St. John's: Downtown

Sunday, 11 December 2016
“Walkers are 'practitioners of the city,' for the city is made to be walked. A city is a language, a repository of possibilities, and walking is the act of speaking that language, of selecting from those possibilities. Just as language limits what can be said, architecture limits where one can walk, but the walker invents other ways to go.” ― Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust: A History of Walking


I began my series of blog posts about St. John's with a post on eating and drinking, which felt to be the most logical place to begin. Our trip could be easily divided into two categories: Eating and walking, and much of our walking took place in downtown St. John's.

What stunned me about downtown St. John's is how new it all is, the result of a fire that ravaged the city at the end of the 19th century. Very few buildings were left standing.
Late in the afternoon of 8 July 1892, a small fire broke out in a St. John’s stable after a lit pipe or match fell into a bundle of hay. Although containable at first, the flames quickly spread due to dry weather conditions, a disorganized fire department, and poor planning on the part of city officials. Within hours, the fire had destroyed almost all of St. John’s, leaving 11,000 people homeless and causing $13 million in property damage. (Source: Heritage Newfoundland and Labrador)
When we began researching things to do and see in the St. John's area, I relied heavily on the insight of bloggers. Here are just a few of the many places that helped me quickly fall in love with the city.

Harbourside Park

The National War Memorial

Bookish St. John's

Afterwords Bookstore (245 Duckworth St.)

Broken Books (183A Duckworth St.)



Jellybean Row

George Street Festival

The George Street Festival has been on bucket my list for many years, so we snagged tickets to not one, but two nights, to see our hometown boys Arkells and later Alan Doyle (formerly of Great Big Sea).


Fred's Records (198 Duckworth St.)

Government House

The Battery
The colourful Battery is where we began our hike up Signal Hill, but more on that memorable day later!

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