My Canadian holiday last year was split between two cities – St. John’s followed by Toronto. St. John’s is a city on the east coast of Canada, about as close to the UK as you can get and just five-and-a-half hours flight from London. In fact you can fly directly to St. John’s Airport. It’s where my friends live, who kindly offered to put me up for eight nights and show me the sights before heading onto Toronto.
Surrounded by the natural beauty of Newfoundland, pronounced ‘Newfinland’ by the locals, St. John’s is built around a harbour and overlooked by Signal Hill. It was my first experience of Canada and the North American continent and it definitely lived up to my expectations with wide roads, big cars, and friendly people.
The city itself sprawls from the harbour to the countryside, with the downtown area being a hub of offices and shops. It’s quite different to a UK town or city, as the ‘centre’ doesn’t have a high street with full of commonplace stores, they tend to be on retail parks and malls dotted around the city.
I explored the bars, restaurants, and shops downtown. What made it stand out for me was colour of the jellybean row houses, the sight of arriving cruise ships, and the views from Signal Hill.
I also used St. John’s as a base to explore some of Newfoundland, and even with a week in the area I only managed to cover a small part of what Newfoundland has to offer (the part known as the Avalon Peninsula) getting as far as Come By Chance.
If you get to visit St. John’s I recommend visiting these places… Tim Hortons for amazing coffee, Quidi Vidi for lovely walks and a local brewery, Signal Hill for views over the City, The Bagel Cafe for the best breakfast known to man, the Johnson Geo Centre for some entertaining education, George Street for endless bars and the opportunity to be screeched in, and The Yellow Belly for Canadian Poutine.