As travel slowly resumes, a quick look at Air Canada’s 20th annual enRoute magazine has seriously inspired us. Canada’s east coast has received many accolades and a familiar name caught our eye. Alt Hotel St. John’s restaurant, Terre Restaurant & Café, has been named one of Canada’s Best New Restaurants. You will find exceptional cuisine inspired by the local landscape and the nearby sea, using traditional cooking methods. It won’t take you long to realize that, just like Earth, St. John’s is a totally hidden Canadian treasure that you need to add to your to-do list.
So here are 7 reasons why St. John’s might be at the top of our Canadian travel list this year.
#1 He has a one-of-a-kind welcome ritual
As welcoming and friendly as they are, it’s no surprise that Newfoundlanders throw quite a ceremony, shouting inside, for visitors to become honorary Newfoundlanders themselves. You’ll find several versions of the ceremony in different bars on George Street. The two constants, however, down a few shorts of rum screech and kiss a cod (not making it up). You know a ceremony is legit when you have to register for it and get a certificate. Of course, it’s voluntary but it’s definitely worth experimenting with. The most popular place to get yelled at is Christian’s Bar.
#2 He has sights to last a lifetime.
Alright, that’s pretty obvious. There’s the ocean, the beaches, the forested mountains – St. John’s is one of those rare gems that happens to be an all-in-one destination. But scenic nature views aren’t all there is. This magnificent destination also offers great advantages on the urban landscape front. Yes, we are talking about the iconic colored houses! Street after street, illuminated by the Jelly Bean color palette. The place is just as dynamic as the people who call it home.
#3 He brings the sea to the table on a whole new level
There’s nothing like eating a raw scallop shell that has just landed from the boat. A trip with Captain Dennis of Dildo Boat Tours (yes, to a town called Dildo) is a great way to spend the afternoon. A diver will collect 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’s really good at it.
You can also feast on some truly fabulous fish and chips (if fresh seafood wasn’t enough) at Dick’s on beautiful Bell Island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
#4 St. John’s has WILD ocean adventures
Ocean adventures take on a whole new meaning in this port city. Whether you want to kayak in the ocean, fish for cod, watch whales or even swim and snorkel with these majestic sea mammals, you can do it all in St John’s. If you’re staying at the Alt Hotel St. John’s, hopefully during peak whale watching season, you’ll be able to catch their sprays right from your hotel room. Yes, you read that right, the hotel overlooks St. John’s Harbour, offering spectacular views of the Narrows.
#5 This is the best vantage point in the world for icebergs
Trust us when we say this, Titanic didn’t do justice to the magnanimity of icebergs. While the movie could have cast him as the villain, these ancient glacial giants are jaw-dropping. And St. John’s is known for offering some of the best views of these chilly beauties. There are many viewpoints in the city along its east and north 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 bird watcher’s paradise with a variety of species nesting on the shores of St. John’s and surrounding areas. There are these seabird watching tours where you can spot many of these species. The most coveted is the one with the adorable puffin. About 30 minutes from St. John’s is the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve where you can see Atlantic Puffins, Leach’s Storm-petrels, Common Murres, Razorbills, Black Guillemots and many more. St. John’s has no shortage of other birds either, with the highest concentration of bald eagles in all of North America.
#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? We say no! St. John’s, like the province it’s located in, has the most bass per capita according to a Statistics Canada report. It’s no wonder the province contributed one of the best expressions in our vocabulary… Day Boil! What takes your booze adventure to a new height is the incredible music that accompanies it. The city is brimming with musical talent with live music playing in almost every pub. A stroll down iconic George Street and you’ll understand what we mean.
It was our list friends! These wonderful experiences coupled with the super friendly locals here certainly put St. John’s on our list of repeat destinations. Oh, and if you’re staying at the Alt Hotel St. John’s, the hotel staff will be happy to point you to many other experiences.