St. John's (Newfoundland)

Travel Guide North America Canada Newfoundland and Labrador St. John's

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Introduction

St. John's, Newfoundland

St. John's, Newfoundland

© Utrecht

St. John's is the capital of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. St. John's was incorporated as a city in 1888, yet is considered by some to be the oldest English-founded city in North America. It is located on the eastern tip of the Avalon Peninsula on the island of Newfoundland. With a population of 214,285 as of July 1, 2015, the St. John's Metropolitan Area is the second largest Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) in Atlantic Canada after Halifax and the 20th largest metropolitan area in Canada. It is one of the world's top ten oceanside destinations, according to National Geographic Magazine. Its name has been attributed to the feast day of John the Baptist, when John Cabot was believed to have sailed into the harbour in 1497, and also to a Basque fishing town with the same name

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Sights and Activities

  • Signal Hill. Majestically overlooking the city and designated as a National Historic Site. The hill was the last stand of the French army in North America during the Seven Years War. Cabot Tower, built in 1897, stand as the top today. The first wireless transatlantic message was received there in 1901.
  • The Battery. Small village on the edge of the downtown where small houses are framed by the sheer cliffs. The village was once part of the British Defence for the St. John's Harbour. A trail leads from the end of the Battery around the cliffs and up to Signal Hill.
  • Bowring Park, 305 Waterford Bridge Rd, ☎ +1 709 364-1531, toll-free: +1 709 576-8073, e-mail: bpf@bowringpark.com. A beautiful 20-ha (50-acre) park with duck ponds, bridges, walking trails, tennis courts, playground equipment, an outdoor pool and many monuments.
  • Memorial University's Botanical Garden, 306 Mt Scio Rd (On the campus of the Memorial University of Newfoundland.), ☎ +1 709 864-8590. M-F 9AM-4PM.
  • Fort Amherst, Fort Amherst Rd. A lighthouse and World War II military fortification. Located across "The Narrows" on the opposite side of the harbour from Signal Hill. Offers unique views of the city and Cape Spear.
  • The Rooms (The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery), 9 Bonaventure Ave, ☎ +1 709 757-8090. M Tu, Th-Sa 10AM-5PM; W 10AM-9PM. the major cultural centre at Fort Townsend for Newfoundland & Labrador. The building has become one of prominence (and controversy) rivalling that of the Basilica. The Rooms contain the Newfoundland Museum, Provincial Archives, and Art Gallery. From the upper floor you can get an unrivalled view of the area. For the cheap, there is free admission on W 7-9PM.
  • Colonial Building, Military Rd & Bannerman Rd. The Colonial Building is a neoclassical building constructed of white limestone brought from Cork, Ireland. Opened in the 1850s, it was the seat of Newfoundland's legislature until 1959.
  • Commissariat House, Provincial Historic Site, 11 Kings Bridge Rd, ☎ +1 709 729-6730. The commissariat procured supplies for the local military in 19th century. The first commissariat had a house built to provide a residence as well as a staffed public office. The rooms on display are furnished with many antiques circa 1830. A narrated guided tour is provided. Price also includes admission to Newman Wine Vaults.
  • Supreme Court, 309 Duckworth St, ☎ +1 709 729-1137, toll-free: +1 709 729-6623. The Court House, built in 1901, is a Victorian-era building built of local granite and sandstone. The building extends between Duckworth and Water streets, and has an interesting façade on each of the two streets.
  • Government House, Military Road (between Bannerman Rd & Kings Bridge Rd), ☎ +1 709 729-2669, e-mail: governmenthouse@gov.nl.ca. Government House contains the official residence of the Lieutenant Governor of Newfoundland and Labrador, and is situated within a park with flower beds.and blossoming trees. As well as visiting the gardens, the public may go within the main entrance of Government House to sign a guest book and pick up a free postcard. (The main entrance of the building is at the rear on its north side; bypass the side entrance on its west side.) Free.
  • Railway Coastal Museum, 495 Water St (south of downtown), ☎ +1 709 724-5929. 10AM-5PM, closed M & Tu from Oct to mid-June. The museum has various exhibits about rail and coastal shipping located in the original 1903 Riverhead Railway Station. The museum contains dioramas of passenger car interiors built into the dismantled passenger car bodies. Outside, south across the street from the museum, a locomotive and two carriages are on display in a small park. Behind the museum at its NE corner, the shop building of the Newfoundland Railway still stands without any tracks; although closed to the public, the shop front can be viewed from a public area.

