Discovery Day in Newfoundland


Map by Paul Parsons

Map by Paul Parsons


With Brexit on everyone’s mind these days, it’s a good time to give pause and reflect on how fortunate we are in Canada. Our National Day, Canada Day, is this Friday, and, knock on wood, our country appears to be safe, and sound, hale, healthy and united. “A Mari Usque Ad Mare” is our national motto, appearing on our coat of arms and on all our passports; from Sea to Sea. With that in mind, today we turn our attention to the last piece of the puzzle that is Canada, the easternmost province of our country, Newfoundland and Labrador.

Brigus Cove

Brigus Cove


Newfoundland joined Canada in 1949. Until then it was a colony of the U.K., and then in 1907 it became a Dominion. Since 1997, the 500th anniversary of John Cabot’s arrival it has celebrated its National Day, “Discovery Day,” on the Monday closest to June 24, the day John Cabot’s ship, The Matthew landed on the shores of what is now known as Bonavista. It was Cabot (Giovanni Cabotto) who named the land New-found-land when he realized it wasn’t Asia.



Giovanni Cabotto


In Newfoundland and Labrador, Discovery Day is a provincial holiday, a paid holiday for government employees. For many residents it is a time to celebrate their history with music, food, trips to Bonavista to check out the floating replica of the Matthew, and even getting in a little rowing! 


The "Matthew"

The “Matthew”


For the rest of us, we might take the day to wish our Easternmost Canadians a happy Discovery Day, and maybe listen to some melodious jigs and shanties from the likes of bands like Great Big Sea. And if you want to indulge in some gustatory delights, why not fry up a batch of cod tongues, a Newfoundland delicacy. You can get them at Seaport Merchants Fish & Seafood, a family run business that has been at Victoria Park and St Clair since the eighties.

Gerry and his wife Marilyn, who hail from The Rock also stock fresh cod fillets, salt cod, salt pork and beef, and a selection of jams, chips, cookies and more hard to find Newfoundland specialties that will make you yearn for the salt spray of the Atlantic.

Happy Discovery Day to all our Newfoundland friends! And for those Canadians who have not yet been lucky enough to have visited Newfoundland and experienced the friendliness and beauty of this land, check out some of these incredible images to see what you’re missing! Kind of makes you proud to be a Canadian, doesn’t it?

Fried Cod Tongues –from

2 lbs cod tongues, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup flour
1 – 1 1/2 tsp salt
1/8 – 1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 – 1/2 lb salt pork
Carefully wash cod tongues and dry with paper towel. Allow 6-8 tongues per person. Put flour, salt and pepper in a plastic bag; add tongues and shake until evenly coated. Cut up salt pork and fry until fat is rendered out an pork ( scrunchions) are crisp and brown. Remove scrunchions. Fry tongues over medium hot heat until browned and crisp on both sides. Serve with potatoes and peas.

Baked cod tongues: 

2 lbs cod tongues
1 cup milk
2 tsp salt
1 cup biscuit or bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Wipe cod tongues with a damp cloth. Soak cod tongues in milk ( in which salt has been dissolved) for about 10 minutes. Drain and roll in bread crumbs . place on a greased baking sheet and bake
at 450 degrees F for about 10 minutes.



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