St John's Harbour © Michel Rathwell
Although St John's is the capital and largest city of
Newfoundland, with a population of slightly more than 200,000
people it still retains its small-town charm. The city's position
on the steep shore of the Avalon Peninsula means visitors will find
themselves meandering around brightly-coloured houses on hilly
streets, all sloping down to the historic city harbour.
Originally founded as an English fishing town in
1583, St John's claims to be the oldest city in North America.
While the cod fishing industry collapsed in the 1990s, the city is
now an Eastern Canadian hub for oil and gas, and has a reputation
as a growing centre for entrepreneurs.
St John's is a major tourist destination in the
province, with a vibrant arts and culture community as colourful as
its buildings. Water Street and Duckworth Street, both in the
downtown area, are bustling thoroughfares with many restaurants and
shops; while George Street is the centre of St John's
St John's has a few interesting historical museums
and urban parks, but the most popular attraction by far is the
beautiful view from Signal Hill which overlooks the city. While
nearly all tourists in St John's come to enjoy the views, it gets
even busier each summer when playing host to the military
demonstrations of the Signal Hill Tattoo.
Another major event taking place over the summer is
the Royal St John's Regatta, which dates back to 1816, and is North
America's oldest sporting event. The coast offers a number of
interesting places to explore, including Middle Cove Beach, Bell
Island, Petty Harbour, and Bay Bulls.