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  #1  
Old Posted Mar 30, 2014, 5:24 PM
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SignalHillHiker SignalHillHiker is offline
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Smile To the Edge and Back Again

Although it's technically not legal yet to do so, today - FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE LAST FALL - I lived up to my namesake and hiked around Signal Hill.

There was still a lot of snow and ice but I survived - and my hike happened to coincide with a container ship sailing in through the Narrows.

So, join me on a little hike to the edge of St. John's, at the edge of the world.

Video Link


I started at the bottom of my street in the Rabbittown neighbourhood, traditionally a lower class area, but we've got new parking metres now. I tell ya, b'y, we're coming up in the world. Do you see the little bump on the hill on the horizon? That's Cabot Tower, very near to our final destination. It's omnipresent in St. John's. There are very few areas from which you can't see it.



After cutting down a few side streets and staircases, I made it down to Queen's Road. The new Fortis Building (our city's tallest currently under construction) is visible at the bottom of the hill.



This Mexican restaurant, "Sneakers", is very popular. Across the street is Wing'in It, a local wings franchise. They have sssooo many flavours, and it's always a busy spot.



One last staircase to George Street and Water Street. Outside Trinity Pub, the Republic of Newfoundland and Canadian flags share a single pole. Typically people only have one or the other in their hearts and display accordingly.



The Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador, on Water Street.



The recently-reclad TD Place. It used to be red brick - all of the buildings the Government of Canada built downtown were. I think it was a misguided attempt to respect the local architecture, which didn't have a single modern building prior to us joining Canada in 1949. But buildings at this larger scale just look like shit in red brick.



Downtown St. John's doesn't have very many franchises. There is a Subway, a couple of Tim Horton's, but almost everything else is unique to our city - and many have won national and international awards, like the Boobie Trap. It won rave reviews for it's horror movie based advertising campaign.



An example:



The National War Memorial, between Water and Duckworth Streets.



In The Battery. This used to be a part of St. John's we all hated because it was all the national and international media EVER showed of the city. That's changed over the last 5-10 years and now people realize there's more to St. John's than just this - so that enables us to also enjoy the lower class romance of it all.



There's a cool little mobile app for tourists that uses GPS to tell their location and then informs them all about it with locals sharing their stories and memories of The Battery:

Video Link


Walking is easier than driving in this neighbourhood, which is strung across the steep cliffs like lights on a Christmas tree.



Video Link


There have been fatal avalanches here that have simply swept houses in the harbour. And, of course, falling rocks are an ever-present threat. The province is slowly changing these signs to say "Watch for FALLEN Rock", as opposed to Falling, so tourists get less freaked out.



People here will go to war over their parking spaces. There are so few, so don't even think about it. If you go out too far, there's not even room to turn around and you'll have to drive out backwards.



Two of our most famous native animals are the Newfoundland dog and the Labrador dog.



Shh... we'll pretend we didn't see this:



The reward for hiking all that way is a beautiful one.



Watch your step, b'ys, because if ye goes, ye're gone.



And don't forget to hold the chain...



Rest #1, to watch the container ship come in. Kick your feet up a spell.



Here she comes, b'ys. And whey, hey, up she rises.









O.K., this is where one is half tempted to turn around and go back because it's almost all uphill beyond this point, but **** it, **** this endless winter, we're GOING!



Looking back the way we came.



A little avalanche knocked the railing from this portion of the trail earlier the winter. Also, pity the poor ****s who had to pour that concrete step.



This is where we almost fell to our deaths, sure. You'd have never seen this photo thread but you could have visited the little cross my family put up here in my memory.



THE EDGE OF THE WORLD!







Time to hike up the steepest portion of the trail to the very top of Signal Hill now.



Pausing only to enjoy the views.



*Gulp*



Time for rest #2, b'ys.



The St. John's SSP crowd was joking all winter that I'd have to change my username to SignalHillDriver. But I'm not doing that in the depths of misery, b'ys. It's barely safe now. But at least I can start living up to my name again.



Running down Signal Hill Road back into the city.



Our former Parliament, which is currently being fixed up into a museum of our Pre-Confederation political history, from 1497 to 1949.



And now we're just a few steps from home. And ain't that the truth:

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Last edited by SignalHillHiker; Apr 4, 2014 at 4:30 PM.
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Old Posted Mar 30, 2014, 5:52 PM
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Nice photo set!

I'll have to pay a visit. Is there evidence of the Viking colonization there? Or, is that more of a Nova Scotia thing.
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Old Posted Mar 30, 2014, 6:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by texcolo View Post
Nice photo set!

I'll have to pay a visit. Is there evidence of the Viking colonization there? Or, is that more of a Nova Scotia thing.
There is no evidence in Nova Scotia.

L'anse-aux-Meadows is the only authenticated Viking settlement in North America. It's on Newfoundland's Great Northern Peninsula. But it's not handy to St. John's:



Video Link
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Old Posted Mar 30, 2014, 6:54 PM
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Phenomenal tour, Signal! Great work
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Old Posted Apr 4, 2014, 3:37 AM
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That was a good....if a little scary.... tour!
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Old Posted Apr 4, 2014, 3:46 AM
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Nice set of pics Ryan. I remember this building

Quote:
Originally Posted by SignalHillHiker View Post


Our former Parliament, which is currently being fixed up into a museum of our Pre-Confederation political history, from 1497 to 1949.


