of Newfoundland (including its associated smaller islands). The Island of Newfoundland has its own dialects of the English, French, and of the Irish language. The English dialect in Labrador shares much with that of Newfoundland. Labrador also has its own dialects of Innu-aimun and Inuktitut.


While the name Newfoundland is derived from English as "New Found Land" (a translation from the Latin Terra Nova), Labrador comes from Portuguese lavrador, a title meaning "landholder/ploughman" held by Portuguese explorer of the region João Fernandes Lavrador.


Newfoundland and Labrador is the easternmost province of Canadamarker. The Strait of Belle Islemarker separates the province into two geographical divisions, Labrador and island of Newfoundlandmarker. The province also includes over 7,000 tiny islands.

Newfoundland is roughly triangular, with each side being approximately , and has an area of . Newfoundland and its associated small islands have a total area of . Newfoundland extends between latitudes 46°36'N and 51°38'N.

Labrador is an irregular shape: the western part of its border with Quebecmarker is the drainage divide of the Labrador Peninsulamarker. Lands drained by rivers that flow into the Atlantic Oceanmarker are part of Labrador, the rest belong to Quebec. Labrador’s extreme northern tip, at 60°22'N, shares a short border with Nunavutmarker. Labrador’s area (including associated small islands) is . Together, Newfoundland and Labrador make up 4.06% of Canada’s area.

Labrador is the easternmost part of the Canadian Shield, a vast area of ancient metamorphic rock comprising much of northeastern North America. Colliding tectonic plates have shaped much of the geology of Newfoundland. Gros Morne National Parkmarker has a reputation as an outstanding example of tectonics at work, and as such has been designated a World Heritage Site. The Long Range Mountainsmarker on Newfoundland's west coast are the northeasternmost extension of the Appalachian Mountainsmarker.

The north-south extent of the province (46°36'N to 60°22'N), prevalent westerly winds, cold ocean currents and local factors such as mountains and coastline combine to create the various climates of the province. Northern Labrador is classified as a polar tundra climate, southern Labrador is considered to be a subarctic climate while most of Newfoundland would be considered to have a humid continental climate, Dfb: Cool summer subtype.


The province has been divided into six climate types, but in broader terms Newfoundland is considered to be a cool summer subtype of a humid continental climate, which is greatly influenced by the sea since no part of the island is more than 100 kilometers (62 miles) from the ocean. Northern Labrador is classified as a polar tundra climate, southern Labrador is considered to have a subarctic climate.
Newfoundland and Labrador average monthly temperatures
Newfoundland and Labrador average monthly rainfall
Newfoundland and Labrador average monthly snowfall
Monthly average temperatures, rainfall and snowfall for four communities are shown in the attached graphs. St. John'smarker represents the east coast, Gandermarker the interior of the island, Corner Brookmarker the west coast of the island and Wabushmarker the interior of Labrador. The detailed information and information for 73 communities in the province is available from a government website. The data used in making the graphs is the average taken over thirty years. Error bars on the temperature graph indicate the range of daytime highs and night time lows. Snowfall is the total amount which fell during the month, not the amount accumulated on the ground. This distinction is particularly important for St. John's where a heavy snowfall can be followed by rain so that no snow remains on the ground.

Surface water temperatures on the Atlantic side reaches a summer average of inshore and offshore to winter lows of inshore and offshore. Sea temperatures on the west coast are warmer than Atlantic side by . The sea keeps winter temperatures slightly higher and summer temperatures a little lower on the coast than at places inland. 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. Some of these effects can be seen in the graphs. Labrador's climate differs from that of the island not only because it is further north, but also because the interior does not see the moderating effects of the ocean.

Average temperatures in towns & cities

City July January
St. John’smarker 20/11 °C (68/52 °F) -1/-9 °C (30/16 °F)
Corner Brookmarker 22/13 °C (71/55 °F) -3/-10 °C (28/15 °F)
Grand Falls-Windsormarker 23/12 °C (73/53 °F) -3/-13 °C (27/9 °F)
Gandermarker 21/11 °C (71/51 °F) -3/-12 °C (26/11 °F)
Happy Valley-Goose Baymarker 20/10 °C (68/49 °F) -13/-23 °C (8.6/-9.4 °F)
Nainmarker 15/5 °C (59/41 °F) -14/-23 °C (7/-10 °F)


