About this Place NL Facts

Q: Where is Newfoundland and Labrador?

A: Newfoundland and Labrador is the most easterly province in Canada and lies between the 46th and 61st parallels with the bulk of the island portion being below the 50th parallel. The island portion is located in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the larger Labrador portion is attached to the eastern part of the Canadian mainland.

Q: How large is Newfoundland and Labrador?

A: Newfoundland and Labrador has an area of 405,720 square kilometres. It is more than three times the total area of the Maritime Provinces (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island) and would rank fourth in size behind Alaska, Texas, and California if it were one of the United States.

We're almost one-and-three-quarter times the size of Great Britain. The island of Newfoundland covers an area of 111,390 square kilometres, while Labrador has an area of 294,330 square kilometres.

Visit our interactive map of Newfoundland and Labrador for further details.

Q: How large is Newfoundland and Labrador's water area?

A: Newfoundland and Labrador's water area is 34,030 square kilometres in size.

Q: How long is Newfoundland and Labrador's coastline?

A: 29,000 km.

Q: What public holidays are observed in Newfoundland and Labrador?

A: Newfoundland and Labrador observes nine federal holidays. Most stores and offices are required to close under the Shops Closing Act.

Those holidays include:

New Year's Day – January 1
Good Friday – Friday before Easter Sunday
Victoria Day – Monday on or before May 24
Canada Day – July 1
Labour Day – First Monday in September
Thanksgiving Day – Second Monday in October
Remembrance Day – November 11
Christmas Day – December 25
Boxing Day – December 26

Other traditional holidays include:

St. Patrick's Day – March 17
St. George's Day – April 23
Discovery Day – June 24
Orangemen's Day – July 12

On these holidays, stores are not required to close, although many offices do close on the closest Monday to the actual date in celebration of the holiday.

In addition to the foregoing holidays, the Shops Closing Act sets the following for observance as holidays:

Regatta Day (City of St. John's) – the first Wednesday in August Regatta Day (Town of Harbour Grace) Any day fixed as a public holiday in any other municipality.

Q: What is the capital city and what are some of the major centres?

A: St. John's, located on the eastern tip of Newfoundland's Avalon region, is the capital of Newfoundland and Labrador. The city's population is 108,860, while the metro area population – which includes the surrounding areas of Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove, Torbay, Flatrock, Pouch Cove, Bauline, Portugal Cove-St. Philip's, Mount Pearl, Paradise, Conception Bay South, Petty Harbour, Maddox Cove, Bay Bulls, and Witless Bay – is about 205,955.

Other major centres include:

Corner Brook – population 19,806
Gander – population 11,688
Grand Falls – population 14,171
Happy Valley-Goose Bay – population 8,109
Labrador City – population 7,220
Source: Census 2016

What are Newfoundland and Labrador's other principal centres?

Bay Roberts 11,083
Bishop's Falls 2,581
Bonavista 3,140
Botwood 2,757
Burgeo 1,307
Clarenville-Shoal Harbour 5,809
Channel-Port aux Basques 3,665
Stephenville 7,114
Deer Lake 4,602
Lewisporte 2,174
Marystown 2,697
Springdale 2,080
St. Anthony 2,049

Source: Census 2016

Q: What is the population of Newfoundland and Labrador?

A: The population of Newfoundland and Labrador is 530,376. Source: Census 2016.

Q: Does Newfoundland and Labrador have its own currency?

A: Newfoundland and Labrador uses the Canadian dollar as its currency. You can find the exchange rate for your currency using the currency converter located at www.xe.com

From 1834 to 1949, however, Newfoundland issued its own coinage and bank notes, which are now valuable collectors' items. The coin denominations issued were 1 cent, 5 cent, 10 cent, 20 cent, 25 cent, 50 cent, 2 dollar, and gold. You can purchase Newfoundland coins from many coin dealers.

Q: Where can I learn about my family history in Newfoundland and Labrador?

