The Colonial Building
Military Road, St. John's, Newfoundland and
This site is currently closed for renovations. Re-opening in
2015 with new exhibits and restored interiors.
What will I see around St.
- Colourful houses, winding lanes and people who have
lived here since the 1600s. St. John's is really, really
old in North American terms. It first appeared on a Portuguese map
in 1519, only 22 years after John Cabot's famous voyage to the "New
Found Land". When Sir Humphrey Gilbert sailed into the protected
harbour in 1583 to claim this area as England's first overseas
colony, he found English, French and Portuguese vessels fishing
here for the summer, but no permanent English settlement. This
changed after the 1620s, as English settlers moved in and stayed.
This long history of settlement informs the confidence of the
people who live here, and fuels one of the most active and
interesting cultural scenes in North America.
- Hills and more hills. Walking around the
downtown is great workout for your calf muscles. The protected
harbour surrounded by hills and its location as the North American
city closest to Europe gave St. John's military strategic
importance from the 1700s right up to through the Cold War. Don't
expect to get anywhere quickly though. Downtown streets laid out in
the 1700s were designed to confuse enemies approaching from the
- A busy harbour. St. John's was always a busy
port, but now the city's booming economy is driven by offshore oil,
not cod. St. John's is the capital of Newfoundland and Labrador and
the largest city in the province. Though the population is only
around 100,000 people, its nightlife, and wide selection of
restaurants and shops are comparable with those of a much larger
More to do around