Friday, February 01, 2013

The Lure of Labrador

I love the island of Newfoundland and the opportunity to share it with visitors, but Labrador holds a special place in my heart. It's a wild and rugged and raw-boned region, the mainland portion of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and its lure is simply irresistible. Accessed by ferry from Newfoundland, by air, or by land via the province of Quebec, Labrador's imposing landscape greets the traveller with sweeping, wide-open vistas. Sparkling rivers like the famous Pinware, a rich salmon stream, flow headlong to the sea, while sharply-defined mountains dominate Labrador's northern reaches. In 2005, this northern region officially became known as Nunatsiavut, (Inuktitut for "Our Beautiful Land") a new territory born out of the Labrador Land Claims Agreement. It is a self-governing Inuit region within the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, the first of its kind, taking in the communities of Nain, Hopedale, Postville, Makkovik and Rigolet. Farther to the south lies the area known as NunatuKavut ("Our Ancient Land"), the territory of the southern Inuit. There are also two Innu communities in Labrador, Sheshatshiu (Sheshatshiu First Nation) and
Natuashish (Mushuau First Nation), making up the area known as Nitassinan, the Innu Land. Many communities in Labrador, particularly those of the south coast, have non-native (or "Settler") populations as well.

Many sights and experiences await the visitor to Labrador, from the restored fishing station at Battle Harbour to Red Bay, site of a large-scale whaling station established by the Basques in the mid-1500s, to
the breathtaking beauty of Torngat Mountains National Park. This region isn't tame or gentle or shy; it demands attention and defies understatement, but if you're willing to meet it head-on and prepared to take in its huge scope and its equally huge appeal, it can be an incredibly rewarding and even life-altering place to explore.

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