Top Ten Things I Love About Saint John, New Brunswick…

I moved to Saint John in October of 1997, after living in several other cities and towns in the eastern part of North America…this is my favourite place!  Here are the top ten things I love about Saint John, in no particular order:

1. The people.  They are the friendliest and most generous folks anywhere.  A tourist just has to pull out a map on the street, and five people will appear out of nowhere asking if he is lost.  If one of them has a car, he’ll probably offer the person a drive to their destination!  Despite its high poverty rate (about 20% of Saint Johners live below the poverty line), if somebody needs something, folks will pull together to make sure they get it!

Any minute now, the people in the background will set down their beer and run over to help...

2. The weather.  This is the most temperate place I’ve ever lived: we don’t get stinking hot or freezing cold weather very often.  Our fog gives us natural air-conditioning in the summer, and makes us appreciate the sun more when we can actually see it!  Occasionally, we get the tail-end of a hurricane, but tornadoes are extremely rare here (which is fine with me!).

Waterfront in Saint John...

3. The history.  Saint John is the oldest incorporated city in North America, and is celebrating its 225th Anniversary this year.  The uptown is filled with beautiful old architecture, most of it dating to 1878, the year after “The Great Saint John Fire” devastated much of the city.

This building on Sydney Street shows some typical South End architecture...

4. The neighbourhoods.  Saint John has distinct neighbourhoods based on geographic location: the Uptown, the South End, the North End, Millidgeville, the West Side, and the East Side.  Each has its own unique characteristics and personality.  Neighbourhood pride is still alive and well in Saint John – many families have lived in the same part of town for generations!

A West Side convenience store...

5. The diversity.  There has been a recent influx of Asian immigration to Saint John…on the whole, these new folks have been welcomed with open arms.  Saint Johners realize that we need these people to replace our citizens who are leaving town to find work elsewhere.

Front window of one of the new businesses...

6. The arts community.  I have noticed a positive change since arriving here thirteen years ago…I find that the arts are very accessible in Saint John, even to “ordinary” people like me.  I am particularly enthused about the continued development of the Saint John Arts Centre, which has come about largely due to the efforts of its tireless volunteers.  The Saint John Theatre Company, and the Saint John Shakespeare Festival put on wonderful shows every year.

The Saint John Arts Centre...

7. The cost of living.  This is the least-expensive city I’ve ever lived in (have lived in Ottawa, ON, St. John’s, NF, and Moncton, NB, as an adult).  You can still get a decent house in the Saint John area for under $200,000. 

They're asking $179,900 for this 4-bedroom in one of the most desirable areas of Saint John...

8. The transit system.  Saint John Transit does an excellent job of providing good, punctual service at convenient times for most.  With the recent expansion to the suburbs with the Comex service, it’s even better.  Most of the drivers are friendly and helpful.

Bus at King Square...

9. The Uptown.  King Street is the steepest main street in any city in North America…our “Uptown” really is “up-town.”  There is a diverse mix of shops/restaurants/galleries, along with the City Market, New Brunswick Museum, Saint John Free Public Library, Canada Games Aquatic Centre, and Harbour Station.  Our “Inside Connection” makes it easy to get around in any weather.

Kids race go-karts down the King Street hill...

10. The Imperial Theatre.  This magnificent building is a must-see for any visitor!  It has seen hundreds of amazing performances by musicians and theatrical groups…all say it’s one of the most beautiful venues in Canada.

Our gorgeous Imperial Theatre...

I hope that anyone who hasn’t visited Saint John will make plans to do so…I guarantee you’ll have a wonderful time!


Filed under tourism

138 responses to “Top Ten Things I Love About Saint John, New Brunswick…

  1. We’ve often thought of hopping the ferry at Digby and coming across to St. John but it hasn’t happened yet. There never seems to be enough time.

    Thanks for sharing these wonderful photos.

  2. I have traveled across Canada and the US to some of the biggest and smallest cities and always I want to come home to Saint John. Yes, this is home and I see the changes taking place step by step. I can’t imagine living anywhere else. So for those of you who have left home is waiting for you and those of you who haven’t been here the entire city says Welcome. So much more to Saint John than can be written here, you have to experience it to know it.

  3. helene

    My family is thinking of making the big move from bc to st john and this reassure me that we are indeed making the right decision as we want a better quality of life. This seemed to be the ideal place for us and I am excited to come for a visit next summer to have a better feel of the place. If you have any infos as to where are the most desirable area to live in also need to be close to all mamenities please let me know:)

    • Hi Helene: I’m sure your family will love our city…more specific information can be found at the Saint John website: If you have elementary age children, I would recommend living either on the West Side, Grand Bay, or in the Kennebecasis Valley area (Quispamsis/Rothesay). If your children are high school age or older, the Uptown area is also fine. Once you get here, feel free to ask questions…Saint Johners are the friendliest people around! If they can help you, they will! Wendy

      • Leanne

        Just curious as to the specific areas mentioned for elementary age kids. My husband and I are considering a big move to NB. Why THESE areas? Thanks in advance for taking the time 🙂

      • Thank you for your question, Leanne…have sent you a private e-mail in answer to your question… Wendy

      • Heather

        I am also curious. I am considering a move to Saint John and had my heart set on Uptown but with a 5.5 year old son I am interested in hearing your opinion about the down sides to this area?

