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That's understandable when you consider how remote Newfoundland & Labrador must have seemed back in 1867. Even today, despite ferries and planes, it retains a faraway feel because the island of Newfoundland (a.k.a. The Rock) sits alone in the North Atlantic, while Labrador (The Big Land) is tucked into northern Québec. Bound by language, latitude and kindred economies, the two only joined the country as a single entity in 1949. But even though it has been part of Canada for a compara- tively short time, this place isn't short on attractions. Four UNESCO World Heritage Sites attest to that. CULTURALLY SIGNIFICANT SITES History lovers will appreciate the fact that Canada's youngest province is actually very old. The UNESCO-designated Red Bay Basque Whaling Station, for instance, is proof that Labrador was already an international industrial centre well before our "motherland" made its fi rst attempts to settle the New World further south. On-site, visitors can ogle archaeological fi nds that recall the mid-1500s and catch a fi lm recounting the heady days when whalers from France and Spain busily manufac- tured much-coveted oil from blubber here ( That seems like only yesterday compared to Newfoundland's millennium- old sister site, L'Anse aux Meadows. Leif Eriksson and his Viking crew arrived on the spot in 1000 AD, then proceeded to build shelters out of the earth and craft iron from the bog-ore it yielded. Their settlement was so shrouded in time that its very existence was dismissed as a myth until 1960, when Helge Ingstad and his archaeologist wife, Anne, uncovered what was left of it. Today it features atmospheric sod huts, faux Vikings, and an artefact-fi lled visitor's centre ( ). NATURAL WONDERS While exploring the province's coastal waters in summer, you might observe whales like the ones that lured the Basque fi sherman all those centuries ago, or see super-sized icebergs that predate the Vikings. The land itself, moreover, is positively primeval. Just witness another world heritage site, popular Gros Morne National Park, where you can fl oat on a freshwater ord sculpted by retreating glaciers during the last ice age and admire geological anomalies formed hundreds of millions of years ago when tectonic upheavals thrust the earth's crust upward ( Tellingly, the extraordinary animal fossils discovered at the province's most recently inscribed UNESCO Site, the 5.7-sq.-km (2.2- sq.-mi.) Mistaken Point Ecological Reserve dates back further still. With a discerning eye and a knowledgeable guide, you can spot 20 diff erent species embedded right on the surface of the wave-washed rocks. Represent- ing the oldest complex life forms ever found, they are more than half a billion years old ( ). Such ancient attractions—together with others that are offi cially protected, privately operated or provided by Mother Nature— are tangible reminders of Newfoundland & Labrador's timeless appeal. WHAT'S NEW? Fossil-rich Mistaken Point, on the south- eastern tip of the Avalon Peninsula, became VICTORIA ST., ST. JOHN'S • NL TOURISM/BARRETT AND MACKAY NL 133

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