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