Sneha Girap

St Johns, Newfoundland and Labrador

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Country  Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
Population  100,645 (2006)
Province  Newfoundland and Labrador
Area  446.04 km2
Founded  5 August 1583 by Royal Charter of Queen Elizabeth I
Mayor  Dennis OKeefe
Colleges and Universities  Memorial University of Newfoundland, College of the North Atlantic Prince Philip Drive
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Points of interest  Signal Hill - St Johns, Johnson Geo Centre, Cape Spear, Bowring Park, The Rooms

St. Johns ( ) is the capital and largest city in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. St. Johns was incorporated as a city in 1921, yet is considered by some to be the oldest English-founded city in North America. It is located on the eastern tip of the Avalon Peninsula on the island of Newfoundland. With a population of 211,724 as of 2014, the St. Johns Metropolitan Area is the second largest Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) in Atlantic Canada after Halifax and the 20th largest metropolitan area in Canada. It is one of the top ten oceanside destinations, according to National Geographic Magazine. Its name has been attributed to the feast day of John the Baptist, when John Cabot was believed to have sailed into the harbour in 1497, and also to a Basque fishing town with the same name.

Contents

Map of St. Johns, Newfoundland and Labrador

A signal hill hike st johns newfoundland and labrador by peter bull newfoundland


History

St Johns, Newfoundland and Labrador in the past, History of St Johns, Newfoundland and Labrador

Considered to be "North Americas Oldest City", St. Johns is one of the oldest settlements in North America, with year-round settlement beginning sometime after 1630 and seasonal habitation long before that. It is not, however, the oldest surviving English settlement in North America or Canada, having been preceded by the Cupers Cove colony at Cupids, founded in 1610, and the Bristols Hope colony at Harbour Grace, founded in 1618. In fact, although English fishermen had begun setting up seasonal camps in Newfoundland in the 16th Century, they were expressly forbidden by the British government, at the urging of the West Country fishing industry, from establishing permanent settlements along the English controlled coast, hence the town of St. Johns was not established as a permanent community until after the 1630s at the earliest. Other permanent English settlements in the Americas that predate St. Johns include: St. Georges, Bermuda (1612) and Jamestown, Virginia (1607), with the September 1565 date for the founding of St. Augustine, Florida establishing it as the oldest continuously inhabited community of European-ethnicity settlement in North America.

St Johns, Newfoundland and Labrador in the past, History of St Johns, Newfoundland and Labrador

Sebastian Cabot declares in a hand written text in Latin in his original 1545 map, that the St. Johns earned its name when he and his father, the Venetian explorer John Cabot became the first Europeans to sail into the harbour, in the morning of 24 June 1494 (against British and French historians stating 1497), the feast day of Saint John the Baptist. However, the exact locations of Cabots landfalls are disputed. A series of expeditions to St. Johns by Portuguese from the Azores took place in the early 16th century, and by 1540 French, Spanish and Portuguese ships crossed the Atlantic annually to fish the waters off the Avalon Peninsula. In the Basque Country, it is a common belief that the name of St. Johns was given by Basque fishermen because the bay of St. Johns is very similar to the Bay of Pasaia in the Basque Country, where one of the fishing towns is also called St. John (in Spanish, San Juan, and in Basque, Donibane).

The earliest record of the location appears as Sao Joao on a Portuguese map by Pedro Reinel in 1519. When John Rut visited St. Johns in 1527 he found Norman, Breton and Portuguese ships in the harbour. On 3 August 1527, Rut wrote a letter to King Henry on the findings of his voyage to North America; this was the first known letter sent from North America. St. Jehan is shown on Nicholas Desliens world map of 1541 and San Joham is found in Joao Freires Atlas of 1546. It was during this time that Water Street was first developed, making it the oldest street in North America.

On 5 August 1583, Sir Humphrey Gilbert claimed the area as Englands first overseas colony under Royal Charter of Queen Elizabeth I. There was no permanent population, however, and Gilbert was lost at sea during his return voyage, thereby ending any immediate plans for settlement. The Newfoundland National War Memorial is located on the waterfront in St. Johns, at the purported site of Gilberts landing and proclamation.

By 1620, the fishermen of Englands West Country controlled most of Newfoundlands east coast. In 1627, William Payne, called St. Johns "the principal prime and chief lot in all the whole country". The population grew slowly in the 17th century and St. Johns was the largest settlement in Newfoundland when English naval officers began to take censuses around 1675. The population would grow in the summers with the arrival of migratory fishermen. In 1680, fishing ships (mostly from South Devon) set up fishing rooms at St. Johns, bringing hundreds of Irish men into the port to operate inshore fishing boats.

The towns first significant defences were likely erected due to commercial interests, following the temporary seizure of St. Johns by the Dutch admiral Michiel de Ruyter in June 1665. The inhabitants were able to fend off a second Dutch attack in 1673, when this time it was defended by Christopher Martin, an English merchant captain. Martin landed six cannons from his vessel, the Elias Andrews, and constructed an earthen breastwork and battery near chain Rock commanding the Narrows leading into the harbour. With only twenty-three men, the valiant Martin beat off an attack by three Dutch warships. The English government planned to expand these fortifications (Fort William) in around 1689, but actual construction didnt begin until after the French admiral Pierre Le Moyne dIberville captured and destroyed the town in the Avalon Peninsula Campaign (1696). When 1500 English reinforcements arrived in late 1697 they found nothing but rubble where the town and fortifications had stood.

