Sunday, November 20, 2011

Exploring St. John's - Day 1

Harbour by night
Another exciting plane trip across the Atlantic has landed me safe and sound in St. John's Newfoundland for a week of adventure at Memorial University. Lucky me!.  I arrived in the evening, so it was hard to get a complete sense of the place, but I did wander down the street from the hotel to take a peak at the harbor by night.  Gorgeous! 
mixed message?
Wandering down to the Classic Cafe this morning (for a hearty breakfast, with an amazing view of the harbour), I walked past this corner.    It was a delicious flashback to all of those years of teaching Canadian Constitutional Law, focusing on the place of the temperance cases in forging our 'division of powers' federalism jurisprudence! I am just not sure what to make of this sign. Is it "Stop Temperence" (as in, 'pro-liquor'), or is it more like "Temperence. Stop" (as in, 'stop drinking')? Either way, I love the corner! 
Deadman's Pond
 After breakfast, my hosts Katherine and Brad drove me around town (super nice of them). First, we drove up to the top of Signal Hill, past Deadman's Pond and George's Pond, where gulls of all sorts appeared to be hanging out for the day.  I found myself marking all sorts of interesting similarities between St. John's and Victoria:  there were some moments on the drive up Signal Hill where I was having an overlay of driving up Mount Tolmie back home.  Both places marked by outcroppings of stone, gnarled plants, moss and lichen.  Both shaped by wind and ocean, albeit one Pacific and one Atlantic.  Gorgous.  
how far to London?!

Cabot Tower

looking out to Cape Spear

At the top of Signal Hill is Cabot Tower.  You can see it from almost anywhere in town, a silhoutte against the skyline.  Just below it is a market, pointing the direction to various sites (mostly cities, but i did note that "The Titanic" was also up there).  From up there, you can look out towards Cape Spear (where you could see the white caps of waves crashing on the shore), and from there.... nothing but ocean to the east!  I am going to see if I can get up early one of these mornings, and walk the path down around the harbour edge.

   After that, they drove me over to Fort Amherst, which is on the opposite side of the harbour mouth.  You get another amazing view from that side: Signal Hill from the other side (can you see Cabot Tower on the top of the hill?), the lighthouse, the houses built into the side of the rock in The Battery (the nightbourhood below signal hill).... and the feel and sound of the wind.  I can see why people from St. John's love it so much....
Signal Hill from Fort Amherst
Fort Amherst Lighthouse
View from the lighthouse

houses in The Battery



  1. Glad you're appreciating St. John's so much Rebecca! You're so articulate about it too, you are commenting on things that I always enjoy, but don't think to write down. Place names in St. John's and the rest of Newfoundland are great fun - go to Dildo or Bay d'Espoir (pronounced despair) for further evidence of that. One of my favorite things to do is to walk around Signal Hill - much safer now than in the old days, but I'll still caution you to avoid a windy/rainy day or you might just blow off into the Atlantic!

    Keep on enjoying it all, I'm glad you have a whole week!



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