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  #1  
Old Posted Apr 7, 2013, 9:33 PM
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Cool A Slow Start to Spring in St. John's

Spring is starting slowly in St. John's this year.

(Actually, that's a lie. It's starting normally - but last year, with its fantastically early and warm spring, has spoiled us).

We had a false start on March 24. I made a video.

Video Link


And, with the warm weather and rain, it really did seem like spring would be early again.











There was even some flooding from the rain and melting snow in the hills.



And it just kept getting warmer and warmer.

















And construction continued to boom...



But then the wind started to pick up, and things started to turn grey...











It seemed as though something bad would happen, but then, suddenly, it stopped. And things were nice again.







And the little nooks and crannies where the snowplow drivers would pile up the winter snow were suddenly accessible again.



And people even went outside to enjoy their backyards.



On streets with cute names.



The annual ritual of painting homes and businesses began again.





They kicked out their housecats, and put up their Gay Pride flags.



And aired out their factories-turned-condominiums.



Yes, things were really looking up.



They even elected a non-supervillian Pope, to the delight of Roman Catholics...



...in their poor-man's-Baltimore neighbourhoods.



Even the wealthier Anglicans were enjoying it.





And they started tending the gardens on their nonsensically-terraced blocks.





But then Mother Nature said... nah, MOAR WINTER!



And construction slowed.



And the snow kept falling...



And the wind blowed so hard that it was impossible to stitch together a panorama because the boat moved too much between the two shots that comprise it...



And it picked up all the snow and turned everything white.



Everyone hid in their houses and coffee shops.





Until the wind stopped.









But then the sun started to warm again...





Which brings us to TODAY!













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  #2  
Old Posted Apr 7, 2013, 9:45 PM
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  #3  
Old Posted Apr 7, 2013, 10:23 PM
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You have such a beautiful and very colourful city.
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  #4  
Old Posted Apr 8, 2013, 2:41 AM
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Great set of pictures there! I really need to get there some day. I'm not quite sure why I moved further away from the rock after seeing all the pictures you've posted.
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  #5  
Old Posted Apr 8, 2013, 3:40 AM
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Such a kick-ass city.
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  #6  
Old Posted Apr 8, 2013, 2:56 PM
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Smile

Lovely shots, as usual from you and St. John´s. Thanks for sharing.

I love the variety of weather you´ve got there. It´s fantastic.

Congrats and greetings from Madrid, Spain!
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  #7  
Old Posted Apr 9, 2013, 3:57 AM
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Nice pictures. I really like the one where you said the sun came out and warmed again. Are there three separate lighthouses in that one picture? How many lighthouses are there near that harbor entrance?

I was going to ask where all of the snow was. Shouldn't there be a lot more up there? Where are the piles of snow? My question was answered somewhat when the passing storm dumped snow in your pictures, but I would've thought that there would be plenty of piles of snow still around. Does the Gulf Stream warm things up? What are temperatures like right now?
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  #8  
Old Posted Apr 9, 2013, 5:43 AM
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Nice looking little city! Great location too.
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  #9  
Old Posted Apr 9, 2013, 10:23 AM
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Thanks, everyone!

Quote:
Originally Posted by xzmattzx View Post
Nice pictures. I really like the one where you said the sun came out and warmed again. Are there three separate lighthouses in that one picture? How many lighthouses are there near that harbor entrance?

I was going to ask where all of the snow was. Shouldn't there be a lot more up there? Where are the piles of snow? My question was answered somewhat when the passing storm dumped snow in your pictures, but I would've thought that there would be plenty of piles of snow still around. Does the Gulf Stream warm things up? What are temperatures like right now?
There are three lighthouses, yes.

In the distance is Cape Spear, the most easterly point in North America. It has two lighthouses. The tall, slender one on in the middle is the new, functioning one. The stout building to the right is the old one, now a museum. The shorter buildings to the far left house the fog horn.

