View Full Version : Anyone familar with St. John's?

11-30-2005, 03:40 PM
DH is being transferred to Newfoundland for most of 2006, and we're moving out to St. John's in late Jan/Feb. I'm kind of worried that we'll accidently move into an area where there are no other toddlers or playgrounds, and Madeline and I will never meet anyone! I know I'm probably being silly, but I was wondering if anyone had any recommendations on where to look for playgroups, swim classes, etc. (or any other great advice on enjoying St. John's with a small child)!

~ Laura

11-30-2005, 04:13 PM
I am not familiar, but wanted to wish you luck. Is your DH's company providing a relocation person or realtor to help you move? I find that good realtors are pretty knowledgeable about areas and can recommend family friendly locations.

I found these sites:



11-30-2005, 10:33 PM
Yeah, his company works with Royal LePage for their relocations in North America. The idea, since it's a temporary assignment, is that we're supposed to find furnished rental accomodations (furnished with a crib? Hee hee!) in St. John's. That makes me kind of worried that we'll end up living in the downtown area surrounded by childless people because that's what I tend to see here in downtown Calgary. But I am really happy that we still get to work with a realtor, even if it's for a rental. Having someone who knows the city will be really helpful!

Thanks for finding those links, Marina - I'll check them out later tonight or tomorrow ...

12-01-2005, 04:33 AM
I've been there in 2001 and 2002 for a month each time. I immensely enjoyed the city and wouldn't have a problem moving there myself. I recommend getting your hands on a map. I have the St. John's one from MapArt, it's great. I have it on hand if you'd like me to scan anything for you since I'm probably just going to confuse you with what I post next!

Downtown is nothing like a downtown I've seen before! Very child friendly as there are *no* typical apartment buildings, just row houses. it's truly just like this;

I helped a friend move there in 2001 and found her accommodations before she moved on the Telegrams classified section. http://www.thetelegram.com/ Surprisingly there is lots of ads for furnished places; http://www.thetelegram.com/classifieds.aspx?pname=Classifieds&ID=049&classType=Furnished+Accommodations+

Nice shops in the downtown area and there is a new Sobey's at the top of downtown. The East end and Central/University/Churchill areas are the nicest parts, just west of downtown would probably be considered the lower end.

My friend lived near Bannerman Park (central area, just north of downtown) for the first few years and it was perfect (great playground and a summer pool!). She doesn't have a car and has no need for one. Everything is within walking distance if you stay somewhere between downtown and the University. I never really got into the far out there suburbs (Paradise, Mt.Pearl).

St. John's has an amazing park system. There is a number of great trails around almost all of the ponds (including Quidi Vidi, Long Pond) and a great trail (called the Rennie River Trail) from Quidi Vidi lake that weaves through the residential neighbourhoods to Long pond at the University. the hike up Signal Hill (the north head trail) is great, it's long and has tons of stairs, but totally worth it. Basically there is tons to do with lots of great walks around the city. http://www.pippypark.com/ http://www.bowringpark.com/ (the two big parks) http://www.grandconcourse.ca/ (all the great walks, including rennie's river)

Just like most small cities, they have a great university. http://www.mun.ca/ MUN has the Aquarena pool, botanical garden and a great kids library (a whole library just for kids!!!)

Some other links;
live skycam, over the city: http://www.ntv.ca/skycam.php
Aquarena: http://www.foundlocally.com/StJohns/Sports/Rec-Pools.htm
City: http://www.stjohns.ca/index.jsp
Tourism: http://www.newfoundlandandlabradortourism.com/home.zap
Goverment: http://www.gov.nf.ca/
main big mall; http://www.shopavalonmall.com/

Any other specific question you have? My friend doesn't have young kids anymore, but I do talk to her around once a week. Send me an email if you'd like.

Hope this helps you out!

12-01-2005, 11:16 AM
I live in North Carolina and have been gone from St. John's for a bout 12 years but I am born and raised there. It is a great city with tons to do for toddlers. Let me know any specific questions you have and I will try to answer. A lot of my best friends still live ther and they all have toddlers. I could ask them any specifics you were interested in.
I will add that downtown housing is rare so I am sure that is not where they will put you.
I like Calgary as well and I worked for 2 summers in Lake Louise while in College.
Let me know if I can help.

12-02-2005, 09:56 PM
Erin and Charlene, thanks for replying! I honestly do feel less anxious about our move now, and could even say that I'm excited :)

MapArt makes the best maps ...

~ Laura

02-03-2006, 04:46 PM
Just wanted to bump this up to thank everyone again for their input! We're flying out next week. I took a leap of faith and let my DH do the house-hunting trip himself, and he found a place for us in Quidi Vidi that sounds nicer than the house we actually own! Doesn't seem too far away from Bannerman Park, but it's also hard to get a map of St. John's here in Calgary. I've found swim lessons for DD's age group at the university, and I have a lead on a playgroup. Now if Air Canada would only get back to me on shipping my boxes, I'd be nothing but excited :)

Thanks again!
~ Laura

02-21-2006, 08:24 PM
Quidi Vidi is beautiful, I hope you're enjoying your new place. :-)

Sounds like you were pretty prepared before you left!

02-22-2006, 08:57 AM
Getting there! My kitchen is pretty much stocked up now, and I've found two playgroup options for my daughter. There was a rather large dump of snow the first week we were here, so we were stuck at home without a set of wheels. That was tough, but now we're getting out more often. I've totally fallen for partridge berry products :)

02-23-2006, 10:33 PM
Snow, eh? You're not missing anything back in Calgary, then! We have had TONNES of snow the last couple days! I almost forgot what the stuff looked like! ;-) Glad to hear you're adjusting to your new surroundings. Enjoy!