A: Anyone can learn about family history in Newfoundland and Labrador with the help of the Family History Society of Newfoundland and Labrador, a volunteer non-profit organization founded in 1984 and incorporated in 1987. Its Genealogical Resource Centre provides access to historical databases and acts as an information service for genealogical researchers. It also provides information on archives and heritage organizations across the province.

Membership is open to anyone researching their Newfoundland ancestry, and members receive a quarterly journal called The Newfoundland Ancestor. Indexing projects include parish registers, cemetery transcriptions, census records and family histories compiled and maintained by volunteers all over North America. Collections available include genealogical reference books, family histories, cemetery transcripts, genealogical periodicals, directories and censuses.

Q: Are the Newfoundland Dog and the Labrador Retriever Newfoundland and Labrador's official dog breeds?

A: Yes.

The Newfoundland Dog

The Newfoundland is a large, strong dog with a heavy coat to protect it from icy winds and waters. Its feet are large, strong, webbed, and well suited to swimming and travelling over marshes and shorelines. It has powerful hindquarters and a large lung capacity, which enables it to swim for great distances. The best-known traits of the Newfoundland Dog are intelligence, loyalty, and a sweet temperament, just like all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.

The Newfoundland Dog is as much at home in the water as on dry land. Canine literature gives us stories of brave Newfoundlands which have rescued men and women from watery graves; stories of shipwrecks made less terrible by dogs that carried life lines to stricken vessels; of children who have fallen into deep water and have been brought safely ashore by Newfoundlands; and of dogs who helped their fishermen owners with their heavy nets and performed other tasks necessary to their occupations. Although it is a superior water dog, the Newfoundland has been and still is used in Newfoundland and Labrador as a true working dog, hauling carts, or more often carrying burdens like a small packhorse.

For the most part, however, the Newfoundland Dog is mainly kept not as a worker, but as a companion, guard, and friend. We appreciate the sterling traits of the true Newfoundland disposition. The breed has the great size and strength of an effective guard and watchdog, combined with the gentleness, which makes it a safe companion. For generations it has been the traditional children's protector and playmate.

The Labrador Retriever

Like its cousin the Newfoundland Dog, the Labrador Retriever is a water dog (both have webbed toes). But while the classic Newfoundland Dog is a wooly, mammoth of a dog, the Lab has a sleek, waterproof coat that comes in black, yellow, and chocolate.

The Lab is more-or-less compact at 53 to 61 centimetres tall, but it's a very powerful animal for its weight of 25-34 kilos. It can pull a small, loaded cart a long distance, or jump into the water to retrieve – hence the name – a fisherman's net, or waterfowl destined for the dinner plate. The tapered, otter-like tail helps it steer itself through the water. It's an easily trained guide for the seeing impaired. Its intelligence, strength, loyalty, and pleasant demeanor are a winning combination for such a task. Its keen nose makes it a good police dog, and its strength makes it ideal for search and rescue operations, especially in water.

Originally named the St. John’s Water Dog, they were first bred on the island of Newfoundland. The name was then changed to Labrador Retriever to avoid confusion with the Newfoundland Dog. It was recognized as a separate breed by the English Kennel Club in 1904, and by its American equivalent a decade later.

Q. Does Newfoundland and Labrador have a coat of arms?

A. Newfoundland and Labrador's coat of arms was officially adopted by the Newfoundland Government on January 1, 1928. The coat of arms was granted in 1637, but was unknown to authorities in Newfoundland until almost 300 years later.

The cross is based upon the cross of St. George, but of a different colour. The lions and unicorns are based upon those in the Arms of England, to which the unicorn had been added at the time of the union of England with Scotland.

The shield is surmounted by an elk and supported on either side by people representative of the now extinct Beothuk Indians of Newfoundland. The translation of the motto along the bottom is "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God."

Q: Does Newfoundland and Labrador have an official bird?

