6/30/22 - 7/21/22
Canada, the second largest country in the world in area after Russia, is comprised of
ten provinces and three territories. We visited Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince
Edward Island, and Newfound and Labrador, the four provinces known as Atlantic
Canada. This is a sparsely populated area of spectacular long coastlines and frequent
lighthouses. We encountered shirt sleeve weather throughout and were rarely
inconvenienced by rain. In coastal communities large stacks of lobster and crab traps
were piled along the roads or in the yards of modest homes, some quite new and all
neat and well-maintained. Outside of larger towns gas stations, food stores, eateries,
and lodging were infrequent. We traveled by van and bus a total of 2,900 miles, mostly
on modern dual-track highways with little traffic. The people we encountered were
friendly, welcoming, and native English speaking; hospitality is legendary.
Week 1: We toured these provinces by van with excellent local guide Mel Zilkowsky beginning with Nova
Scotia. In 1621 King James I of England named this region “New Scotland”, but the earlier land grant was
written in Latin and that form of the name has prevailed. The province’s rugged coastline is particularly
scenic, especially Cabot Trail on Cape Breton Island. We ferried to Prince Edward Island, which is known for
its shellfish; the mussels and scallops did not disappoint. Grapes are also grown on PEI, and we tasted
wines from unfamiliar varietals at several wineries. We left the island via the eight-mile-long Confederation
Bridge to New Brunswick, largest of the Maritime provinces, known for its huge untouched wilderness, and
location of the dramatic fifty-foot tides at the Bay of Fundy. We ended this first week of the trip in Halifax,
population 460,000, the capital and largest city of Nova Scotia and of Atlantic Canada. We could easily have
spent more time in this large, modern metropolis.
Week 2: We toured this easternmost and newest province of Canada by bus with a 26-person Road Scholar group led by Jean
Knowles. We spent most of week two and three in the Newfoundland part of the province, venturing only briefly into the
much larger Labrador part near the end of the trip. What is now the province of Newfoundland and Labrador was an
independent dominion of the British Commonwealth prior to 1933 and voting to join the Canadian confederation in 1949.
Our tour began in St. John’s, the provincial capital and largest city. Fishing was the traditional industry there until offshore oil
was discovered in 1979 and St John’s became the main service center for the Canadian offshore oil and gas industry. The
shore near our harbor-side hotel was lined with large purpose-built vessels. The first night, we had dinner with the group and
walked around town. The next morning, we met our very likable driver Con Dunphy, boarded the bus for the first time, and
headed for Signal Hill, site of the first transatlantic wireless communication, among other historic and geographic distinctions.
Another highlight of the week was joining a group of friendly Port Union residents and becoming honorary Newfoundlanders.
Week 3: In addition to being the Canadian province with the longest name, the northwestern most
part of the Newfoundland is also thought to be where legendary Norseman Leif Erikson came some
500 years before Columbus, becoming the first European to visit the North American Continent.
Another highlight of the concluding week of this trip was a boat tour though Western Brook Pond, a
former fjord defined by 2,000-foot-tall sheer rock walls. While Newfoundland is an Island, Labrador
is part of the continental landmass comprising 71% of the province area; it is also very sparsely
populated, having only 6% of the people. It shares a border with Quebec from which it split away in
1791, and some Parti Québécois officials still dispute the exact boundary. We reached Labrador via a
90-minute ferry and spent just one day there, but visited a number of its 55 lighthouses including,
Point Amour, the tallest in Atlantic Canada.