      • Hi Heather…sending you a private e-mail.


  4. Lelorrain Maud

    Good morning “writerwoman61”. I am a French 20 year-old girl and I will study four months at the University of New Brunswick in Saint John ( September-December 2012) for a semester exchange. I would like to live in a host family in Saint John in order to improve my English and to know the local culture. Do you know if it’s possible to find this ?
    (I love this article : I can’t wait to discover Saint John ! )

    • Thanks for stopping by, Lelorrain Maud! I know you will enjoy Saint John. I’m sure that if you contact the University, there is someone who would be willing to host you. Wendy

      • Purvi Desai


        I am getting a job offer from Saint John and I am currently in BC. I have 2 elementary school going kids. We are new to canada. i am from india. I would like to know more about good school.


      • Hi Purvi:

        If you read through some of the comments, there is a lot of information about schools there. Here is the link to the Anglophone School District South site:

        I hope you accept the job offer…good luck!


        ASD-S | Home Home Currently selected. About Us. General; Main Office & Education Centre Staff Directory; ASD-S Report Card; District Improvement Plan; News; Calendar. Events Calendar


  5. Amogh

    Hi writerwoman61,
    I am planning to move to Saint John to work as I have been offered a job. I am an Indian but have lived in the United Kingdom ( namely England and Scotland) for over 6 years and also worked for 8 months in the Canmore/Banff area. I just wanted to know how the city is and where should a single guy live. I will be working close to Market square and have no intention of driving 🙂 …. something in the walking or cycling range…. any advice and suggestions are hugely appreciated…… cheers

  6. How about a low level of immigrants which makes it safe, friendly and very canadian and everyone speaks english.

    • Dear Jane: I find your comment offensive: the only people in Canada who are not immigrants or descended from immigrants are the aboriginal people. My own family immigrated to Canada from the US in 1969. It sounds as if you are implying that people who are not born in Canada are dangerous…that is a racist opinion, and in my experience, extremely inaccurate. Saint John has people from many cultures, including a large Asian population (mostly Chinese, Korean, and East Indian). Many of these folks own businesses here…they work very hard and are valuable to our community and our economy in Saint John. Saint John is indeed “safe, friendly, and very Canadian”, but it’s because everyone works together to make it that way, no matter where they came from! Wendy

    • Jane

      I am leaving ottawa because of ethnic gangs and I cant go out at night now. I wont have that problem in NB.

    • Linda D

      ignorant comment

    • wow YOU LADY are painfully ignorant!

  7. Lisa

    Hi Writerwoman61

    I noticed above that you mentioned that Kennebecasis Valley area (Quispamsis/Rothesay) is a good place to move to. Which high school and middle school would you recommend going to? (I have kids currently in Grades 6 and 8). Thanks in advance.

    • Hi Lisa: One of my kids went to Quispamsis Middle School…it was okay (she has a learning disability, and the resource teacher was great, but her other teachers didn’t seem very helpful). My stepkids went to Harry Miller Middle School in Rothesay. It was fine too (wonderful cheerleading program there!). Then, my stepkids went on to Kennebeccassis Valley High School, and had good experiences there (my husband and his siblings all went there too). My daughters chose to go to high school in Saint John (Harbour View High). Having grown up on the West Side…they wanted to go where their friends went. Hope this helps! Wendy

  8. Bernadine

    Hi Lisa,
    Thank you for being straight forward…I am also considering moving to St. John’s in a few months, from Ontario. I am from the Caribbean, and always wanted to get back to the ‘water’! I considered Nova Scotia , but New Brunswick also seems to have a lot to offer ( for what I am looking for).

    Thank you for the much appreciated info.

    • You’re welcome, Bernadine…we’re happy you’d like to move to Saint John (“St. John’s” is in Newfoundland – Johnners get angry if you confuse the two!). Best of luck to you! Wendy

  9. Deane

    Hello, Wendy,
    I would love to visit and perhaps stay in Saint John. I live in California; I am an American citizen; my daughter is Canadian (and USA); and I am retired. Could you please recommend a good starting point to learning the process for a retired American to live in Saint John? Thank you very much! Deane

  10. Donna Logan

    Good Morning from the west. Would you know of any non smoking apartments allowing a small dog. I will be moving back to Saint John next year after living out west for 30 years. Thanks you for the info you have provided to others as well as the pictures.

    • Hi Donna: I would suggest checking out the Saint John KIjiji site for apartments. Also, if you subscribe to our local newspaper, the Telegraph-Journal, you will be able to see the classifieds there. Glad you’re moving back…Saint John has changed for the better, I think! Wendy

  11. shirley in Canada

    Hi Wendly! Love your blog! My husband and I have no children but we do have two small dogs that are our life! (literally / LOL)
    Our question is what area would you suggest that is for two people looking for a reasonable price house w/ yard for our dogs, safe and nice neighbourhood and with lots of amenities close by? If you could name a few that you think might fit the bill … that would be great!! Also, how do you think healthcare is in St John (enough doctors etc…)? Have a great day!

