Calling BS: Newfoundlanders Are NOT the Country’s Friendliest Canadians

blond man angry expression
Are we better than we've been lately? Can we try to be?

Newfoundlanders love to hate things so much I’m sitting here wondering where the whole “friendly Newfoundlander” even thing comes from.

Take how we just treated Anthony Bourdain. A CNN travel-and-food show cannot come here and rave about how amazing the place is without us publicly lambasting them for how they went about it. Only in Newfoundland.

Yes, Anthony Bourdain pronounced Newfoundland wrong. But how many Newfoundlanders can pronounce Oaxaca, Mexico or Aquebogue, New York? Even popular spots like The Maldives are commonly pronounced wrong (No, it’s not Mal-Dives) But the people who live there would likely correct us with a friendly smile, tell us Mohl-Deeves. Us though, we act like it’s an affront against us he said it wrong.

The poor guy started the episode asking how to pronounce it, so he wouldn’t get crucified, but instead of respecting his efforts, we called him out. Despite the fact we Newfoundlanders basterdize all the remnant French culture in our province by pronouncing it wrong. I haven’t heard a single resident of Port-Aux-Choix pronounce their own hometown correctly.

And yeah, the word Newfie sucks, but flipping out at someone instead of explaining that to them gets us nowhere. It wasn’t even Bourdain who said it, but a person from his show in a Tweet, genuinely unaware it was insulting. And really, think about it, would he have typed that if he knew it was derogatory ( of course not, he’d be fired)?  Do you know if people from New Zealand hate being called kiwis or Australians Aussies? I don’t, but I trust if I called a New Zealander a kiwi they wouldn’t eviscerate me online, but rather explain why it’s a bad word, and humbly accept my genuine apology. I wish we’d done the same. I wish we were as friendly as we claim.

The knee jerk reaction of Newfoundlanders is to flip out at people and tell them how stupid they are. And yeah, he said Capelin wrong (or not like we say it), but can you pronounce all the fish dishes served in a place you’ve never been? We’re farming Tilapia here, I’ve heard it called til-a-pee-a by more than one Newfoundlander, so there: we’re all stupid too.

We expect everyone to know all about us. It’s the epitome of being self-absorbed and uncultured. Maybe it’s an island effect: we’re landlocked away from other cultures, so we don’t know how to interact with anyone but ourselves. Not that we’re friendly to each other, either. Every day here, social media has its public pile-on of the day, on whoever said something too easily misconstrued, overblown, and flagged around unfairly, out of context, and in a simplified manner. In Newfoundland, there is no second side, nor nuance and context to a story – just idiots calling idiots idiots.

Sadly I can’t sign my name to this article, or you’d all hang me online. That is, if you’re not too busy yanking your kids out of classes on LBGT inclusion, or telling your youth they’re not welcome to paint a pride crosswalk.

Are we better than we’ve been lately? Can we try to be? I mean, if I was Anthony Bourdain, I certainly wouldn’t come back to a place that — in exchange for filming a show here and saying how amazing it is — we barraged him with insults over very trivial things.

Article by Face Palmer

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51 Comments

    • @Eelanus: This town does not allow backbones. We’re too busy gossiping about and hating on each other to welcome an alternative opinion. The mean nature of your comment prove’s this article’s point though? Some friendly b’y!

      • @derek – the mean nature of my comment is a response to an arsehole tarring us all with the same brush. I’m not gossiping about anybody – I have the guts to speak my mind and leave my name attached when responding to somebody. Calling us all uncultured, that we’re “just idiots calling idiots, idiots”?
        Whoever wrote this piece can eat a bushel of dicks.

  • I agree wholeheartedly, the way nflder’s treat one another is sad. Ive lived away before and only nflder’s are incredibly rude, condescending, nasty, jealous, thinks everyone they dont know is a cocaine dealer, just plain garbage people. Also what the f*** is up with the instense staring and glaring??, Proud to be a canadian but ashamed to be a nflder.

