As the oldest incorporated city in Canada, Saint John is proud of its heritage. And, part of that heritage is the unique architecture that can be seen if by taking a stroll on any of the self-guided walking tours, or just by taking a walk on Germain Street.
In 1877, the Great Fire of Saint John destroyed over 200 hundred acres, completely consuming entire neighbourhoods. Over 1,600 buildings were lost, including banks, businesses and residences, and 13,000 people were left homeless. The buildings that now sit on Germain Street’s tree-line avenue are part of the rebuilding of the city after the Great Fire.
A stroll on Germain Street is like a stroll through the past. Part of the Trinity Royal Heritage Conservation Area, a historic district in Saint John’s uptown area, Germain Street is home to many beautiful buildings and vibrant businesses.
Walking south on Germain from King Street, on the first block you will find some of the most eclectic shops and businesses around. These include Trinity Art Gallery (and home of the Honorary Consul for Finland); the unique Taco Pica restaurant, an award winning Guatemalan food and music venue; Heartbreak Boutique, a retro-inspired pinup clothing and roller derby shop; Feel Good Shop, your neighbourhood wellness store; Exchange on Germain, a designer, mid to high-end consignment shop; Historical Antiques & Collectables and Backstreet Records, all nestled in and around the Trinity Anglican Church, a National Historic site.
Further south on Germain you will find a good example of residential Italianate architecture built after the Great Fire. Here you will find two of the city’s gargoyles, snuggled up high at the rooftops at 210 Germain watching passersby. Several American filming companies have used the Germain Street location because of its unique architecture including films like Children of a Lesser God. It is also home to a performing art school for children and the gracious Mahogany Manor (a Queen Anne Revival style residence housing a wonderful B&B and Body Works Plus Spa).
Taking a stroll on Germain Street is a wonderful walk – don’t forget to look up and check out the gargoyles!