While staying with us you will find yourself
within a short walking distance to a majority of the historical attractions St.
John's has to offer.|
Located in the historical downtown/central
district of St. John's, the Abba Inn is an ideal location for anyone seeking out
the heart of the oldest city in North America. Stepping out the front door of
our establishment, you will immediately come face to face with the classic,
colorful row houses that have become synonymous with our city. Several
restaurants, museums, shops and tourist sites are nearby, and the world famous
George Street is also within stumbling distance.
Following is a listing of some of the local
attractions, starting with those in our more direct proximity:
Five minutes walk or less:
Anglican Cathedral of St. John's the Baptist
The Anglican Cathedral of St. John the Baptist is
regarded as one of the finest examples of ecclesiastical Gothic Revival in North
America. The cornerstone was laid in 1843, and sections of the church were
destroyed by the St. John's Great Fire of 1892. Rebuilding was completed in
1905. Declared a National Historic Site in 1981, the cathedral preserves its
excellent stained glass, medieval carvings, and offers a small archival museum
containing some early British Cathedral artifacts. The area behind the church
encompasses the oldest cemetery in Canada, which was used from the early 1700s
until 1849. Although few headstones remain, it contains about 5,000 graves.
Anna Templeton Centre for Crafts
Built as the British Bank of North America in
1849, the building has enjoyed an extraordinary history. It was one of the few
buildings to survive the Great Fire of 1892 and during World War II it was
designated as a safe haven for the crown jewels. In the 1950's, the 4th floor
was transformed into a forensics lab for the Ping murder investigation. The
building was used as a bank until the 1980's, was part of the College of the
North Atlantic in the 1990's before becoming a Centre for not-for-profit centre
dedicated to craft and art training in 1997.
Shops, restaurants, music, night life, no matter
what your interest, downtown St. John's will have something for you. For more
detailed information visit our downtown section.
Gower Street United Church
Sometimes called the "Methodist Cathedral", this
visibly striking church is built of red brick and was completed in 1896 after
the previous church on the site was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1892. The
first of the three churches that have occupied the site was begun in 1816. The
present church once had a spire, but deterioration caused it to be removed years
ago. Student tour guides are available in July and August, Monday to Friday from
2 pm to 5 pm and following 11 am Sunday worship services.
This building is one of only a few in North
America to have a moat surrounding it. It was commissioned by Governor Cochrane
in 1824 and now serves as the private residence of the Lieutenant Governor as
well as the guest home for visiting members of the Royal family. Season: Open
St. Andrews Presbyterian Church
Located on Harvey Road, the church stands an
imposing Gothic Revival building with an impressive spire. St. Andrew's was
built in 1894 after the original presbyterian church on Duckworth Street was
destroyed in the Great Fire of 1892.
St. Bonaventure College
"A Catholic School in the Jesuit Tradition", St.
Bonaventure College was founded by the Franciscans in 1857, and from 1889 was
administered by the Irish Christian Brothers. The school was closed in 1998 and
re-opened as an independent Roman Catholic School in the Jesuit Tradition in
St. John's Basilica
Construction completed in 1850, the structure was
consecrated as a cathedral in 1855. At that time, it was the largest church in
North America. It is now a National Historic Site and holds the Archives of the
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. John's. Guided summer tours are available.
St. John's Courthouse - National Historic Site of
Opened in 1901, the Court House on Duckworth
Street is a Victorian-era stone building made with local granite and sandstone.
The stonework was cleaned in 1988 and the neo-Romanesque Court House today looks
very much as it did in 1901. Newfoundland's last public hanging occurred there
in January 1835, when John Flood was hung for robbing the St. John's-Portugal
St. John's Waterfront
To get a real sense of St. John's, a walk along
the waterfront is a must. The harbour, located in historic downtown, has
provided shelter to explorers, merchants, soldiers, pirates and mariners of all
kinds over the last 500 years. Historic buildings, coves, plaques and parks
along the route help depict the history of St. John's since discovery by John
Cabot in 1497.
A combination of the provincial museum,
provincial archives and provincial art gallery, The Rooms is the cultural heart
of Newfoundland and Labrador. The site also offers a breathtaking panoramic
view of St. John's and the harbour.
The Newfoundland War Memorial was unveiled
between Duckworth Street and Water Street on July 1, 1924 - exactly eight years
after the Newfoundland Regiment was decimated at Beaumont Hamel, France, during
the Battle of the Somme. Situated at Queen's Beach where Sir Humphry Gilbert
took possession of the island in 1583. Its bronze figures represent Liberty, the
Merchant Marine, the Army, the Navy and the Forestry Corps
Ten minutes walk:
Commissariat House Provincial Historical Site
One of the oldest buildings in the province, the
Commissariat House was built especially by the Commissariat to supply the city's
garrison. Open from May 30 to September 30, guided tours are available.