    • Thank you, Shirley! Most of the real estate in Saint John is very reasonably-priced…any of the neighbourhoods I mentioned in my response to Helene above would probably be good for you too.

      There are currently not enough family doctors to serve the people here…there is a long waiting list. Many doctors have retired, and there aren’t enough new ones to take their places! The wait for specialist appointments/surgery is sometimes months (or years) long. The vets for your fur babies are very good, though!

      Thanks for stopping by!


  12. Rosie

    My old grandparents house haha!
    Nice list of things in SJ 🙂

  13. D

    The transit system is horrible! Have you actually tried to use it day to day for your daily commute to work? They do not follow the schedule, and it’s luck of the draw if the bus will actually show up. As someone who tried to live car-less in SJ, it was very difficult. Not only is the system unreliable, there is a stigma toward people who take the bus; they are often looked down upon. For a city with such a high poverty rate, there is a lot of negativity towards people who try to live within their means. The public transit system is one of the worst aspects of SJ.

    • Thank you for your input, D. This post was written 3 1/2 years ago, and things have changed since then.

      For the record, I rode the bus daily (sometimes four times a day) with my children from 1997 to 2008 (lived Lower West, and worked in town). Cutbacks to the transit system in recent years have made it less convenient than it used to be ( I agree that Sunday service sucks!).. However, I stand by my opinion that most drivers are friendly and helpful, and try to get us where we need to go, safely and in one piece! Usually, if a bus is late, there are extenuating circumstances such as construction, an accident, or hazardous weather conditions.

      I never felt any “stigma” when I took the bus…I made a lot of new friends on the old “Harbour Bridge” route. We were all just folks who were doing what they had to do! Anyone who looks down upon someone because they can’t afford a car is not the kind of person I would want to hang out with!


      • I only noticed your reply to D, moments after I replied to D, so I apologise if my comment to her looks incredibly out of place. lol
        I think the routes we’re taking might be the difference in opinion concerning bus service. I used to take the bus frequently, just a couple years ago… the Forest Glen bus was always several minutes ahead of, or behind schedule, as was the Portland Place, but the rest of the routes I took were fine. But yes, there has been a definite decline, since all of the cuts… I don’t even bother taking the bus, now.

    • You are absolutely correct!
      I loved this article and I love this city, but that part really stood out to me, too. The schedule is poorly adhered and, unless you live on the main East or West UNB/mall route, you’re pretty much out of luck during evenings and on Sundays.
      Also, as a someone who grew up in the north end, and still lives there (by choice), I’m a little offended by the recommended places to live with children (mentioned in the comments, not the article). They’re the highest class places, socioeconomically, but they’re certainly not the best. Our entire city has strengths and weaknesses, in all areas. I would feel comfortable raising a child in end of town. 🙂

  14. Amanda

    For anyone moving to Saint John. East Saint John has some wonderful elementary schools as well. My child goes to Loch Lomond elementary and I find the teachers are wonderful, helpful and caring.

  15. mary

    i am from saint john originally, but am living in calgary now for about 7 years. i so wish we could move back but there is no work for my husband there. i sure do miss home as it is a wonderful place to live…..

    • I’m so sorry, Mary…I dream of the day when Saint Johnners who have moved out west can all return home to a booming town! I hope you’re able to visit your family frequently, at least…


  16. Sara

    Loved the article! I absolutely love Saint John. Though I currently live here with my young kids, my husband works out west because this unfortunately is a struggling province when it comes to job opportunities. We have great opportunities for growth coming our way but people keep fighting and protesting it. For people considering moving here, my advice, don’t. Unless you already have a job lined up. That said due to the poverty and people on welfare for various reasons (not a jab at anyone on welfare, I realize some people need assistance) the cost of living here will continue to rise, making it impossible for a young working family of Saint John, like my own family, to get ahead in life. It looks like we will be yet another Saint John family heading west for a better life. 😦

  17. Greg Hiltz

    I love that Saint John is also a very Motorcycle-Friendly city, with various riding clubs regularly plan and host cruises, toy runs, poker runs, and other fundraisers for charities, plus vaiouus rallies and conventions throughout the year.
    Our great residents will often line the streets to watch and encourage our parades and ride-by cruises, accepting the noise as part of the fun.

  18. I grew up in Saint John and always loved the city, but it wasn’t until I biked across the country that I realized just how great a city it actually is! It’s truly awesome that we have both river and ocean beaches to visit during the summer, and so many of them that none are overcrowded at any time. An adventurous person can kayak, swim, rock climb, hike, go spelunking (caving), and then end the day watching the sunset over the ocean at low tide!
    I think that’s why it’s the oldest incorporated city in North America. The early settlers here could have picked any place to build their city, so they obviously chose the most beautiful spot they could find!
    So if you love the outdoors, get out and see what YOU can discover in Saint John!

