St. John's, Nfld.
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& Morri Visit St. John's, Newfoundland

St. John's - indeed, the whole province of Newfoundland & Labrador - is a special place, quite unlike anywhere else in Canada. Like most tourists, we were utterly charmed; by the sights, certainly, but most enduringly by the people. Newfoundlanders are a gregarious and garrulous lot. A note of caution: don't engage anyone in conversation unless you have lots of time to spare! Like their Irish cousins a hop across the pond, they have the gift of the gab, an original turn of phrase and a vocabulary all their own (I have a hefty Newfoundland dictionary to prove it!) - the whole wrapped in an irresistible brogue. It makes for a seductive package, which is why any visitor who ventures to Canada's most easterly point - and enters that disorienting time zone a half hour later than Atlantic Time - is bound to return again and again.

Click here for a photo tour of St. John's in winter.

Some highlights of our St. John's experience that we highly recommend to visitors.

Shawn Silver with dance students. Click to enlargeA introductory 90-minute Irish dance lesson with the extraordinary Shawn Silver, at his idance studio. Cost: $20 per person. 181 Hamilton Ave. (709) 690-2101.  Read more in our article, "Jiggin' in St. John's"

Edward Roberts, Lieutenant Governor of Newfoundland & Labrador. Click to enlargeTour of Government House, home to the province's Lieutenant Governors. This magnificent Regency edifice, built at enormous expense in 1829, has a colorful history, including frescoed ceilings done by Polish convict Alexander Pindikowsky. The current Lieutenant Governor, the Honourable Edward Roberts, recently opened Government House to the public. Free one-hour guided tours at 10:00 a.m., Wednesdays & Thursdays. Book in advance. (709) 729-4494.

Veiled Virgin. Photo by J.E. FitzGerald. Reproduced by permission of J.E. FitzGerald, ©2001. Click to enlargeThe Veiled Virgin at the Presentation Convent, next to the Basilica of St. John the Baptist at 200 Military Road, should not be missed. This small marble statue by 19-th century Italian sculptor Giovanni Strazza is a remarkable work of art and clever illusion, flawlessly executed. Presentation Convent, in Cathedral Square, is open to the public daily from 10:30 a.m. - noon, 2 - 4 p.m. No charge but donations welcome.

The Crow's Nest, a private officers' club tucked away in the heart of historic St. John's, is a treasure trove of World War II memorabilia, including a working periscope, reclaimed from a captured German submarine, protruding through its roof. Visitors with a serious interest in naval artifacts and history are welcome to call and arrange a visit. (709) 753-6927.

Click to enlarge.Tour of Quidi Vidi Brewing, the largest microbrewery east of Quebec.  In business since 1996, this private company ships over 100,00 dozen bottles a year from its picturesque locale and brews six brands of beer and ale, including our favorites, 1892 and Eric's Red. Sample them all in the tasting room. Call in advance to book a tour. (709) 738-4040.


Nightlife in St. John's

Most of the action happens on George St., which is wall to wall pubs, each with its own style and clientele.

For traditional Irish, try:

O'Reilly's Pub, 15-17 George St., (709) 722-3735,

Bridie Molloy's Pub & Eatery, 5 George St., (709) 576-5990

Dining in St. John's

Fairmont Newfoundland. Click to enlargeFor a taste of traditional Newfoundland fare, head to the Bona Vista restaurant at the Fairmont Newfoundland, 115 Cavendish Square, (709) 726-4980.:

Friday lunch buffet, $22 (plus taxes) features a traditional Jigg's Dinner (salt beef with boiled cabbage, turnips, onions and potatoes), fish & brewis (soaked hard tack boiled with salt cod) with scrunchions (crisply fried salt pork pieces), a carved meat (turkey, pork or ham), and often mussels.

Thursday Newfoundland Night buffet,  $27 (plus taxes) features cariboo or other game meats, seal and fish in season.

Feeling peckish?

Zachary's Restaurant. Click to enlarge

Zachary's Restaurant for tasty food, reasonDoug has lunch at Zachary's. Click to enlarge.ably priced, homey atmosphere. 71 Duckworth St. (directly across from The Fairmont Hotel), (709) 579-8050.



Auntie Craes. Click to enlargeAuntie Crae's, an old-fashioned emporium of fresh baking and specialty foods, is the place for a wholesome cafeteria-style lunch, a chai latte or afternoon tea. Its sitting room is a downtown oasis of calm where you can read the paper, listen to music and relax with no obligation to purchase a thing. However, that would be a mistake! Everything baked or cooked on the premises is scrumptious, and Auntie Crae's apple flips, stuffed with chunks of apple and raisins, at $1 a piece, are one of the best deals in town. 272 Water St. (709) 754-066.


The Gypsy Tea Room, a charming restaurant-bar owned and operated by Emir Mahic, a handsome Bosnian émigré, features an eclectic, multi-ethnic cuisine deliciously executed at surprisingly reasonable prices. After the kitchen closes, tables are pushed back and the place rocks as dancers sway to a mainly Latin beat. 195 Water St., (709) 739-4766. Reservations recommended.

Django's Restaurant specializes in fresh Newfoundland seafood and traditional Newfoundland specialties done fusion style. The menu is creative; the execution exquisite. 198 Duckworth. (709) 738-4115.

Where to stay in St. John's

Doug & Morri at the Winterholme. Click to enlarge.The Winterholme Heritage Inn, an opulent Queen Anne Revival-style mansion, has been restored to its former 19th-century glory by its congenial hosts, Ruby and Richard Cook. Fourteen rooms to choose from including king and queen suites, with whirlpool baths and working fireplaces. 79 Rennies Mill Road, (709) 739-7979 or toll-free 1-800-599-7829


Owner of Leaside Manor entertains guests. Click to enlarge

Leaside Manor Heritage Inn. An elegant and romantic manor built in the 1920s, this inn is both luxurious and cozy. 39 Topsail Road. (709) 722-0387 or toll-free 1-877-807-7245.


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Last updated  14-Mar-2015      © 2015 Doug&Morri Productions