St. John's is the oldest city in Canada and one of the oldest cities in North America, but it can seem surprisingly young. Its roots date back almost five centuries, yet it boasts an eclectic blend of architectural styles and a modern, energetic atmosphere.
Built around its harbor—a natural fortress that drew both naval commanders and the fishing industry—St. John's has evolved from a fishing station to a thriving port city with an exciting blend of interests. A glance around St. John's Harbour will show you the city's strengths: trans-Atlantic cruise ships and small tour boats, docked fishing boats and long-liners, and loaded supply ships that work in the offshore oil industry.
From the harbor, you can see the glass and steel of office buildings, which are adjacent to the brick-walled buildings that house trendy shops, bustling cafes and restaurants. You can also see some of the most historic churches in Canada, as well as cultural attractions including The Rooms—a complex that towers over the city's skyline, bringing together the provincial museum, art gallery and archives.
Visitors will find great entertainment districts in the city's streets and such outdoor attractions as amazing wildlife and icebergs that drift by the rugged coastline. Just outside the city, you can explore the rest of the province, including the vast territory of Labrador.
St. John's continually reinvents itself. It has retained something of a small-town feel by capping limits on the height of new buildings, yet it is embracing new economic strengths, particularly in tourism and offshore oil development. As a trading port, it has always welcomed newcomers, while preserving its colorful and unique history.
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