I Backpack Canada » Newfoundland And Labrador http://ibackpackcanada.com A backpackers travel guide to Canada Mon, 25 May 2015 17:53:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 Check out these Canadian Backpacker Tour Companieshttp://ibackpackcanada.com/canadian-backpacker-tour-companies/ http://ibackpackcanada.com/canadian-backpacker-tour-companies/#comments Thu, 19 Feb 2015 03:47:20 +0000 http://ibackpackcanada.com/?p=4480 There are many different types of travellers. From long term travellers, to weekend warriors, finding something that will suit you is crucial to getting the most bang for your buck. If you’re short on time, but want to pack in as much adventure, sights, and memories into a week or two, then these three Canadian […]

Check out these Canadian Backpacker Tour Companies is a post from: I Backpack Canada

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There are many different types of travellers. From long term travellers, to weekend warriors, finding something that will suit you is crucial to getting the most bang for your buck. If you’re short on time, but want to pack in as much adventure, sights, and memories into a week or two, then these three Canadian backpacker tour companies are definitely worth checking out.

Moose Travel Network Backpacker Tours

moose-travel-network backpacker toursI’m going to start with Moose Travel Network, because they’re the only one I’ve had a chance to experience. Their staff are incredibly helpful and knowledgable. When you book a tour with them, you can pick from several routes, allowing you to see a variety of regions throughout BC, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland. You’ve got a ton of flexibility as well, as they allow you to setup hop on and hop off style itineraries. If you decide mid way through your trip that you want to explore Banff a little while longer, it’s just a matter of letting your driver know, and then you take care of your hostels and you’re set. When you’re ready to pick up where you left off, just inform Moose Travel Network and you can hop back on the tour.

Their drivers ensure that they break up the drives between destinations with fascinating stops at stunning panoramic views, random trips and excursions, and some of the best food and drink joints along the way. Good music, laughs, and company are easily found on their trips.

Check out my interview with a Moose Travel Network Guide.

Read my experiences in the Rocky Mountains with Moose Travel Network.

Salty Bear Adventure Travel Tours

Salty-Bear-tours canadaSalty Bear Adventure Travel was started by a local Nova Scotian backpacker who was keen on showing off the maritimes to people from across the world. Salty Bear hires local Canadian drivers with a passion for their locale, ensuring you’ll know that what you’re seeing and experiencing authentically Canadian. Salty Bear is similar to Moose Travel, as they do drop offs at hostels, but will accomodate anyone if you’re staying elsewhere. They also supply tours along the way, ensuring that you get to experience the best tours along the way.

West Trek Tours

West trek tours backpackerWest Trek provides high quality adventure tours to backpackers both young and old, interested in seeing and experiencing the best of Canada. Explore the Rocky Mountains, mountain bike in Whistler, Surf in Tofino, Explore Victoria, Vancouver, and even parts of USA. Their award winning tour company is rated highly by visitors across the world.

Am I missing any other awesome Canadian Backpacker Tour companies? Don’t hesitate to share below in the comments.

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5 Jaw Dropping Canadian RV Road Tripshttp://ibackpackcanada.com/5-jaw-dropping-canadian-rv-road-trips/ http://ibackpackcanada.com/5-jaw-dropping-canadian-rv-road-trips/#comments Mon, 17 Nov 2014 13:57:25 +0000 http://ibackpackcanada.com/?p=5804 Canada is a mecca of jaw-dropping road trips, from east to west, to way up north, there’s something for everyone. Given an appropriate amount of time, it’s hard not to enjoy yourself on the highways of this large nation. Unfortunately, many of us are limited to a couple of weeks off per year, and every […]

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Canada is a mecca of jaw-dropping road trips, from east to west, to way up north, there’s something for everyone. Given an appropriate amount of time, it’s hard not to enjoy yourself on the highways of this large nation. Unfortunately, many of us are limited to a couple of weeks off per year, and every day counts. Covering an entire country is not for the time-constrained, so in an effort to help point you in the right direction, I’m going to share some of my favourite Canadian Road Trips, perfect for RVer’s or anyone with a set of wheels.

