Exploring the Coast of Labrador, Canada
Named after Portuguese explorer João Fernandes Lavrador (not the dog!), Labrador, Canada, is part of the easternmost Canadian province, Newfoundland and Labrador.
Part of the Labrador Peninsula, it’s divided from the island of Newfoundland by the Strait of Belle Isle, which connects the Gulf of Saint Lawrence to the Labrador Sea. The coast of Labrador can be split into north and south, with the majority of the north coast consisting of Nunatsiavut — a self-governed, autonomous area founded by the Inuit in 2000 (Nunatsiavut means “our beautiful land” in Inuktitut).
Mountains of Rock and Ice
Giant, picturesque chunks of ice float off the eastern shoreline of Labrador every spring, melting into the cold waters of the Atlantic. (The largest recorded iceberg in Canada was almost 8 miles long and weighed ten billion tons.)
The northern coast is dominated by the Torngat Mountains, the Kiglapait Mountains, and the Kaumajet Mountains . In the most isolated areas in the north, the only transportation is by snowmobile, boat, or plane. The southeastern coast is, however, a popular tourist destination. Point Amour is home to the tallest lighthouse in Atlantic Canada and is a great spot for fishing. If you prefer your food already served on a plate, you can also enjoy a three-course dinner at the lighthouse.
If you’re driving, bear in mind that some remote towns in Labrador are only accessible by boat.
How cold is Labrador, Canada?
The climate depends on the region: northern Labrador has a polar tundra climate, while southern Labrador is subarctic. January temperatures on the coast of Labrador are between 5°F and 14°F, while in July they rise to between 46°F and 50°F. Snow covers the ground eight months of the year in the north, while in the south, the snow only lasts for six months. The coast is subject to stormy weather from the Labrador Sea, and winds can reach more than 12 miles per hour. But is it really that cold? Well, a couple in the small island community of Black Tickle found a polar bear outside their window in 2016, if that gives you a better idea.
Labrador covers 71% of the land making up the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, but it has only 8% of the province’s inhabitants (27,197 as of 2016). The population is 50.7% female and 49.3% male. Almost all of the residents are nonimmigrants (95.8%, compared to 78.3% for all of Canada); this is largely due to its substantial aboriginal population (22%, including Inuit and First Nations, compared to 3.8% for all of Canada). 2016 Census figures show that 52.8% of Labrador‘s population is of European origin.
The Big Land
Sometimes called “the Big Land,” Labrador, Canada, is a place of extremes. Enormous mountains, frigid ice, and impressive views create an overwhelming yet immensely rewarding experience for visitors. The fact that the area is sparsely inhabited compared to other parts of the country only makes it easier to enjoy the natural beauty all around.