This Science Centre's main exhibits start off in
a state-of-the-art theatre that takes you back through the story of Earth,
unleashing the power of volcanoes, earthquakes, and torrential rainstorms with
startling realism. The rest of the exhibits area is divided into four sections
- Our Planet, Our Province, Our People, and Our Future. Located next to
Signal Hill, most of the Centre is built underground and is heated naturally by
holes drilled over 150 metres (500 feet) into the rock, using heat pumps to
circulate fluids that heat or cool the building.
George Street United Church
Construction on this church began in 1872 and is
built entirely of stone taken from the Southside Hills, when in the winter of
1892 the heavy stones were dragged across the frozen harbour. Archival holdings
of the church include baptism, burial and marriage records from 1882.
Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador
Home of the Law Society of Newfoundland and
Labrador, and also the site of the Library of the Law Society of Newfoundland
and Labrador. The library is open to the public but appointments are encouraged.
Newman Wine Vaults Provincial Historic Site
The Newman Wine Vaults, located on the north side
of Water Street just west of Springdale Street were most likely constructed in
the late eighteenth or very early part of the nineteenth century. Stone was used
as the basic building material with lime mortar made from seashells, and the
vaults themselves are constructed of stone and fired red brick. The historic and
architectural importance of the Newman Wine Vaults was recognized when they were
acquired by the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in 1972 and made a
Provincial Historic Site in 1974.
Railway Coastal Museum
In this magnificent heritage building and former
train station, this museum exhibits the 100 year history of the Newfoundland
Railway and Coastal Boat services.
The most famous attraction in St. John's, Signal
Hill rises above the entrance of St. John's harbour and because of its strategic
location, was a natural site for a signal station and fortifications protecting
the harbour and city below. As early as 1704, flag signals were flown from the
summit of Signal Hill to inform St. John's of approaching ships, both friendly
and hostile. In 1762, English and French forces fought the last North American
battle of the Seven Years War on Signal Hill. In 1901, Guglielmo Marconi made
communications history when he received the first transatlantic wireless signal,
and it is the location of the last signal station in Canada. Signal Hill stands
today as one of the province's best known landmarks. The site features panels
displaying the rich history of the site, as well as walking trails and picnic
facilities. Signal Hill offers a panoramic view of St. John's, the harbour, the
ocean and the coastline.
St. Thomas Anglican Church
Opened in 1836, St. Thomas Anglican Church is the
oldest church in St. John's. Located at the corner of Military and King's Bridge
Roads, it originally served the members of the British Garrison at Fort William,
which stood at the nearby site now occupied by the Sheraton Hotel - former Hotel Newfoundland. Though
made of wood, the church survived the Great Fires of 1846 and 1892 -- it was
located outside the main areas of destruction.
By car or day hike:
Standing on a hill overlooking historic St.
John's, Confederation Building houses the Legislative Assembly. The 12 storey
East Block was opened in 1960 and, at that time, housed all Provincial
Government departments, boards and commissions. The main floor lobby contains a
mural by Newfoundland artist Harold B. Goodridge, which represents Newfoundland
before and after confederation. The grounds also contain a number of sculptures.
The six-storey West Block accommodates more than 2,000 Provincial Government
The first lighthouse in Newfoundland was built by
the British Military Garrison in 1810 and is located at the base of the
Southside Hills at the entrance to St. John's Harbour Narrows opposite Signal
Quidi Vidi Battery Provincial Historical Site
Overlooking scenic Quidi Vidi Village, the
Battery was originally erected by the French during their capture of St. John's
in 1762. Later rebuilt by the British, it was occupied until well into the 19th
century. Restored to the 1812 period, this battery is now staffed by guides
dressed in period uniforms of the Royal Artillery. Season: Late June to
Quidi Vidi Village
A picturesque fishing village within the City of
St. John's, reminiscent of small fishing villages throughout the world. You can
wander the narrow, winding roads and view tightly-built cottage houses, a
reminder of early St. John's culture. While exploring the village you can visit
Mallard Cottage (the oldest cottage in North America) or you can walk the Quidi
Vidi Rennies River Trail. It is also a Provincial and National Heritage Site. An
array of items including antiques, china, pictures, coins, stamps, etc.
Wesley United Church
Also in the west end of the city, Wesley United,
opened as a Methodist church in 1908, underwent a name change in 1925 with the
founding of the United Church of Canada. The first radio station in
Newfoundland, 8WMC began broadcasting from the church in 1924. Its successor,
VOWR (Voice of Wesley Radio), is still on the air.