Recreation and sport are vital elements of our province’s history and culture. Our citizens participate in many ways – as volunteers, leaders, athletes, coaches, officials, parents, spectators, supporters, sponsors, artists, media, scientists and medical personnel.
Sport is undertaken in active competitive settings such as soccer, hockey, baseball, rugby, rowing, tennis and curling, where organized leagues and teams challenge each other in friendly rivalry. Some of our athletes compete on a higher stage with many of our athletes challenging at national and international level. In 2006, Newfoundland and Labrador won its first Olympic gold medal ever at the 2006 Olympic Games in Torino, Italy. Newfoundland and Labrador is extremely proud of its Olympic curling gold medallist team: Brad Gushue, Russ Howard, Mark Nichols, Jamie Korab, and Mike Adams.
Not all participation is competitive. This includes unstructured physical activity that occurs in natural, outdoor settings such as provincial and national parks, and in the backcountry or other outdoor environments. Gros Morne National Park, on the province’s west coast, is a Unesco World Heritage Site. There is a lot to keep you busy in Gros Morne National Park: bird watching, whale watching, boat and kayak tours, swimming, and an extensive trails system where you can wander over the earth’s mantle and see vegetation and wildlife that is unique to our province. Terra Nova National Park, on the province’s east coast, is a collection of marshes and bogs, misty shorelines and majestic boreal forest. This park has many challenging trails for mountain biking, backpacking, and hiking enthusiasts.
For the ultimate in hiking experiences, Labrador is one of the last unspoiled wilderness areas on earth. Here, you can climb inland mountains and experience wildlife in its natural surroundings. In winter, explore Labrador on groomed snowmobile trails with up to 400 centimeters of fresh, powdery snow. You may even see moose, artic hare, or the George River Caribou Herd, one of the world's largest caribou herds with upward of 700,000 animals. This majestic land is also home to Mother’s Nature’s very own light show, the aurora borealis (or The Northern Lights). This natural phenomenon illuminates the northern horizon as a greenish glow or sometimes a faint red.