St.John’s, Canada

St.John’s is the capital and largest city in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador and it is the most easterly city in North America. With a population of 214,000, St.John’s is a small city that can adequately be explored in one day.

Here are 5 things to do: 1 day in St. John’s.

1) Visit Cape Spear 

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Officially the most eastern point in North America, Cape Spear is located 12km from downtown St.John’s. As with most Canadian cities, public transportation is poor/unavailable, so renting a car is kind of a necessity. However, the awesome coastal drive makes renting a car definitely worthwhile, and once you arrive, there are a few small hikes situated around the lighthouse (the oldest surviving one in the province), giving you an opportunity to stretch your legs.

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Constructed in 1836 and re-made in 1955, the Cape Spear lighthouse is an iconic whale-watching spot. There are also nearby remnants from Fort Cape Spear, a WWll coastal defence against potential German invaders.

You’ll spend about 30-45 minutes here and it’s a good way to begin your day in St.John’s.

2) Stop into Petty Harbour – Maddox Cove

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This tiny town of about 1000 people is a short 5-minute drive from Cape Spear (listed above) and about 20-30 minutes from downtown St.John’s. One of the oldest European settlements in North America, current day Petty Harbour has been occupied since 1598.

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Traditionally, Petty Harbour was a thriving cod fishing community. However, in 1992 there was a moratorium placed on Newfoundland for cod fishing – forcing the town to shift its economy more towards tourism.

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Make sure to visit this tiny community for some beautiful scenery, a laid back atmosphere and incredible whale watching! Furthermore, there are great hiking trails surrounding the town!

3) Walk around the downtown core of St.John’s

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A colourful, compact downtown core makes St.John’s an ideal city to walk around for a few hours. Most of the shops, restaurants and bars are located in the area within Gower, George and Water streets.

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From there, you can head down to the harbour to check out some fishing boats and huge ships while breathing in the sweet Atlantic air!

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After you’re done breathing in the fishy refreshing Atlantic air, make sure to meander back through the downtown streets to take in the colourful buildings scattered about!

IMG_2341IMG_3624IMG_3623IMG_3622IMG_2339 And while you’re down there…..

4) Eat some fish and chips! 

The maritime provinces are known for their fish and chips, so it’s pretty well a requirement to slop on some tartar sauce and devour a couple pieces of Atlantic cod!

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5) Hike (or drive) up to Signal Hill

Overlooking the city of St.John’s, Signal Hill is an iconic lookout spot that was the location of the final battle of the 7 years war in 1762.

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Construction of the Cabot Tower, which sits atop Signal Hill, began in 1897, commemorating the 400-year anniversary (1497!) of when John Cabot landed in North America.

*Apparently John Cabot was actually Giovanni Caboto, an Italian explorer. I’m not sure why us English speakers felt it necessary to change his name……*

From Signal Hill, you can look east out to the coastline or turn around to see the city of St.John’s from a high vantage point.

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There are also a few hiking routes around Signal Hill and the North Head Trail begins from this spot.

Conclusion: 

I spent 18 hours in St.John’s and in my opinion, it is the perfect place to explore for a day. The people are exceptionally friendly, the city is compact, and there are a few distinct tourist sites to explore.

Hopefully this list will inspire you to check out one of Canada’s hidden gems on the east coast!

 

3 responses to “St.John’s, Canada

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