Visit to Newfoundland - June 24 – July 8, 2005

It took 8 hours in the air to cover the 7300 km from Victoria, B.C. – one side of the country to the other! The nice thing about this visit was seeing a whole lot more family, (thanks partly to my cousin Robert Tizzard’s 40th anniversary party…) Frances and Libby were in from Gander and Bonavista, Sheila and Nes were home from Texas, Mary Catherine from Louisiana, and Ann Campbell from Toronto. Pretty good timing!

We almost missed seeing my niece Jennifer Murphy, but were lucky there too and got a few days at the end, when she returned from Florida. Meanwhile, her sister Katelyn was a magnificent hostess and showed us around, humoured us, and even fed us peanut butter sandwiches when we showed up at lunch. We also managed to see Curtis, Melissa, Andrew and Nicole, all in their teens and twenties now. My cousin Rob Campbell lives literally across the street from my brother Rob’s house, where we stayed, on Laughlin Crescent. And that’s just around the corner from my brother Mike, who lives at 9 Shea Street, where we grew up.

My 3 resident brothers (the 4th is in Vancouver) all had BBQs at their places, and we also had cod stew, a feed of crab legs, and corned beef and cabbage, so we were extremely well fed.

Newfoundland Facts

Newfoundland was Britain's first North American colony, claimed by John Cabot in 1497.  Sir Gilbert officially proclaimed Newfoundland a colony of England in 1583.  (To relate it to U.S. history, this was 3 years before the Virginia Colony of Roanoke and 37 years before Plymouth Rock).

In 1931 Newfoundland became a Dominion, of equal status within the British Empire as Australia, New Zealand, Canada and South Africa.  However, the Great Depression caused problems for the Dominion and they reverted back to a colony of Great Britain.  On June 22, 1948 a referendum on the future of the nation was held and Union with Canada narrowly won.  Newfoundland joined the Canadian Confederation in 1949.

Interesting to note: Abdu’l-Bahá (1844-1921), the son of the Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, revealed a prayer on April 5, 1916, in the garden adjacent to the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh in Israel. It was addressed not to the Bahá'ís of what was then Canada, but specifically to “the provinces of Canada –  such Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, Yukon, Mackenzie, Keewatin, Ungava, and the Franklin Islands.”  Abdu’l-Bahá had traveled in North America in 1911-1912, arriving in the S.S. Cedric rather than the scheduled voyage aboard the Titanic. He was later knighted by the British government for the many lives he saved during the 1st World War, because of preparations He had made beforehand. Abdu’l-Bahá also said that the future of Canada is very great, both from a material and spiritual standpoint.

Newfoundland was......

  • the first province to respond to Titanic distress signal*

  • the first to vaccinate for smallpox

  • the first to host a transatlantic flight

  • the first to have wireless communication in the world

  • the first place to discover proof of the theory of continental drift

It has......

  • the oldest street in North America

  • the oldest city in North America

  • the oldest rock in the world

  • the oldest continuous sporting event (St. John's Regatta)

  • the largest university in Atlantic Canada (MUN)

St. John’s, NL.: population

  • City Proper: 99,182

  • Census Metropolitan Area: 172,918

  • Population within 100 km: 250,000

  • Population of Newfoundland & Labrador:512,930

* By the way the first station to receive the distress signal from the Titanic was the lighthouse at Cape Bear, near Murray Harbour PEI, says David Cairns, a highshool friend if Jim's!