Closer to London than it is to Canada’s west coast, the capital of Newfoundland, St. John’s, has long looked east and across the Atlantic. It is the easternmost city in North America, excluding Greenland, and has its own time zone, a half-hour ahead of the rest of eastern Canada.
Long before there was a permanent town, established around 1630, British fishermen would set up camp here in the summer. To this day the harbor remains the center of the city, with its oldest buildings and streets (including Water Street, the oldest street in North America) nearby. And although it was primarily fishing and whaling that drove the economy of St. John’s for centuries, today the oil and natural gas found beneath the ocean floor is increasingly important.
The rest of St. John’s sits on hills around the harbor, which has led to frequent comparisons to San Francisco. The tallest, Signal Hill, is one of St. John’s most famous sights with its panoramic views. While the city shines at a distance, it is also in the details that it charms visitors, with its houses painted in jelly-bean hues and cozy restaurants and pubs that provide relief from Atlantic breezes.