Ten largest municipalities

by population
City 2001

St. John'smarker 99,182 100,646
Mount Pearlmarker 24,964 24,671
Conception Bay Southmarker 19,772 21,966
Corner Brookmarker 20,103 20,083
Grand Falls-Windsormarker 13,340 13,556
Paradisemarker 9,598 12,584
Gandermarker 9,651 9,951
Happy Valley-Goose Baymarker 7,969 7,572
Labrador Citymarker 7,744 7,240
Stephenvillemarker 7,109 6,588


Human inhabitation in Newfoundland and Labrador can be traced back over 9,000 years to the people of the Maritime Archaic Tradition. They were gradually displaced by the Palaeoeskimo people of the Dorset Culture, the L'nu, or Mi'kmaq and finally by the Innu and Inuit in Labrador and the Beothuks on the island. The oldest known European contact was made over a thousand years ago when the Vikings briefly settled in L'Anse aux Meadowsmarker. Five hundred years later, European explorers (John Cabot, Gaspar Corte-Real, Jacques Cartier, and others), fishermen from Englandmarker, Irelandmarker, Portugalmarker, Francemarker and Spainmarker and Basque whalers (the remains of several whaling stations have been found at Red Bay, Newfoundland and Labradormarker) began exploration and exploitation of the area.

The overseas expansion of British Empire began when Sir Humphrey Gilbert took possession of Newfoundland in the name of England in 1583. Apart from St.John'smarker, which was already established, early settlements were started at Cupids, Ferrylandmarker and other places.

The Newfoundland Red Ensign was an unofficial commercial ensign from 1904 to 1931.
During its history Newfoundland and Labrador have had many forms of government, including a time as the Dominion of Newfoundland, equivalent in status to Canadamarker and Australia. Newfoundland and Labrador became the tenth province of Canada on 31 March 1949.

Newfoundland has been a battleground in numerous early wars among Great Britainmarker, Francemarker, Spainmarker and even the United Statesmarker. The Royal Newfoundland Regiment fought with distinction in World War I. Numerous bases were built in Newfoundland and Labrador by Canadamarker and the United Statesmarker during World War II, particularly to safeguard the Atlanticmarker convoys to Europe.

Politics of the province were dominated by the Liberal Party, led by Joseph R. Smallwood, from confederation until 1972. In 1972, the Smallwood government was replaced by the Progressive Conservative administration of Frank Moores. In 1979, Brian Peckford, another Progressive Conservative, became Premier. During this time, Newfoundland was involved in a dispute with the federal government for control of offshore oil resources. In the end, the dispute was decided by compromise. In 1989, Clyde Wells and the Liberal Party returned to power ending 17 years of Conservative government.

In the late 1980s, the federal government, along with its Crown corporation Petro-Canada and other private sector petroleum exploration companies, committed to developing the oil and gas resources of the Hiberniamarker oil field on the northeast portion of the Grand Banksmarker. Throughout the mid-1990s, thousands of Newfoundlanders were employed in the oil industry.

The pressure of the oil and gas industry to explore offshore in Atlantic Canada saw Newfoundland and Nova Scotiamarker submit to a federal arbitration to decide on a disputed offshore boundary between the two provinces in the Laurentian Basin. The 2003 settlement rewrote an existing boundary in Newfoundland's favour, opening this area up to energy exploration.

In 1992 and again in 2003, the federal government declared moratoriums on the Atlantic cod fishery due to declining catches, which deeply affected the economy of Newfoundland.

From late October 2003 to early January 2006, Premier Williams argued that then Prime Minister Paul Martin had not held up his promises for a new deal on the "Atlantic Accord". The issue is the royalties from oil. Toward the end of 2004, Williams ordered the Canadian flag to be removed from all provincial buildings as a protest against federal policies, and asked for municipal councils to consider doing the same. The flags went back up in January 2005 after much controversy nationwide. At the end of January, the federal government signed a deal to allow 100% of oil revenues to go to the province.


According to the 2001 Canadian census, [3541] the largest ethnic group in Newfoundland and Labrador is English (39.4%), followed by Irish (19.7%), Scottish (6.0%), French (5.5%), and First Nations (3.2%). While half of all respondents also identified their ethnicity as "Canadian," 38% report their ethnicity as "Newfoundlander" in a 2003 Statistics Canada Ethnic Diversity Survey.

