So you’ve planned a trip to the beautiful city of St. John’s, Newfoundland. You’ve spent months planning and an unprecedented amount of money on flights and accommodations. You’ve purchased a multi-seasonal jacket, fishing rod, a year’s supply of granola bars. You’re confident that your luggage is no more than 62 inches in height and no heavier than a medium sized dog because you’ve packed and unpacked so many times that you can recite the contents of your bag as if they were the lyrics to ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. There’s a rental car at the airport, a table at the Mallard Cottage, and an eager loved one waiting patiently for your plane to land. Finally, you’re on “the rock”
Here’s something you may not have considered. What if you’re not in Newfoundland? What if you’re not even on an island at all? What if you’re in the wrong province completely and you’ve been fooled by abbreviations and the lack (or presence) of an apostrophe. You could be lost in Atlantic Canada with no sense of East, West, Mainland or Island and in this case, St. or Saint.
Because turns out, just 1706 km west of St. John’s, NL (YYT),
in another “New” province, is the city of Saint John, NB (YSJ).
Drop the “Foundland”, add a “Brunswick”. Change your St. to a Saint, and take the possession away from your “John’s” and suddenly your trip to St. John’s, Newfoundland has become an unexpected trip to Saint John, New Brunswick.
To the average Canadian, confusing these Eastern provinces is unheard of. To me, a hotel manager in Newfoundland, it’s an unfortunate fate that my guests are faced with too often. So often that I felt obligated to post a short blog entry to save you the trouble of re-booking flights and cancelling reservations. I hope to leave you feeling enlightened, somewhat entertained, and above all confident that you won’t find yourself on the other end of my phone explaining your whereabouts in the midst of our busy tourist season.
“To the average Canadian, confusing these Eastern provinces is unheard of. To me, a hotel manager in Newfoundland, it’s an unfortunate fate that my guests are faced with too often.”
So, who is Saint John and why are there two Canadian cities named after him? John the Baptist, was a well known Jewish preacher turned prophet. John (if we’re on a first name basis) is worshiped predominantly by people of Christian and Jewish faith. From North America to Asia, cities and islands all around the world have been named to commemorate his religious significance. St. John the Baptist Day falls on June 24th. Coincidentally, two different European explorers discovered the two Atlantic cities on the same day, nearly a century apart. Here’s another neat fact; If you’re familiar with Eastern Canada, you’ll know Prince Edward Island. A small province that floats between Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. In the 1500’s, the French colony of Acadia named P.E.I, believe it or not, The Island of St. John. After a couple hundred years of needless confusion, the British permanently changed the island’s name. Subsequently, If you’re somehow travelling via time machine, ending up in PEI rather than St. John’s would be strange, but pretty justified.
Overall, the St. Johns’s aren’t all that different. We both eat a lot of fish, have more than one mall, and there are ‘moose crossing’ signs on our roadsides. Most notably, we both share a deep rooted Irish culture that’s been evolving and shaping our people for hundreds of years. I’ll stop there because I encourage you to come see for yourself. Atlantic Canada is breathtaking, whether you’re in Nova Scotia, PEI, New Brunswick, or Newfoundland. That being said, I’m sure you’d rather know where you’re going before you get there.
-Tasha Power (General Manager of Bannerman Park Suites)
Bannerman Park Suites is one of only four accommodations with 5***** designation in the province. Situated on the edge of Bannerman Park in downtown St. John’s Bannerman Park Suites is less than a 10 minute walk to shops, art galleries and the best dining in the province, including the world-renowned Raymond’s Restaurant. Free WiFi is available throughout out this accommodation. All (1) bedroom units include a well-equipped kitchenette to accommodate tourists and corporate travellers requiring long-term stays.