I was so taken by Newfoundland and its people on a recent trip with friends. I don’t think I’ve ever met people anywhere who are so undefended, friendly, funny, and helpful. We would get to a town and children would approach us and ask how we were doing and have you seen such-and-such. If we hadn’t seen it, they gave good directions to get there. Not just children; people of all ages. We were called “darlin’” all the time, which felt endearing.
Live music was everywhere. We went to a dinner theatre in Twillingate that included five excellent musicians/singers. One played 16 instruments. Slapstick humour was interspersed between the music. We suffered from gut-splitting laughter.
We also attended the Rising Tide Theatre in Trinity. The play was so well written by a local and well acted by two local women. The play was about life after the cod moratorium – comedy and tragedy, laughter and tears.
We visited a bird colony with 80,000 gannets – impressive divers from quite the height. This was at St. Mary’s wildlife area south of Placentia, the old French capital of Newfoundland. So in addition to the birds, we learned of French rule, which was then replaced by English rule.
Since the collapse of the cod industry, tourism is taking over, so the towns/outports are renovating some of their old homes and buildings to show their history to tourists.
Without the cod fisheries, the younger people left for Alberta or other provinces to get work or an education. Yet, we found that many people really want to come home, raise a family, and be with their parents, aunties, uncles, and cousins. A sense of family is so strong. Newfoundlanders are finding ways to come home.