St. John’s is my absolute favourite city in the world – I was just lucky enough to have grown up there. It’s dripping with history and it has a beautiful, walkable downtown, which is moments away from Signal Hill and a view of the Atlantic Ocean. I always head straight to Signal Hill: The first thing I want to do when I arrive is take a good look at the place I love, and that’s the spot to do it from.
Rick Mercer’s St. John’s —
The celebrated Canadian comedian and political satirist on the places he visits when he’s downtown in his hometown.
Georgestown Bakery is a downtown favourite. I’m a bit of a bread aficionado, and this place is phenomenal. They’ve got a wood-burning oven for bagels, tremendous baguettes, excellent rye bread and lots of sweets and treats.
The Rooms is home to the Newfoundland archives, and it’s our provincial gallery, with four levels of art and history. The view from the windows is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever slapped my eyes on. You come for the art, but you’re also wowed by the vista.
Bannerman Park is a classic Victorian park right in the heart of downtown. It’s got a large outdoor swimming pool, a big playground for the kids, a splash pad, a baseball diamond and a skating loop in the winter. It’s also filled with old-growth trees, so there are lots of places to have a picnic – or a nap.
LSPU Hall used to be a union hall and is now an artist-run theatre. It’s where I got my start many years ago. A professional theatre company operates out of there, so you can always catch contemporary theatre, modern dance and comedy, and see the up-and-coming generation of performers.
Waterwest Kitchen & Meats is a new bar, café and butcher shop in the west end, from Steve Lee and chef Todd Perrin, the brilliant people behind Mallard Cottage. It’s a groovy, open place where you can spend a long time window-shopping the food. They also have prepared foods like gourmet snacks and charcuterie to take away, so you can pretend that you’re a brilliant chef at home.