St. John's is one of my favourite cities to visit and a place that will always own my heart. In 1999, when my family and I immigrated to Canada, we landed in St. John’s. From the hustle and bustle of Pakistan, we landed in a place quite the opposite. St. John’s was small, quiet, and serene. It is hard to describe moving to a new country and a new culture. You don't know what to expect (especially at a time when the Internet and social media wasn't as prevalent as it is now- Woah, I feel old). The thing I remember the most about that day is the big smiles that we got from the airport staff, my parent’s new colleagues, the cashiers, the teachers, and our neighbours. It is something I still love about the city till this day - the genuine warmth and kindness of it’s people.
If you ever have a chance, you should definitely visit St. John’s. If for nothing else, but to see the mighty Atlantic Ocean in all it’s glory!
For anyone heading to St. John's for the first time, here are my top 5 things to do in the city:
1. Signal Hill: The view at Signal Hill is spectacular! You can see the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the entire city on the other. Fun fact - In 1901, the first transatlantic wireless transmission was received here by Guglielmo Marconi, hence the name. It can get a bit chilly, depending on what time of the year you visit, so treat yourself to some hot chocolate before driving up ;)
2. Cape Spear Lighthouse: I can’t tell you how beautiful this place is. It is the most easterly point in North America and the lighthouse that stands there, a national historic site, is the oldest surviving one in Newfoundland & Labrador. When you visit, think about this, you have all the continent of North America behind you, and Ireland at the other side of the amazing ocean.
3. Fish & Chips: Although there are so many options in the city, in my opinion, Ches’s Fish & Chips is definitely the best. The place itself isn't that fancy, but the food is great and not pricey.
4. Whale Watching: If you are visiting St. John’s between Mid-June to Mid-August, you HAVE to go whale watching (and iceberg hunting). There are a bunch of great boat tours - I have always used O’Brien’s Boat Tours. Newfoundland music, over half a million puffins, and humpback whales are all part of the two-hour boat tour experience! The whales, if you are lucky, will come close by to say hello! I have gone almost every single summer since I moved to Canada, and it is always just as magical each time.
5. Explore Downtown: Downtown St. John's is so vibrant and inviting! Take a stroll around and take in the colourful jelly bean houses, cute cafes and amazing restaurants. Speaking of cafes, the Rooms has a stunning view of the harbour.
If you have any suggestions for things I would enjoy on my next visit, leave a comment below!
That is it for now! (Don't forget to watch the video above!)