Geography

St. Johns is located along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, on the northeast of the Avalon Peninsula in southeast Newfoundland. The city covers an area of 446.04 square kilometres (172.22 sq mi) and is the most easterly city in North America, excluding Greenland; it is 295 miles (475 km) closer to London, England than it is to Edmonton, Alberta. The city is the largest in the province and the second largest in the Atlantic Provinces after Halifax, Nova Scotia. Its downtown area lies to the west and north of St. Johns Harbour, and the rest of the city expands from the downtown to the north, south, east and west.

Coniferous trees such as black spruce, white spruce, and balsam fir dominate the native vegetation. The largest deciduous tree is white birch; species of lesser stature include alder, cherry and mountain ash. Of introduced tree species, sycamore maple is most abundant and Norway maple is common. Blue spruce, common horsechestnut, European beech and littleleaf linden are among the other non-native species grown.

Economy

St. Johns economy is connected to both its role as the provincial capital of Newfoundland and Labrador and to the ocean. The civil service which is supported by the federal, provincial and municipal governments has been the key to the expansion of the citys labour force and to the stability of its economy, which supports a sizable retail, service and business sector. The provincial government is the largest employer in the city, followed by Memorial University. With the collapse of the fishing industry in Newfoundland and Labrador in the 1990s the role of the ocean is now tied to what lies beneath it – oil and gas – as opposed to what swims in or travels across it. The city is the centre of the oil and gas industry in Eastern Canada and is one of 19 World Energy Cities. ExxonMobil Canada is headquartered in St. Johns and companies such as Chevron, Husky Energy, Suncor Energy and Statoil have major regional operations in the city. Three major offshore oil developments, Hibernia, Terra Nova and White Rose, are in production off the coast of the city and a fourth development, Hebron, is expected to be producing oil by 2017.

Arts and culture

The downtown area is the cultural hub of St. Johns and is a major tourist destination in Newfoundland and Labrador and Atlantic Canada. Water Street and Duckworth Street are known for their brightly coloured low rise heritage buildings housing numerous tourist shops, clothing boutiques, and restaurants.

George Street, a downtown side-street above the western end of Water Street, is the predominant home of the citys nightlife. The street holds numerous annual festivals including the George Street Festival in August and the Mardi Gras Festival held in October. The street can be credited with kick starting the careers of many musical acts and is busy nearly every night of the week. St. Johns also plays host to the Tuckamore Festival of chamber music, which has been held every August since 2001.

The LSPU Hall is home to the Resource Centre for the Arts. The "Hall" hosts a vibrant and diverse arts community and is regarded as the backbone of artistic infrastructure and development in the downtown. The careers of many well-known Newfoundland artists were launched there including Rick Mercer, Mary Walsh, Cathy Jones, Andy Jones and Greg Thomey. The St. Johns Arts and Culture Centre houses an art gallery, libraries and a 1000-seat theatre, which is the citys major venue for entertainment productions.

The Nickel Film Festival and the St. Johns International Womens Film Festival are two independent film festivals held annually in St. Johns.

Attractions

Pippy Park is an urban park located in the east end of the city; with over 3,400 acres (14 km2) of land, it is one of Canadas largest urban parks. The park contains a range of recreational facilities including two golf courses, Newfoundland and Labradors largest serviced campground, walking and skiing trails as well as protected habitat for many plants and animals. Pippy Park is also home to the Fluvarium, an environmental education centre which offers a cross section view of Nagles Hill Brook.

Bowring Park, located in the Waterford Valley, is one of the most scenic parks in St. Johns. Entrance to the park is via Waterford Bridge Road, passing a sculptured duck pond and a statue of Peter Pan. The park land was donated to the city in 1911 by Sir Edgar Rennie Bowring on behalf of Bowring Brothers Ltd. on their 100th anniversary of commerce in Newfoundland. The park was officially opened by His Royal Highness, the Duke of Connaught on 15 July 1914.

Bannerman Park is a Victorian-style park located near the downtown. The park was officially opened in 1891 by Sir Alexander Bannerman, Governor of the Colony of Newfoundland who donated the land to create the park. Today the park contains a public swimming pool, playground, a baseball diamond and many large open grassy areas. Bannerman Park plays host to many festivals and sporting events, most notably the Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Festival and St. Johns Peace-a-chord. The park is also the finishing location for the annual Tely 10 Mile Road Race.

Museums

The Provincial Museum of Newfoundland and Labrador (c. 1892–93) was located on Duckworth Street in a building designated as a heritage site by the City of St. Johns. In 2005 the museum, along with the Art Gallery of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador, moved into The Rooms. The Rooms is Newfoundland and Labradors cultural facility, and is located in the downtown area.

The Railway Coastal Museum is a transportation museum located in the 104-year-old Newfoundland and Labrador train station building on Water Street.

The Johnson Geo Centre is a geological interpretation centre located on Signal Hill. The centre is designed to teach the public about the history of the earth through the unique and complex geological history of Newfoundland and Labrador.

The East Rider Motorcycle Museum showcases over 110 years of Newfoundlands Motorcycle History, with two floors of bikes, memorabilia, and biker culture. Located downtown St. Johns (above East Rider Motorcycle Gear Shop).

St Johns cuisine

Customarily, in Connaught, Ireland, a special dish called "Goody" was made. This was white shop-bread which had been soaked in hot milk and flavored with sugar and spices. It was usually made in a large pot that was either placed on the communal bonfire or heated on a smaller fire close by. Revelers brought their own spoons and bowls if they wanted to share in the "Goody."

References

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