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Weather

St. John's has a short but fairly warm summer, with maximum temperatures averaging around 20 °C from June to August, occasionally hitting 32 °C. Winters are cold, but compared to other places in the country still mild, averaging around -2 °C during the day and -8 °C at night. Precipitation is spread out during the year, with somewhat more in winter when snowfall is possible. There are about 13 to 17 days of rain/snow each month.

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Getting There

By Plane

St. John's International Airport (IATA: YYT) is located 10 kilometres from the downtown section of St. John's. Flights arrive from major centres like Calgary, Toronto, Montreal, Halifax, the Caribbean,London-Heathrow and Dublin from June to October by Westjet. The airport is served by Air Canada, WestJet, Porter and United Airlines.

You can reach downtown by public bus Nr. 14 on weekdays only, buses leave roughly hourly from 6:45am to 7:15pm to the campus of Memorial University, where connections to various downtown buses are available.

By Car

If you wish to drive to Newfoundland, you will have to take a ferry from North Sydney, NS or fly and rent a car. Once you arrive at either ferry terminal (see below), simply follow the Trans-Canada highway east, and it will bring you directly to the city of St. John’s.

By Bus

If you choose not to travel with your own vehicle, you can take DRL Coachlines from Port-Aux-Basques to St. John’s (although that’s a long bus ride, typically 12 hours if on schedule), or New Hook Bus Lines (+1 709 426-4876) from Argentia to St. John’s (much easier to handle: 1-2 hours).

By Boat

The island portion of the province is accessible by several ferries leaving North Sydney, Nova Scotia. From there, you can take a 5 to 6 hour ferry ride to Port-aux-Basques, at the southwest corner of Newfoundland, and drive 905 km across the island to St. John’s, near its eastern tip.

From mid-June through September, you can take a 14-17 hour ferry ride from North Sydney, Nova Scotia, to Argentia, Newfoundland, which is 131 km from St. John’s. Ferry schedules and reservation information are available from Marine Atlantic. You should make a reservation well in advance, especially if you want a cabin on an overnight crossing. Marine Atlantic ferries offer a wide variety of on board accommodations and features, including deluxe cabins, dormitory sleepers, full meal and beverage service, live entertainment, movies, and children's activity programs.

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Getting Around

By Car

St. John's is a driver-friendly city, although the road layout is haphazard and a map or GPS is de rigueur for visitors. Except for the Downtown centre, parking is almost always abundant and traffic jams are non-existent. Be aware that the downtown area contains many one-way streets so it is important to watch for signs.

Some of the options to rent a car include the following companies:

By Public Transport

St. John's has a public transit system of buses called Metrobus, that services nearly all of St. John's, the neighbourhoods of Shea Heights, Kilbride and the Goulds, as well as the neighbouring city of Mount Pearl. The service is $2.25 per use, and not per distance, making it a very cheap, affordable way of getting around town. Most, if not all, of the bus drivers are kind and courteous and are willing to give directions.

By Foot

The Downtown core can be easily explored by foot. Take a stroll up Water Street, stop for a drink or take in some live music at a wide range of drinking establishments, a wide range of restaurants, and distinctive shopping.

George Street, just above Water at the west end of the downtown core, near City Hall and the Convention Centre, is a concentration of nightclubs, taverns, restaurants that is typically busy any night of the week, with bar patrons spilling onto many patios and onto the street. Adjacent streets such as Duckworth Street also have interesting shopping and restaurants, and there are a number of (liquor-licensed) billiards halls.

By Bike

Be warned, St. John's rivals San Francisco with its notorious sloping hills. Unless you're in the mood to challenge gravity, renting a bicycle is probably not the best idea.