  19. Wanda

    I was born and raised in SJ and lived in BC from 2005 to 2011. It took living away from home to make me really appreciate everything about SJ. We moved back in 2012 and somedays I wonder why we ever came back with the current work situation; I have not been able to find full-time secure employent in almost 2 yrs now 😦 Sadly there have been too many companies closing with significant jobs losses such as Shipyard, Sugar Refinery, Red Rose Tea just to name a few. And nothing to replace them forcing many to move west 😦 To anyone considering moving here please ensure you have a job lined up as it would not be a wise decision as there is little to no work here. If you do have work etc lined up SJ is the friendliest and greatest little city in the east. We welcome you!

    • Hi Wanda:

      I’m glad you came back…I’m sorry you haven’t been able to find a satisfactory job!

      Thank you for your comments!


    • Burnaby Joe

      That is exactly why I left. Searched for a full time job for years after graduating from university. Had 3 part-time jobs, but you can’t make a career out of part-time jobs. Moved to BC and had a full time job within a week!!!!

      The Saint John River Valley is beautiful. The air quality in Saint John is not. Air should not have a ‘taste’. People are great, and the pace of life is much slower.

  20. Nicole

    I am from Western Canada and I have been planning a move to Saint John this spring, but I am nervous about the crime levels there, particularly the break & enters. I am a woman in my late 30s and would be living on my own (and I don’t drive). Would you mind sharing your opinion of the safety of living in Saint John for someone like me? Thanks!

  21. Hi Nicole:

    I lived on the West Side without a vehicle for the first 11 years I lived here…I worked 4 to midnight for some of that time, and would walk the block from the bus stop home alone at night with very little trepidation. This article from CBC contains some current statistics:

    I would encourage you to come anyway…there is crime everywhere!


  22. Praful Gupta

    Hi writerwomen61,
    Beautiful article.!!
    I am enthralled by listening so much about this place.
    I will be living in the MUN premises for 12 weeks as a part of a research internship program.
    I wanted to know the basic food expenses that one has to deal with on a weekly basis.
    Keen to explore St. Johns in the coming months.
    Hopefully, it will be a visit that I’ll cherish throughout my life.

  23. Kabir

    Hi Wendy,

    My deepest thanks for you for your time and energy to reply all questions and that means you are a nice helpful person. I appreciate it. I live in calgary for 7 years and I am thinking to move to Saint John NB as it has a lot to offer mainly because it is close to the sea which I really love. I was born in Casablanca by the atlantic ocean, so the smell of it makes feel great. A look shows that Saint John has a lot to offer. As for employment which sounds the most sensitive part of the adventure, I can ajust to as little as the city can offer. I work hard and I am not picky. My questions for you are :

    Does SJ port offer some jobs for simple starting level like ware house, cleaning ?
    What about cruise work I mean stewarding (DISHWASHING AND CLEANING)?
    Can the city market offer some survival jobs ?

  24. Kabir

    Hi Wendy,

    Thank you for you reply,

    Well I think employment agencies may help in this case. I think they have some jobs, so applying from there on, then one can stick to a job when possible. Summer coming with many tourists too, I think that will help as well. So, I will give a try, who knows ???


  25. My husband and I are considering Saint John (among other NB and NS locations) for a final move. We want a VIctorian-style home; don’t like modern homes. What area of the city should we look in? Thanks!

    • Hi Charleydog3:

      There are several nice Victorians in the South End and Uptown (Germain Street is beautiful), and a few in the North End and the West Side. Most are very affordable when compared to prices in other cities across Canada. Good luck with your move!


      • Thanks for the information. I have contacted a realtor in Saint John. Sorry to say but we are very fussy about houses. Basement must not be a dungeon; no oil heating; steel roof; etc. Coming from eastern Ontario where the cost of electricity is increasing by 45% over the next three years; presently have natural gas heating. Need to be in a town/city with public transportation so I can ditch my old car. Need only one car per household – here in horse country two cars are vital if one member of the family doesn’t want to remain housebound. Looking forward to visiting Saint John in late May.

      • Hi Patricia:
        I’m sure your realtor can help you find some places! May is my favourite month…should be warming up a bit by then!


  26. lupita

    hello writerwoman thanks for sharing this very informative blog we are a mexican family of 4 dad mom two girls 10 and 6 ,living in canada for 12 years in vancouver bc we are thinking in make a big move to saint jonh what is the best place for families and bussines we are thinking in move our mexican restaurant as well? is any catholic school around thank you…lupita

    • Hi Lupita:

      Thanks for stopping by! Not sure if you’ve read through the comments or not, but the answers to many of your questions are in there. We’d love to have your Mexican restaurant here…there is a Mexican woman who sets up at the local farmer’s markets on Saturdays, but that is the only truly authentic Mexican food available in the area (other than the chain, Mexicali Rosa’s)!

      There is another very successful Latino restaurant called Taco Pica, which is a co-op run by Guatemalan immigrants (very nice people!)…there are very few people in Saint John who speak Spanish other than these folks!

      Your housing cost in Saint John would be less than half of that in Vancouver, and it doesn’t rain nearly as much here! It is a lot colder though, and winters are long!

      Hope this helps!


  27. Courtney Belyea

    I was looking for someone with insights into this city because my family is one of the Loyalist families of Saint John but my grandparents moved to Cape Breton when my dad was little and we live in HRM because that’s where the work is. My surname is Belyea, it is really common there, but its rare here or anywhere outside of NB.

