It can be tough to sum up why Newfoundland is such a special part of Canada. The people have a distinct and charming dialect (that the rest of the country doesn’t really understand), a penchant for strange place names, interesting culinary inventions you won’t find anywhere else and, of course, stunning natural scenery. But that’s just the beginning—to ensure your trip to Canada’s most easterly province is unique, try venturing offshore and visiting one of its many islands. Although not all are accessible, Newfoundland has a tremendous intra-provincial ferry system that makes it easy to island hop.
Set against the backdrop of piercing Atlantic horizons, Fogo Island is home to numerous summer arts and music festivals, including the renowned annual theatre festival hosted by World’s End Theatre Company. But what really makes Fogo Island special is the artists’ studios anchored into the island. Todd Sanders, a native of Gander, Newfoundland, who now lives in Norway, is responsible for the studios’ striking contemporary architecture. You’ll find these off-grid spaces—which range from 200- to 1200-square-feet—scattered across the rocky, volcanic landscape.
Quirpon Island can be found between the very tip of Newfoundland’s northern peninsula and the southern edge of the Strait of Belle Isle. According to a 16th-century legend, mythical beasts and demonic creatures would attack passing ships or anyone who wandered onto the island. Late 19th-century Montreal poet George Martin later chronicled the story in a poem entitled, “Marguerite, Or The Isle Of Demons.” Its mysterious past aside, the island could be one of the most secluded places you ever get the chance to explore, and the Quirpon Lighthouse Inn offers panoramic views of the surrounding cliffs jutting out of the Atlantic.
In Newfoundland’s interior lies Glover Island, the world’s 18th largest lake island. Located on Grand Lake, the island is known for its rich minerals, and an exploration of its precious metals is currently underway. Glover Island’s Harbour features some famous attractions, like the world’s largest squid, which landed in the small community in 1878, and later made it into the the Guinness Book of World Records. Canada Post included the creature in its cross-country roadside stamp series, but the replica of the 55-foot squid is definitely worthy of a full-sized snapshot.
The island’s unique name has, not surprisingly, brought it a fair amount of attention. But there’s more to the island than just a silly name. While Dildo Island is not inhabited today, there is plenty to see. From whale watching to lobster and mussel boil tours, hiking adventures to wine and cheese sunset tours, Dildo Island has something for everyone. It’s also home to one of the largest Paleoeskimo archaeological sites in the province, with archeological discoveries of Recent Indian and Beothuk artifacts.
Because it’s situated along the North Atlantic’s Iceberg Alley, Twillingate Island has become one of the province’s most popular rural destinations. Tourists flock to what’s been dubbed the “Iceberg Capital of the World” to witness the majestic, 10,000 year-old icebergs float by. Once a popular fishing town, the island now mainly relies on tourism, also offering hiking and boating tours, wine tasting, berry picking, and incredible seafood fresh off the Atlantic Coast.