A: The provincial bird of Newfoundland and Labrador is the Atlantic puffin (fratercula arctica), also known as the Sea Parrot or Baccalieu Bird. About 95% of all North America's puffins breed in colonies around the Newfoundland and Labrador coasts. As people with strong marine heritage, it is appropriate to have a marine bird as our symbol.

Q: What is the background behind Newfoundland and Labrador's provincial flag?

A: In this flag, the primary colours of red, gold and blue are placed against a background of white to allow the design to stand out clearly. White is representative of snow and ice; blue represents the sea; red represents human effort; and gold represents our confidence in ourselves.

The blue section, most reminiscent of the Union Jack, represents our Commonwealth heritage, which has so decisively shaped our present. The red and gold section, larger than the other, represents our future. The two triangles outlined in red portray the mainland and island parts of our province reaching forward together. A golden arrow points the way to what we believe will be a bright future. Surrounded by red to indicate human effort, the arrow suggests that our future is for the making and not the taking. But the design of the flag encompasses much more symbolism than this, such as the Christian Cross, the Beothuk and Naskapi ornamentation, the outline of the maple leaf in the centre of the flag, a triumphant figure and our place in the space age. The image of a trident stands out. This is to emphasize our continued dependence on the fishery and the resources of the sea. Hung as a banner, the arrow assumes the aspect of a sword, which is to remind us of the sacrifice of our War Veterans. Since the whole flag resembles a Beothuk pendant, as well as all of the above, the design takes us from our earliest beginnings and points us confidently forward. It therefore, mirrors our past, present, and future. The flag, designed by artist Christopher Pratt, was officially adopted on June 6, 1980.

Q: What is Newfoundland and Labrador's floral emblem?

A: Newfoundland and Labrador's provincial floral emblem is the pitcher plant (sarracenia purpurea). This fascinating plant gets its nourishment from insects that get trapped and drown in a pool of water at the base of the tubular leaves. The flower is wine and green in colour and can be found on bogs and marshes in Newfoundland and Labrador.

More than a hundred years ago, Queen Victoria chose the Pitcher Plant to be engraved on a newly minted Newfoundland penny. In 1954, the Newfoundland Cabinet designated this unusual and interesting plant as the official flower of the province.

Q: What is Newfoundland and Labrador's mineral emblem?

A. Newfoundland and Labrador's provincial mineral emblem is Labradorite. One of the most beautiful and popular of the "semi-precious" stones, Labradorite is found at a number of locations on the coast of Labrador and on the Island of Newfoundland. It is an igneous iridescent crystalline mineral, and is also called Labrador Feldspar.

It is said that the native people of Labrador attributed mystical qualities to the stone because of its captivating play of colours, or "labradoresence." They called it "firestone" and used a powder produced by pulverizing it as a magical potion to cure their ailments. A tumble-polished fragment makes an ideal touchstone or talisman, and a beautifully shaped and polished cabochon set in gold or silver is a highly sought jewellery item in any collection.

Labradorite was declared the province's mineral emblem in 1975. Labradorite is one of about 20 semi-precious stones found in the province.

Q: What is Newfoundland and Labrador's provincial anthem?

A: Newfoundland and Labrador's provincial anthem is the "Ode to Newfoundland" by Sir Cavendish Boyle. The song is as follows:

When sun-rays crown thy pine-clad hills And summer spreads her hand, When silvern voices tune thy rills, We love thee, smiling land. We love thee, we love thee, We love thee, smiling land.

When spreads thy cloak of shimmering white, At winter's stern command, Through shortened day and starlit night, We love thee, frozen land. We love thee, we love thee, We love thee, frozen land.

When blinding storm gusts fret thy shore And wild waves lash thy strand, Through spindrift swirl and tempest roar, We love thee, wind-swept land. We love thee, we love thee, We love thee, wind-swept land.

As loved our fathers, so we love, Where once they stood we stand, Their prayer we raise to Heaven above, God guard thee, Newfoundland. God guard thee, God guard thee, God guard thee, Newfoundland.

Q: Does Newfoundland and Labrador have its own breed of pony?