    I went to Saint John’s once as a child, my grandparents took me. They grew up there. I loved it, the Reversing Falls was really wonderful. Some people say Saint John is ugly but ugliness is in the eye of the beholder. I would love there but I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and I luckily live very close to a Chronic Care Centre and have an awesome family doctor so I can’t leave.

    I know people who get hurt really seriously are flown to the QE2 so might as well just live close to it. I also don’t like the anti-choice laws in New Brunswick and am upset by the classism in this comment section by some commenters. I am on social assistance because I have a chronic syndrome that limits my ability to work.

    There are so many reasons why people are in poverty and it often does not fit the stereotypes and poverty is often generational. This site has some great information on class issues:

  28. Imran

    Hi writerwoman61,
    I am planning to move to Saint John to work for 6 months as I have been offered a job. I am coming over from Toronto and not sure if I can adjust to a small town living. I just wanted to know how the city is and where should a single guy live. I will be working close to YMCA and have no intention of driving 🙂 …. something in the walking or cycling range…. any advice and suggestions are hugely appreciated…… cheers

    • Hi Imran:

      Coming from Toronto, you will notice a huge difference in living in Saint John…most of the differences will be positive!

      The cost of housing will run 1/2 or maybe even 1/3 of what you’re used to. Many of the apartments have heat included in the rent.

      You know those nasty 35-degree days you guys have in July and August? They don’t happen here. We have natural air-conditioning called fog! It does get very icy in the winter because we have a lot of freeze/thaw cycles…get good boots! It doesn’t get nearly as cold here as Toronto either…

      The people here will open doors for you, stop for you at the crosswalk, and not trample you when you’re trying to get on the bus. They will also tell you how to get where you need to go if you get lost!

      The pace of life here is very laidback, but we have a thriving arts scene with live theatre, art galleries, and some live music. Our library is excellent, and the New Brunswick Museum is in Saint John too. Our restaurants are really good…lots of variety!

      If you don’t have a car, I would suggest getting a bus pass, as this city is very spread out…123 square miles, I think.

      The current YMCA is on Union St., which is close to the South End and/or Uptown. There are some nice places to live in both of those areas, and it’s close to restaurants, the City Market, and the Uptown shopping area. The new location of the Y (under construction) is in the North End. Nice apartments are a little harder to find there, but there are lots in Millidgeville (the next neighbourhood over). There are many students living in Millidgeville, as that is where our university is…several international students come to attend school here.

      Good luck with your job…I hope you enjoy your time here!


  29. Cean Legere

    Seriously considering a return to Saint John after moving west in 68. We currently live in paradise ( Victoria,BC) but it is an extremely costly place for seniors on a fixed income. Our biggest concerns are medical. We need to know about post- kidney transplant clinical care. My husband had a transplant in 05 and we need to know if there is a good kidney clinic at a hospital there. Cean

    • Hi Cean:

      Ironically, I used to be the coordinator for the Kidney Foundation’s March Drive Campaign in Moncton in the early ’90’s. I believe that most transplants in the Maritimes are done in Halifax at the QEII Health Sciences Centre. Our Saint John Regional Hospital is excellent, but I’m not sure whether they offer a kidney clinic for post-transplant patients. Here’s the link to the Atlantic Branch of the Kidney Foundation…I’m sure they can provide more info than I can:

      You will certainly find Saint John more economical to live than Victoria! I think our city has changed for the better since 1968, as well…

      Thanks for reading my piece!


  30. My family and I will be going up the 17th of Jan for a few days. We’re moving from NJ and considering NB (St John, Moncton and Fredericton), NS (taking a trip this summer to look around) or BC (Abbotsford, Chiliwack). I grew up in NORTHERN Maine, Presque Isle, so the Fredericton or Moncton doesn’t scare me. But, my Jersey born and raised husband has never experienced anything else aside from the Mid Atlantic region.

    All that said, is there anything you would recommend us seeing or doing in the area in the dead of winter? Any good ethnic restaurants, Indian, Asian, Mexican? Thanks!

    • Correction: I meant to refer to the weather in Fredericton and Moncton not scaring me. I should proof read before I post 😉

    • Hi Melissa:

      For activities, I would suggest visiting the Discover Saint John website: …lots of suggestions there!

      As far as ethnic restaurants in Saint John, Taco Pica is a restaurant owned by a collective of Guatemalan immigrants…food is very good and reasonably priced. Thandi does Indian very well. Sense of Tokyo does excellent sushi (I’m not a sushi person – I get their tempura!). Suwanna is the place to go for Thai food (this is the word from my friends – haven’t been to this one myself). Taste of Egypt is also supposed to be good…again, haven’t tried that one. They also have Middle Eastern food at Chilli and Olive, a Middle Eastern grocery store…very nice people there. If you want a good thin crust pizza made with local ingredients, go to Pomodori in Rothesay. If you are at the Saint John City Market during the day, check out Sisters Italian Foods for lunch…all homemade and well-priced. There are loads of “Canadian” options as well…the chef at the Saint John Ale House, Jesse Vergen, was on “Top Chef Canada” last year! Big Tide Brewing Co. brews their own beer onsite, and serves great pub food.