  • We’re nice to tourists but not each other. I know this because I live here but not everyone knows me (even though I’ve lived here for 26 years). Sometimes, if a person is nasty to me, I will say (loud enough for them to hear but not for everyone else to hear) “Sorry, I’m from Ontario (which is true since I was born there) I thought Newfoundlanders will be friendly.” And guess what happens after I say that? The person will then “become” friendly. So it’s not a myth or assumption that Newfoundlanders pretend to be friendly to tourists; I have experienced it myself since when I say that I’m not from here (which is true) they’re nice to me!

  • I couldn’t agree with you more. I live here (my family moved here when I was one year old) and I find Newfoundlanders to be extremely rude, judgemental, and if they can find a Scapegoat, they will assign that role to that person (I have the “honour” of having that role due to years of being bullied; it’s speculated that the people that bullied me got their ideas from the movie and/or novel “Carrie” by Stephen King – it’s sad that is where the bullies got their ideas). I am aware that other places in the world are just as bad and I have told friends I have that are not from here about several incidents that have happened and they said that they have found (and heard stories from other people) Newfoundland to be a place they wouldn’t want to live, even though we may not have as many murders or assaults as other provinces but the fact that we have the highest taxes, we can’t find work here, and next year will be even worse when we officially start paying for Newfoundland Hydro. All of these factors would either drive a sane person completely insane or away from the island. I would leave if I had the money, but I don’t, so unfortunately I’m probably going to be here until I die.

    You may bash me on my “negative” opinion but it’s what I feel and I think there’s something called “Freedom Of Speech”.

  • i lived in newfoundland for nearly 40 years born and raised except for the few years i spent away for work. i traveled all over the island and have family and friends from port aux basque to st. johns. during my time away i met the love of my life who is a beautiful immigrant woman. we had kids and decided moved back to newfoundland together to start a small business and raise our kids away from the crazy city life. we have been living back home in newfoundland now for around 5 years.
    now let me tell you something about newfoundland. i love newfoundland. i think newfoundland is the most beautiful place on earth even though i did not ever travel outside of canada. i am proud to be a newfoundlander and i am proud of my heritage and culture. but lets get down off these high horses and talk for a moment and keep this as real as possible.

    *** yes i will agree that newfoundlanders are probably the most hospitable people in the world without a doubt hands down. remember i grew up here and i seen it all. newfoundlanders will give you the shirts of their backs without question. they will take you into their homes clothe you and feed you. newfoundlanders will welcome anyone with open arms and conversate with anyone anytime. ***

    so before i let the cat out of the bag i will tell you that no matter what i am proud of newfoundland and newfoundlanders and how far we came and what we done but lets get one thing straight. as much as newfoundland is everything i say above they are also the most ignorant, two faced, back stabbing, shit talking, jealous, envious, hurtful, dont want to see anyone get ahead pieces of crap. (not all newfoundlanders but the majority – just like everywhere) and oh i can only imagine the responses to all this. but these are facts! here i will explain.

    remember when i said we came home to start a business and that we have been here for 5 years and my wife is an immigrant? right so all was fine and dandy when we came home newfoundlanders were being newfoundlanders, nice, courteous, caring, involved, helpful… you get the idea. yup great newfoundlanders. we came home and things were slow going and my wife got to see newfoundlanders being newfoundlanders when we first came home.. almost like to put on a show. then as the years pass you get to see the real newfoundlanders. you see newfoundlanders are only everything good when you are new and they are trying to put on a show. but stay here for a while and try to do something positive or good for the community. then their true colors will show. when we were doing up polls about our business everyone was all for it and back patting and praising. once the business got up and running and it started to do good then you got to see the real newfoundlander, the ignorant, two faced, back stabbing, shit talking, jealous, envious, hurtful, dont want to see anyone get ahead pieces of crap newfoundlander.

    you see there is a story about newfoundlanders that you will only ever hear if you grew up here and it goes back for decades. and thats the story about newfoundlander lobster.

