Newfoundland Symbolism and Meaning

Newfoundland dog in santa hat at home

Symbolism is the practice of using symbols to represent or convey ideas, beliefs, or feelings through visual elements such as images, colors, or words. It’s a method to communicate meanings that may not be directly expressed in language. This article explores the rich symbolic values embedded within Newfoundland culture and history. From its flag to its architecture, everything has a story to tell about the region’s heritage.


Newfoundland, a province of Canada, is steeped in rich history and vibrant culture. Its symbols are deeply rooted in traditions that have been passed down through generations. These symbols often reflect the spirit of its people and their way of life. They embody values such as resilience, resourcefulness, and unity. This article delves into some of these symbols and their meanings.

Heraldic Bear

The heraldic bear is a significant symbol in Newfoundland’s history. It represents strength and courage, qualities that are highly valued by the people of this province. The bear was chosen as it represents both the physical and symbolic strength of the people who live there, especially during difficult times. In times of scarcity or adversity, these bears would forage for food, survive harsh winters, and protect their young ones – traits highly regarded in Newfoundland society. It’s also a reminder to stand firm and persevere in tough times, a message that resonates with locals and visitors alike.

Labrador Tea

The Labrador tea plant is another symbolic element. Symbolizing resilience, it’s used as medicine by the indigenous population for centuries. The tea has been known to help combat cold weather effects. Its medicinal properties reflect the community’s resourcefulness and adaptability in coping with harsh climates. It’s also a reminder of their close relationship with nature and respect for the environment.


The codfish is an important part of Newfoundland’s symbolism, representing abundance. The province’s economy has been historically dependent on fishing industries; it symbolizes economic prosperity, resilience after setbacks like the Cod Moratorium. It’s a testament to their perseverance and survival skills in the face of adversity.

Newfoundland Dog BAZYL


The muskrat is another symbol representing adaptability. They survive harsh conditions by building houses underwater, which is emblematic of Newfoundlanders’ ability to live in challenging circumstances. It also signifies resourcefulness and resilience.

Screech-in Ceremony

A traditional ceremony, it welcomes visitors into the community and embodies warmth, friendship, and hospitality. Every visitor is required to ‘kiss the cod’, a form of greeting that’s become iconic. It reflects the province’s welcoming nature.

The Newfoundland Flag

The flag features three colors- red, white, and green. Red symbolizes courage, white means peace, and green represents growth and prosperity. The emblem is a crown-crested wave, reflecting the ocean’s importance to their economy and way of life.

The Provincial Flower – Pitcher Plant

The pitcher plant is unique to Newfoundland’s barren environment yet thrives despite adversity, symbolizing strength in challenging conditions. It also represents hope amidst hardship.

The Redpath Sugar Refinery

This building stands tall as a symbol of the province’s industrial past and its heritage. Its ruins are preserved, symbolizing resilience after decline and transformation post-closure.


Newfoundland’s symbols are deeply ingrained in its heritage. They highlight the province’s values of strength, resilience, adaptability, and unity. They tell stories of the people’s spirit to face hardships and thrive despite them. These symbols provide insight into what makes Newfoundland unique – their culture, history, and identity. Visitors can appreciate these elements as they explore this beautiful region.

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