‘Sorry Newfoundland, you are not what I expected’

Published on August 6, 2013

I am just finishing up my holiday here in Newfoundland. It is my first time here, and sadly, it is also my last.

I have been to numerous parts of the world over the years, and I’ve even been to Canada before … but I had never been to Newfoundland.

I have always heard of a beautiful land with untouched natural beauty and a friendly, generous people — a place called Newfoundland.

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I have even met Newfoundlanders before and they have always been wonderful. So, it was a no-brainer — I was visiting Newfoundland!

I have seen some wonderful natural beauty and, I have met some friendly individuals.

However, I am leaving this island with a completely different opinion now that I have spent time here.

I came to Newfoundland to take a long, relaxing break. So, I booked a house in a small, well-known town in Conception Bay North. I came to wake up in the morning to the smell of fresh air. I came to put on my walking trainers and stroll the small town. I came to shop at the small grocery stores and quaint shopping centres. I came to read on the patio and drink iced tea in the evenings.

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This, however, is what I experienced:

1.  I have overheard neighbours arguing over land. And, trust me, I’ve overheard some nasty stuff.

2. I have been rattled by all-terrain vehicles zooming around the streets. Is this allowed on streets here?

3. I have nearly been run over by speeding cars — several times. I am shocked at how fast people drive here. They speed along the small roads while talking on their hand-held device. I understand that there are not always sidewalks in small towns due to budget constraints. On numerous occasions, I have had to step into the ditch or wild bushes to avoid the speeding car coming towards me.  And, these speeding cars are not always being driven by 20-somethings either — they are being driven by soccer moms and middle-aged people.

Speaking of vehicles, does this province require inspections — because I have seen some vehicles that are definitely not safe for the streets.

4.  I have “attempted” to go into shopping centres, but the entrances are lined up with vehicles. Why do people not park in the parking spaces? They drop off/pick up someone at the entrance, but then they stay there reading the newspaper or just staring at everyone entering and leaving. I have even had to go around vehicles that are parked on the crosswalk in front of the entrance. I am not kidding. I can’t believe this is what is considered normal here. That is blatant disrespect for others.

5. Speaking of shopping, I have noticed something that is different here than anywhere else I have lived. When another cashier opens up due to a line-up, people at the back of the line run over to the newly opened cash. Maybe this is how things are done here, but where I come from, when a new cashier opens up, the next person in line (since they have been waiting the longest) goes to the new checkout. It’s no big deal to me, I’ve got lots of time.  However, I just found it strange since Newfoundlanders are known to be friendly, courteous.

As a matter of fact, I was at the back of the line once, and when the new cashier opened up, I offered that the person ahead of me go to that newly opened lane because that is what we do — it is called being courteous to others. The cashier even commented on this. So, obviously, she does not see that happen very often.

6.  Litter! I am shocked at how much garbage and litter are in these small towns. People obviously have no respect for their planet or the history of their quaint towns — if they did, they would keep them clean.

And this is what disturbs me the most — apparently, this area is also notorious for animal cruelty. This really saddens me.  I am an animal lover and a member of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals in the U.S.A. Animals deserve our love and respect.

I know that what I have experienced does not apply to every Newfoundlander. And, for those of you that are good, decent, friendly people, who are courteous, good to animals, and drive by the rules, then I am sorry that your fellow inhabitants are ruining your reputation.

I am now headed back home, and I am disturbed and sad for what I have experienced here. I will not be recommending Newfoundland to my friends, family and co-workers.

Sorry Newfoundland, you are not what I expected.


Gene Poole

North Carolina