Not to be confused with St. John’s Newfoundland, Saint John New Brunswick is a beautiful seaside city, known for its unique Maritime culture. It stands on a rocky point where the Saint John River enters the Bay of Fundy. Its historic streets, museums and art galleries make it one of Atlantic Canada’s favourite cruise ports.
This year, world-renowned street artist Sean Yoro (Hula) will be returning to Saint John to battle the tides of the Bay of Fundy to paint a giant mural from his paddleboard.
Feeling inspired yet? Discover the best places to visit in the city with our list of the top attractions in Saint John.
Reversing Falls Rapids
One of the best places to fully appreciate the tremendous force of the Bay of Fundy tides is at the narrow gorge at the head of the harbour, where the incoming tide is forced over a ridge rock, creating a waterfall that flows upstream. If you are looking for an adrenaline rush, watch the tides collide from 110 feet up on the skywalk overlooking the Reversing Falls Rapids.
Prince William Street and Historic Saint John
Prince William Street is a designated National Historic Site for its concentration of distinguished buildings and decorated in the styles of a single period. Be sure to visit the St. John’s Anglican Church, built in 1825. It is one of the few buildings in this area to have escaped the catastrophic fire that destroyed more than half the town in 1877.
Saint John City Market
This market has been operating since the late 1700’s and is the oldest continuing farmer’s market in Canada. The classic old market hall is one of the few buildings to have escaped the Great Fire which swept through the city just a year after the market opened in 1876. The block-long building is filled with local vendors selling everything from farm-fresh produce and the day’s catch, to bread, fudge, maple syrup and hand-made crafts. It is a great place to pick up souvenirs on your visit to New Brunswick!
New Brunswick Museum
Explore New Brunswick’s unique history at this museum. Set in a modern facility right on the waterfront, it is filled with engaging exhibits on the province’s geology as well as interactive areas for children. The Great Hall of Whales is a treat for all visitors and is the most popular exhibit in the museum.
Irving Nature Park
A short drive outside Saint John is this 600-acre park, established to protect 11 kilometres of the Bay of Fundy shoreline. It sits on a narrow peninsula that represents six different ecosystems featuring forests, mud flats, a salt march, volcanic rock and a long sandy beach. There are approximately 25o different species of birds that stay in the park, making it a great spot for birdwatchers!
Carleton Martello Tower
One of nine remaining Martello Towers, small defensive forts built by the British Empire in 1813, now a National Historic Site. During your visit you can explore both the interior and exterior of the Tower and find a reconstruction of a 19th century barrack room. It’s height and hilltop setting make it a great vantage point for views over the town, the harbour and the Bay of Fundy.
One of the largest urban parks in Canada, Rockwood Park is where local residents and tourists gather year-round to enjoy the outdoors. It covers 2,200 acres, laces with more than 55 paths and trails for hiking and biking, featuring a freshwater lake for swimming and boating. In the winter, the lake becomes skating rink, cross-country skiing or snowshoeing is popular along the trails.
Built in 1817, it was originally owned Thomas Merritt, a British Loyalist. It is the oldest building in Saint John and one of the few to survive the Great Fire. Furnishings are examples of several styles popular in the early 19th century, and the kitchen retains the original fireplace fittings and implements.
Art and fine craftsmanship are highly valued in New Brunswick and browsing the many art galleries and studios is a must when visiting Saint John. From the Jones Gallery on Charlotte Street to the Buckland Merrifield Gallery on Canterbury Street, there are a range of galleries showing both fine and decorative arts.
After a day of exploring the great outdoors, one of the most popular things to do at night in Saint John is attending a performance or film showing at the Imperial Theatre. Built in 1913 as a vaudeville house, it is one of the grandest buildings in the city. It hosts a variety of shows including classic films, comedy shows, dance, opera and burlesque revivals.
With so much to offer, Saint John is a must-see Canadian gem. Pack your bags and book your accommodations today!