Winnibego - J-Jay - RV motor home road trip

Big J-Jay The Motorhome – Photo by Trent Fraser

My RV Motor Home Experience

I have a long standing love affair with RV Road Trips. My first taste of extended travel occurred at a young age. I would have been around 8 or 9, maybe 10 (those early years all blur together unfortunately). My Dad surprised my Mom and us kids by bringing home a 1972 Winnibego Motor Home. Straight out of the Griswolds Family Vacation (Remember Cousin Eddie’s Motorhome?), or the early meth-cooking episodes of Breaking Bad. We jokingly called it a box on wheels. It was an absolute eyesore, and I’m sure our neighbours were none too pleased when he pulled it into our driveway. My mom, laughing, shook her head in disbelief, and I recall my siblings and I climbing into the RV and running around the interior, crawling into the brown faux-leather lined top bunk, jumping on dual-purpose furniture, and admiring the 1970’s yellow shag carpet found throughout the interior.

During the first 5 years of ownership, it became a tradition to spend a few weeks on the road throughout the summer. Be it camping, exploring the Rockies in Alberta and BC, or heading south to the Black Hills of South Dakota. We grew up with that motor home, and it grew old with us. Those Motor Home trips are likely what caused my love affair with extended travel, history, and run down beat-up vehicles.

Road Trip #1 – The Cabot Trail, Nova Scotia

nova scotia shore

My first visit to Nova Scotia included a superb trip on one of Canada’s most famous Road Trips. The Cabot Trail is located in Northern Victoria County & Inverness County on Cape Breton Island. While not necessarily an Island (it is connected to Nova Scotia after all), you’ll be hard pressed to believe it, as the highway follows the coastal hills and cliffs of the Cape Breton Highlands with a near constant view of the Gulf of St Lawrence.

The Cabot Trail measures 298km (185 miles) and loops around the tip of the the island, passing through Baddeck, St. Anns, Ingonish, Chéticamp, Dingwall, and the world famous Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Expect to see a tremendous amount of wildlife, some world class panoramic views, and some traditional maritimes towns. Note that from Halifax, a route to and from the Cabot Trail will be closer to 935km as seen in the map below.

Recommended amount of days to spend in the area: 3 – 4 days

Cabot Trail Road Trip Map

Road Trip #2 – Coast Cariboo Circle Route, Vancouver/Vancouver Island BC

bc road trip

The Coast Cariboo Circle Route is a whopping 2110.86 km (1311.63 miles) Road Trip is sure to keep you busy and experiencing all that BC has to offer. This stunning adventure takes you from Vancouver through small coastal Vancouver Island villages, exploring the remains of the Gold Rush Trail, hiking on volcanic mountains, and experiencing some of the best beaches in Canada.

This route is guaranteed to provide you with ample photo opportunities of wildlife, amazing sunsets, and really provide you with a thorough understanding of why BC folks are so laid back.

Recommended amount of days to spend on the road: 7 – 10 days

Coast Cariboo Circle Route Road Trip Map

Road Trip #3 – Southern Saskatchewan Discovery Loop

Sask Road Trip

The flatlands are often overlooked as your typical Road Trip destination. People immediately think of flatlands and think boring. But spend any more than a few hours off the trans Canada and you’ll soon realize why it’s on this list. Explore rural Saskatchewan towns, quaint cafés and hotel bars, scenic panoramas of valleys, miles upon miles of flax, canola, wheat, and barley, and discover what western Canada really looked like before agriculture dominated the land.

The Southern Saskatchewan Discovery Loop is 1,659km (1,030.85 miles) of driving. This route is a bit of a DIY route that I regularly share to friends, family, and curious Saskatchewan visitors.

From Regina head south to the Big Muddy Badlands. This scenic transition from flatlands, to rolling hills, to desolate badlands shows you the stark contrast of Southern Saskatchewans topography. Climb Castle Butte (vaguely similar to Uluru of Australia), a world famous landmark carved by ice ages thousands of years ago. Sid Cassidy and the Sundance Kid once roamed these parts, relive it by riding horses at one of the ranches in the area. Continue on to the Val Marie & the Grasslands National Park, home to a wild herd of Bison, and countless other critters, both large and small. Don’t forget to camp out at Grasslands National Park under the Milky Way and shooting stars at one of Saskatchewans best kept secret dark sky preserves. Wake up slow and find work up a thirst, then stop for a beer and a burger at the Cadillac Hotel and catch some live country music.

Continue on to Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park, and partake in Ziplining, hiking, or relaxing at the lake. Head north to Leader, and explore the Great Sand Dunes of Saskatchewan, a tremendous and curious sight to see amongst all the farmland. Start your trip back to Regina, but be sure to stop at Moose Jaw to explore the historic downtown, cheese it up at the Moose Jaw Tunnels, and don’t forget to stop at Bobby’s Place, my favourite Moose Jaw pub. Make the final trip back to Regina and pat yourself on the back for seeing more of Saskatchewan than most locals ever get to see!

