St.John's and Cape Spear
4 to 4.5 hours
The capital of Newfoundland, St. John's is set on the shores of a harbour whose spectacular scenery is world famous. Seasonally inhabited by fleets of European fishermen since 1497, the first permanent settlers were the British who landed here in the middle of the 18th century. The city's architecture is a wonderful blend of colourful wooden houses, stately stone and brick churches, colonial buildings and modern commercial structures. An independent island spirit fuels the Newfoundlander's humour and down home hospitality. There are few cities as friendly as St. John's. The Cape Spear National Historic Site is located eleven km outside of St. John's. A point of land jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean, it is the most easterly point in North America.
Signal Hill: Cabot Tower was built to defend the harbour from a seaward attack. Situated atop Signal Hill, the tower is also the site of Marconi's first transatlantic wireless communication. The hill offers a panoramic view of the city, harbour and surrounding sea.
Commissariat House, Government House and Garrison Church: Erected during British colonial times, the limestone used in construction was imported from Cork, Ireland. Today the buildings continue to stand in stately watch over the city.
Basilica of St. John the Baptist: Built in 1850 of imported stone, the Basilica is designed in the shape of a Latin cross with 43 metre towers at the corners.
Cape Spear Light: Built in 1834, this is Newfoundland's oldest coastal light. The lighthouse now houses a visitors' centre and museum depicting the old way of life.
Coastal Batteries: Cape Spear was considered a critical defence point against German U-boats during World War II. Shoreline batteries could defend convoys as they formed outside the port of St. John's or as they left on the hazardous trip across the Atlantic.
Petty Harbour: This picturesque fishing village lies only minutes outside the city of St. John's. Site of the first hydro electric plant in Newfoundland, the scenery is unspoiled and rustic.