Sunday, August 5, 2018

POST 354 05AUG2018 ST JOHN'S NEWFOUNDLAND Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador

POST 354 05August 2018


This summer 2018 I wanted to visit Memorial University and the city of St. John’s in Newfoundland and Labrador (Not to be confused with Saint John, in New Brunswick). This city is the North America's most easterly city, only about 3,700 kilometres to the city of Caen in France. I was there last May conducting an intensive martial arts training.

St. John's is one of North America's oldest European settlements. With a population of about 109,000 souls St. John’s covers 446 square kilometres. In recent years, thanks to offshore petroleum industry the economy has been growing quickly. In 2011, at $52,000 the city's per capita GDP is among the highest of Canadian cities.

At the beginning I was thinking about going from Ontario to St. John’s by road (2324km). But a realistic plan showed that it would take four days to cover this trip, including the time for a ferry crossing from North Sydney in Nova Scotia to Port aux Basques in Newfoundland. Finally I must postpone that dream and opted for a flight of two hours and 40 minutes with Air Canada.

On that Friday, at 12:55 pm, an urban bus brought me directly from St. Johns International Airport to Memorial University which is located at the other end of the route 14. The bus ticket costs only $2.50, and when I put some coins in the ticket-box to pay my travel I realized that I was still on the soil of Canada and I did not need an exchange of currency for any of my transactions. St. John’s, although far away from Ottawa and set on an island, is part of our country. In the History of Canada the Province of Newfoundland is the last province to enter in the Confederation; what if this entrance did not happen? Recently, in 2001, the province of Newfoundland has taken a new official name as Newfoundland and Labrador, it is now clear that this Anglophone province consists of  the island of Newfoundland (108,860 square kilometers) and the vast area of Labrador (294,330 square kilometers), neighbouring  the Francophone province of Quebec. In the future could it help avoid conflict between the two provinces regarding Labrador? According to some research, the name Labrador came from the Portuguese term ‘llvrador’  (landowner).

I got my accommodations in the Hatcher Building, room 405, on the campus of MUN (Memorial University of Newfoundland). This university is the Atlantic Canada's largest university. Memorial University of Newfoundland  provides comprehensive education and grants respected degrees. Its historical strengths in engineering, business, geology, and medicine make MUN one of the top comprehensive universities in Canada. The business school occupies a modern white building. The campus of MUN is very well organized and my room is large and quiet.  I really appreciated the generous breakfast with music presentation on Sunday morning by a nice violinist.  From the campus it took me about 40 minutes to walk down to the city center and it was a great pleasure for me to do so rather than taking the bus.
St. John's architecture has a distinct style from the rest of Canada, and its major buildings are remnants of its history as one of the first British colonial capitals. Housing in St. John's is typically painted in bright colours and I really take great pleasure to see these colourful houses while walking around the downtown of St. John’s which is a hilly terrain and steep maze of residential and commercial streets. Many good restaurants, bars and coffee shops abound Water Street, next to the harbour. Parallel to Water Street, George Street is a short street with no other shops than restaurants or bars; nothing happens here in the day but at night it becomes a crowded special street after 9:30pm, full of activities and music. In some sense George Street made me think of the Second Street in Philadelphia.
Late night walking back from downtown to the campus of MUN , alone through deserted streets, up and down, gave me a strong sense that we have a precious life to fill in at each moment rather than sitting in a safe place and let it pass.  
I like St. John’s very much and in this Post 354  I want to share with you a number of pictures taken spontaneously during my visit to St John’s last July, 2018.
 *In one place of my notebook for this trip in St. John’s I have noted:
-Tour: Iceberg Quest, $65, depart 9:13am
-Bus 14 to Airport, 10 to downtown, 5 to Quidi Vidi. Bus 27 called The Link
-Bagle Café 234 Ducksworth/delicious dessert Lemon meringue. Fish Exchange at Harbor and Water Street. Restaurant Yellow, between George Street and Water Street. The Rooms Museum: excellent view over the city, nice service for lunch. Sushi Island restaurant, 210 Water Street (all you can eat for $20), delicious meals!
-Must see: Quidi Vidi, Signal Hill, Titanic Museum

Charles Phan Hoang  (Summer 2018)




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