Viva la Viking Trail
By Pat Henderson
Newfoundland and Labrador’s Viking Trail celebrates the place where the first Europeans to make landfall in the Western Hemisphere, Leif Erikson and the Vikings, came in contact with North America’s native people. Around A.D. 1000, Erikson led an expedition that sailed from a Norse village in Greenland to the coast of Labrador then south to Newfoundland. His group settled the area around what is now L’Anse aux Meadows National Heritage Site and used it as a base to explore many other spots along the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
Visitors to modern-day L’Anse aux Meadows, which also is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, can see the only authenticated Viking site in North America. The Norstead Viking Village has an interpretation centre that features exhibits on the early Vikings, replica boats and full-sized re-creations of the Norse buildings that stood on the site. The nearby town of St. Anthony is home to the Great Viking Feast at Leifsburdir and the annual Summer Solstice Viking Festival.
Many Viking Trail itineraries also include stops at Gros Morne National Park, Port au Choix National Historic Site and St. Paul’s Bay, where visitors can learn more about early European settlements in the western part of the province.
For more information, call 1-709-458-2471 or visit http://www.pc.gc.ca/lhn-nhs/nl/meadows/index.aspx