In the foreground is Fort Amherst, which guards the very narrow entrance to St. John's Harbour. It's now a private residence but is open to the public.

Here's the best I've ever captured it - I have pictures from this morning as well, but in the video you can hear the fog horn:

Video Link


We do get a lot of snow, but our winter temperatures are mild by Canadian standards and we rarely stay below freezing long enough for snow to accumulate:



So you can end up with us getting 300 inches of snow and having nothing to show for it, while other cities can get 100 inches and be white for half the year. You just have to remember this doesn't mean we have nice, sunny winter weather. Winter and spring here are very grey, with lots of precipitation. Think of it as Seattle but colder, enough that the temperature hugs the freezing mark and makes messy, wet snow just as likely as rain.
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Last edited by SignalHillHiker; Apr 9, 2013 at 10:37 AM.
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  #10  
Old Posted Apr 9, 2013, 10:30 AM
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And here's a little taste of what a winter storm looks like here. All of this snow was completely gone just a few days later.

http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/show...2&postcount=41







And here's a film I made of a wintery drive a few months ago:

Video Link
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Last edited by SignalHillHiker; Apr 9, 2013 at 3:47 PM.
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  #11  
Old Posted Apr 9, 2013, 3:31 PM
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The natural beauty of that town is just insane.
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Old Posted Apr 10, 2013, 6:52 AM
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It can't be mistaken for
anywhere else
any time of year.

Great photos as always!
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Old Posted Apr 10, 2013, 6:59 PM
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Really enjoyed this thread, how is the economy there? Do young people usually flee?
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Old Posted Apr 10, 2013, 8:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mello View Post
Really enjoyed this thread, how is the economy there? Do young people usually flee?
The answer is complicated - but the short version is: the economy is doing very well now, but this is a relatively recent development.

The long answer is this...

Newfoundland and Labrador was an independent country prior to becoming a Canadian province in March of 1949. We had a small, exceptionally wealthy ruling class (merchants) and a large population of poor, indebted servants (fisherman), who had to borrow each year enough money to buy the supplies they'd need to fish the next.

After joining Canada, income equality started to lessen. The government invested heavily in rural areas with grand ideas (hockey stick factories, poultry farms, etc.) meant to free the people from this form of economic slavery. Nothing really worked, though the quality of life in rural areas improved dramatically.

In the 1960s, the government forcibly demolished hundreds of villages and towns and forced their residents to move to larger communities that were less expensive to service with things like electricity, water, etc. This event, known as Resettlement, is part of our collective consciousness as Newfoundlanders, it is one of our great victimhood stories that forms a part of our identity today. Here's a song about it:

Video Link


In 1992, the s**t finally hit the fan. A moratorium was imposed on cod - it was no longer legal to harvest. Rural Newfoundland collapsed. Village after village, town after town, saw its entire reason for existing yanked out from under it. Tens of thousands (in a province with a population of only half a million) were forced to move.

This was the situation in which St. John's found itself. Although it never lost population (because thousands of rural residents fled here, just as tens of thousands fled to other provinces), it did stagnate economically - and visually. For example, the office towers you see under construction in the above photos are the first new ones here for 25 years.

So, we were the capital of a critically wounded province. There was enough going on to keep the city afloat, but we were clearly hurting.

Now... we have greater control over our own resources and the ability to develop them. Oil, gas, minerals, fish, forestry, etc. We are LOADED. Since 2008, we haven't even received equalization payments (which are payments taken from a fund all provinces contribute to and shared amongst so-called "have-not" provinces to ensure they can provide a comparable standard of living to Canada's "have provinces". Becoming a "have province" was a huge and cheerful occasion for us.