Population since 1951
Year Population Five Year

% change
Ten Year

% change
Rank Among

1951 361,416 n/a n/a 9
1956 415,074 14.8 n/a 9
1961 457,853 10.3 26.7 9
1966 493,396 7.8 18.9 9
1971 522,100 5.8 14.0 9
1976 557,720 6.8 13.0 9
1981 567,681 1.8 8.7 9
1986 568,350 0.1 1.9 9
1991 568,475 0.02 0.1 9
1996 551,790 -2.9 -2.9 9
2001 512,930 -7.0 -9.8 9
2006* 505,469 -0.6 -7.6 9
*Preliminary 2006 census estimate.

Source: Statistics Canada


The 2006 census returns showed a population of 505,469.

Of the 499,830 singular responses to the census question concerning 'mother tongue' the languages most commonly reported were:
Rank Language Respondents Percentage
1. English 488,405 97.7%
2. French 1,885 0.4%
3. Innu-aimun 1,585 0.3%
4. Chinese 1,080 0.2%
5. Spanish 670 0.1%
6. German 655 0.1%
7. Inuktitut 595 0.1%
8. Urdu 550 0.1%
9. Arabic 540 0.1%
10. Dutch 300 0.1%
11. Russian 225 0.1%
12. Italian 195 0.1%
Figures shown above are for the number of single language responses and the percentage of total single-language responses. There were also 435 responses of both English and a 'non-official language'; 30 of both French and a 'non-official language'; 295 of both English and French; 10 of English, French and a 'non-official language'; and about 14,305 people who either did not respond to the question, or reported multiple non-official languages, or else gave some other unenumerated response.


The largest denominations by number of adherents according to the 2001 census were the Roman Catholic Church with 187,405 (37%); the Anglican Church of Canada with 132,680 (26%); and the United Church of Canada with 86,420 (17%).


All currency is in Canadian dollars.

In 2005 the gross domestic product (GDP) of Newfoundland and Labrador was approximately fourteen billion dollars. Service industries accounted for over $8 billion with financial services, health care and public administration being the top three contributors. Other significant industries are mining, oil production and manufacturing. The total workforce in 2005 was 215,000 people. Per capita GDP in 2006 was 47,520, higher than the national average and second only to Alberta out of Canadian provinces. The GDP in Newfoundland and Labrador surged 9.1 per cent in 2007, nearly three times the rate of its growth in 2006. Without solid numbers verified for 2008 it is expected that Alberta will see a 3.2 per cent economic growth and regain the provincial lead it lost to Newfoundland in 2007, who are expected to see a 2.2 per cent growth.

Traditional industries include mining, logging, fishery and forest-based industries (sawmills and paper mills).

Mining and oil production

Mines in Labrador, the iron ore mine at Wabushmarker/Labrador Citymarker, and the new nickel mine in Voisey's Baymarker produced a total of $2.5 billion worth of ore in 2006. A new mine at Duck Pond (30 kilometers (18 mi) south of the now-closed mine at Buchansmarker), started producing copper, zinc, silver and gold in 2007 and prospecting for new ore bodies continues. Mining accounted for 3.5% of the provincial GDP in 2006. The province produces 55% of Canada’s total iron ore. Quarries producing dimension stone such as slate and granite, account for less than $10 million worth of material per year.

Oil production from offshore oil platforms on Hiberniamarker, White Rosemarker Terra Novamarker oil fields on the Grand Banksmarker was 110 million barrels which contributed 15% of the provinces GDP in 2006. Total production from the Hibernia field from 1997 to 2006 was 733 million barrels with an estimated value of $36 billion. This will increase with the inclusion of the latest project, Hebron. Remaining reserves are estimated at almost 2 billion barrels as of December 31, 2006. Exploration for new reserves is ongoing.

On April 8, 2009 another oil discovery was announced. StatoilHydromarker announced that they were making plans to make an application for a Significant Discovery License over the coming months, it revealed that during deepwater drilling in an area about 500 kilometres east-northeast of St. John's "hydrocarbons were encountered".

On June 16, 2009 Danny Williams announced a tentative agreement to expand the Hibernia Oil Fieldmarker. Williams said the government has negotiated a 10-per-cent equity stake in the Hibernia South expansion and that the deal will add an estimated $10 billion to Newfoundland and Labrador's treasury.

Fishing and aquaculture

The fishing industry remains an important part of the provincial economy, employing 26,000 and contributing over $440 million to the GDP. The combined harvest of fish such as cod, haddock, halibut, herring and mackerel was 150,000 tonnes (165,000 tons) valued at about $130 million in 2006. Shellfish, such as crab, shrimp and clams, accounted for 195,000 tonnes (215,000 tons) with a value of $316 million in the same year. The value of products from the seal hunt was $55 million.

