CBC Digital Archives

The remarkable fruition of Gros Morne National Park

Wonders of nature and marvels made by people stretch all across Canada. From a preserved Haida village in B.C. through Alberta's rich dinosaur fossil grounds to old Quebec City and a Viking settlement in Newfoundland, 15 remarkable Canadian places have been deemed World Heritage sites by the United Nations. CBC Digital Archives takes a tour of some of these internationally recognized national treasures.

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Newfoundland's Gros Morne National Park is a geologist's dream, containing a fjord with rugged walled canyons, flattened-off mountains called tablelands that were once an ancient ocean floor and exposed mantle that contains rock formations usually not found on the earth's surface. Its flora and fauna are also remarkable: the carnivorous pitcher plant eats insects that fall into it and the woodland caribou is native to Newfoundland. In this report from CBC-TV's Wonderstruck, Bob McDonald illustrates the geographical progression of the large park situated on Newfoundland's west coast.
• Gros Morne was established as a National Park Reserve in 1973 and became officially entrenched upon the passing of the National Parks Act in 2005.
  • It was inscribed on UNESCO's (United Nations Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization) World Heritage List in 1987.

• According to UNESCO's website, the organization chose Gros Morne National Park as a World Heritage site because it "illustrates some of the world's best examples of the process of plate tectonics. Within a relatively small area are classic, textbook examples of monumental earth-building and modifying forces that are unique in terms of their clarity, expression, and ease of access ... The park also presents an outstanding demonstration of glaciation in an island setting. The fjords, waterfalls and geological structures of the park combine to produce a landscape of high scenic value."


• At 1,805 square kilometres, it is the second largest national park in Atlantic Canada, surpassed by Torngat Mountains National Park, which located on the Labrador Peninsula and is 9,600 square kilometres.

• Gros Morne is a popular tourist attraction and has many opportunities for adventure. The park's official website says the variety of activities available include hiking, fishing, cycling, bird and whale watching, boat tours, kayaking, swimming and skiing. There are several restaurants, a few shops and stores, and a long list of accommodations within its boundaries.

• Besides caribou, visitors to the park may also encounter the black bear, moose, Arctic hare, lynx, beaver, weasel and red fox, plus the birds species grey rock ptarmigan, brown Willow ptarmigan and Canada goose. In addition to pitcher plants, plant life also features butterwarts, great sundrew, orchids, and dragon's mouth.

• The park is named after Gros Morne Mountain. At 807 metres tall, it is the second highest peak in Newfoundland's Long Range Mountains, which are a range in the Appalachian Mountains. The Cabox, near the west coast city of Corner Brook, is 814 metres tall.

• Gros Morne is French for "large mountain standing alone". 

Medium: Television
Program: Wonderstruck
Broadcast Date: Jan. 25, 1989
Host: Bob McDonald
Duration: 5:33

Last updated: May 5, 2014

Page consulted on May 5, 2014

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