Recommended amount of days to spend on the road: 4 – 5 days

Southern Saskatchewan Discovery Loop Road Trip Map

Road Trip #4 – St Johns to Central Newfoundland

central-newfoundland-panorama-2

I had the pleasure of exploring Central Newfoundland with Candice of Candice Does The World, and Riley of Riles for Miles. It was one of the most memorable road trips I’ve had out East. I will never forget how many times I said “Wow” during our five day trip. It was this road trip that led me to not only fall in love with this province, but also admit to falling in love with Riley – we’ve been together since and recently got engaged.

This trip is approximately 1,401km (870.54 miles) in total, and lets you experience world famous icebergs, small fishing villages, cod kissing kitchen parties, delightful Newfoundland dishes like Lobster Chowder, or more curious (but equally delicious) dishes such as Cod Tongues and Fish and brews. You’ve probably seen those famous Newfoundland commercials at the movie theatres and on TV. Central Newfoundland is featured several times throughout those spots, and you’ll see why as you explore the area.

From St Johns, travel to Twillingate to explore the small Maritime town made famous by countless folk songs. Get your stomping feet and kissing lips ready for a good ol’ fashion Kitchen Party and Screechin’ In at the Anchor Inn Hotel & Suites then sleep off the hangover and revel in the laughs from the night prior.  Sample wine at Auk Island Winery, and find out why the Wine Connoisseurs are taking notice on Newfoundlands exports. Get your sea legs on, and begin ferry hopping from Farewell, Newfoundland. Stay in quaint bed & breakfasts on Fogo Island, and check out the growing arts scene,but whatever you do, don’t forget some of the most breathtaking hiking trails, including BrimStone Head, one of the four corners of the world according to the Flat Earth Society. Nurse your sore legs and body on the way home to St Johns and revel in seeing some of the most unique and traditional Newfoundland sights.

Recommended amount of days to spend on the road: 5 – 7 days

St Johns to Central Newfoundland Road trip Map

Road Trip #5 – Calgary, Banff and Jasper Trip

banff jasper road trip

While easily one of the most popular road trips in Canada, you’ll soon realize it’s popular for a reason. The Calgary-Banff-Jasper trip covers just about everything you could want from an Alberta road trip. Wildlife, blue shale lakes, a mountain backdrop, world class hiking, and some of the best sights in Western Canada.

This ~953km (592.16 miles) road trip can be built upon to create anything form a 3 – 7 day road trip, depending on how many stops you make and how busy the season is. Something to be very wary of is that in the busy summer months, tour buses and RV Holiday Tourists can slow down highway travel, and the dreaded bear-traffic-jams are all but too frequent. But despite the crazy busyness, once you’re off the highways and have found your own solitary place amongst the mountains, it’ll be all too easy to forgot the chaos that can sometimes be seen on the roads. This region is setup great for extended travel. Both Jasper and Banff have something unique to offer. Either or can be a great temporary headquarters to branch out and explore the Rockies. Calgary is a great place to stop and pickup an RV Rental if you want a bit more room for this trip. There are countless RV Parks and Camp sites setup for RV Vacationiers and tent campers, as well as several discount hostels, budget hotels, and enough high-end hotels to keep all types of travellers happy.

Recommended amount of days to spend on the road: 3 – 7 days

Calgary, Banff and Jasper Road Trip Map

Road Trip #6 – Quebecois Rivers, Mountains, Lakes & Fjords

quebec road trip shipwreck

I’ve had a long standing crush on Quebec. I truly feel that if Canada ever lost Quebec, a large part of Canada’s cultural identity would go with it. As many people know, nothing breaks down barriers like travel. I strongly feel that if more western Canadians would brush up on their french and give this region a go, we’d be able to bridge the divide in language and culture and I wouldn’t have to listen to so many gomers that think the french are all jerks. Someone once said you can’t fix stupid though, so maybe it’s pointless. For those more refined in the art of tolerance, this trip is for you!

I’m fortunate in that I’ve been able to explore Quebec several times, each visit is a constant reminder of the beauty of this region. The Quebecois Rivers, Mountains, Lakes & Fjords Road trip is filled to the brim with culture. From delightful microbrews, luxurious wine, delicious foods, friendly people, stunning views of the Gulf of St Lawrence, and countless museums and art galleries.