Aquaculture is a new industry for the province, which in 2006 produced over 10,000 tonnes of Atlantic salmon, mussels and steelhead trout worth over $50 million.


Newsprint is produced by one paper mill, Kruger operates a mill in Corner Brookmarker with a capacity of 420,000 tonnes (462,000 tons) per year. A second mill existed in Grand Fallsmarker which had a capacity of 210,000 tonnes (230,000 tons) per year but after a century of operation the mill closed in March 2009. The value of newsprint exports varies greatly from year to year, depending on the global market price. Lumber is produced by numerous mills in Newfoundland.

Apart from seafood processing, paper manufacture and oil refining, manufacturing in the province consists of smaller industries producing food, brewing and other beverage production, and footwear.


Agriculture in Newfoundland is limited to areas south of St. John'smarker, near Deer Lakemarker and in the Codroy Valley. Potatoes, rutabagas, known locally as "turnips", carrots and cabbage are grown for local consumption. Poultry, eggs are also produced. Wild blueberries, partridgeberries (lingonberries) and bakeapples (cloudberries) are harvested commercially and used in jams and wine making. Dairy production is also another huge part of the Newfoundland Agriculture Industry.


Tourism is a significant part of the economy. In 2006 nearly 500,000 non-resident tourists visited Newfoundland and Labrador, spending an estimated $366 million.

Provincial symbols

Provincial Symbols
Official Flower Purple Pitcher Plant
Official Tree Black Spruce
Official Bird Atlantic Puffin
Official Horse Newfoundland pony
Official Animal Caribou
Official Game Bird Ptarmigan
Official Mineral Labradorite
Official Dog(s) Newfoundland Dog & Labrador Retriever
Provincial Anthem Ode to Newfoundland
Provincial Holiday June 24, Discovery Day
Patron Saint St. John the Baptist
Official tartan
Great Seal
Coat of arms
Provincial Wordmark

Notable people


See also


  • Atlas of Newfoundland and Labrador by Department of Geography Memorial University of Newfoundland, Breakwater Books Ltd; ISBN 1-55081-000-6; (1991)
  • Cadigan, Sean T. Newfoundland and Labrador: A History U. of Toronto Press, 2009. Standard scholarly history
  • G.J. Casey and Elizabeth Miller, eds., Tempered Days: A Century of Newfoundland Fiction St. John's: Killick Press, 1996.
  • Karl Mcneil Earle; "Cousins of a Kind: The Newfoundland and Labrador Relationship with the United States" American Review of Canadian Studies Vol: 28. Issue: 4. 1998. pp: 387-411.
  • C. R. Fay; Life and Labour in Newfoundland University of Toronto Press, 1956
  • Lawrence Jackson, Newfoundland & Labrador Fitzhenry & Whiteside Ltd; ISBN 1-55041-261-2; (1999)
  • Gene Long, Suspended State: Newfoundland Before Canada Breakwater Books Ltd; ISBN 1-55081-144-4; (April 1, 1999)
  • R. A. MacKay; Newfoundland; Economic, Diplomatic, and Strategic Studies Oxford University Press, 1946
  • Patrick O'Flaherty, The Rock Observed: Studies in the Literature of Newfoundland University of Toronto Press, 1979
  • Joseph Smallwood ed. The Encyclopedia of Newfoundland and Labrador St. John's: Newfoundland Book Publishers, 1981-, 2 vol.
  • This Marvelous Terrible Place: Images of Newfoundland and Labrador by Momatiuk et al., Firefly Books; ISBN 1-55209-225-9; (September 1998)
  • True Newfoundlanders: Early Homes and Families of Newfoundland and Labrador by Margaret McBurney et al., Boston Mills Pr; ISBN 1-55046-199-0; (June 1997)
  • Biogeography and Ecology of the Island of Newfoundland: Monographiae Biologicae by G. Robin South (Editor) Dr W Junk Pub Co; ISBN 90-6193-101-0; (April 1983)


  1. Proclamation: Constitutional Amendment 2001 (Newfoundland and Labrador)
  2. The Daily, Monday, September 29, 2003. Ethnic Diversity Survey
  3. StatCan 2001 Census - population
  4. Canada's population. Statistics Canada. Last accessed September 28, 2006.
  5. Religions in Canada

External links

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