If you’ve seen the flash Newfoundland Tourism ads then you’ve probably already booked your flight and are eagerly anticipating your trip to Newfoundland. Congratulations! You picked a great place to visit, this place really is one of the best kept secrets in this side of the world – it still holds small town cultures and values that other places have lost to globalization.
If you haven’t booked a trip yet, lets take a look at fixing your priorities.
None the less, here’s some tips for first time visitors to Newfoundland on what to do when you visit.
Visit Pubs, not Clubs
Newfoundlander’s love to get out and have a beer or twenty. If you are visiting St. John’s, you’ll of course have to visit George Street.
George St is a local favourite, two blocks filled with nothing but bars. While it doesn’t compare in size to some other nightlife districts (Temple Bar District in Dublin, George Street in Edinburgh, etc.) it is certainly impressive for the size of the city.
If you’ve ever visited England or Ireland and managed to escape the main tourist stays, you would have realized that every community has a “local”. That is, a pub that is really the social centre of the community. While this isn’t so much the case in Newfoundland, we still do have some fantastic pubs which celebrate our rich cultures.
If you’re in St. John’s be sure to visit Shamrock City, Erin’s, O’Reillys, and Kelly’s. If you can escape from St. John’s, take a trip to Placentia and spend a Friday night at the Three Sisters Pub.
Drink Local Beer
We are blessed to have a couple of good local microbreweries in Yellowbelly and Quidi Vidi. I’m personally a fan of Quidi Vidi, but don’t be afraid to try both. Quidi Vidi have a fantastic Honey Brown beer that puts Sleeman to shame.
Other local staples include Blackhorse and India (both by Molson) and Bluestar (by Labatt).
There is no one Newfoundland Accent
Pretty well anyone that lives in mainland Canada can identify a Newfoundlander by the “Newfie Accent”. Surprisingly, there is no “Newfie Accent”, just many different dialects throughout the island.
In St. John’s, many younger people have no accents at all. Meanwhile, if you head straight south from St. John’s down the Southern Shore people sound like they just got off the boat from Ireland. In some areas of the province, people drop H’s (I’ve got to get out of tis ‘ouse) and in others, they add too many (I’ve got to get hout of this house).
So, be aware that just because you can comprehend St. John’s Newfoundland English, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Get a Rental Car, But Be Careful Driving
We recommend getting a rental car, there’s so much more to see outside of St. John’s. A day trip along Southern Shore or to Trinity Bay would be a worthwhile experience.
But, be careful. That’s not a joke.
Over the past 10 years St. John’s has seen a significant increase in traffic on its roads and people still haven’t gotten used to this new reality. There are a lot of bad drivers on the road. Now, that’s not to say you’ll have people running into you (I haven’t been in an accident yet) – but just be prepared to have a bit more patience. Aside from a few crazy drivers, Newfoundland is really easy to get around in, four lanes is a big highway to us.
Listen to the Local News
One of the best things about Newfoundland is listening to the local radio. If you listen to the radio on AM mode and tune into 590 VOCM (Voice of the Common Man) you’ll hear it all.
Most places in the world have their news highlighted with homicides, scandals, or other breaking news. Here locally, this weeks big news story is that a local favourite brand of pickles is going off the market. Last weeks big story is that a cat that a lady liked to dress up ran away. Yes, I am being 100% serious.
Every weekday morning at 9am is Open Line, one of three call in shows. It’s worth a listen.
Get Screeched in at Christians
In order to become an honorary Newfoundlander, you must be screeched in. A process which involves kissing a Cod Fish, eating Newfoundland Steak, and drinking Jamaican Rum, and giving your Newfoundland oath.
The process is actually really fun. If you don’t have a buddy with a large kitchen or shed, then I highly suggest getting Screeched in at Christians (on George Street). They’ve been doing it for years and do a great job.
Try the Local Delicacies
Like every culture, we have our delicacies. Several actually. If I had to identify just two, I would say you’ll have to find somewhere that will serve you Jiggs Dinner on Sunday for lunch or Fried Cod Tongues.
Don’t Visit and Complain about our Seal or Oil Industry
Every year there’s always a group of uninformed individuals that travel to Newfoundland to complain about our industry. Nothing to add here but to stay at home.
Did We Miss Something?
Guaranteed. If you think there’s something we need that people should know about Newfoundland before they visit, comment below or connect with us on Facebook! We’ll keep updating this thread as we go. We would love to hear some things from Western and Central Newfoundland as well as the Great Northern Peninsula!