As our Premier (equivalent of a governor), Kathy Dunderdale, recently said announcing a MAJOR hydroelectric development:

Quote:
Newfoundland and Labrador is a very special corner of the world. No one wants to leave, and for anyone who does, this place never leaves them. The rhythm of a majestic sea, the secrets of ancient rock and the movement of our ever-changing sky all seem to call us home. The nature and geography of this place are so intricately woven into our culture, history and tradition that they are as much a part of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians as our own heartbeat. The island and the Big Land hold our hearts and souls, no matter where we go. That separates us from other Canadians. Newfoundlanders and Labradorians yearn for this place. Fortunately, a fundamental shift in our history has occurred in recent years, and we are no longer compelled to leave to provide for our families. Now our aspirations can be met here at home, and as of this day, we may never be forced to leave again.

Our experience in confederation with Canada has included some challenges: the stigma of being the poorest province in the union, the bitterness of the Upper Churchill injustice, the resentment of a decimated fishery and the anger of not having our voice heard within the federation. However, today represents a significant shift in our relationship with the federal government. We are now a full partner in the federation of Canada.
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Old Posted Apr 10, 2013, 8:52 PM
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Thanks for the great explanation Ryan:

Sounds like a very interesting history and good to see that things have turned around and new office towers are being built.
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  #16  
Old Posted Apr 10, 2013, 9:00 PM
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At first I was like, "How the **** does he know my name?"

But then I remembered...

And cheers to you too, thank you!
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Old Posted Apr 10, 2013, 9:43 PM
ThatDarnSacramentan ThatDarnSacramentan is offline
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Fantastic set and storytelling. I swear, every time I visit one of your threads, my tolerance for miserable weather increases (or maybe that's just from living in Portland). You've convinced me that I have to visit this corner of the continent sometime.
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  #18  
Old Posted Apr 10, 2013, 9:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThatDarnSacramentan View Post
Fantastic set and storytelling. I swear, every time I visit one of your threads, my tolerance for miserable weather increases (or maybe that's just from living in Portland). You've convinced me that I have to visit this corner of the continent sometime.
Thank you!

I do love some weather that others might find miserable. Proper, dense fog (pea soup fog, we call it) brings a smile to my face. I walk outside into it like people might stroll off a flight from Iceland outside the airport in LA.

But snow, I hate. Real rain, I hate. Most of the rain we get here is much closer to mist, which I mind less.

But there's still something about a blue sky... we don't get it often. Even when it's bright and obviously sunny here, the sky is still sometimes white.

As for St. John's... I try to be objective. That's why I don't take offense when people describe it as a small town, or dislike it based on accurate impressions. That's all fine with me.

But it really is a spectacular place to visit. That VISIT word is key if you're someone who needs nice weather, big cities, etc. You couldn't live here... you'd go crazy. It's very much a small, close-knit city in atmosphere. But you would get a tremendous amount from visiting.

I've met so many tourists that have been changed by coming here. And I make a point of stopping, and giving a wide-smiled welcome to anyone who is obviously not from here. Anyhow, the one I remember most was an older (it turned out) German woman. Her husband, who died several years previous, was a Newfoundlander but she'd never been. And she was sitting on a wall at Queen's Battery, overlooking St. John's, crying. That's why I approached her, to ask if she she alright. And, as part of a lengthy conversation, she said she felt, being here, as though she'd discovered a love letter to her that her husband wrote before he died, that this was the only way she could describe it.

And that melted my heart. It's wonderful to feel like you're not the protagonist in your own life. It was genuinely cool.

Anyhow... this sets us up perfectly:

Video Link


(The one thing in this that may not immediately make sense: the reference to being a half-hour ahead is literal. We have our own time zone, Newfoundland Time, which is 1.5 hours ahead of New York City).
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Old Posted Apr 11, 2013, 6:09 AM
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Wow man, thanks for the wonderful photography and history. Such vibrant colors and spectacular scenery...it really does look and feel like a special place.
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Old Posted Apr 11, 2013, 5:20 PM
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Thanks, AJW.

When we were independent, we used to promote ourselves as being like one of your neighbours (by North American standards of geographic distance):

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