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Newfoundland: Corner Brook

In 2013, Nastya was lucky to visit the really far-away  place, where only rare tourists get – Canadian island  Newfoundland. This is a story of how Corner Brook – its small town – lives, and what interesting and unique may be found there.

Newfoundland is a part of the province Newfoundland – Labrador along with over 7000 of other islands. The province has been divided into six climate types, from Newfoundland humid continental climate to Labrador polar tundra and subarctic climate. I can add from my experience that June was quite cold. Actually, one of my friends settled in Newfoundland as he likes cold, icebergs, and whales. Even though he has never seen whales and icebergs he expected, he can fully enjoy the weather.

Settled by indigenous Dorset people, Newfoundland was abandoned when visited by the Icelandic Viking Leif Eriksson in the 11th century, who called the new land “Vinland”. Since then Newfoundland was visited by Portuguese, Spanish, French and English migratory fishermen. In 1583, it was claimed as England’s first overseas colony. It joined Canada only in 1949 after 2 wars which were very influential for the island. During the First World War from a population of about 250000, over 5000 men went overseas, thus Newfoundland lost about one-quarter of its young men due to the war. In World War II the military bases were established here.

The oldest city in Canada is St. John’s, also the oldest continuously settled location in English-speaking North America. I visited another, 20000-inhabitants young (1956) town of Corner Brook, situated in the west of the island. As the rest of the island, it deals with fishing, also there is a paper factory, a ski resort, and several campuses of Canadian Universities – Memorial University, perhaps, the most famous. I got there by the plane, which was not cheap (about 400 euros for the tickets to Deer Lake, from Toronto through Halifax and back, and then more for the shuttle from Deer Lake airport to Corner Brook).
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The plane from Halifax to Deer Lake was really tiny: there was a long seat in the back like it usually is in the buses. The atmosphere in the was very nice: I had an impression that I was flying with one big family, as the stewardess knew the majority of the passengers, what kind of wine they prefer, etc.
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The road from Deer Lake was also exciting. The landscapes remind of Estonian island Saaremaa, but the scale of Newfoundland is of course much wider. Here you understand: this is the huge space!
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In the shuttle following from the airport you can actually understand: the elks mean a lot in the island. Many talks the drivers have are about them, about the ways to avoid them on the road.
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When the town is so young, it often has to invent the history and traditions. For instance, Corner Brook Paper Mill has a curious story.
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In the early 1920s, Sir Richard Squires promised to turn Corner Brook’s economy around by establishing a paper mill in the community. While his campaign slogan, “put the Hum on the Humber,” referenced the bustling activity of industrial development that would invigorate the economy of the west coast, it also foreshadowed a host of changes to the sonic environment. The mill whistle influenced the everyday life of residents, their identity, and their cultural expressions. It became clear in 2007, when the mill whistle was temporarily silenced due to work on the roof of the mill. There was outcry in the papers and on open line radio shows, and when the whistle finally returned in December it was at a reduced frequency. This iconic sound started to slowly disappear from the soundscape of Corner Brook, that is how the project of its revival was born Nowadays in is even suggested to include it into the UNESCO heritage list. Here you can listen to the famous whistle:

The video from sharecroppermike’s channel

Corner Brook almost does not have public transport, so one may move only by the very expensive taxis or on foot, and I preferred the second option. Since the campus, where I was staying was situated up on the hill, every walk demanded going up and down.
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The town is interesting even simply to walk.
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Or to watch the ships, so important at the island.
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And the waters around:
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Or the oddities of the locals:
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And its sky is indeed amazing:
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Moreover, there are many parks and hiking routes:
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And great antique shops, where one may buy very rare books, the objects made of whale skin, traditional fishing equipment and other exotic things.
Photo from:

Address: 11 Broadway, Corner Brook, NL A2H 4C2, +1 709-634-9376

I also recommend the official website of the city as a rich source of knowledge about it

Although it seems that there is nothing to see, the atmosphere of the city and the island is really unique. Here one should not search for some unusual sights, but simply enjoy the surroundings.  It was my first time in such place, and I understand the friend who moved here for the whales, icebergs and cold. Even though neither of us saw icebergs and whales there, and I do not like cold, I consider it a parallel world one should certainly visit.

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