    you see there was a lobster trap at the bottom of the ocean and it was filled with lobsters… newfoundlander lobsters. it was a good trap and none of these newfoundlander lobsters could get out. they were there for days. and one day one of those newfoundlander lobsters managed to find a way out and just before he could fully get out the other newfoundlander lobsters kept pinching his tail and pulling him back in. over and over each time this newfoundlander lobster kept getting out the other newfoundlander lobsters kept pulling him back in.

    perfect story that explains newfoundlanders to a t

  • My Mom was a Newfoundlander and my Dad was From New Hampshire. We spent every summer in Placentia/ St Johns. I call it home because that’s how it was always referred to in my home. Going home. I turn into a different person there and my husband loves the transformation. In the US I don’t laugh very much. When I have to leave to come back I still cry on planes, Ferry’s, Driving. Nope don’t want to leave. The air smells different and when I drive there all I do is buy groceries at Bidgoods and laugh …really loud.
    People everywhere complain but when I’m home I laugh, I have family, I hike I get my bakeapples and have smuggled more than one turnup back. I go out to the cabin with my cousins and I let go of what is really scary, and that is living here. If I had a penny for every time I corrected a pronunciation I’d be a wealthy girl. I have a deep and abiding love of Newfoundland and the people. You truly are the friendliest people I have ever met. I grew up with so much love. So that’s how your thought of.

  • Comparing mispronouncing the english name of a province, to mispronouncing foreign towns in foreign languages XD

    Then BASTARDIZING (not “basterdizing”) english while criticizing us Newfies for allegedly “basterdizing” the French language.

    This sounds EXACTLY like it was written by the kind of person that finds the word “Newfie” offensive. Which it is, as per their own words in the article.

    What a joke. Doesn’t even have the backbone to sign their name to the article.

    • Agree with you 100% must be a millennial know it all entitled moron, won’t sign his name he says bcuz of backlash? Haha, to anyone hat does see my comment, i can guarantee you not many people will agree with the article or some of the comments about Newfoundlanders being two faced back stabbing, news flash you get those type of people EVERYWHERE Newfoundland wasn’t exempt from gettin a few assholes. I lived here all my life and still do have he money and means to leave and I never will. I love Newfoundland and Labrador and all the people in it.
      So to those negative people just stop

  • It is a depressing place but it has advantages. I’ve lived away for a couple of years now and I have mixed feelings about it. There are some very cool people and the ones you know and love are always a treat to see. Amazing landscape. But there’s also a sour attitude, jealousy (especially between women), and just an overall lack of social boundaries. The worst is from the outport communities… most disastrous mentalities in the entire province and the epitome of embarrassment. But I guess that’s what happens when you’re living very far from everything important and have like 30 people (or less?) in your community. Sounds rude but the worst people I’ve ever met in NL have been from tiny outport towns.

  • Complaining is like pissing in a black pair of slacks. You get a nice warm feeling which no one else notices…….we should all invest in Depends.

  • I agree. People would cut your throat. And friendly? They have no people skills whatsoever. I’m embarrassed when tourists come.

  • Seriously, everyone? There are now so many anti-NL Newfoundlanders you could start your own political party. Yeah there are awful racist homophobic misogynistic idiot assholes here. But have you been to Toronto? Crappy people exist everywhere, but so do really awesome great people. Most of the people I know and love (and I love them DEARLY) are from and/or in NL.

    Regardless of where you live, you’re not going to meet good people by staying indoors. Maybe more of you should be willing to brave the rain for a change.

  • Some people say this article is about someone complaining about Newfoundlanders complaining. As a freelance writer and former journalist who has studied and worked with the English language, I can honestly say the writer isn’t complaining. Rather, s/he is pointing out in a up front manner, the amount of complaining done by most Newfoundlanders. If only more members of society had the boldness to speak the truth. It is unfortunate, however, that the writer would not publish his/her name. But that’s their choice and don’t deserve to be abused for it in this comments section. I don’t with every aspect of this article but that’s okay because we all have different views on things in life. For example, I don’t mind being called a Newfie or Newf. I am proud of those names. But some people (like the author of this article) don’t like it. Live and let live, and let’s all get along.

