Saturday, 25 October 2014

City of St John's - Newfoundland

The City of St. John's was incorporated in 1921, but it's one of the oldest settlements in North America.  St. John's got its name when Venetian explorer John Cabot (or Giovanni Caboto to give him his proper name) sailed into the harbour in the morning of June 24, 1494, the feast day of John the Baptist. English fishermen crossed the Atlantic to fish in these waters throughout the 1500s, and a permanent colony was established in the 1630s.

The Cabot Tower is a landmark in St. John's, standing high on Signal Hill at the entrance to the harbour. Construction of this stone tower began in 1898 and completed in 1900. In 1901, Guglielmo Marconi received the first trans-Atlantic wireless message here, and a ham radio station operates there today.

There's a gift shop on the main floor, the ham radio station and a display about Marconi up the very narrow twisty stairs, and even more narrow twisty stairs up to the roof. Just don't go out there in a high wind, you'll never get the door open!

The view of the city from Signal Hill. The two stone towers in the centre are the Basilica of St John the Baptist, construction started in 1839, and the Basilica was finally consecrated in 1855.  The large house shaped building on the top left corner is The Rooms which opened in 2005, and houses the Museum, the Provincial archives, and the Provincial Art Gallery. I described a previous visit here.
When The Rooms was first under construction, I thought it was the ugliest building I'd ever seen, but I like it now.... especially inside. But that's another post....

St. John's Court House, built in 1901 of local granite and sandstone. The steps to the right connect Water Street and Duckworth Street, and are on a site that was once a produce market and a public gallows. Not to worry..... Newfoundland's last public hanging occurred there in January 1835, when John Flood was hung for robbing the St. John's-Portugal Cove stagecoach. Crime definitely does not pay!

One of my greatest pleasures is to wander around the streets of St. John's, browsing my way through tourist trap shops and walking up and down some of the extremely steep streets, which are lined with colourful wooden houses, like these. Stopping for a coffee at the local Timmy's and watching the people go by. My idea of fun!

More to come about Newfoundland.


  1. I love the colourful wooden buildings, it sounds such a nice place to wander around. Here's a link, thanks to Wikipedia about the other Cabot Towers, the one in Bristol. Thought you might like to see this.....,_Bristol

  2. The only time I spent in Newfoundland was one overnight near Cornerbrook. We camped and broke over half of the tent pegs trying to set up on that rocky land. It was meant to be longer but I ended up splitting up with my boyfriend/traveling companion at the time.

    Even in that short visit, I was smitten with the colourful homes which lined the streets and the comfortable charm of the place. Great photos, Shammie.

  3. I would love to be let loose with my camera for a few hours in this photogenic city.

  4. I've never had a desire to go to Newfoundland, but your pictures and descriptions are making me consider it. What a lovely place! Can't wait to see more!

  5. This was a great post! I get to travel the world while lying right here on my bed....AMAZING! And, the best part is, it's from your personal point of view, so it's like I'm taking the trip with you!!! I LOVE the whole look of St. Johns and all the colorful houses.....Plus the Beautiful stone buildings....!

  6. OK, I have to ask: What is the sign in the foreground of the final photo? It looks like "This Way To The Beaver!", but I suspect it may have some meaning hidden to folks from out of town?

  7. Suldog: I wondered about that too, I'll find out!

  8. Buildings made of stone is hardly seen in my country, probably due to hot and humid summer weather. I like the Cabot Tower and the St John’s. I’m interested in architectures and enjoyed other past posts.



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