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Old Posted Aug 29, 2012, 11:28 AM
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Smile In the lanes of old St. John's

In the lanes of old St. John's

As an exceptionally old city by North American standards, St. John's (the capital of the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador) has an abundance of winding, nonsensical lanes.

They range from wide, pedestrian-only streets, to paved pathways between homes, to simple gravel trails cutting across steep cliffs.

This morning - August 29, 2012 - I went for a walk in the rain, drizzle and fog just to show you some of these lanes, a few of every type. I hope you enjoy!

First, you need the proper music to enjoy these lanes. I recommend this cheesy, awful classic:

Video Link


And now, let's begin.

I'll start with an example of one of the larger, downtown lanes. Many of these would be wide enough to carry vehicles if not for the steep hills/stairs.

This, for example, is McMurdo's Lane. Note that the downtown lanes aren't deserted but often have entrances to businesses. Generally, the hills are steep enough that the business on the first floor of any given building will have its main entrance on the street the building faces. However, businesses on the second and third floors will instead of their main entrances in the lanes or facing the next street uphill.

It's fun and interesting to, for example, enter a bar at ground level on one side, walk to the other side of the bar to look out the window, and be four floors above the street below, without ever going up a single stair.





When the lanes are adjacent to green space, they can be very romantic:



And here is an example of a simpler downtown lane, which is basically just a alley that's actually used:



And now an example of a typical residential lane. These lanes are actually used by vehicles and pedestrians. Sometimes drivers have to fold their side-view mirrors down just to make it through, but they do.

























There are many such residential lanes, and they range in size and attractiveness:











And many, of course, are not used and become typical North American alleys, full of trash. This lane is between a building currently being converted into condos and a home:





Most the lanes that end up like this one aren't through-lanes, meaning you can go in them, but the only way to leave is to come back out the way you came. Those, obviously, enjoy no common pedestrian use and are therefore dirty catch-all areas.

Many of the buildings downtown have metal fire escapes in their lanes. These are almost never barricaded, of course, so locals and tourists can climb up almost to the roof of buildings such as the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador. It's terrifying, but offers spectacular views of the city.

I'll share this picture to demonstrate, even though I took it on a similarly foggy day several weeks ago. I'm about half-way up the metal fire escape of the Supreme Court building (to my left). I was afraid to go farther but I can up as high as the building rises to my left. You have to remember that the ground below drops away as steeply as the metal fire escape rises, so after just a few stairs you're already high enough that it would be fatal to fall.



And that's your tour of the many types of lanes in St. John's. I hope you enjoyed it!

September 3, 2012


Pathway by SignalHillHiker, on Flickr
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Last edited by SignalHillHiker; Sep 3, 2012 at 12:36 PM.
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  #2  
Old Posted Aug 29, 2012, 11:38 AM
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Ayreonaut Ayreonaut is offline
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I've always wondered if I could go up some of those staircases. I mean, if someone from the building (or a cop) spotted you, they'd be alright with you going up?
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Old Posted Aug 29, 2012, 11:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ayreonaut View Post
I've always wondered if I could go up some of those staircases. I mean, if someone from the building (or a cop) spotted you, they'd be alright with you going up?
I'd doubt it. But what are they going to do? Tell you not to do it? "O.K., sorry!", the end. When I used to smoke, I'd be up one of these at least five times a day and I was never stopped. But I only chose ones I wasn't afraid of, and ones that weren't easily visible from the street.

EDIT: Also, be careful. The Supreme Court one is a good example. Directly to my left the metal staircase ends and you have to walk across a portion of the roof to join up with the rest of the staircase. The roof is sagging and the remedy they chose was to place big, heavy concrete stepping stones in each of the dips to keep the actual route you have to walk flat. Somehow I bet this was done by neighbourhood Jacks at the request of office Bettys and no engineer even knows they're there.
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Last edited by SignalHillHiker; Aug 29, 2012 at 11:56 AM.
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Old Posted Aug 29, 2012, 2:45 PM
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Very cool.
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Old Posted Aug 29, 2012, 8:17 PM
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Just to give you an idea how fast the weather changes here... the same day, click for full size:

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Old Posted Aug 30, 2012, 8:21 AM
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Fantastic tour - one of the great joys of urban exploration is following alleys like this, out of the reach of conventional maps or Google streetview.

Interesting to hear the use of the word lanes - it's still used in some English towns (e.g. Brighton) but not many.

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Old Posted Oct 27, 2012, 2:59 PM
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October 27, 2012


Lanes of St. John's by SignalHillHiker, on Flickr


Lanes of St. John's by SignalHillHiker, on Flickr


Lanes of St. John's by SignalHillHiker, on Flickr


Lanes of St. John's by SignalHillHiker, on Flickr


Lanes of St. John's by SignalHillHiker, on Flickr


Lanes of St. John's by SignalHillHiker, on Flickr


Lanes of St. John's by SignalHillHiker, on Flickr


Lanes of St. John's by SignalHillHiker, on Flickr


Lanes of St. John's by SignalHillHiker, on Flickr


Lanes of St. John's by SignalHillHiker, on Flickr


Lanes of St. John's by SignalHillHiker, on Flickr


Lanes of St. John's by SignalHillHiker, on Flickr


Lanes of St. John's by SignalHillHiker, on Flickr


Lanes of St. John's by SignalHillHiker, on Flickr


Lanes of St. John's by SignalHillHiker, on Flickr


McMurdo's Lane by SignalHillHiker, on Flickr


McMurdo's Lane by SignalHillHiker, on Flickr


Lanes of St. John's by SignalHillHiker, on Flickr


Lanes of St. John's by SignalHillHiker, on Flickr


Lanes of St. John's by SignalHillHiker, on Flickr


From Duckworth Street to George Street by SignalHillHiker, on Flickr


Williams Lane by SignalHillHiker, on Flickr


The Lanes of St. John's by SignalHillHiker, on Flickr


Cliffhanging Kittie by SignalHillHiker, on Flickr


Henry Street by SignalHillHiker, on Flickr


Henry Street by SignalHillHiker, on Flickr
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Last edited by SignalHillHiker; Oct 27, 2012 at 3:18 PM.
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Old Posted Oct 27, 2012, 4:11 PM
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love it, very colourful n boho
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Old Posted Nov 3, 2012, 4:33 AM
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Nice pictures of the little lanes of St. John's. What's the story behind the Crow's Nest?
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Old Posted Nov 3, 2012, 5:25 AM
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Thanks alot for this my friend St-john's beautifull at any times
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Old Posted Nov 3, 2012, 8:06 AM
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Cute place....whats the big box like building in the centre(a little towards the left)
of the pano photo???
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Old Posted Nov 3, 2012, 1:45 PM
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Cute place....whats the big box like building in the centre(a little towards the left)
of the pano photo???
It's The Rooms. It's meant to resemble traditional fishing rooms like these.
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Old Posted Nov 3, 2012, 1:46 PM
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Originally Posted by xzmattzx View Post
Nice pictures of the little lanes of St. John's. What's the story behind the Crow's Nest?
It was a WWII-era Officers Club. It's still operating today as a private club, even has its own website.
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