This trip can be anywhere from 7 – 16 days, and is approximately 1,600 km (994.19 miles).

Quebecois Rivers, Mountains, Lakes & Fjords Road Trip Map

There is absolutely no shortage of road trips and routes to check out in Canada. These are just a handful of my favourites that I think about often. If you have any other ones you recommend checking out please be sure to leave a comment below or let me know by Twitter!

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Getting Screeched In at Twillingate’s Anchor Innhttp://ibackpackcanada.com/getting-screeched-in-at-twillingates-anchor-inn/ http://ibackpackcanada.com/getting-screeched-in-at-twillingates-anchor-inn/#comments Wed, 07 Nov 2012 13:46:09 +0000 http://ibackpackcanada.com/?p=5448 What is screech? And what exactly is a screech in? And what’s the procedure? Well, having gone through the Screech In process, I can proudly tell you all about it! I was recently in the gorgeous small town of Twillingate, the infamous small port town in North Central Newfoundland. It was there, with the help […]

Getting Screeched In at Twillingate’s Anchor Inn is a post from: I Backpack Canada

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What is screech? And what exactly is a screech in? And what’s the procedure? Well, having gone through the Screech In process, I can proudly tell you all about it! I was recently in the gorgeous small town of Twillingate, the infamous small port town in North Central Newfoundland. It was there, with the help of Candice, a true blue Newfoundlander, and Riley of Riles for Miles, that I became an honourary Newfoundlander. Let’s start from the top!

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by gLangille

What is Screech?

I’ve heard stories about it’s origins, my favourite being that way back, when the cod fisheries were still a lively part of Newfoundland, the Newfoundlanders would trade their skunky gross cod to Jamaicans, while Jamaicans, would trade their skunky gross Rum. Both thought they were getting a helluva deal, thinking “We’ve just scored some exotic Rum or Fish“. Needless to say, they were both giving eachother the shaft.

Hypothetical history aside, Screech is very strong, often strong tasting rum. While it was originally conjured up in the Jamaican islands, it’s now produced locally in Newfoundland, and served with everything from 5 star meals, to ice cream, and of course, to show CFA’s (Come from aways) how strong & prominent the Newfoundland drinking culture is.

The taste of screech has changed significantly in the past years and is now considered a sought after rum in the rum drinking scene. So keep an eye out for it at your local liquor stores.

But what is a Screech In?

The Screech In is a Newfoundland custom, whereby local Newfoundlanders encourage those not from Newfoundland to become an honourary Newfoundlander. The steps for a screech in vary from place to place, but the typical way goes as such:

  1. The Screecher Inner asks the CFA (Come From Away) “Is ye an honorary Newfoundlander?
  2. The CFA replies “Deed I is me ol’ cock, and long may your big jib draw!
  3. CFA hammers back a shot of Screech
  4. CFA kisses a slimy cod fish on the mouth
  5. CFA Receives a certificate indicating he or she is an honourary Newfoundlander.

The process reminds me a bit of the Sourtoe Cocktail, only with a little more of a party culture surrounding the process. Screech in’s typically finalize with a few (or a dozen) more drinks, lots of cheering, and a bit of a headache the following morning.

screech-in-certificate-newfoundland

Getting Screeched in at Twillingates Anchor Inn

While many have the screech in ceremony performed in St Johns, we were given the opportunity to have the ceremony performed somewhere a little more small, a lot more quaint, and in a true blue old fashioned kitchen party. The city & region surrounding Twillingate is simply stunning. Tourists from all over the world visit these parts in search of icebergs, picturesque panoramas of the Newfoundland seaside, and to experience the warm & welcoming culture that encompasses every Newfoundlander to the core. I had spent days thinking about the screech in and how it would happen, but something I hadn’t even considered was how much I would fall in love with the place I was to be made an “Honourary Newfoundlander”.

anchor-inn-twillingate-restaurant-1

Enjoying a Newfoundland Brewis & Scrunchions

Delicious Food at the Anchor Inn

After enjoying a delicious meal at the Anchor Inn, we proceeded downstairs to the Pub, where local musician Karen Churchill was putting on a bit of a shindig. Walking into the kitchen party, we noticed that we were by far the youngest people at the kitchen party. Most were well into their 40s, 50s, and 60s, while were were considered the youngin’s in our mid 20s. One might think that we’d be ostrasized from the baby-boomer party-goers, but rather, they embraced us with open arms and practically shoved insturments in our hands.

