It is deep into November and we are deep into exploring the East coast of Canada. BUT WAIT! We've actually been up to a lot of cool new things since the last blog post almost a month ago. Here is a quick condensed list of what we've been up to since October 13th -
1) We left Haida Gwaii and drove from Prince Rupert, British Columbia, through Prince George (shout out to the home base city where I worked this summer!), and down into Vancouver.
2) We spent a night with a friend in Vancouver, and then spent the weekend in Victoria, on Vancouver Island, with some more friends.
3) We headed to Port Hardy, a small city at the Northern tip of Vancouver Island, and spent three days between Port Hardy and the smaller community of Coal Harbour just 15 minutes away.
4) We drove from Victoria to Hamilton, Ontario in 49 hours.
5) We spent just over a week in Southern Ontario sorting out things back home (as we both call Southern Ontario home base).
6) Then finally we drove out East, and our first stop is Saint John, where we currently are!
Saint John is completely different than any of the places that we have visited so far on our journey, but it is the same in the sense that there is massively supportive community feel, and even us as 'tourists' can easily notice that. Unlike the cities in the North (Yellowknife, Dawson City, and Whitehorse), St John is a pretty old place. It is a city tied to the American revolution. Many of the British Loyalists fled from eastern port cities of the USA to Saint John, and began a new life here.
The city was once booming with the ship building industry. It was a prosperous industrial location, and remains an industrial place today (Irving Oil is located just outside of the city, and the Irving company is currently building a massive headquarters just outside of the uptown, space for 1000 employees!).
Saint John is a must-go-to-see-all-the-cool-things kind of city. It is a destination. Which I never thought before coming here. And I've quickly learned this in the few days that Kristel and I have stayed here.
A really good documentary to watch is CBC and Hemming House Picture's "City on Fire", directed by Saint John local Lauchlan Ough. While it's main story is focussed on English comedian James Mullinger's attempt to fill a stadium in St John for his comedy show (only two years after moving to the city and after many people said he could never have a career here), the documentary also focuses on how great St John is as a city. Definitely a must watch.
Saint John also has a super cool cityscape. We checked it out after the sun went down from the top of the Hollywood hill (not actually Hollywood hill, but it has a big Hollywood-type sign saying "Saint John", overlooking the city). You can see the massive two flames and lightshow-eque beauty of the Irving Oil refinery, the tops of a few old gothic churches, many Vicotian style buildings, and a few tall modern office towers. In the distance, you see four cranes at the shipyard, and maybe a ship or two off the shore.
It's all pretty cool. The uptown area also used to be what some may call a "shithole", but now it is alive and thriving, and a super great place to walk around. There are a ton of new restaurants and businesses lining the streets, and while we were walking down the road with architect Bob Boyce as he gave us a little tour, we not only ran in the MP Wayne Long, but we also ran into the Mayor Don Darling. What a place!
Peace and love,