Corner Brook

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Canada’s Corner Brook is Western Newfoundland’s largest city. Four sparse communities of the 1950s took root here with the arrival of railroads, logging and fishing industries. The communities merged in 1956 to form Corner Brook, now a vital hub surrounded by nature that begs to be explored.

For many, scenic walking and hiking top the list of things to do in Corner Brook. The Stream Trail features 5 kilometres of easy to medium terrain, laced with bridge crossings, pond views, forest scenes and vistas of this city nested in wilderness.

Corner Brook Stream makes appearances below ground as well. Two kilometres west of the city lies access to the stream-carved Corner Brook Caves, limestone formations studded with stalagmites and stalactites, a top attraction in Corner Brook as well as a regional draw. Non-experienced cavers would be wise to hire a guide and be advised of flood schedules.

Area trails that wind through local mountains make cycling is another welcome choice for visitors seeking things to do in Corner Brook. A popular outfitter is Cycle Solutions on West Street, which offers cave tours and mountain bike trips.

For thrill seekers, Marble Zip Lines is a top attraction in Corner Brook, located 11 kilometres east of the centre of town. Marble features the highest zip line in Canada, reaching a height of 86 metres (285 feet) above ground. Nine zip lines run throughout the Humber Valley, providing a variety of adventuring choices, and a viewing platform lets land lovers simply watch and take pictures.

Yet another place to immerse yourself in nature is Gros Morne National Park. The park is a UNESCO Heritage Site for its geology, offering research opportunities for plate tectonics. There are activities for every season, including camping, kayaking, snowshoeing, swimming, boating and beach-walking. Mountains, sea, tablelands, waterfalls and a freshwater fjord are among the natural wonders here, teeming with plants and fish, and wildlife from beaver to bear to caribou. You can reach the park in just over an hour driving north on Trans-Canada Highway East.

For more refined leisure, the Blomidon Golf and Country Club is easy to spot from the Trans-Canada Highway just as you near Corner Brook. The Club hosted the 2012 Provincial Adult Golf Championships and lures golfers with its lush bay and mountain views as well as reasonable pricing and courses for all levels of play.

The mountains are also showcased at Blow Me Down Provincial Park, 60 kilometres west of the city. A climb up the observation tower reveals a panorama of the Bay of Islands and nearby harbours, along with the park’s namesake mountain. Explorer Captain Messervey is said to have anchored his boat below the peak, declaring, “I hope they don’t blow me down!” You can explore the boardwalk or climb the Governor’s Staircase formed by ancient volcanic rocks. Camping, hiking, picnicking and paddling are all favourite pursuits on the trails, in the forests, and along the starfish-strewn beach.

Speaking of stars, Corner Brook shines as Western Newfoundland’s gateway.