04-23-2006, 06:28 PM
Hi there!

I was doing a search for children's activities in St. John's and stumbled across this message board. Curious to see how you are making out in St. John's and what activities you have stumbled across for your daughter.

I have been in St. John's for 2 years now, from Vancouver. I found I had to really dig to find activities for my now 2 year old but, I have managed.

Let me know how you have made out.


04-24-2006, 06:36 AM
Cheryl, I understand what you mean about having to dig to find things to do! I'm kind of sad to report that I haven't found much since my initial post ...

Well, we sometimes go to the playgroup time at Wedgewood Park (Tues and Thurs from 10:30 - noon). I find the 0-5 age range kind of crazy - I guess I'm used to having Madeline with a cohort more her own age (she's nearly two, now). Swimming classes (Starfish and Duck-level) are starting next week at Wedgewood Park and HGR Mews Community Centre, so I've enrolled Madeline, hoping that she's receptive to taking an earlier nap one day a week to accomodate the class. In July, there is going to be an organized stroller-walk in Bannerman Park and Bowring Park once a week. I'm looking forward to that one (though I am not sure if M will be happy about the stroller part!). We went to Bowring Park on Good Friday for the first time ever and suddenly discovered that there are a lot more toddlers in this town that I had suspected. I just wonder where they are during the rest of the week, as Madeline and I haven't run into many! There is an item called "toddler playgroup" on the community calendar of the Howley Estates Sobey's. We went once, but no one else seemed to be there. There are apparently some Kindermusik teachers in St. John's, but I'm kind of skeptical about there being actual Kindermusik classes for toddlers here. I ought to email one of the teachers to find out.

Do you know if the library has any programs for the toddlers? We haven't made it down there yet, but it's the only other place I can think of looking for activities ...

~ Laura

04-24-2006, 09:49 AM
Well, now that's a deep thought (first one in a long while), the activities that I have discovered have mostly been via word of mouth. My little girl, Payton (2 in June) is currently enrolled in a Kindermusik class (The Music Studio) which she absolutely loves. The teacher, Alice, is a certified Kindermusik teacher so that's a big plus. We are currently 1/2 way through and I would definitely enroll Payton again. I phoned around to a bunch of different places that offered the program and was told that I would have to be put on a wait list as current students get priority over new students when it comes to enrollment (whatever). That really irked me so I kept on phoning until I found the Music Studio. The owners are super and they were basically arranging the classes around the interested parties schedules which I thought was great.

We live out in St. Philip's and we have a playgroup out here on Wednesday a.m. at the town hall, 9:30 - 11:30. It's run by the parents, free or charge, although my tax dollars are paying for the use of the facility. We also have a library out here and on Fridays they offer story-time/crafts for the kids for one hour. The kids enjoy it but it is limited to I believe 15 kids. I found about these activities on my own.

We had Payton enrolled at Campia Gymnastics out in Mt. Pearl. They have a Parent and Tot class, Lot's of fun. They offer the class on Wednesdays and Saturdays. P was going to the Wednesday class for the Fall and Winter sessions but it made for a very long morning for her. Class was from 11:30 - 12:30 and she usually naps around noonish. I will start her up again in the fall but probably at Cygnus (sp?) Gymnastics. They have a Parent and Tot class as well, better times and it is offered more frequently throughout the week, I think Tues/Thurs/Fri/Saturday (don't quote me on that).

I have heard that the library in town is great for kids, not sure if they have a scheduled story-time, I was thinking of looking into that myself. I took P to the YMCA a couple of times, they no longer have drop-in rates, you need to buy a monthly pass, hmmm, I wasn't overly thrilled about that. Let's see what else, we also tried the Sobeys (Kenmount Road) story-time, it was myself and two others from Playgroup. It was a bit of a let down, we only went once.

I heard about a program called "Nature Tots" at MUN Botanical Gardens. The kids get to do a craft, go for a little hike, feed the ducks, and get a story outside by the pond, perfect. I called and it is completely full and there is no hope of ever breaking into that activity, it's only for a privileged few. The program was originally open to employees children and some outsiders seemed to slip in, funding was made available and voila, a great program in place. The problem, the children currently enrolled are given priority for the next session and none of us outsiders get a chance to snap up one of the valuable spots. I spoke with the program director a couple of weeks ago and suggested a different program, something like Nature Art, problem its for 3 years and older. I told her that P was almost two and she said that class would be perfect. I think I will call back and see if 2 year olds can attend. Anyway, check out the MUN Botanical Gardens website (they have family day on Sundays as well).

I, like you, see all these toddlers around town and wonder where they are during the day. It's hard to find kids the same age. Most of the kids at Playgroup are either older or very, very young. I know there are other 2 year olds out there, I just have to find them. If you are looking for a playdate let me know, perhaps we could meet up at the park or something and create our own activity.


04-25-2006, 12:28 PM
Aha! I was missing the "word of mouth" component as I haven't really run into many moms of kids under 4 here thus far! Kindermusik and gymnastics - Madeline will be all over that! I like to have her interact with other kids her age at least a couple times a week as I imagine I'm not the most fun person to be around all the time :)

The MUN Botanical Garden program sounds wonderful - especially the part with the ducks as "duck" is currently Madeline's favourite word. I don't mind so much if faculty members get first dibs on the spots, but I would think that MUN would hold another session of it if it's so popular! I checked out the website and it's full to the end of 2006 already! Wow!

We actually have a family pass at the YMCA as it's the closest place to work out near our home, but I'm rather lukewarm on their chaotic playtimes ...