We were handed a wood clacker, a tamborine, and an ugly stick. What is an ugly stick you may ask? Well, it’s a Newfoundland instrument, made up of an old mop, a bunch of jangling beer bottle caps, a couple old soup or tomato cats, and stick to beat said ugly stick with to produce noise. While rocking out to the awesome Newfoundland folk tunes of Karen Churchill we were slamming back some tasty Newfoundland beers like they were going out of style.

twillingate-newfoundland-power-pose-corbin-candice-riley

Rocking out with Karen Churchill at Twillingates Famous Kitchen Party

The Twillingate Kitchen Party

After my 12th beer, my liquid confidence meter had been filled, and I proudly accepted an invite from Karen Churchill to rock out with her on the small little stage in the corner. I grabbed the acoustic guitar, and followed the lead of the local legend herself, rocking out while she was on the banjo. It was an experience that I’ll never forget!

What might have been a few beers later, the official designated Screecher Inner showed up on stage in full yellow mariner weather suit with a slimy frozen cod fish and a bottle of Screech. Shots were poured as the CFA’s lined up in front of the kitchen party. Riley, myself, and a couple from Quebec nervously awaited the shot that is meant to be feared so much. We stood wobbly, and announced in a slurred fashion “deed I have me old cock” – “No no no!” the Screecher Inner announced. “Did I is my ol’ cock, everyone start all over“. A back and forth of misprounced Newfoundland english went on until finally we all nailed it. “Deed I is me ol’ cock, and long may your big jib draw”. We hammered our shot of Screech, kissed a slimy cod, and laughed as a crowd of cheers erupted the small hall of the Anchor Inn hotel.

A trip to Canada wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Central Newfoundland to see & experience this quirky tradition.

twillingate-newfoundland-1

Beautiful Newfoundland

The screech in has been criticized by some as being a terrible thing, some sort of monstrous atrocity that Newfoundlanders should be ashamed of. To that I simply say “Psssh!” You can’t fight a tradition that fun! Embracing the quirky and often times humourous parts of your culture is the best way of showing a CFA a good time. The entire ceremony is done tongue and cheek, and nobody is forced to participate. It’s this type of custom that people will go home telling friends and family, which will no doubt encourage many more to visit the province of Newfoundland & Labrador and experience this initiation themselves. Harmless fun with some of the friendliest people in Canada. What more could you ask for?

Special thanks to the folks at Adventure Central Newfoundland for the help arranging the trip. Extra big thanks & a high five goes out to Karen Churchill for the awesome performance and the warm & friendly staff at the beautiful & cozy Anchor Inn Hotel & Suites.

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Fogo Island – A Paradise of Newfoundland Sightshttp://ibackpackcanada.com/fogo-island-a-paradise-of-newfoundland-sights/ http://ibackpackcanada.com/fogo-island-a-paradise-of-newfoundland-sights/#comments Tue, 06 Nov 2012 12:06:29 +0000 http://ibackpackcanada.com/?p=5421 When most picture Newfoundland, pictures of colourful houses, scenic downtown vistas overlooking the St Johns harbour, and perhaps the blur that George Street leaves in most visitors minds, long after leaving. While St Johns is no doubt a beautiful city, it is such a small piece of the mosaic of sounds, cultures, and experiences that […]

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When most picture Newfoundland, pictures of colourful houses, scenic downtown vistas overlooking the St Johns harbour, and perhaps the blur that George Street leaves in most visitors minds, long after leaving. While St Johns is no doubt a beautiful city, it is such a small piece of the mosaic of sounds, cultures, and experiences that Newfoundland has to offer. You’d have to be crazy not to get out of town and see what else is out there. On my recent trip to Newfoundland this September, I was exposed to some of the most remote parts of Canada’s most easterly province. To say they were awe-inspiring might be the biggest understatement of the century. fogo island boat fisher-1

Fogo Island

The blowing wind cutting through sharp jagged rocks, a sea of colours overwhelming your vision as you strain to keep your eyes open at what is one of the most picturesque destinations in all of Newfoundland. This small rural island is home to  some 2,500 residents, and due to its small size and seclusion from the rest of Newfoundland, their local culture and lifestyle has remained in tact. Ferry’s leave daily from Farewell. Be sure to take in the views from the upper deck of the Captain Earl W. Winsor. The comfort & views aboard this ferry are comparable to many cruise ships. So be sure to have you camera ready! After an hour on the island, you’ll soon realize why Fogo Island is fast becoming one of the most sought after destinations in Newfoundland. Fogo Island is also famous for it’s appearance in the award winning Newfoundland & Labrador tourism videos, the rugged beauty of this island is simply astounding. zeta cobb artist studio fogo island-1

