I asked a born-and-bred Vancouver coworker. I asked two people from Ontario. I asked someone from Newfoundland and someone in Vancouver from France. From my tiny survey, people outside of the Maritime/Atlantic Provinces of Canada do not know about Saint-Pierre et Miquelon. Amongst all of the years of learning Canadian history and geography, I’ve retained shockingly little. But the little gem that I still remember is that there are some French islands just off the coast of Newfoundland called… Saint-Pierre et Miquelon.
It’s not looking like I will make a big trip in the fall this year. I’d have to win one (oh trust me, I’m trying). In my case, it’s always an honourable thing to go home, see my parents. I used to have just three weeks of vacation and a significant chunk of it was spent in Halifax or Toronto. (Grumble, grumble.) Now I have five weeks and visit a modicum less. Nonetheless, I will scheme how to make a trip “out east” more interesting. It’s my usual strategy of the side trip. A side trip to Toronto is easy but not novel. Halifax is geographically close enough to a lot of New England cities – most of which I’ve been to including New York, Boston and DC. Of the exotic and slightly farther variety from Halifax is Iceland (4 hours away), Bermuda (surprisingly 6 hours away by indirect flight) and Saint-Pierre et Miquelon (90 minutes away).
Yes, it is that close. Only one airline, Air Saint-Pierre, flies in and not from anywhere in Canada except Montreal and cities in the Maritime Provinces and not even from the motherland, France. You can’t even get a quote on the airline’s website for the price but I learned from an email inquiry that the one-way fare is approximately $350. Eeep.
The more viable option is to visit Newfoundland (my first time!) and drive down to Fortune, NL from which a daily 1-hour ferry will take you to Saint-Pierre and it is only $93 for the round-trip. That sounds more like it.
The scheming continues….