Newfoundland is a large island,
about the size of Spain, located off the east coast of Canada in the North
Atlantic. St. John's is on the eastern-most coast of the island, facing
Europe. St. John's is a very old city. Fishermen from Europe used St. John's
as a safe harbour from the mid-1500s onward.
Located beside the Narrows (the entrance to St. John's Harbour), Signal Hill can be seen from most of the city. Signal Hill was a military fort for centuries. British troops were stationed there from the early 1700s on.
In 1901, the first trans-Atlantic wireless message was sent between Signal Hill and Cornwall, England by Guglielmo Marconi.
During World War II, Signal Hill was a major military base, fortified with large guns in case enemy planes or boats came close to St. John's.
To find out more about Signal
Hill and see pictures, visit Parks Canada's Signal
Hill Home Page.
Newfoundland and Canada
When World War II ended in 1945,
Newfoundland was not part of Canada. Newfoundland had been a British Dominion,
like Canada, until the Great Depression of the 1930s caused it to become
bankrupt. In December of 1933,
the government of Newfoundland shut itself down and asked Britain to take control of Newfoundland and Labrador. From then until 1949, there were no elections. Instead, all decisions were made by appointed commissioners.
When the war was over, the economy of Newfoundland was in better shape. Would Newfoundland go back to being a country again? The question was hotly debated. People in Newfoundland and Labrador did not decide what they wanted to do until 1949, when they voted to join Canada by a very narrow margin. Newfoundland and Labrador became Canada's tenth province on April 1, 1949.
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