Fogo Island Artist in Residence Studios

Driving throughout the island, you may catch sight of a slab of architecture that you simply can’t quite figure out. It certainly isn’t historical, yet, it feels natural. It’s as if an alien life form dropped a monolith in the middle of the rugged outdoor beauty. You’ll find these strange buildings all over the island. No, you’re not in 2001: A Space Odyssey and no, you’re certainly not seeing things. Zita Cobb, a self-made millionaire who came from Fogo Island, recently returned to her home to help encourage artists to continue their passion in whatever form of art that fancies them. Rather than simply creating a scholarship, she had these truly mind boggling artist retreats built throughout the island. Artists have the ability to work in what might be one of the most beautiful places on earth. This unique take on an artist-in-residence has sparked interest around the world, and Zita is being given praise for providing jobs, and giving people many reasons to return to Fogo Island. fogo head trail -1

A Hikers Island

If you fancy yourself an outdoorsy type of individual, Fogo Island can deliver. Between The Lions Den Trail, The Fogo Head Trail, The Brimstone Head Trail, or The Turpin’s Trail, there’s something for just about everyone. While the trails aren’t nearly as difficult as some you’ll find on the main island of Newfoundland, the scenic panoramas that each provides will surely explore your mind into thousands of pieces. Needless to say, bring a camera! I’ve always heard that Newfoundlanders are some of the friendliest people in the world. The residents of Fogo Island hold true to that title and will go out of their way to ensure every CFA (Come from Away) feels at home. Sunsets, seafood, unique architecture, jawdropping landscapes, and a salty sea breeze – this island in Central Newfoundland is the epitome of Newfoundland culture.

Check out The Newfoundland & Labrador Tourism website for more information on Fogo Island. There’s some fantastic videos that will likely have you looking up flights & car rentals in no time! Special thanks to the folks at Adventure Central Newfoundland for helping arrange this trip with Candice of Candice does the World & Riley of Riles For Miles!

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How to Become an Honourary Newfoundlander in 5 Dayshttp://ibackpackcanada.com/how-to-become-an-honourary-newfoundlander-in-5-days/ http://ibackpackcanada.com/how-to-become-an-honourary-newfoundlander-in-5-days/#comments Wed, 31 Oct 2012 13:10:39 +0000 http://ibackpackcanada.com/?p=5352 Newfoundland tends to be a difficult name for many to pronounce, but once mastered, you can’t help but want to say it as often as possible. Newfoundland (pronounced New•fun•LAND – with extra emphasis on the ‘LAND’) is Canada’s most eastern province, chalk full of incredible seafood, maritimes culture, and some curiosities you simply can’t find elsewhere […]

How to Become an Honourary Newfoundlander in 5 Days is a post from: I Backpack Canada

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Newfoundland tends to be a difficult name for many to pronounce, but once mastered, you can’t help but want to say it as often as possible. Newfoundland (pronounced New•fun•LAND – with extra emphasis on the ‘LAND’) is Canada’s most eastern province, chalk full of incredible seafood, maritimes culture, and some curiosities you simply can’t find elsewhere in this great nation. I had the opportunity to explore Newfoundland and some of its many picturesque islands in Central Newfoundland with a born and bred Newfoundlander, Candice Walsh of Candice Does The World, alongside my newfound travel companion, Riley Platt of Riles for Miles. Together, Riley and I were going to find out straight from the horses mouth (aka Candice’s mouth), what it truly takes to become an Honourary Newfoundlander in 5 days.

cod-tongues-1

1. Eat Cod Tongues

While most pubs across North America are all but too happy to serve you french fries, sweet potato fries, or even some chicken wings – out east in Newfoundland, they accompany their beers with something a little different. Who wants those gosh darn salted potatoes when there’s giant cod tongues just begging to be battered and deep fried to perfection. Yes, Cod Fish do in fact have tongues, and I can attest that they’re larger than you’d imagine. Cod tongues are roughly the size of a adult human male’s big toe, squashed down to tongue shape.

