With travels slowly resuming, a quick look into Air Canada’s 20th Annual enRoute Magazine got us seriously inspired. Canada’s East Coast received many accolades and a familiar name caught our attention. Alt Hotel St. John’s in house restaurant, Terre Restaurant & Café was nominated one of the Best New Canadian Restaurants. You’ll find exceptional cuisine inspired by the local landscape and nearby sea, using traditional cooking methods. It won’t take you long to realize that just like Terre, St. John’s is a total hidden Canadian treasure you need to add to your bucket list.
So here are 7 reasons why St. John’s might be topping our Canadian travel list this year.
#1 It has a one-of-a-kind welcome ritual
As welcoming and friendly as they are, it isn’t surprising that Newfoundlanders have a whole ceremony, getting screeched in, to have visitors become honorary Newfoundlanders themselves. You’ll find several versions of the ceremony at different bars on George Street. The two constants, however, are downing a few shorts of screech rum and kissing a cod (not making this up). You know a ceremony is legit when you have to sign up for it and you get a certificate. Of course, it’s voluntary but absolutely worth experiencing. The most popular place to get screeched in is Christian’s Bar.
#2 It has views to last a lifetime
Okay, this is kind of obvious. There’s the ocean, the beaches, the forested mountains- St. John’s is one of those rare gems that happen to be an all-in-one destination. But scenic nature views aren’t all there is. This gorgeous destination also delivers big on the cityscape front. Yes, we are talking about the iconic colourful houses! Street after street is made bright with the jelly bean colour palette. The place is just as vibrant as the people that inhabit it.
#3 It takes sea-to-table to a whole new level
There is NOTHING like eating a raw scallop that just came off the boat. A tour with Captain Dennis from Dildo Boat Tours (yes, in a town called Dildo) is a superb way to spend the afternoon. A diver will go harvest some scallops and open them just for you. Mega bonus: Dennis and his wife Paula have a restaurant there, where Dennis will often sing Elvis songs – and he is really really good at it.
You can also dig into some really fab fish and chips (if fresh seafood wasn’t enough) at Dick’s on the beautiful Bell Island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
#4 St. John’s has WILD ocean adventures
Ocean adventures take a whole new meaning in this harbour city. Whether you want to go kayaking through the ocean, jig for some cod, go whale watching or even swim and snorkel with these majestic sea mammals, you can do it all in St John’s. If you’re put up at Alt Hotel St. John’s, with some luck during peak whale watching season, you can catch their sprays right from your hotel room. Yes you read that right, the hotel overlooks the St. John’s Harbour, offering spectacular views of the Narrows.
#5 It is the world’s best viewing point for Icebergs
Trust us when we say this, Titanic did not do justice to the magnanimity of icebergs. While the movie might have rendered them the villain, these ancient glacial giants are breathtaking. And St. John’s is known to offer some of the best views of these cold beauts. There are quite a few viewing points in the city along its eastern and northern coast. But you find their exact location on Iceberg Finder.
#6 St. John’s is the seabird capital of North America…
The place is a birdwatcher’s paradise with a variety of species nesting on shores in and around St. John’s. There are these seabird viewing tours where you can check out many of these species. The most coveted is the one with the adorable Atlantic puffin. Some 30 mins out from St. John’s is the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve where you can see puffin, Leach’s storm-petrel, common murre, razorbill, black guillemot and many more. St. John’s has no dearth of other birds either, with the highest concentration of bald eagles in all of NA.
#7 …And the party capital of Canada
Could there have been a better place to party than the city with the most bars and pubs in it? We say not! St. John’s, much like the province it is in, has the most bars per capita according to a Statistics Canada report. It’s no wonder that the province has contributed one of the best phrases to our vocabulary… Day Boil! What takes your boozy adventure to a new high is the amazing music that accompanies it. The city is big on musical talent with live music in just about every pub. A walk down the iconic George Street and you’ll understand what we mean.
That was our list folks! These wonderful experiences coupled with the super friendly locals here sure put St. John’s on our list of repeat destinations. Oh, and if you happen to stay at Alt Hotel St. John’s, the hotel staff will happily point you to plenty more experiences.