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The food, drink, wildlife, and rocky wonders are all unforgettable parts of your vacation with Wildland Tours. An equally impressive part of the experience is the local folks you will meet during your travels with us. This is a land of fishermen and loggers; prospectors and treasure hunters; pirates and sailors; hunters and gatherers; artists and singers.
Newfoundland and Labrador has a long history as travel destination dating back from the days of the New World’s first tourism expedition in 1536 to the misadventure of the Titanic. From the 1930s to the 1980s, we were the hunting and fishing playground for the wealthy of the world. Presidents and royalty have contributed to the rich assortment of local stories. Bill Cosby lived here as an American serviceman, and Queen Elizabeth and her family fished here. Elvis entertained the U.S. troops stationed in the Placentia Bay area. The first King in that bay was an ancestor to Queen Victoria. Newfoundland and Labrador’s huge fish and wildlife populations still attract the rich and famous…for example, George Bush Senior is still a regular visitor during the salmon angling season.
The real cultural highlight of a visit to Newfoundland is not past or present celebrities. The true wonders revolve around the centuries-old stories and traditions that are reflected in the music and art. Some of Canada’s most evocative music and images comes from artisans who find their roots in the sea and the small communities that dot the coast. This was…and still is…a challenging place to make a living. The ocean is incredibly rich, but it can also be cold and unforgiving. The night time songs of millions of nocturnal seabirds and the underwater moans of whales add ghostly sounds to the warmest summer nights. Traditions and ghost stories dating back to medieval Europe hang on in Newfoundland and Labrador. Foghorns, lighthouses, and incredibly dramatic seascapes create an atmosphere that is both inspirational and unforgettable. The isolation associated with the Island of Newfoundland and the remote Labrador coast has preserved accents that are more Irish than what is found in Ireland; and preserved Celtic musical traditions long ago lost on the British Isles. We have linguists who come here to study because, due to centuries of relative isolation, we have the purest form of Elizabethan English on earth. “Are ye going to the dance?” would be a common question in Newfoundland with “ye” as the plural of “you”. The Aboriginal traditions of the Micmac, Innu, and the Inuit are even more ancient.
Our holiday leaders share the stories of all these peoples with interested guests. In the 1960s, folks in some communities were still playing football (soccer to North Americans) by 18th-century rules. The musical and cultural traditions of Newfoundland and Labrador have become one of Canada’s cultural exports. Bands like Great Big Sea, Figgy Duff, and the Irish Descendants have joined artists like David Blackwood and Christopher Pratt to become some of the country’s leading cultural exports. A Newfoundlander calls the play-by-play for the hockey games Canadians watch every Saturday night, while the country’s most popular comedy shows feature Newfoundlanders making fun of politicians and everybody else in the country. Humour, fun, and laughter are a major part of the provincial character; and folks on our trips are sure to enjoy the latest jokes. In addition to all this wit and wisdom, national surveys (see Macleans Magazine) also list us as Canada’s most charitable people and as the sexiest Canadians.
Local crafts tell cultural stories, too. When the Innu of Labrador migrated to their summer hunting grounds, they made dolls and stuffed them with tea so that even the children could help carry provisions. Today Innu teadolls are prized around the world. The Innu are also famous for their grasswork, a craft they adopted from visiting Moravian missionaries. The Inuit produce stunning soapstone carvings, while the Grenfell Mission still creates the hand hooked rugs for which it is famous. Handknit sweaters with distinctive fairisle patterns are to this day produced by the women of NONIA, the Newfoundland Outport Nurses Industrial Association. Handmade quilts with centuries-old patterns often grace indigenous antique furniture.
Your Newfoundland and Labrador travels will feature knowledgeable and experienced local hosts with lots of stories and history to share. They will make sure you see the sights, taste the flavours, and smell the crisp clean sea air that has sustained folks here for almost a hundred centuries. Our holidays are authentic cultural adventures with Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. The best adventures and the greatest fun comes from sharing our unique Canadian cultural landscape with visitors. When guests want a break from the wildlife and scenery, there are lots of great stories to share.