Comprising 3.6% of Canada’s surface land mass, the Appalachian region contains Canada’s smallest provinces – New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland. Although small in land mass, these provinces are large in history as they were the first regions in Canada settled by Europeans. In fact, St. John’s (the capital of Newfoundland) is North America’s oldest city and most easterly point. On the northern tip of Newfoundland, across the straight from Belle Isle, L’Anse Aux Meadows contains the remnants of a Norse (viking) settlement created in 1000 A.D.
As the name suggests, this entire region is an extension of the ancient Appalachian mountain ranges, featuring a landscape of rugged hills and plateaus along with deeply indented coastlines. One of the most significant natural features of this area of Canada is what lies out of sight, beneath the sea. The relatively shallow continental shelf of the Grand Banks extends 400 kilometers offshore where the mixing of ocean currents and nutrients creates one of the world’s richest fishing grounds - despite it’s magnificence, recent times have shown that even a natural phenomenon of this scale is not impervious to human abuse.