Proudly sitting at North America’s eastern most point, St John’s is the provincial capital of Newfoundland. Acknowledged as the oldest city and oldest European settlement in North America, St John’s is steeped in a long and colorful history.
Europeans arrived at the beginning of the 16th century, and because of its harbor and proximity to fishing grounds, the city gained prominence as a trading outpost. The Basques, French, Spanish, Portuguese and English all engaged in fishery along the western side of the North Atlantic. Throughout the first half of the 20th century, the city was at the center of commercial fishing and today, it is the main financial and commercial center for Newfoundland.
As the oldest city in North America, most of St John’s attractions are of a historic nature, with everything from period houses and museums to historical parks where the area’s natural beauty can be thoroughly enjoyed.
The impressive neo-Romanesque Court House, Georgian-style Commissariat House and neo-classical Colonial Building provide visitors the chance to widen their knowledge of St John’s historical background as well a chance to soak up the best of the city’s architecture.
There are three eco-tour operators in St John’s that ferry visitors to Witless Bay Ecological Reserve, a group of offshore islands that are host to over two million mating seabirds in summer including about 500,000 puffins. You can also spot whales in the bay and if currents are right, you may see an iceberg or two floating in from Greenland. During other seasons, consider a visit to the Johnson GEO center based at Signal Hill National Historic Park, which showcases the amazing life story of Earth.
An abundance of wildlife and beauty offers nature lovers the perfect setting in St John’s. Whether you are interested in booking a whale spotting trip or you want to explore the area by kayak, you will find an operator who can cater to your tastes, with trips suitable for the young and old alike.