One might think that a big slimy atlantic Cod fish’s tongue would taste a bit off, but hand over heart, they were deeeeeeeelish. Crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, spiced to perfection and the perfect complimentary snack to go alongside an ice cold Newfoundland Beer. I hope their quirky pub grub makes it off the island, because I have been craving to pop some more of those tasty Cod tongues back in my mouth.

quidi vidi beer newfoundland

2. Drink Newfoundland Beer, then drink some more

Newfoundlanders drink the most beer per capita in all of Canada. Perhaps it’s the sporatic weather that changes on a whim, or the fact that they have a wide variety of beer to choose from. Dominion, Jockey Club, India, Blue Star, Black Horse,  While some might complain that all of the local Newfoundland beer have been bought up by the big boys (Labatts, Molson, etc), served cold, there’s worse things to drink.


Local Newfoundland Beer

Beer afficianados will rejoice though, as there is still three local Newfoundland Beers you can sample on the island. I’m speaking of none other than Quidi Vidi Brewing Company, Yellowbelly Brewery, and Storm Brewing. While you’re much more likely to find Quidi Vidi throughout the island, any of the larger liquor stores will carry both Yellowbelly & Storm.


edge-of-world-1

3. Hike to the Edge of the World

One of the coolest hikes you can possibly do, particularly for bragging rights & the stunning vistas, is the Brimstone Head hike on Fogo Island. According to the Flat Earth Society, a slightly kooky bunch who promote all things Flat Earth related, Brimstone Head is one of the four corners of the “Flat Earth”. Whether or not you are a flat earther or a “rounder”, the hike is absolutely breathtaking. Sharp cliffs, pounding waves, strong winds, and a stunning panorama of Fogo Island. It’s a fairly easy hike, and definitely worth it. If you’re curious about the Flat Earth Society I recommend reading Man on the Lam’s post. It’ll give you a couple chuckles.

Be sure to dress appropriately on these hikes. I highly recommend bringing a rain jacket at the very least. After all, it’s Newfoundland. One of the few places where you can experience every season in a day.

kitchen party-1

4. Rock out at a Kitchen Party

We were fortunate enough to get to visit the small town of Twillingate, made famous in the Newfoundland Folk Song, “I’s the b’y“. Driving into town, we blasted the song on the car stereo, as we pulled into the Anchor Inn, a cute little hotel with a fantastic restaurant, a pub, and a weekly kitchen party, which just so happened to be taking place the night we pulled into town.

After a few warm-up drinks at the Anchor Inn restaurant, we made our way down to the pub and pulled into a kitchen party. Despite being 20-30 years younger than most at the party, we were committed to having a time. We filled our table up with beer, grabbed an ugly stick, a wood clacker, and rocked out. After my 10th beer I had enough liquid confidence to hollar up to Karen Churchill, the host of the Twillingate Kitchen Party, and happily informed her that I was eager to back her up with some guitar. She invited me on stage and next thing I know it I’m rocking out on stage, having the time of my life.

screeched in

5. Get Screeched In

This is the official “Become an Honourary Newfoundlander” tradition that has been taking place for years, with the help of a tremendous amount of alcohol. In order to get screeched in the willing participant has to reply to the epic question, “Is ye an honorary Newfoundlander?” with the phrase, “‘deed I is me ol’ cock, and long may your big jib draw.” The ceremony continues as you’re asked to kiss a Cod fish, followed by taking a shot of Screech. What is screech you might ask? Very strong, and very nasty rum. This is usually done in front of a crowd, and accompanied by several more pints and some heavy amounts of laughter. Sort of like the Sourtoe Cocktail, only more fishy. You’re given a certificate at the end to brag to your friends & family about how awesome you are.

I got screeched in at the Kitchen Party in Twillingate, but many insist the best place to get screeched in is at Kristians in St Johns, Newfoundland.

6. A night on George Street

George Street isn’t just famous in Newfoundland, but across all of Canada as being the street that makes St Johns the city with the most Pubs & Bars per capita than any other city in Canada. The Newfoundlander’s know how to party, and a night on George Street will show you exactly how much. People pour out of bar after bar, jumping from dance clubs to pubs to greasy spoons, all in the name of a good time. Cheap drinks, greasy food, one of the liveliest atmospheres mixed with people speaking with their nearly indecipherable accents, and all I can say about George Street, is “Go for it!“.

