The capital and principal city of Newfoundland, St. John’s is the closest North American city to Europe and also one of the oldest. There exists an urban legend that the city was named by Basque sailors from Pasaia, San Juan in Guipuzkoa after their home town. Another version of this story tells that the city was named by the Genovese explorer Giovanni Caboto on arriving at this port on the feast day of St. John, 1497.
St. John’s has played an important role in major world events throughout the past five hundred years including at the Seven Years’ War and World War II. Despite the city’s participation in events of international, historical importance, the city has always maintained alongside its urban facet, a distinctly provincial character; built around the fishing industry and proud of its distinctive people and culture. St. John’s -like all of Newfoundland- didn’t officially incorporate as a part of Canada until 1949 and there are still today, people who regard the referendum that made that happen with great skepticism.
Water Street, near the docks is recognized as the oldest Street in North America and along with the colorful Jellybean Row nearby it displays a unique and landmarked architectural style. This part of downtown is full of stores, restaurants and bars and fills up with music, dancing and revelry every night.