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Old Posted Apr 4, 2014, 4:12 PM
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Nice pics, good commentary, city, nature, ships... you got it all.
Love when people document little adventures like this.
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Old Posted Apr 10, 2014, 1:05 AM
dewE dewE is offline
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Really enjoyed that!!
I'm going to have to go there some day; but I've been saying that for years.
I'm originally from NB and when it came time for a summer trip, my friends and I always choose Montreal over St. Johns. There were a few reasons for that:
To fly to Nfld was allot more expensive than taking the train to Montreal. Montreal had the Expos and we always time it to see some great concerts. Probably the best were U2's Joshua Tree tour and Amnesty International's "human rights now benefit concert" where Tracy Chapman stole the show over some pretty big names. 80,000 people sang "Fast Car" right along with her. At that time the train was a party all the way up and all the way back (can't do that now). And last but not least were the Women of Montreal. If you've been there, you know what I mean.
Well that was a bit of a rant...hope I still get to St. Johns some day.
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Old Posted Apr 10, 2014, 11:41 AM
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Thanks, guys!

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DewE - I completely understand. It's disproportionately expensive to visit St. John's because flying is the only convenient way to reach the city and Canadian airlines have a monopoly. We have no option to drive across the border for cheaper American airfares, so our prices aren't marked down to the extent they are elsewhere. giallo can fly from Shanghai to Toronto for less than I can usually fly from Toronto to St. John's.

We're also so isolated that we have to be a destination in ourselves. It takes 24 hours to drive/ferry to our nearest neighbour, Halifax, Nova Scotia. You can spend the same amount of money and time to see Dublin, London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Paris all in one go. It's hard to compete with that.

Unless you're into icebergs and whales or have some particular appreciation for Newfoundland and its culture, it can be a difficult sell. The city's primary tourism-related goal right now is getting more cruise ships to stop here between Europe and the United States. We recently added Disney Cruise Lines, so that was a big win. This seems to be one of the most effective ways to grow the tourism industry because it makes it affordable, and it makes it part of a larger package. The Disney line, for example, goes from Stockholm to New York City and stops here.

The only thing people sometimes say as a reason for not visiting that I have to correct is when they've visited the Maritimes and believe that counts. "I've never been to St. John's, but I took a road trip to Halifax, I love your region!". We're quite different, geographically and culturally - probably even more so than Boston versus NYC.

Here are a few examples of the sorts of things we get, even in the Maritimes

Video Link


(Mainlanders, BTW, is our term for anyone from anywhere else in Canada. It does NOT include the population on the mainland of our province, in Labrador. It DOES include other Canadian islands, such as Prince Edward Island and Vancouver Island).
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Old Posted Apr 11, 2014, 12:31 AM
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That was funny!
I hear ya, I'm in Ontario now and allot of people lump "all" East Coasters together as if there were no geography/cultural differences. Some, not many have the impression that everyone is on the dole and don't want to work. I have a feeling some of the oilsands projects would slow to a grind (for a bit) if all the Maritime people left.

My sister was in NFLD a couple of years ago and loved it! She may have even been on the trail you took the pictures from. She and her husband spent the better part of a day travelling around them.
I'm hoping someday I get to go on the same trail.
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Old Posted Apr 11, 2014, 2:48 AM
mrnyc mrnyc is offline
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very interesting area -

how about a little thread theme music from the boss?
it has a real 1980s teen movie end credits vibe
http://youtu.be/jqO4CKMwrg8
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  #12  
Old Posted Apr 12, 2014, 3:42 PM
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Great set SHH. I love the quirky look (appeal) of the city. Would love to visit. As for the hike, congrats. If I tried that I'd have to make sure the Medivac Rescue Team was oncall.
Thanks.
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Old Posted Apr 12, 2014, 10:07 PM
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Very nice pictures and spectacular views! Thanks for sharing.

Congrats and greetings from Madrid, Spain.
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  #14  
Old Posted Apr 17, 2014, 11:18 PM
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SignalHillHiker SignalHillHiker is offline
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Thanks, guys!

And update... snow is GONE!

April 17

Went for sushi with jeddy1989 and our friend D.

An old one for the mood... lol

Video Link


SPRING!!! SPRING!!! SPRING!!!













Pink, white, and green, baby!





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Old Posted Apr 17, 2014, 11:21 PM
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Jan Morris' review:

Quote:
Morris says in the book that of all the cities she has written about anywhere in the world, none has given her more enjoyment than St. John's, the capital of Newfoundland, which she describes as "the most entertaining town in North America." She delights in finding a rum in St. John's called Newfoundland Screech, and a family clan with the name Noseworthy. She paints a memorable portrait:

"Windy, fishy, anecdotal, proud, weather-beaten, quirky, obliging, ornery, and fun - its chunky wooden streets clamber up and down the civic hills with a kind of throwaway picturesqueness, suggesting to me sometimes a primitive San Francisco, sometimes Bergen in Norway, occasionally China, and often an Ireland of long ago."
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