      Enjoy your visit, and don’t be afraid to ask for directions if you think you’re lost!


  31. Gail

    Hi Wendy, I’m considering a move to St. John for work, and your article is tipping the scales in favour of that. I just have one question for you, does the friendliness actually extend beyond the giving directions to strangers, to the point that you can make friends once you move there? I’ve lived in St. John’s NL, and they seem friendly when you’re out shopping and such, but when it comes to being let in to the inner circles, it’s not that easy if you’re a come from away. Everyone’s still hanging out with people they went to kindergarten with, and they don’t really seem motivated to be more than superficially friendly. What do you think?

    • Hi Gail:
      I also lived in St. John’s, NF ( Saint John is definitely a “small town”…everybody knows everybody. It can take a while for people from away to “fit in.” That being said, if you get involved in your community when you arrive, it will make the transition quicker (I started a community newsletter for the West Side within four years of moving here – I was also involved in different organizations as a volunteer). I have a mix of friends which includes native Saint Johnners and “come-from-aways” (many of whom contribute a great deal of positive energy to the city).

      I encourage you to make the move!


  32. chykaoliveOlive

    Hi Wendy,
    I just got accepted to UNSJ to do my MBA program. I love your article and the comments from different people on the pros and cons of Saint John. I will be an international student and i was wondering if you could through more light on what a good accommodation will be like for an international student. I am looking for a 1 bedroom apartment, in a cool and nice neighbourhood that is not too far from the school and close to the town.
    kindly advise.

    thank you

    • Hi Chyka: There are plenty of apartments for students in Millidgeville, where the main campus of UNBSJ is located. There is a large grocery store (Superstore) close by, and several fast food places. Our main hospital, Saint John Regional Hospital is adjacent to the university. You will need to make use of the transit system to access other neighbourhoods (such as the Uptown), however. The city of Saint John is quite spread out, covering 126 square miles! I hope you enjoy your time in Saint John…thanks for stopping by my blog! Wendy

      Date: Sat, 18 Jul 2015 18:33:29 +0000 To:

  33. Thanks for the post and kudos on keeping up the replies! My family and I are thinking of moving from Ontario. Any local job hunting tips? Thanks!

    • Hi Luke:

      Job-hunting here is pretty much the same as everywhere else! Check online, watch for posted signs, and network with people when you get here! One thing I would advise is to nail down the job before you pick up and move…things are definitely tough employment-wise right now. Good luck! Thanks for stopping by!


  34. Abdel.M

    Hi Wendy how is it going;

    Thank you for your kindness to help and encourage people to come to SJ. Actually; I am thinking to move to SJ from Moncton. I am thinking to buy an old house; duplex or triplex and flip it to a bread and breakfast guest house for people visiting Saint John; it should be a cheap hostel for people with small small budget. I noticed that you have affordable housing and great nature; congratulation for that by the way. Would you mind sharing your opinion please; do you have many cheap hostels: i mean those hostels charging 25 dollars per night category. is it a good idea…any ideas r welcomed.

    thanks Wendy

    • Hi Abdel:

      I’m afraid I don’t know much about hostels in Saint John…I suspect at $25/night, you might attract a few local (homeless) residents…probably not the folks you’re looking for! Sorry I can’t be of much help!


  35. abdel

    Thank you though Wendy …cheers

    • Chizzy

      Dear Wendy,

      Thank you for all your info… I have been going through the trail all day. We are new immigrants.. Less than 4 months… Currently in Calgary at the moment. I am alone with 3 boys 9,7 and 3. Spouse is back home as there is no job at the moment.

      Last week, we got a hope in St. John . It’s gonna be a big move. Kids are already enjoying their school. Where are the good neighborhoods that we can bring up this kids… Neighborhoods with good schools. Please advice and send links if you’ve got any.

      Thanks Wendy

      • Hi Chizzy:

        I hope you will enjoy Saint John…definitely a big change from Calgary!

        My answer to good neighbourhoods/schools for kids is in my reply to Helene (Feb./12) in the comments.

        Good luck with your move!


  36. chizzy

    Thanks Wendy,

    My husband just came back from St John for a 2 days visit. He confirmed how friendly and wel coming the people are… Right from the airport…when he was trying to call a cab… a very elderly lady helped him in putting a call thru and she ensured he boarded a cab before she finally left to her destination…..

    We are looking forward to moving finally… If youve got any info that can help me please do not hesitate to let me know… i visit the blog regurlarly

    • Glad your husband had a positive experience on his visit here…that’s pretty typical of Saint John!

      I haven’t been posting regularly since mid-2011…sorry about that…life gets in the way!

      Good luck with the move!


  37. chizzy

    Hello Wendy,
    Thanks for your response. Please Is there any site that can help me check the list of schools in Saint John area. We are thinking of living either in Quispamsis or Rothesay (No particular reason, just a choice). We need a guide so as to start contacting schools.This move will be done right in the middle of the school trimester so we wouldnt want to start looking for school and making decitions on arrival.

    How are the school districts in NB in general? are there Seperate School Districts like you have in Alberta? Public and private?