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Eat

  • Ches's Fish and Chips. 4 locations: 9 Freshwater Rd, 655 Topsail Rd, 8 Highland Dr, 29-33 Commonwealth Ave.
  • The Big R. 2 locations: 69 Harvey Rd (Downtown, 8AM-8PM), and 201 Blackmarsh Rd (8AM-midnight).
  • International Flavours, 4 Quidi Vidi Road, ☎ +1 709 738-4636. Pakistani cuisine.
  • Leo's Fish and Chips, 27 Freshwater Rd, ☎ +1 709 726-2658.
  • Magic Wok Eatery, 408 Water St, ☎ +1 709 753-6907, e-mail: info@magicwok.ca. Tu-Th noon-11PM, F noon-midnight, Sa 4PM-midnight, Su 4PM-11PM. good traditional or Canadian-style Chinese food.
  • The Rocket (Rocket Bakery and Fresh Food), 272 Water St, ☎ +1 709-738-2011. 7:30AM–8PM. Coffee, baked goods, soups, sandwiches.
  • Bamboo Garden, 252 Duckworth St, ☎ +1 709 726-7802. Excellent service, great dim-sum style dumplings, noodle soups and crazy cheap!
  • The Sprout, 364 Duckworth St, ☎ +1 709 579-5485, e-mail: thesproutnfld@gmail.com. M-Sa 11:30AM-8:30PM. Vegetarian cuisine.
  • Pi, 10 King's Rd, ☎ +1 709 726-2000. Gourmet pizza and pasta.
  • Fog City, 48 Kenmount Rd (In Avalon Mall.), ☎ +1 709 726-4949, e-mail: info@fogcity.ca. M-Sa 11:30AM-10PM, Su noon-9PM.
  • The Celtic Hearth, 288 Water St. 24h. Traditional Irish pub and restaurant.
  • India Gate, 286 Duckworth St, ☎ +1 709 753-6006. M-F 11:30AM-1:30PM (buffet); daily 5PM-9PM. The best Indian food in St. John's.
  • Zapata's, 10 Bates Hill, ☎ +1 709 576-6399. Mexican food.

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Drink

George Street, in the heart of downtown, is a prime location for nightlife. Water Street, said to be the oldest street in North America, also contains several pubs, usually of a more relaxing atmosphere.

  • Duke of Duckworth, 325 Duckworth St, ☎ +1 709 739-6344. Cosy English style pub with excellent food and good beer.

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Sleep

  • City Hostel (HI-St. John's), 8 Gower St and 246 Duckworth St (check in at Gower St), ☎ +1 709 754-4789, fax: +1 709 754-1570, e-mail: cityhostel@gmail.com. Check-in: 1PM, check-out: 11AM. Dorms and private rooms available. Free WiFi and internet terminals. Dorms $28, private rooms $75-85.
  • Downtown Hostel, 25 Young St, ☎ +1 709 754-7658, +1 709 746-7161 (cell), e-mail: downtownhostel@yahoo.com. Beds start at $20 per night during winter, $23 during summer.
  • Hare's Ears Cottage, 38 Outer Battery Rd, ☎ +1 709 351-6660. Restored coastal cottage located in the Battery neighbourhood at Signal Hill. edit
  • Hometel on Signal Hill, 10 St. Joseph's Ln, ☎ +1 709 739-7799, toll-free: +1-866-739-7799, e-mail: reservations@hometels.ca. Unique, luxury accommodation located at the base of Signal Hill. Steps to downtown, shopping, restaurants and nightlife. Accommodations in 10 brownstone units each featuring 3 or 4 guest rooms. Rent a guest room or rent a whole house. Includes breakfast, local and long distance calling, parking and internet.
  • Leaside Manor Suites & Apartments, 39 Topsail Rd, ☎ +1 709 722-0387, toll-free: +1-877-807-7245, e-mail: reservations@leasidemanor.com. A Heritage Inn offering double Jacuzzi suites with fireplaces, and executive apartments. Leaside Manor's décor, location, and excellent staff make it a great place to relax and celebrate special occasions.
  • The Ramada Inn, 102 Kenmount Rd (Trans Canada Hwy, Exit 45), ☎ +1 709 722-9330, fax: +1 709 722-9231. Renovated suburban hotel. Near shopping and industrial/business parks.
  • Winterholme Heritage Inn, 79 Rennies Mill Rd, ☎ +1 709 739-7979, toll-free: +1-800-599-7829, e-mail: info@winterholme.com.
  • Hillview Terrace Suites, 3 Wadland Cres. An apartment complex featuring 1, 2, and 3 bedroom furnished suites available for daily/weekly rental. All have kitchen, phone, TV, microwave, and stove. Laundry on site. Housekeeping available.
  • The Roses Heritage Inn, 9 Military Rd, ☎ +1 709 726-3336, toll-free: +1-877-767-3722, e-mail: info@therosesnl.com. From $115/night with breakfast.
  • McCoubrey Manor Bed & Breakfast, 6-8 Ordnance St, ☎ +1 709 722-7577, toll-free: +1-888-753-7577, e-mail: mccmanor@nfld.com. 1, 2, 3 bedroom apartments available.
  • Abba Inn, 36 Queen's Rd, ☎ +1 709 754-0058, toll-free: +1-800-563-3959, e-mail: info@abbainn.com. $79-189 in-season.
  • Blue on Water, 319 Water St, ☎ +1 709 754-2583. (updated Jul 2018 | edit)
  • Courtyard Marriott, 131 Duckworth St, ☎ +1 709 722-6636. Has a nice view of the harbour.
  • Holiday Inn Express, 5 Navigator Ave (Near the Confederation Building Complex and close to the airport.), ☎ +1 709 738-0123.
  • Quality Hotel, 2 Hill O' Chips, ☎ +1 709 754-7788. (updated Jul 2018 | edit)
  • Rendell Shea Manor, 82 Cochrane St, ☎ +1 709 738-7432, toll-free: +1-877-738-7432, e-mail: rendellshea@nl.rogers.com.
  • Elizabeth Manor, 21 Military Rd, ☎ +1 709 753-7733, toll-free: +1-888-263-3786, e-mail: elizabethmanor@nl.rogers.com.
  • Delta Hotel, 120 New Gower St. New Gower at Barter's Hill. Near George Street, Mile One Stadium and the St. John's Convention Center. For Tim Hortons fans: There is a footbridge behind hotel reception leading to a small Tim Hortons outlet open on weekdays only.
  • Ryan Mansion, 21 Rennie's Mill Rd, ☎ +1 709 753-7926. An exceptional 5-star Bed and Breakfast located in a Heritage home in downtown St. John's. Marble en suite baths feature heated floors and therapeutic tubs for two. Extravagant suites are arranged over 6 rooms and offer the ultimate in guest accommodation including en suite baths featuring personal steam/shower rooms and century old tubs carved from granite! A collection of local, national, and international artworks, sculpture and artefacts are exhibited throughout the mansion, and a cosy library offers a selection of books & games.
  • Sheraton Hotel Newfoundland, 115 Cavendish Sq (Near the business district), ☎ +1 709 726-4980. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. Offers 301 rooms with free wired and wireless internet use. Newly renovated lobby and lounge. Many rooms feature views of the harbour and downtown.

