Hosteling Through Atlantic Canada

<i> Izon is a Canadian travel journalist covering youth budget routes. </i>

On a brisk June day we sat on a mound overlooking Newfoundland’s Twillingate harbor, hoping to see some playful humpback whales. We didn’t find whales that day, but instead were treated to another of nature’s fascinating sights--an immense iceberg had floated into the bay.

Playful whales, icebergs and intriguing archeological ruins are just a few of the curiosities young travelers can investigate in Atlantic Canada this summer.

For the record:

12:00 AM, Jul. 27, 1986 Los Angeles Times Sunday July 27, 1986 Home Edition Travel Part 7 Page 18 Column 3 Travel Desk 1 inches; 18 words Type of Material: Correction
In the June 22 column the address for the Trail Shop in Nova Scotia should have read 6210 Quinpool Road, Halifax, Nova Scotia.

At Newfoundland’s northerly tip is one of North America’s most fascinating historic discoveries. At an area known as L’Anse-aux-Meadows, archeologists have excavated a site where Vikings established a Norse settlement 500 years before the voyages of Columbus.

The area, protected by Parks Canada, has an interpretation center with reproductions of artifacts found on the site and several buildings constructed by the methods the Vikings would have used almost 1,000 years ago.


Several camping areas are near the closest town, St. Anthony. Some travelers set up tents near the archeological site. It isn’t encouraged by Parks Canada but it is tolerated.

Viking Express

If you don’t have your own transportation you can reach the northern tip of Newfoundland by taking the Viking Express bus service. From the town of Corner Brook to St. Anthony the fare is $36 one way. It is not a daily service; you can make the trip north on Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Saturday.

Most of the route between Corner Brook and St. Anthony is known as the Viking Trail. You might want to stop about 78 miles north of Corner Brook at Gros Morne National Park. There you’ll find dramatic fiords, sandy beaches, rugged mountains, well-marked hiking trails and one of Newfoundland’s three youth hostels.


The hostel is in the southern section of the park at the Woody Point community hall. It will be open between July 1 and Sept. 3 for up to 30 young visitors a night at a rate of $5; you must provide your own sleeping bag.

This summer in Newfoundland there will also be a home hostel in Eastern Point in the central part of the province, and hostel facilities at Memorial University in St. John’s.

You can reach Newfoundland by either of two ferries (reservations recommended). The trip from North Sydney, Nova Scotia, to Port aux Basques, Newfoundland, takes about seven hours and the fare is $11 (Canadian).

The MV Caribou can carry 1,200 day and 800 night passengers. On the night trip you can get a single berth in a four-berth cabin for $16 or a reclining seat for $5.30. After that you are left with a drive across the island if you are going to St. John’s.


A longer ferry trip from North Sydney to Argentia, near St. John’s, takes 19 hours and costs $30. A berth costs an additional $17.50 and a reclining seat $10.

Most Developed Network

Nova Scotia has the most developed youth hostel network in Atlantic Canada, with 11 youth hostels expected to operate this summer. If you drop into the hosteler’s Trail Shop at 6210 Quinpool Road in Sydney you can get information, including publications such as “Nova Scotia’s Hiking Trails” (6.95) or “Biking Trails” ($3.50).

You can travel between Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, and Bar Harbor, Me., on a six-hour ferry trip. The summer fare is $29, plus $15 if you take a bike. You can also travel by ferry from Digby, Nova Scotia, to Saint John, New Brunswick, in 2 1/2 hours for $12, plus $9.75 for a bicycle.


In New Brunswick is Canada’s first lighthouse youth hostel. The Campbellton youth hostel is on Pleasant Street on the waterfront.

Campbellton (population 10,000) is popular for its salmon festival late June to early July. This is the first full summer the lighthouse hostel will be open. It can accommodate 22 young travelers in separate male and female dormitory rooms with a common room and kitchen. The price for international youth hostel members is $6.50, for non-members $7.50.

New Brunswick also has youth hostels in Fredericton, Saint John (YWCA) and at Caraquet this summer. Caraquet is an Acadian town and popular port for deep-sea fishing. An Acadian festival is held in mid-August.

From Cape Tormetine in New Brunswick you can travel to Borden, Prince Edward Island, by ferry for $2 (bikes an additional $1.50). The trip takes about 45 minutes.


Charlottetown (population 15,300) is Prince Edward Island’s only city and has the province’s only youth hostel. There are several camping facilities. Along the north shore are white-sand beaches and the traditional nightly lobster suppers at community centers and church halls.

For further information contact Canadian Consulate General, 510 West 6th St., Suite 712, Los Angeles 90014.