  • I think you have met all the wrong people. I have lived in NL up until I moved to Ontario for 25 years. So, I do know a little of other cultures and different types of ppl. I’ve returned to retire 2 years now but nothing has changed. In our small community, ppl are friendly to each other and would help each other out without hesitation. Here in NL , they are proud ppl and giving ppl. Not all Newfoundlanders should be tared with same brush just because of some pols upbringing. In Ontario, if you say hi to a stranger, they look at you like your Cray Cray lol … I’m a Newfoundlanders and damn well proud of it.

  • Agree 100%. Very uncultured. My whole family is from newfoundland. I grew up half my life on the “mainland” and the other half in ontario. You would not pay me enough to move back there. Even tho all my family still live there. One word i would use for most newfoundlanders is Judgy… Very judgy!

  • Agree 100%. Very uncultured. My whole family is from newfoundland. I grew up half my life on the “mainland” and the other half in ontario. You would not pay me enough to move back there. Even tho all my family still live there. One word i would use for most newfoundlanders is Judgy… Very judgy!

  • Couldn’t have said it better. Newfies are the rudest, entitled, stuck up people I have ever met, and I am a Newfie.

  • I once got warned never to call myself a Newfie because I m black, I never really called myself a Newfie I only said I felt like one and the reason for this I find the word Newfie to be a very sexy way of calling someone from this province regardless of their color or origin, to me Newfies a nice people.

  • Bob – same last names, politics, religion? You obviously don’t know what you’re talking about

  • Bourdain wrote a condescending esssy about Newfoundlanders after his show like we were done kind of exotic old fashioned lay about people. I don’t know . Fuck celebrity . Pull him up on everything . He seemed to have a good time but he was slack in some departments , like everywhere people are bored so lets just whinge . Same everywhere . Australians are the same …. friendly whingers .

  • I was with you until you went all left wing about “LBGT inclusion”. Children shouldn’t be subjected to that stuff at a young age. I very proud people have the guts to put their foot down about it.

  • I think you’ve been away too long, living-in-Manitoba. Some go to where the buildings reach to meet the skies and some pine for the unique joy of being obligated to say hello to almost every person you see in the local shops because it’s likely either you know them yourselves or they are friends of your family, not to mention the subsequent gossip about how fat they’ve gotten or how slutty their daughter is or how much EI they’re collecting. Sniff. That inescapable crabs-in-the-bucket community of people with the same last names, opinions, religion, and politics; how quickly a small community can hammer down any sticking-up nail. A rainbow crosswalk is the least of your worries, believe me. Newfoundland’s a nice place to visit, but….

  • I genuinely agree with everything you said here but let’s not pretend that only Newfoundlanders get upset and fling comments online. That happens everywhere.

  • Thought it would be an article about how shitty people are towards each other here but instead I found an ad for some CNN bullshit TV show.

  • Just a few thoughts:

    You’re not wrong on most of your points. People have made too big of a deal about foolish little things like how people pronounce Newfoundland or whether or not the term “Newfie” is offensive…it’s a lot of petty stupidity. I agree with you completely.

    That said, I fundamentally disagree with the scope of your article–the people who are like this are a very vocal minority, and a much larger segment of Newfoundlanders do indeed represent the typical friendly nature for which we are famed.

    I’m not about to hang you online, or otherwise, but I must say that I find this article to be rooted in the blatantly obvious and with no deeper research conducted. It’s not an article that I can take seriously, which is unfortunate because you do make good points.

    Also, just a personal belief: if you’re not willing to take a stand in full, clear view–don’t make a stand. While I agree with a lot of your thoughts, you’re basically an atypically articulate internet troll who got access to platform and publisher. If you can’t face public expression of opposition to your position, you’ve got no place publicly expressing your own opinion. That’s called cowardice.

  • I am a Newfoundlander and people there are no different than anywhere else .I have live in BC for almost 18 years ,spent 30 plus years in NL .I chuckle to myself when I hear people say Newfs are friendly. Some are some aren’t same as anywhere else …..lots are mad at the world,choose to stay and complain about how hard done by they are ..

