The first Premier of Newfoundland, Joey Smallwood, coined the term “Atlantic Canada” when Newfoundland joined the Dominion of Canada in 1949. He believed that it would have been presumptuous for Newfoundland to assume that it could include itself within the existing term “Maritime Provinces”, used to describe the cultural similarities shared by New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia. The three Maritime provinces entered into confederation during the 19th century: New Brunswick and Nova Scotia were founding members of the Dominion of Canada in 1867, and Prince Edward Island joined in 1873.

Smallwood and others have excluded Quebec from Atlantic Canada because of Quebec’s dramatically different culture. This is despite the fact that Quebec has physical Atlantic coasts on the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Ungava Bay, and the Hudson Strait.

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