O Canada, you’re amazing from the east to the west. Just when people think they’ve seen all of Canada, they’re truly missing out if they haven’t experienced the Maritime provinces, specifically the city of St. John’s in Newfoundland and Labrador. In my experience, St. John’s is by far one of the most scenic places I’ve come to visit in Canada and I dare agree with National Geographic‘s opinion that it is one of the top 10 Oceanfront Cities. Here are some of the reasons why the city is a must see on your next Canadian adventure.
1. Few tourists
While everyone flocks to the bigger cities like Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto, you can rest assured that there will be no fighting for that perfect photo in St. John’s. You’ll also be guaranteed a peaceful and relaxing Canadian getaway at this cultural and historic city as not many visit since it is far away from the rest of the tourist hotspots in Canada.
2. Great Views
The city’s strategic location provides its visitors with stunning coastal scenery. From its lovely fjords to the occasional iceberg floating in, it’s best if you take your time to cruise through the city and enjoy it. If you’re really lucky in the summer when you hike Signal Hill, you might just catch a sight of whales. Also, the greatest part of it all is that there will be little competition to great photos (refer to point #1). Basically, your insta will be fire.
3. Hiking and Biking Opportunities
Based on the previous point, you can probably tell St. John’s is pretty stacked with places to hike. Signal Hill has about 6 different hiking trails all ranging in difficulty. In the neighbourhood of Quidi Vidi, you can get to Cuckold Head Cove through the East Coast Trail, where you will have a splendid view of the city (and maybe see an iceberg or some whales).
#SpoonTip: Take a sunrise hike to Signal Hill and be one of the first people in North America to see the sun (after people at Cape Spear—the easternmost point of North America)!
If you’re well caught up with history, you know that St. John’s is the oldest English city in North America. That being said, you’ll never fail to experience historic culture and tradition at play in this beautiful city. Check out or fire the daily Noon Day Gun by the Cabot Tower, Signal Hill—a tradition that dates back to the 19th century—or get “screeched” at a local pub to officiate yourself as a true Newfoundlander/Newfie!
#SpoonTip: Learn more about the province’s history at the provincial museum—The Rooms! Admission is free on Wednesday evenings from 6 to 9 pm.
Tired of a city’s hustle and bustle? Well, I’d like to tell you that St. John’s the place to be for you to run away from the loud noises of car honking and tire screeching. The city’s small population of roughly 100,000 people (1/8 the size of Ottawa) guarantees a quiet and relaxing holiday. That’s unless you head down to George Street in the evening for St. John’s numerous lively bars, pubs, and restaurants.
6. Fresh Seafood
When the first European colonists came here in the late 15th century, many were amazed by the waters, which were unbelievably plentiful with codfish. No joke, English fishing skippers described the amount of codfish found “so thick by the shore that we hardly have been able to row a boat through them”. It’s also obvious that Newfoundland thrives on seafood as it is a coastal city, so eateries get their seafood extra fresh without having them to be preserved in anyway.
7. Fresh Air
I know you’re already thinking… “Doesn’t Canada already have such great air to the point that they’re exporting bottles if not, tanks of fresh air to China?” However, I bet you didn’t know that St. John’s has one of the best Air Quality Health Indexes in Canada. As you stroll through Bannerman Park or Pippy Park, don’t forget to breathe in some of the country’s cleanest and freshest air.