  • I moved here for a job under the expectation of the friendliness of Newfoundlanders. I quickly learned the facade is in place for tourism. Once living here I quickly realized how uncultured, uncivilized, rude and out of touch with the real world Newfoundlanders really are. This place is twenty years behind in evolution, style, manners, political leaders who could not run a lemonade stand without losing money and of course driving skills (or lack thereof). I have lived all across Canada, but this place takes the cake, I can’t wait to get out. As my family puts it, it is like Survivor except you want to get voted off the island. Great for visitors, sucks to live here.

  • God love you .You have said just about everything I feel think or have experienced ,,As long as you agree you are fine IF Not look out ,I have been called every name you can think of because I made a comment on the Word Newfie ,,,,,By the way I am a Newfoundlander who lived in Ontario for 25 years , ,,,,,hope we can hear more comments from you ,,,,,Cheers ,,,

  • Not sure who this meatball is that wrote this article. Apparently “Mexico” and “New York” are too complex and rich in language for us to know how to pronounce. Great article.

  • Married to a Newfoundlander and spent more time in NFLD than I care to remember, and though my experiences there by-and-large have been uneventful, I can say after almost 15 years of regular visits that it might be one of the thinnest-skinned populations on the planet. Possibly because of decades of being given the shaft provincially by the rest of the country as well as the geographical isolation, but I digress. Newfoundlanders can criticize themselves all they want, but don’t you dare try.

    If you’re from “away”, complaining about the weather to a Newfoundlander will get the same reaction as if you just called their mother a whore.

  • As a CFA who’s been here for a while I have learned to agree with EVERYTHING Newfoundlanders will ever say when they start telling all the greatest and uniquely fantastic things that you can only find here on this island ( including, of course the people).
    At first when I got here I started to tell some people that I had lived in many places around the world and that I didn’t really find the people here quite frankly very welcoming at all….BIG MISTAKE. Please dear CFA listen to me and do not ever do this even if your Newfoundland friend is educated or has been places, you will be blasted into oblivion for disagreeing with a well known “fact” , everybody says so , I dare you to say the opposite!!
    I will finish this as well by not signing as I would probably be put on the next boat for ” the Mainland” ( funny how this pejorative word here is totally acceptable for everybody who isn’t a Newfie). BTW , as I said before I have lived in many places around the world but there is only one place so far where a local of where I lived told me to “go home!” ,I will let you guess where this was.

  • You should have signed your name to the article because you hit the nail right on the head. Good read!

  • Complaining about complaining. This kind of garbage writing is just propagating this garbage behavior. In this age, people just want to find some reason to become a victim. People are inherently good. Newfoundlanders are inherently friendly. People online become insufferable, whining imbeciles. Some people just need to let people be people and keep their negative opinions to themselves.

  • I have to agree. I call it hospitality washing. Looks great from a distance but get up close you can see it for what it is. A thin veneer that wears through at the slightest offence. Makes for great marketing in the short term, long term will be a disaster.

  • Catchy title at least. But I call BS!
    You are complaining about people complaining. Your attempt to tarnish an entire province of people by writing about a handful of people trying to tarnish an entire group of people is just, I don’t know…lame. (yes, read that sentence again, slowly, so you understand what I am saying) Yes, I agree it’s a shame when people react, in a way that we feel is inappropriate, and naturally, it ticks you off. However, those people have the right to react, as do you.
    An aware reader can mostly tell what kind of person an author is within their writing. What really frustrates me is that you are most likely the type of person that would fight for rights of people in general and more particularly good decent people that have been discriminated against for the actions of others. However, in your article you have slapped a label on a large group of people for the actions of a small group. Essentially the same actions you detest and stand up against.
    This thing about keeping your identity from the article, it is most likely your attempt at being sarcastic and funny as to the context of the article, but to me, that’s just a statement that shouts, I like to have my opinions made public but I’m afraid of the reaction.
    In honour of the true style of journalism, (although I have no association what so ever with journalism) I will close with my name.

