Snowy Range Pass

Snowy Range Pass

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Dr. Wilfred Grenfell

You do not have to spend a lot of time in northern Newfoundland or Labrador before you hear about Dr. Grenfell.  We learned that he arrived in Newfoundland/Labrador in the early 1890's.  He was there to provide medical support to those who previously had no medical access at all. What started as a missionary assignment from England turned into a lifetime personal project.  He established hospitals, clinics, shelters, food banks and raised money around the world so that he could provide medical support to those who so desperately needed it.  I have included some links that describe his amazing mission.  One of the early events that caught the world's attention took place in 1908 and is described in the  below poster.

For many years his organization was the primary and often only provider of medical and spiritual support for the people of Labrador.  We visited his home and museum in St Anthony, where there are many reminders of his efforts.  There is a  collection of  pictures from him and his friends  available to look at in binders on the front veranda of his home.  I spent as much time as I could looking through them and could have spent much longer, had I the time.

The large organization that he created was turned over to the provincial government in 1981 for a fee of one dollar, which was 41 years after his death.  It is an amazing story of devotion to a worthwhile cause.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


Getting back to our Canadian journey, we returned from Labrador via the same ferry and traveled to St Anthony, Newfoundland.  This rugged northern coast is often referred to as the Viking Coast. While there was a long standing believe that the Vikings could have landed here, it was not generally supported by the archaeological community.  In 1960, a local villager pointed out that the area referred to as an old Indian camp with raised mounds of grass looked like they were in the shape of buildings.  The husband and wife team of Helge and Anne Ingstad undertook a excavation that found the first real evidence of a Viking village on the Newfoundland coast.  It was dated to the 11th century and is the farthest extent of European exploration in the new world before Columbus.  Columbus would not arrive for another 500 years. This site known as L'Anse Aux Meadows is a national historic park and a UNESCO world heritage site.

Here you can walk in the reconstructed village and learn how they lived and worked from costumed guides.  It is a must see historical site.

Just a mile or so away from the national park is the Norstead Viking Village operated by the Canadian Tourism Commission.  This replica village is designed to give the visitor a more hands on feel to what it was like to live in a Viking village over a thousand years ago.  Here you can take part in the everyday activities of the Vikings.  There are interpreters in many locations to help you fully enjoy the experience.