In the two weeks I spent in the province of Newfoundland & Labrador (note: I haven’t visited Labrador… yet), I was greeted with open arms from some of the warmest people you’ll find in all of Canada. Their unique sense of humour and ability to find a laugh in every situation makes them the type of people you can’t help but want to spend more time with. The culture & scenery that overflows in Newfoundland is hands down one of their greatest treasures. Kissing the cod, drinking the screech, and experiencing such a remote and special part of Canada, that’s the stuff you write home about!

How to Become an Honourary Newfoundlander in 5 Days is a post from: I Backpack Canada

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Sunday Canadian Travel Video – Whales and Icebergs in Newfoundland & Labradorhttp://ibackpackcanada.com/sunday-canadian-travel-video-whales-and-icebergs-in-newfoundland-labrador/ http://ibackpackcanada.com/sunday-canadian-travel-video-whales-and-icebergs-in-newfoundland-labrador/#comments Sun, 21 Aug 2011 20:52:06 +0000 http://ibackpackcanada.com/?p=3173 Sunday Canadian Travel Video – Whales and Icebergs in Newfoundland & Labrador is a post from: I Backpack Canada

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For the last year or so, my redheaded friend from Newfoundland (Candice Does The World) has been bugging me to come for a visit to explore the rock in the Atlantic that she calls home. There’s been a few occasions where I had the flight setup online, all I had left to do was fill out the payment details. It seems like I let the purchase time out all the time; however, one of these days that will change. After watching videos like these, its beginning to seem as if the indecision is almost completely kneaded out of me.

As a kid I had this giant book of Cetaceans that I studied front to back. I was absolutely obsessed with whales & dolphins. To see something that could stay underwater for so long, and live entirely in water while still having such a complex social structure. Wow. Those things blew my 8 year old mind. Still do from the looks of things! Unfortunately, being from the prairies, it was quite a while before I actually saw any, the first being those two sad Dolphins in West Edmonton Mall, the second a wild pod in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand.

So I chose this video because I love whales & dolphins, the corny celtic music, and hilarious captions over videos. They pretty much make my day. My personal favourite caption is “Aerobatic Dolphins!” I’m not sure why that makes me laugh so much, maybe I’m sleep deprived. But wow, good stuff.

 

My biggest fear is that I’ve waited too late in the summer to see the icebergs in Newfoundland. Apparently the Iceberg season lies between May & the end of July. Which isn’t to say I can’t go again next summer; by all means I’ll have more time to do so. But I swear, if I don’t find myself in Newfoundland soon I will be obligated to donate a well aimed punch to my own gentlemen.

 

High 5’s out to FinWhales for the awesome website.

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Sunday Canadian Travel Video – Whales and Icebergs in Newfoundland & Labrador is a post from: I Backpack Canada

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Mummering: A Newfoundland Christmas Traditionhttp://ibackpackcanada.com/mummering-newfoundland-christmas-tradition/ http://ibackpackcanada.com/mummering-newfoundland-christmas-tradition/#comments Thu, 24 Dec 2009 01:23:22 +0000 http://ibackpackcanada.com/?p=1380 Mummering: A Newfoundland Christmas Tradition is a post from: I Backpack Canada

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MummeringThe holidays are notorious for bringing out some strange traditions. Whether it’s something as simple as leaving some cookies and milk out for the big guy, or something as painful as watching your uncles out-drink one another. Traditions come and go, the beauty of it is that they’re all in good fun. However I’m sure that one of the weirdest & funniest Christmas traditions has got to be “Mummering” or “Jannying”. I just recently learned of this insane tradition, so rather than explaining too much, you should head on over to Candice Does the World, and check out her post on the Newfoundlander’s Weirdest Christmas Tradition. As a Newfy she should be able to explain it a heckuva lot better than myself.

Merry Christmas / Happy Holidays Folks

Mummering: A Newfoundland Christmas Tradition is a post from: I Backpack Canada

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Video – Newfoundland & Labradorhttp://ibackpackcanada.com/video-newfoundland-labrador/ http://ibackpackcanada.com/video-newfoundland-labrador/#comments Thu, 30 Jul 2009 17:57:36 +0000 http://ibackpackcanada.com/?p=274 Video – Newfoundland & Labrador is a post from: I Backpack Canada

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Newfoundland & Labrador have recently released several videos displaying the beauty and wonder that it has to offer for those seeking to view the true Maritimes. Do yourself a favour and watch these videos, you may end up including it on your next travel in Canada.

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Video – Newfoundland & Labrador is a post from: I Backpack Canada

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