Welcome to SNOLAB

SNOLAB is an underground science laboratory specializing in neutrino and dark matter physics. Situated two km below the surface in the Vale Creighton Mine located near Sudbury Ontario Canada, SNOLAB is an expansion of the existing facilities constructed for the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) solar neutrino experiment.

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ABEC annual picnic 2014

Port au Choix, National Historic Site of Canada

Natural Wonders & Cultural Treasures



Groswater Paleoeskimo

Groswater blade exhibit at Port au Choix Visitor Centre
Groswater blade exhibit at Port au Choix Visitor Centre
©Parks Canada

About 2800 years before present (B.P.), several hundred years after the Maritime Archaic Indians had abandoned the area, the Groswater Paleoeskimos arrived at Port au Choix. These people originating from the Arctic may have moved south to Newfoundland during a period of climatic cooling. Coming from the Arctic, the Groswater Paleoeskimos may have been culturally better adapted and had better technology to exploit the marine resources during a period of a colder climate.

The Groswater Paleoeskimos were even more marine focussed than the Maritime Archaic Indians. Their tools were for hunting marine animals such as seals and were distinctive in their smallness and fine craftsmanship. To date their unique bone, ivory and antler harpoon heads have only been found at Port au Choix.

Groswater Paleoeskimo tools, (left) Harpoon head, (right) Side-notched endblade
Groswater Paleoeskimo tools, (left) Harpoon head, (right) Side-notched endblade
©Parks Canada

With these tools, including the distinctive side-notched harpoon endblades, the Groswater Paleoeskimos returned to Port au Choix every spring to hunt seals. They would set up camp at Phillip's Garden, near where modern-day seal hunters take off by boat. Excavations of the Groswater Palaeoeskimo camps at Phillip's Garden East and Phillip's Garden West suggest that the Groswater occupied the sites only on a seasonal basis.

About 1900 years B.P. the Groswater Paleoeskimos disappeared from this site and seemingly from history itself. Perhaps these people were displaced or assimilated by the newly arriving Dorset Paleoeskimos. Another idea suggests the Groswater were ancestral to the Dorset Paleoeskimos. There is simply not enough evidence to make an absolute conclusion about the fate of the Groswater Paleoeskimos and archaeologists continue to disagree on this point.


Cooler times brought an arctic folk, the Palaeo-Eskimos to these shores. These people specialized in hunting marine mammals and intensely used whatever resources were abundant. Seals were their most important food, and when seals were scarce starvation came. For 16 centuries they hunted these shores, then left no further trace.

The term 'Recent Indian Cultures' encompasses all Indian occupation of Newfoundland since the end of the Palaeo-Eskimo period. Unfortunately this occupation is not well represented in the archaeological record of the park, and the people who left the remains are unidentified. There are traces of Indian occupation within Gros Morne National Park at Cow Head and Broom Point about a thousand years ago, but so far nothing more recent has been found.

Arrival of the Europeans

A thousand years ago, Norsemen exploring west from Greenland built the oldest known European dwellings in the Americas, just a few days' sail north of Gros Morne National Park. The remains of their camp, discovered in 1960 by Helge and Anne Stine Ingstad are now a part of the L'Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site.

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Underwater archaeology at Red Bay
Underwater archaeology at Red Bay
© GMNP / PNGM / 01-151

During the 1500s, in the wake of explorers John Cabot and Jacques Cartier, Basque fishermen and whalers crossed the North Atlantic to ply their trades in Newfoundland and Labrador each summer. Find out more about the Basques fisherman and whalers at the Red Bay National Historic Site.

Jacques Cartier, sailing for the King of France, charted the waters around the Island in 1534 and landed at St. Paul's Inlet on June 16th. This voyage gives us the oldest description and map of the park area. Two hundred years later, the British Admiralty commissioned James Cook to survey the north, south, and west coasts of the colony. He named many of the places around Bonne Bay.

The French Shore

Britain and France fought for decades over ownership of eastern North America. Britain gained sovereignty over Newfoundland in 1713, but France retained the lucrative rights to catch and cure fish on the island's northeast coast. By 1783 the boundaries of the French Shore had to be redrawn. Newfoundland's expanding population wanted control of the fishery of the northeast coast. In exchange, France gained fishing rights along the west coast. By treaty, neither French nor British subjects were allowed to erect permanent buildings along the west coast. In the late 1700s, while the French were away at war, transient fishermen began to encroach on the French fishing area. They caught and cured salmon and codfish, then returned to St. John's and the Avalon Peninsula to sell their summer's catch. Eventually, some built rough cabins and began to over-winter, facing conditions very similar to those experienced by the earlier cultures.

