Thursday, March 17, 2016

France in North America

Overseas collectivity of Saint Pierre and Miquelon is a self-governing territorial overseas collectivity of France, situated in the northwestern Atlantic Ocean near Newfoundland. It is the only remnant of the former colonial empire of New France that remains under French control, with a population of 6,080 at the January 2011 census.

The islands are situated at the entrance of Fortune Bay, which extends into the southern coast of Newfoundland, near the Grand Banks. They are 3,819 kilometres (2,373 mi) from Brest, the nearest point in Metropolitan France, but 25 kilometres (16 mi) from the Burin Peninsula of Newfoundland, Canada.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Addition of Trans-Labrador Highway

There is a ferry connecting Newfoundland and Labrador (actually Quebec), between Saint Barbe, NL and the North-West side of the island and Blanc Sablon, QC. Highway 510 then leads to Goose Bay then to Labrador City through Highway 500... See details in resources...

The Trans-Labrador Highway is a Canadian highway located in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. It is the primary public road in Labrador. Its total length is 774.66 mi (1,246.69 km). Due to the harsh winters and sparse population in most of Labrador, most of the road is a well-packed asphalt/gravel surface that is re-graded annually (usually in mid to late May), and there are no plans to fully pave it (as of 2015).

Tuesday, March 1, 2016


In 1988 the railway line running across the Island of Newfoundland was abandoned. As the last train pulled in to the station at Port aux Basques, an important chapter in the province's transportation history was drawing to a close. But a new one was about to begin. Across North America thousands of kilometres of railroad have been decommissioned over the past three decades. Coinciding with this decline, however, has been a growing awareness of the value of these converted right-of-ways as public trails suitable for a variety of outdoor, recreational activities. The roar of diesel locomotives is being replaced by the sounds of hikers, bicyclists, ATVers, cross-country skiers, horseback riders and snowmobilers - people of all ages and many different interests escaping the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

In Newfoundland, 883 kilometres of abandoned railbed provide the basis for a trail link between Port aux Basques on the west coast and the capital city of St. John's on the easternmost edge of the Avalon Peninsula. The Newfoundland T'Railway Provincial Park, as it was officially proclaimed on July 10, 1997, is being developed as a multi-use, all season recreational trail by the T'Railway Council in conjunction with the provincial and federal governments, various municipal councils and local service districts, the Trans Canada Trail Foundation and a number of other economic development organizations.

The T'Railway development is being carried out in a number of phases, as funds become available. In 1996, work began on the section of rail bed between Glenwood and Benton, the stretch between Bishop's Falls and Badger in Central Newfoundland and a portion of the T'Railway under the auspices of the Grand Concourse Authority starting at the former CN Railway Station (now the home of the Railway Coastal Museum) in the west end of St. John's. Upgrading was also started on the Wreckhouse Trail paralleling the Anguille and Long Range Mountains on the west coast.

Much of the initial work carried out along the T'Railway involved brush cutting and general clean-up. Ditches were cleared of accumulated debris and trestles and bridges repaired. In total there are about 3.5 kilometres of bridges along the trail, the longest being the 282.5 metre trestle crossing the Exploits River near the town of Bishop's Falls. Maintaining these crucial links is essential to the integrity of the entire trail system, since the cost of replacing them today would be prohibitively high. The heavy aggregate or ballast originally used on the railbed to support the track is unsuited for walking or biking so a finer grade material was spread to provide an even and well-compacted surface.

Maintaining the rail bed is a never ending task. During the spring runoff, culverts can become blocked, causing severe erosion and major washouts requiring immediate repair. Overly enthusiastic beavers are also a constant headache and if left to their own devices, these super-sized rodents would flood large areas of land bordering or even including the trail itself.

During the winter months, heavy snowmobile traffic leads to dips and hollows, referred to locally as 'Yes M'ams', in the snow cover. Specially designed trail groomers are required to ensure a smooth track. The province's network of groomed winter trails maintained by the Newfoundland and Labrador Snowmobile Federation is also helping to create many new business opportunities and contributing greatly to a growing interest in adventure tourism. 

By 2006, the T'Railway Council had finished upgrading 50 of the 130 bridges/ trestles on the T'Railway between Port aux Basques and St. John's. Then, in the spring of 2007 it began an ambitious, three-year program to complete the remaining 80, with the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Trans Canada Trail Foundation each contributing to the $3 Million initiative. The work itself involved the installation of new decking and safety railing, along with related improvements to bridge approaches, abutment enhancements, erosion protection, gravel backfilling and the erection of safety and information signs. The project was carried out in three phases and was completed in the spring of 2010.


Confederation with Canada brought with it a great many benefits, but still could not provide the means to overcome an issue that would continue to plague Newfoundland and Labrador to this day. In the 1950s and 60s while the traditional fishery was dying and a new fresh-frozen fishery was emerging, the industry and its people were struggling. The economic benefits of unemployment insurance and the baby bonus may have helped families survive, but even those new found luxuries could not alter the fact that the provincial government could not afford to deliver the same quality of services to rural Newfoundland and Labrador as it could to the rest of the province. This was an issue that became an integral part of Joseph Smallwood’s platform to diversify, industrialize, and modernize the provincial economy. While it had been happening naturally in many parts of the province, a planned form of resettlement took shape during Smallwood’s reign as Newfoundland and Labrador’s first Premier.

Three different types of Government-sponsored resettlement programmes took place. The first one, Centralization, was introduced in 1954 and offered voluntary resettlers small sums of money to relocate to larger, more accessible areas of their choosing. As a community-focused venture government required a unanimous vote from all community members to resettle. This programme was plagued with issues and resulted in numerous families moving back to their original communities. Fear mongering and rumors circulated widely and the social consequences were severe.

Ten years after the first programme, a Federal-Provincial partnership was established and the Fisheries Household Resettlement Programme began. Unlike its predecessor, the second programme was clearly tied to the fishery and had slightly different criteria than the first. Under this agreement resettlers were encouraged to move to destinations chosen by Government as growth centres, which were defined as communities believed to be economically viable. The chosen communities usually had fish plants and the area often held heavy investment by both levels of government. This programme also had its share of flaws. The stresses and strains of resettlement caused community and family divides and is still a deeply debated issue.

In spite of the problems, Government felt the resettlement programmes were fairly successful and the Federal-Provincial partnership was renewed in 1970. Growth centres were replaced with special areas meaning a community in need of funding to enhance regional economic support. More money was allocated for resettlers than in the previous two programmes, but many of the social issues remained the same.

Resettlement was only one component of Smallwood’s plans to modernize Newfoundland and Labrador and establish a higher, yet equitable standard of living for all its residents. The word resettlement continues to evoke strong emotion and its effects on living memory have been great. As a theme resettlement has made its way into Newfoundland and Labrador’s visual and performing arts, our literature and music. It is difficult to weigh out the benefits of resettlement versus the trauma associated with such an uprooting of people. The government of the day saw resettlement as advancing towards modernization. Some resettlers see it is as a shameful part of Newfoundland and Labrador’s history. Resettlement will go down in Newfoundland and Labrador’s history as one of the most controversial issues forever divided between two viewpoints.