Solid as a Rock
Restless in my 20s and eager to make a change, I moved to Newfoundland to finish my university degree and find something new. I spent over four years on “The Rock”, which were some of the best years of my life. I owe it partly to the friends I made, partly to the life I was starting, but mostly because it was Newfoundland. First off, the weather…. Well, to be blunt it absolutely sucks. It’s by far one of the windiest, foggiest and snowiest places in Canada. Consequently, umbrellas and sunglasses are useless there, but rubber boots and scarves are staples to any wardrobe. Summer lasts a few weeks and winter selfishly takes up a few seasons. However, the place is amazing, even through the constant drizzle.
Newfoundland’s historical roots are in Ireland, which is felt in their language, music, food, and loyalty. The capital city of St. John’s is unlike any place I’ve seen. You’ll be struck by the colourful houses, drawn in by presence of the sea, and impressed and sometimes puzzled by the local dialect. You’ll never keep up with a Newfoundlander on a night out of drinking, but you’ll never get sick of trying. Because they’re fun. They’re kind. They’re warm. They’re generous. And yes, Newfoundlanders are a bit crazy.
They are unapologetically proud to be Newfoundlanders and unapologetically wary of Mainlanders. On top of being geographically and socially isolated from the rest of the country, there is a fierce pride and resilience that is unique to Newfoundlanders – perhaps because it was the last province to join Canada, perhaps because the fishing industry which sustained this province for centuries collapsed in the early 1990’s and forced them to fight their way out of it or perhaps because they simply know this place is special.
If you ever do go to St. John’s there is a laundry list of places you should see such as Signal Hill, The Battery, Water Street, The Irish Loop, George Street, The Geo Centre, Moo Moos, Bell Island, The Gut, Che’s, Blackhead Path, Cape Spear, Quidi Vidi, The Inn of Old, Ferryland, The Rooms, and The Duke of Duckworth…..and that’s just on the Avalon Peninsula and what I can think of off the top of my head. And if you manage to see even half of these and spend a few nights with some locals, can you still enjoy this place? Yes, b’y…you most certainly will.