The largest city in New Brunswick (pop. 128,000), SAINT JOHN is better known for its industrial prowess than its tourist attractions, home to iconic products such Moosehead beer, the mighty Irving group of companies and a booming oil and gas sector. Yet the surprisingly compact downtown area is crammed with diverting sights, from resplendent Victorian architecture to the absorbing New Brunswick Museum and the Reversing Falls Rapids on the St John River, a dramatic spot to see the effects of the Fundy tides.

The French established a trading post here in 1631, but the city-proper was founded by Loyalist refugees from America in 1783. In the nineteenth century Saint John thrived on the lumber and shipbuilding industries, and despite a devastating fire in 1877, it was sufficiently wealthy to withstand the costs of immediate reconstruction. Consequently, almost all the city’s older buildings – at their finest in the Trinity Royal Historic Preservation Area – are late Victorian.

Most of the action in Saint John takes place in the downtown area, known here as Uptown – the part of the city across the harbour is dubbed West Side.

The tiny rectangular dock at the foot of King Street, known as the Market Slip, is where the three thousand Loyalists disembarked in 1783. The Slip no longer functions as a port, but is still at the heart of Saint John, with warehouses converted into wine bars, restaurants and boutiques that front the modern Market Square shopping mall behind.

 

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Canada features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

15 awesome images of Canada

15 awesome images of Canada

Canada is has vast and varied landscape, from beautiful beaches to glassy mountain lakes. It's difficult to capture the country's real beauty in a photograph, b…

09 Sep 2016 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
8 reasons Vancouver is cooler than you think

8 reasons Vancouver is cooler than you think

Vancouver sometimes gets knocked for being a bit dull – and while it’s true that its residents can be earlier to bed than in the rest of North America, thi…

05 Sep 2016 • Rachel Mills insert_drive_file Article
Lunenburg: Canada's most colourful town

Lunenburg: Canada's most colourful town

Twenty years ago the facades of the wood-built buildings in Lunenburg, a UNESCO-listed fishing town in Nova Scotia, were white with black trimming. The only exc…

29 Oct 2015 • Stuart Forster insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month