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The Commissariat

At the corner of King's Bridge Road and Military Road, St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador.

How much time do you have?

2 hours: Tour the multi-media experience at the site and immerse yourself in the people and places of a volatile 1830s St. John's. Mind your manners and know your place.. this isn't your average historic house tour. There are surprises at every turn.

4 hours (walking): Tour The Commissariat to get a snapshot of what St. John's looked like in the mid-19th century. Then go out and find the actual sites you've just learned about- many of which are still standing today:

  • Right next door is the Old Garrison Church (St. Thomas' Anglican) - built in 1836. This is where the soliders of Fort William across the road (now a hotel) attended services.
  • Just to the west is Government House, completed in 1831 at such great expense and to such public outrage that Governor Cochrane was pelted with refuse by the residents of St. John's as he left his post.
  • Up Military Road is the Roman Catholic Basilica Cathedral of St. John the Baptist - the largest contruction effort in 19th-century Newfoundland and a testament to the efforts of Bishop Fleming to ensure the permanence of a Catholic community in St. John's. Make sure to tour the Basilica Museum to learn more.
  • Continue to The Rooms- our provincial art gallery, museum and archives on the site of Fort Townshend. Have a meal overlooking the Narrows, then tour the galleries for more about the broader story of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Looking for something more in depth?

One day tour (or more) - a must for military history buffs:

  • Start at The Rooms. Exhibits here explore the story of Fort Townshend.
  • Walk along Military Road to The Commissariat and see where British soliders went to collect their pay in the 19th century. Experience the story of political change at the end of British naval rule in 1820s Newfoundland.
  • Head past the old site of Fort William (now a hotel) and up Signal Hill National Historic Site. Take in a Signal Hill Tattoo performance and visit the interpretation centre and Queen's Battery. Make sure to take the Weapons of Warfare Tour offered by Parks Canada.
  • Go to Fort Amherst, on the St. John's Southside - a fortification built in 1770 and a gorgeous viewpoint of Signal Hill and the open ocean.

More to do around St. John's