A: Yes, it does. The Newfoundland Pony was developed from stock brought from The British Isles to the Island around 1600. Its ancestors are the ponies of Exmoor and Dartmoor in Devon, the New Forest and, to a lesser extent, the Welsh Mountain pony, the Galloway (now extinct), the Highland, and the Connemara. Over the centuries it has adapted to the conditions and climate of Newfoundland and is virtually unknown elsewhere.

Its colour can be bay, black, brown, or red with black forelocks, manes and tails. They have solid black lower legs up to the hock on the hind leg and to the knee on the front. Black also runs up the inside of the legs to the body. Some have a black dorsal stripe. Their hooves are blue black with a very hard outer horn. They weigh an average of 500 to 1000 lbs. and stand approximately 14.2 hands (58") high. The ponies have strong front shoulders with a good angle for a collar. Their heads are in proportion to the size of their bodies, with small erect ears and good, clear, kind eyes. They are light and surefooted and can travel over frozen ponds and barrens without breaking the ice. In winter their overcoats grow 2-3 inches long, usually a different colour from their summer coats. They also grow a beard on their chins and have been used to haul boats out of water, pull logs from the forest, and prepare land for spring planting. They are quiet with a good temperament, which makes them good workers, easy keepers, and wonderful family pets.

The Newfoundland Pony is facing extinction through cross-breeding to other breeds and neglect. It could quite possibly be the oldest breed of domesticated livestock in North America. The Newfoundland government has passed legislation declaring the pony a heritage animal. The Newfoundland Pony Society, incorporated as a charity in 1981, is dedicated to the protection and preservation of the Newfoundland Pony. Today, there are about 150 pure type Newfoundland Ponies. Membership, involvement, and support are encouraged to secure this breed for the future and to save the ponies from extinction.

Q: Does Newfoundland and Labrador have its own stamps?

A: With Confederation in 1949, Newfoundland adopted the stamps of Canada but, prior to that time, this British Colony produced its own stamps. Newfoundland stamps are still fairly common, especially those of the past 100 years. The variety is rich, the stamps are colourful and the story they tell is a fascinating one. They are also legal postage if mailed from within Canada. Newfoundland stamps may be purchased from most stamp dealers.

Q: What is the Newfoundland and Labrador Tartan?

A: Created by the St. John’s Water Street shopkeeper, Sam Wilansky in 1955. Its colours are gold, white, brown, and red on a green background. The gold represents the sun's rays in the Ode to Newfoundland; the green represents the pine clad hills; the white represents the cloak of snow; the brown represents the Iron Isle, a reference to Bell Island where iron was mined between the 1890s and 1960s; and the red represents the Royal Standard for which our fathers stood.

Q: Does Newfoundland and Labrador have a provincial tree?

A: The Black Spruce (picea mariana) was proclaimed the Provincial Tree of Newfoundland and Labrador in May of 1991. This tree is widely distributed and is the most common tree in the province. It’s a slow-growing, small evergreen coniferous tree, which gives it high strength due to the tight growth rings.

The Black Spruce timber has low value due the small size of the tree. It does have significant social and economic value in the growth of Newfoundland and Labrador. It is the favoured tree in the pulp and paper industry and is widely used for lumber, wharf piers, and firewood. Black spruce has played a prominent role in the lives of aboriginal people and in local folk medicine. This enduring species is extremely hardy and flourishes in Newfoundland and Labrador's short growing season.

Fun fact: fast-food chopsticks are often made from Black Spruce.

Q: What is Newfoundland and Labrador's official game bird?

A: The partridge (lagopus sp) or ptarmigan is the provincial game bird. Two partridge species, Willow Ptarmigan and the Rock Ptarmigan, are found throughout the province.

Found primarily in barrens and high country, the partridge epitomizes the open wilderness. It is an arctic bird, and it is speculated that the Burin and Avalon peninsulas may be the most southern, naturally occurring extremity for the bird's range in North America.

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