Tuesday, July 4, 2017

The Hidden Rides and Themed Attractions of...Newfoundland and Labrador

I love weird history and geographical trivia, so since there isn't that much to discuss as it pertains to the 9th most populous province of Canada, three fun facts you very well might not have known:

-92% of the population of the province lives on the island of Newfoundland. Labrador, by comparison, doesn't have a single settlement home to more than 10,000 people.

-Newfoundland was, prior to joining Canada, a separate Dominion. This meant that it was an autonomous nation operating no differently than the likes of New Zealand or Australia with some oversight from the British. Along with the Kingdom of Hawaii and Republic of Texas, it was integrated into other North American countries.

-Only a few miles off shore are the islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon. They aren't terribly well known and receive only limited tourism due to the lack of any large landing strips and the harsh winters that the rest of the region receives, but they aren't part of Canada. They're actually overseas dependencies of France, representing the last territories controlled by the once vast French empire in North America proper. Travelers wishing to go must have a passport, receive a French passport stamp, and the official currency is the Euro.

Newfoundland is a rugged and fairly isolated place in Canada, and Labrador is that and even more. With few permanent residents, little in the way of density, and a small tourism economy chiefly geared to adventure travelers, it shouldn't surprise you that there are limits to what kind of amusements are around. Given the climate, you'll typically look for indoor stuff and travelling rides because of rural nature of many communities, and that's precisely what's found. Axtion in the St. John's suburb of Mount Pearl is the indoor option, featuring bumper boats and a small inverting flat ride (possibly an SBF Mini Dance Party). The portable options are brought around by Thomas Amusements, who keep a consistent set of hours and prices at every spot they run on the island of Newfoundland. Labrador just doesn't have any rides. Sorry, Labrador.

Permanent facilties in the province are limited to aquatics-centric places. Marine Park and Splash-n-Putt are the two largest not attached to campgrounds that allow for free entry. There had been one permanent amusement park, called Trinity Loop, located a three hour drive north of the city of St. John's. Remnants remain but the park's big attraction, a miniature train, was washed out by Hurricane Igor in 2010 and is unlikely to ever reopen.

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