    Wendy, your help is needed please.


  38. chizzy

    Thank you Wendy. Please I will love to send you a private message. Please Can you help me with your email or is there any other way to do that on this blog?

  39. Darlene

    For a private (elementary and middle) catholic school in Saint John check out this link . I was born and raised in Saint John, grew up mostly in the North End and raised my kids in North End. My husband also grew up in the North End. I feel very safe here and would recommend several communities in the Saint John area in a heartbeat. It gets hot in the summer (but not as hot as some places), it gets cold,icy, and snowy in the winter (but not nearly as bad as some places), and the fall colours can’t be beat! I love reading comments about ‘other places’ compared to Saint John because it makes me proud to live where all this ‘friendliness’ is purely natural to ‘us’. I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.

  40. Jeanette MacRae

    Millageville is a great place to live too. Elementary school is excellent and Middle School is too. I have grandchildren in both schools. Great teachers, close to hospital. A thriving community. Bus service.

  41. Debby

    Saint John & the Bay of Fundy is also a great place to visit/live as we have the highest tides in the world.

  42. chizoma

    Thank you Darlene and Jeanette…. we have taken our time to go through Divine Mercy website….We will contact the school by Monday. The school seems to be right in the city center. Are there good communities close to it that someone can live

    Lots of positive information, believe me we are getting more confused on the school to settle for and then community.

    Also, I have noticed that some schools run combined classes,where you have Grds 1/2 in a homeroom and 3/4 in one homeroom too and so on.. How does that work? Is it because of the school population?

    • Hi again, Chizzy…I think the combined classes are the result of not having quite enough kids for just one class. My older granddaughter is in a combined class at Loch Lomond School (Grade 1), and seems to be doing fine.

  43. Peter Crisp

    My wife and I live in Surrey BC but we already own income properties in Northern NB. I’m eyeing Saint John as a good place to buy a small multi-family property to buy, fix and hold. I’ve been wondering about what areas make sense for improving areas – would Douglas Avenue, Uptown and perhaps Waterloo Street areas make sense? While I like the potential of Indiantown, I get the impression that it’s risky for an out-of-town investor. Thanks!

  44. Austin

    Lots of bad memories in that city.

  45. Chizoma

    Hello Wendy,
    Please can you recommend any good realtor for us. If we are moving our vehicle, are we going to register it in NB? What’s the modalities?

    Thanks for your help.

  46. Julian

    Hi there. I came across your blog while doing a search on ‘bad Chinese restaurants in St. Johns’, as I’m re-writing one of my travel journals when I was in St. John’s for four nights while touring with the St. Petersburg State Ice Ballet. I had gone to a place maybe a block or two behind the Imperial Theatre and ended up with the worst fried rice I’ve ever experienced. It appears to be gone now. Shanghai Lantern? I do look forward to coming back before too long. I’m happy to read that house prices have been reasonable, at least in 2010. – Julian

  47. sunsetter

    My family is considering a job opportunity in SJ that would bring us from a combination (complicated situation) of K-W, Ontario and SF, California. I appreciate the variety of comments and informative answers here, I’d love to ask you some questions privately. Thanks!

  48. Maria

    Hello, Thank you for writing this article, I was searching for positive aspects of living in Saint John and your article definitely helped 🙂 I am thinking about renting an apartment in Millidgeville to get my 5 year old enrolled in M Gerald Teed school (someone told me that it is a good schools) However, after reading your comment about elementary schools I am a bit worried. Could you please email me and let me know if it’s a good school and Millidgeville, a safe location for a family of 3? My email is Thanks

  49. Alma

    Dear Wendy,

    I am so grateful I came across your blog. It is really helping me in many decisions….
    We are moving to Saint John on 27th May from BC… I have landed a job opportunity plus several interviews on arrival.
    I have few accomodations to chose from but not sure which area to pick. We want to be near town and looked at Quinton Heights also for kids schools Saint Rose. My son is 6 and would be going yo grade 1 and other one is 20 months…..
    I would love to get some more feedback.
    My email is

    • Hi Alma:
      \i’m at a conference right now, and forgot to put my mouse in my computer bag…I suck at using touchpads. I’ll try to send you an e-mail tomorrow night after I get home!


  50. Luzi

    Hello, thanks for the blog. I am currently contemplating moving to Saint John from the Toronto area, As a single woman (with furkids) what area would you recommend to settle in. What do you think would be the things to consider in such a big change of living. Thx

    • Hi Luzi: If you’re single and coming from Toronto, I would suggest the Uptown area…lots to do there (please read through the other comments for more info)! The pace of life is much slower here…I hope you’ll find it a pleasant change (and our traffic jams last a maximum of twenty minutes)…


  51. Andrea

    What about mosquitos, black flies and other biting insects? How bad are they in the St John area in the summer? Are people able to enjoy the outdoors without being eaten alive?

    • Absolutely, Andrea! Compared to Ontario, the insects aren’t bad at all! However, I have noticed an increase in the number of mosquitoes in the last couple of years since most of our bat population was wiped out by white-nose fungus. We used to have lots of bats around our house…now the birds have to do the work of eating the insects!

      Thanks for stopping by!


