Canada’s natural wonders have long attracted recognition for their unrivalled beauty and historical importance. This year, Canada has been officially honoured with another accolade – the wilderness area of Mistaken Point in Newfoundland was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status.
The Newfoundland ecological reserve holds fossil evidence of some of Earth’s oldest creatures. Unsurprisingly, Mistaken Point – which is located on the south-eastern tip of the Avalon Peninsula – is now expected to attract many people on holiday in Canada and Newfoundland. With the boost UNESCO status will give to the region, now could be the perfect time to visit.
Mistaken Point boasts fossils of earth’s oldest multi-cellular life forms on its 565-million-year-old sea floor. Its vast collection of fossils was first discovered in 1967 and has proved fascinating to ecologists ever since. According to Parks Canada, the reserve is believed to be home to more than 10,000 fossil impressions and some of the world’s oldest known examples of the Earth’s first large ancestral animals.
Speaking to CBC Newfoundland and Labrador, Mistaken Point geologist Richard Thomas said that the UNESCO designation was the most prestigious recognition a fossil site can get.
Other UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Newfoundland & Labrador
Now that Mistaken Point has been added to the list of World Heritage Sites, it means Canada currently boasts 18 of these specially designated areas.
Of the 18 across Canada, there are now four beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Newfoundland and Labrador. Here’s a little background to the three other sites you can visit.
Gros Morne National Park
The diverse natural beauty of Gros Morne National Park is home to dramatic fjords and mountains as well as beaches, forests and sheer cliffs.
The remote national park is great for hiking, with its variety of coastal walking trails, alpine highlands and seaside villages welcoming walkers from across the globe.
L’Anse Aux Meadows National Historic Site
L’Anse Aux Meadows National Historic Site is home to an 11th-century Viking settlement, which is the first documented European presence in North America. The settlement is the first and only known site made by Vikings in North America, so if you’re into your history then this is a must.
Red Bay Basque Whaling Station
The Red Bay Basque Whaling Station is another UNESCO World Heritage Site in Newfoundland.
Located on the shore of the Strait of Belle Isle on the north-eastern tip of Canada, this archaeological site is the earliest and best preserved European whaling station.
The station was founded in the 1530s and visitors to the site today can see old rendering ovens, cooperages, wharves, temporary living quarters, a cemetery, whale bone deposits and underwater remains of vessels.
Image Credit: Zach Bonnell, EOL Learning and Education Group, NorthernLight.