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet usage is wide-spread in Canada. Wi-fi is available in many locations in larger cities, sometimes free and sometimes at a cost. You will find Wi-Fi in coffee stores, some restaurants and also hotels and motels more and more offer this service for free, but with a code usually. Internet cafes are common along major streets, and and in larger cities, charge between $3 and $4 for an hour, usually in 20-minute increments.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The country calling code to Canada is: 1. To make an international call from Canada, the code is: 011. Emergency services can be reached by dialling 911. This number will give you free access to Police, Fire and Ambulance services and can be used from landlines, phone booths and cell phones.

The populous areas of Canada along the border with the USA have excellent cellular and wired telecommunications, meaning that travellers are never fair from an international phone call home, a WIFI connection or an internet cafe. Depending on the mobile phone provider, coverage could be either CDMA and GSM coverage. Travellers wishing to purchase SIM cards for GSM phones should look for Rogers Wireless, Telus Mobility and Bell Mobility, which all offer nationwide availability.

Post

Postal service is provided by Canada Post, a crown corporation owned by the government but run as an independent business. Most post offices keep hours from 9:00am to 5:00pm though in bigger places longer hourse might be available.

To format the envelope of a letter sent within Canada, put the destination address on the centre of its envelope, with a stamp, postal indicia, meter label, or frank mark on the top-right corner of the envelope to acknowledge payment of postage. A return address, although it is not required, can be put on the top-left corner of the envelope in smaller type than the destination address.

The lettermail service allows the mailing of a letter. The basic rate is currently set at $0.63 for one standard letter (30 grams or less). The rates for lettermail are based or weight and size and determine whether the article falls into the aforementioned standard format, or in the oversize one. The rate is the same for a postcard. Mail sent internationally is known as letterpost. It can only contain paper documents. The rate for a standard letter is of $1.10 if sent to the United States, and $1.85 if sent to any other destination. Oversize or overweight letters may be charged a higher fee. Larger parcels can be shipped via Canada post both domestically and internationally, the rate is dependent on the weight and destination. [1]

Federal Express, TNT, UPS or DHL also provide interntional shipping from Canada and are usually very quick and reliable though might cost a little more compared to Canada Post.

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This is version 14. Last edited at 10:25 on Feb 12, 19 by Utrecht. 6 articles link to this page.

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