  52. Randy

    There was a business I was looking at buying in Saint John but then I read about the smells in the city due to refineries and pulp mills and that cancer rates were higher there because of pollutants. It’s interesting that this subject never came up in your blog? Is there any merit to these writings on the net?

    • Thank you for your comment, Randy…with all due respect, please reread the title of my post.

      While I’m not implying that everything in Saint John is rosy (because it’s certainly not), I wrote about the things I like about living and working here. This is my personal blog, and all opinions stated here are mine.

      I wrote this article six years ago…I’ve now been here 19 years, and never plan to live anywhere else.


  53. Randy

    No disrespect intended on my part Wendy. I know the intent you had. My comment was really directed to the people who were inquiring about coming to live there, especially those parents with children whereby their health could be negatively impacted over time. Did they not do some research?

    • We have an oil refinery, a pulp mill, a tissue mill, and a brewery in Saint John. I wouldn’t recommend living in the city for anyone with respiratory issues. That being said, a lot of folks settle in the Kennebecasis Valley where I live now (I lived on the West Side where the pulp mill and the brewery are for 11 years), Hampton, or Grand Bay, and work in town.


  54. It is…have been here for eight years…


  55. My Fiance and I will be moving to the area due to this branch of his company shutting down, we had to choose between Saint John or Halifax.. I personally chose Saint John due to not wanting to deal with leaving the province. The one issue that kind of worries me is the amount of air pollutants, is it really as bad as people say, should we be worried about getting sick? .. maybe you could PM me and we can chat, maybe settle some of my concerns, I would really appreciate it! ? 🙂

  56. Michael

    Thank you Wendy for your article in your blog about Saint John, it’s really helpful information on it.
    I will be moving in Saint John in August for settle rest of my life after retire, the information about city and province, are different and I have couple questions that I would like to discuss in confidence.
    Wendy, could you please PM me and we can chat, maybe settle some of my concerns, I would really appreciate it!

  57. Victor

    Hello Wendy,
    I have read all the comments with interest; one of your comments that catch my attention is about the poverty there (20%) at the beginning of your webpage, it is indeed high rate; wonder that’s because lack of job opportunities due to industry is reduced.
    I feel the refinery there is the most important resource of work to find job, and therefore would be complicated to find a job for anyone there in the engineering, commercial, administration, etc,
    How are the job trends in general?, what are the possibilities get a job for experienced professionals and for the ones just complete university-college?
    I got an employment offer but not sure to take it due to my concerns above.
    Any comment will be very appreciated

    • Hi Victor: In my opinion, the poverty rate here is due to low literacy and high teen pregnancy rates. Social assistance cheques are insufficient to meet daily needs of most people who depend on them…New Brunswick has one of the lowest welfare rates in the country. There are lots of jobs here, but many of them are in service industries or call centres. Many of our college grads leave Saint John to find employment out West. Tradespeople also work in Alberta and travel back and forth between there and their families here.

      Experienced professionals have very little difficulty finding jobs here, especially in the medical field.

      If you have a job offer, I would suggest you take it!

      Hope this helps!


      • Victor

        Many thanks for your comments Wendy; I`m thinking to take the offer as Experienced professional in the Supply chain field for the engineering and oil industry.
        I hope you don`t mind a few more questions, as I`m tracing my plans to move from AB to Saint Johns, it is really a big move.

        My wife works in a retirement/nursing home as cook helper in AB; this is a job in the service industry so I guess she would not have problem to find a job in Saint Johns per your comments above; I could not see much retirement home business there in the internet, is that business limited in Saint Johns? My wife really enjoys her cook job as she puts lots of passion to provide the best quality to the residents.

        My daughter is about to go to the college here in AB and will take the career of Dental assisting; this position is in the healthcare industry so I guess there will be always options for her to be hired, correct?

        Which are the bets neighbor hoods for buying a house?

        Thanks again for your advice, those are really helpful!

  58. Hi again Victor:

    There are seven nursing homes in Saint John, and a few “special care homes” as well. There are also lots of dentists here!

    I think you will find real estate very affordable in Saint John compared to Alberta! We just bought a house on the West Side (deal closes on June 1st!). I will send the name of my real estate agent in a private message.


  59. Victor

    Great! many thanks 🙂

  60. Keeteen

    Hi Wendy,

    Me and my husband will be coming to Saint John around the last quarter of this year and we will be working both in the uptown area. We are new immigrants, so hoping if you could give us suggestions where to stay temporarily for the first month and eventually find our own place. Since we both don’t know anything about the city neither the transportation its kind of hard to look for a place and the prices are a bit high vs our salary. Also, I read in one of the comments about air pollution, is it really bad?


    • Hi Keeteen:

      Sorry for the delay in replying…we’ve been in the midst of moving ourselves!

      This building is within walking distance of the uptown for a place to stay while you look for a place:

      Air pollution uptown is not an issue…it is a problem on the East Side near the refinery/tissue mill, and on the West Side near the brewery/pulp mill.

      Hope this helps.


  61. Hi. Considering the move to SJ. I love old charm and historical buildings. I would be renting when I move to start off. Would it be possible to find charming residential units?

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