    Kindest regards
    Carla Solo

  • This article is disgusting. As a Newfoundlander, now living in Manitoba, I strongly disagree with this. Yes there are newfoundlanders that are jerks and uncultured assholes. News Flash, there are those kind of people everywhere !! I was born and raised in that province, by two loving and respectful parents. I have grown and learned in a heritage rich environment where you can say hello to almost every person you see in the local shops because it’s likely either you know them yourselves or they are friends of your family. There’s a tight knit sense of community that is hard to find elsewhere. I’ve seen first hand how quickly a small community can band together to help those in need and I don’t think for one second that all Newfoundlanders represent anything of what you’ve stated. I’ve worked in touristry there, I’ve met so many different and kind people from outside the provience, and the people that I have met here in Manitoba who have visited NL have only had wonderful things to say about it. If anything I’ve learned since moving to Manitoba, it’s that no matter where you are from, there will be people that either don’t like where you’re from, your religion, your culture or will just be down right rude. Educate yourself a little bit, man. Or better yet, go there yourself and talk to some of the locals.

    ?

  • Wow really? So complaining about ppl complaining is any better? Haha too much time on your hands kid!

  • Okay, Overcast, your “guest author” makes valid points, about which I have no quibble. However, I do take issue with your editorial process, which somehow allows “Newfoundland’s Alternative Newspaper” to publish alternative spellings for “Port au Choix” and “bastardize”, use alternative sentence structure and grammar from what is commonly accepted in proper English, and wimp on using the author’s real name. C’mon, Overcast, if you want to be considered as serious journalism, it’s time to up your cred.

  • We pay too much attention to responses on social media. Believe it or not…it is not refective of most peoples view. You really should sign your name to this article, not doing so perpetuates my point exactly.

  • Every. Single. Thing. In. This.
    Clap. Clap. Thank you for saving it. As a behaviour specialist and expert, watching how Newfoundlanders “get on” is hard to witness – the berating. The calling names. The bullying. The courts of public opinion by, as you pointed out, people who cannot pronounce their own town names correctly but are so quick to tear people apart.

    By the way, I travel a lot and I’ve said a lot of names wrong… I’ve never been corrected by anyone about the “correct” saying. And as if most Newfoundlanders don’t say “mainland” “T-er-on-o” without disdain. It’s getting hard to watch and listen to.

    I think we all need a healthy dose of reality and checking ourselves for perfection before we come down on someone else.

  • Spot on article, people here are way too sensitive, the good old east coast inferiorty complex mixed with a chip on the shoulder. It was downright embarrassing seeing the comments on the Parts Unknown page while the episode aired, seemed like people were expecting an episode of Land and Sea that visited every community and outport in the province, not to mention the gross animosity towards Quebec, every one off the head about two Montreal chefs being with him, completely overlooking the crew from Raymond’s who were showing him around. Saw some folks that were mad they didn’t mention Gander and 9/11, you know that time people acted as kind humans during a crisis like most people would, yet years later we can’t stop patting ourselves on the back about it. Whenever Newfoundland (AND LABRADOR!!!) is showcased in anyway on national TV, people start crying because they didn’t control the narrative, even Republic of Doyle got criticized for not showing more of the province, despite the fact it was about a P.I. based in St. John’s. I’m sure Bourdain has been trashed way more (the reaction to the West Virginia episode was salty at best), and he probably has better things to do than read online discourse, but the fact that he addressed the French criticism pretty much sealed the deal of him not coming back, or if he did, he’ll slip in and out, not worth the hassle

  • Can’t argue with anything said in this article. Whenever I talk to anyone elsewhere and they tell me they’ve heard that Newfoundlanders were the nicest people, I chuckle. Complaining is the official sport of Newfoundland, especially the snide sarcastic complaining you find online from Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, etc. We must have an amazing department of tourism as it seems they’ve been able to pull the wool over the world’s eyes on what people here are really like.

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