Saint John is on the north shore of the Bay of Fundy at the mouth of the Saint John River. This was my favorite port on the cruise. We had lovely weather! There’s no way around it, weather does affect your general feeling of a place. The near-by tourist information office is in Barbour’s General Store, a building from the 1800s, which was restored and moved to this location. It’s a bit of a museum and also sells Victorian era sweets.
We picked up a three-in-one walking tour. The maps and directions are the best I’ve seen anywhere! Buildings were exactly where they said they would be and the map was easy to follow. We were able to combine parts of all 3 tours to get our own taste of the city.
First we followed part of the “Loyalists Trail” through the heart of Old Saint John. Some of Saint John’s earliest settlers included many Americans loyal to the British Crown. 14,000 “Loyalists” emigrated from the U.S. during and after the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783).
On the waterfront, near where the settlers first landed, is Market Square. Seven warehouse facades have been incorporated into the Square.
Market Square is home to Canada’s first public library!
A pedestrian walkway links Market Square with the Brunswick Mall.
Saint John Arts Centre was originally one of Andrew Carnegie’s public libraries which opened in 1904.
St. John’s Stone Church was completed in 1825.
Loyalist House was built between 1810 and 1817 by the Merritt family, who emigrated from the U.S. after the Revolutionary War. Its foundation is on a granite outcrop.
This is one of the few structures that survived the Great Fire of 1877. Over 1600 buildings, which was most of the commercial district, were destroyed and 13,000 people were left homeless.
Saint John City Market is the oldest continuing farmers’ market in Canada. The interior roof of the 1876 building is modeled after an inverted ship’s hull to reflect the city’s ship building heritage.
The King Edward VII Memorial Bandstand in King’s Square is two-storied. Built in 1908, it has a copper roof and filigree metal framework.
The oldest surviving headstone in the Loyalist Burial Ground is from 1784.
We switched to the “Victorian Stroll” to explore a neighborhood that was rebuilt after the Great Fire of 1877. Wealthy ship owners and merchants were determined to rebuild grander homes than the ones they replaced.
The attached homes above were built in 1878. They immediately became “famous” when the plans were featured in a current architectural journal.
The original owners put their initials above the front doors.
D – Dearborn T – Taylor
The Edward Brass House, built in 1860 by a contractor for himself, has an elaborate front entrance.
The Peters House (1877-78) on the left has faces carved above the front door and below the cornices.
The Osgood House has five sided bay window dormers, known as Scottish dormers.
The house at 60 Pitt Street was built before 1877 and is a good example of the detail that wood carvers used to build ships and buildings.
The Wright House is a pretty Queen Anne style built in 1902.
The Frink House, a brick Queen Anne next door, was built in 1904.
This is the doorway of a house built for William Barbour of Barbour Brothers Merchants (Barbour’s General Store down on the waterfront).
Now the Saint John Jewish Historical Museum, this house took three years to build beginning in 1897. It was reputed to be the best finished home in the city.
Back on the “Loyalist Trail”, the Imperial Theatre opened as a vaudeville house in 1913. Besides being a performance center, over the years it has been a movie theater and a church. A public campaign raised over $1 million to purchase the building and after major renovations it was reopened in 1994.
Trinity Church was built in 1880. It replaced the old Trinity church of 1791 which was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1877.
We switched to “Prince William’s Walk” to explore Germaine Street. This took us past even more pretty doors.
St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church was built in 1878-79 to replace the Kirk destroyed in the Great Fire.
Robertson House at # 211 Germain St., was built in the 1880s.
210 & 212 Germain Street are double dwellings built in the 1880s. These have intricate doors and railings as well as stone gargoyles on the cornices.
Besides being decorative, the gargoyles drain water from the roof through their mouths.
This Queen Anne Revival was built in 1905. Called Mahogany Manor, it is one of the few wooden residences built on this street after the Great Fire of 1877.
Along Prince William Street ….
The Palatine Building (Insurance) was originally the Bank of Nova Scotia. It is decorated with floral and fruit motifs and gargoyles.
Across the street is the Bank of New Brunswick, Canada’s first chartered bank from 1820. The Bank of Nova Scotia absorbed it in 1913, moved in and stayed till 1977.
The old Post Office, from 1878, is being remodeled into condominiums.
Old City Hall is being remodeled too.
Chubb’s Corner has fun carved heads above the 3rd floor windows. They got bad reviews when the building was new.
You can glimpse our ship from up town. It overwhelmed the waterfront!
Go to visit, get a map, and start walking to discover your own pretty pictures!