Image courtesy of Ann Eagles Credits: Image courtesy of Ann Eagles
Saint John is a city of many firsts. For instance, did you know it was the first incorporated city in Canada in 1785? It is also home to Canada's oldest publicly funded high school, Saint John High School. Plus, another cool fact -- Saint John is the birthplace of acclaimed actor Donald Sutherland (Dad to Kiefer Sutherland), along with a host of many other notable Canadians.
The history in the city is varied. You'll hear stories about Benedict Arnold (the American revolutionary traitor) who lived here for several years, and of Irish immigrants who were quarantined on Partridge Island during the Great Famine.
For me, however, the real beauty of the city can be seen in the historical buildings located in uptown Saint John. You'll find many walking tours in the summer months that allow you to learn more about the city and everything that's part of it. There are also many historic places visit, including the Imperial Theatre, St. John's Anglican Stone Church, the Loyalist house, Fort LaTour and Martello Tower, just to name a few.
No walk in the uptown area is complete without visiting the City Market, which runs across a full city block. Some of the businesses have been operating there for more than 100 years. It is the oldest city market in North America; the roof is designed to resemble a ship's hull. City Market also exits to Kings Square, where in summer months, you will find many people enjoying the entertainment of local talent. It also offers many places to sit and take a break from the everyday hustle and bustle. In the winter, Kings Square turns into a winter wonderland with a beautiful display of twinkling lights.
The Bay of Fundy
Saint John is situated on the Bay of Fundy where visitors can watch unique tide changes on a daily basis. At Reversing Falls, one can also see another phenomenon caused by the high tide change: when the Bay of Fundy and the Saint John River meet, it causes a series of rapids created by underwater ledges. Many people view the reversing rapids from the lookout in the area but I find the view much more impressive from the Wolastoq park, above the lookout.
Living on the Bay of Fundy allows us cooler summers with more fog, compared to other cities in the province. We embrace our weather and hold a Fundy Fog Festival in the summer on the boardwalk. In the winter, the Bay of Fundy make it a little warmer and many storms leave us with less snow.
A hidden treasure
Rockwood Park is my favorite hidden treasure in the city. It has more than 50 kilometres of trails to explore and offers year-round activities for locals and visitors. In the summer, you can paddle around the lakes, hike a trail, go for a swim, take a bike ride, camp, geocache and more. In the winter, there are just as many options for activities; you can go skating, cross country skiing, snowshoeing or participate in a pond hockey tournament. Rockwood Park also has a dog park, playground, wagon and horseback rides, and you can even catch an outdoor movie in the summer.
Foodie highlights and delights
In the summer, I highly recommend a meal on the boardwalk at any of the restaurants, because there is always a festival or event happening to entertain you during your meal. Other great restaurants in the uptown area include Churchill's Steakhouse, Billy's Seafood or Britt's Pub and Eatery, depending on what type of food and atmosphere you like.
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