Settlers had to use resources as they came into season. Fishing was the main occupation. Meat and firewood came from the woods, and berries supplemented garden produce. Winter was a time for trapping, and in March men went out on the sea-ice to hunt seals for meat, oil, and skins. With only infrequent visits by merchant vessels and official ships, isolation was a way of life.

Woody Point with Norris Point in the background, early 1900's.
Woody Point with Norris Point in the background, early 1900's.
© GMNP / PNGM / 11-2-900-003

By 1809, Bonne Bay had a trading station set up by Joseph Bird, a merchant from Dorset in England. He provided supplies in exchange for fish and furs, making year-round habitation easier.

By the 1870s, trawl fishing for codfish created a great demand for herring as bait. Herring were abundant, and wintered in the deep waters of Bonne Bay. This lucrative fishery drew a flood of year-round settlers. Merchants prospered and tradesmen became established. Teachers, doctors, and itinerant clergymen arrived. A steamship now served the coast, a courthouse was built at Woody Point, and telegraph and postal service became available.

In the late-1870s, herring stocks declined. Fishermen from Nova Scotia initiated the trapping and canning of lobster for the Boston market. Lobster was so important by the end of the century that 76 canneries employed 1,400 people year-round, and every available inlet was occupied. So hot was the competition that it led to hostility between French and Newfoundland fishermen.

Things were getting out of hand on the "uninhabited" French Shore. Settlement increased while stocks of cod, salmon, herring, and lobster dwindled. In Europe, war loomed. The time had come for France and Britain to settle territorial and tariff differences. In 1904 France exchanged her Newfoundland fishing rights for warmer territory in Africa, although she retained the islands of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon off Newfoundland's south coast. The west coast was free to enter the Twentieth Century. Today there is a plaque commemorating the French Shore Treaty at Point Riche, Newfoundland.

A New Beginning

The ocean's bounty is not endless - the over-exploited 6 fishery failed. People turned to the woods. In the 1920s, the St. Lawrence Timber, Pulp, and Steamship Company set up in a place called Lomond, named by the mill manager, George Simpson from Scotland. Logging brought cash to a society based on barter. Fishermen took to the woods for the winter working out of lumber camps.

During World War II, Canada recognized Newfoundland's strategic importance, and was worried by American ambitions in the colony. After two referendums, Newfoundland and Labrador agreed to Confederation in 1949. Canada's social programs and the development of new industries completed the switch to a cash economy. Roads linked communities, and new schools were built. Electricity and television brought a very different way of life.


The national importance of the Bonne Bay area was recognized in 1973. By agreement with the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Government of Canada established Gros Morne National Park to protect and present an outstanding example of Newfoundland's western highlands. In 1987, the United Nations declared Gros Morne National Park a World Heritage Site for its exceptional geological features and natural beauty.

Brief Description

Situated on the west coast of the island of Newfoundland, the park provides a rare example of the process of continental drift, where deep ocean crust and the rocks of the earth's mantle lie exposed. More recent glacial action has resulted in some spectacular scenery, with coastal lowland, alpine plateau, fjords, glacial valleys, sheer cliffs, waterfalls and many pristine lakes.

The spectacular Long Range Mountains, land-locked fjords, pillow rocks and mysterious Tablelands of Gros Morne National Park not only bestow the land with incredible beauty, but reveal secrets of the major stages of the earth's evolutionary history and are an essential part of the reason the park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Woodland Caribou can be seen in summer at higher elevations, and the Moose population, non-native to Newfoundland, has exploded!


Although permanent settlement on these shores did not occur until the turn of the 19th century, archaeological evidence has provided a record of human history that goes back 3500 years.



The spectacular, complex geology and glacier-sculpted scenery of this 1,805 sq km park have earned it designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as the tale told by its ancient Precambrian rocks was instrumental in the formation of the Plate Tectonics theory of moving continents. Located on the west coast of the island of Newfoundland, in Atlantic Canada, Gros Morne National Park has landlocked fiords, ocean cliffs, sandy beaches, serpentine barrens, coastal lowlands, the large fiord of Bonne Bay, and the sudden rise of the Long Range Mountains. There are over 40 sites rich in ancient fossils such as trilobites, and some exposed rock strata are 1.25 billion years old.


The park contains 2 distinct ecoregions, the coastal lowlands along the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the alpine plateau of the Long Range Mountains, creating a richly diverse mix of arctic, boreal, and temperate species. It is home to moose, red fox, black bear, snowshoe hare, and herds of woodland caribou, ptarmigan, bald eagle, and osprey. Offshore, harbour seals breed on small islands, and whales can be seen on migration. Activities include hiking and backpacking on the than 100 km of trails, rock and ice climbing, and ski mountaineering.


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