Cities in Six—St. John’s, Newfoundland

Visual, Virtual, Visiting---Six Photos at a Time

St John’s, the capital of Newfoundland and Labrador, is Canada’s easternmost city.  The city is on the Avalon Peninsula in southeast Newfoundland, facing the Atlantic Ocean.

The site of seasonal fishing camps centuries ago, the large protected harbour made St John’s an attractive location for a major trading centre.  St John’s was established as a permanent community around 400 years ago.  I visited St John’s during my first trip to Newfoundland, on a surprisingly sunny weekend in May 2006.

Signal hill.  The stately Cabot Tower on Signal Hill was built in 1897 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of explorer John Cabot’s arrival in Newfoundland.  It was here that Guglielmo Marconi received the first transatlantic wire transmission in 1901.  The aptly-named hill is a National Historic Site.

St John’s Harbour.  The city sprawls along one side of the deep, protected harbour.  St John’s is a major east-coast port and enjoys increasing cruise ship visits.   This view is from Signal Hill.

The Narrows.  The entrance from the Atlantic to St John’s Harbour is through The Narrows, only 61 metres wide at its narrowest point.  The  steep stone bluffs provide the harbour with good defense from wind—and invaders

The Battery.  This neighbourhood of St John’s clings to the side of Signal Hill, just inside the harbour entrance.   Many of its traditional fishing sheds have been converted to colourful homes.

Twin towers.  Even when the city is socked in with its world-famous fog, two landmarks rise above the horizon.  On the left, the red-roofed cultural centre and museum “The Rooms”, which opened in 2005.  On the right, the Basilica of St John the Baptist, completed in 1855.  This basilica is the second-largest church in Canada.

Eating like a local.  There are many fine eateries near the harbour area, and their menus include an array of seafood and traditional Newfoundland fare like Jiggs Dinner.  But up the hill (not far from The Rooms) is Ches’s Famous Fish & Chips, and that’s where many of the locals go.

Travel note:  St John’s is accessible by direct flights from many major Canadian cities (at least as far west as Edmonton.)  St John’s International Airport is 10km from the downtown area, a quick taxi-ride away.  By road you can reach St John’s by taking one of two ferry routes from Sydney NS.