Plenty to see — for now

Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

Will this be the end of another St. John’s public view plane?

Currently, St. John’s City Council is considering an application to permit a housing development on Nunnery Hill.

Nunnery Hill is a lane off Gower Street in the heart of downtown St. John’s. As you walk in from Gower Street, the harbour and Southside Hills greet you.

In the foreground, you may chance upon an offshore vessel moored at Marginal Wharf, or beyond, a seasonal view of the speckled hill, standing proud like an honoured soldier.

Proceeding along the lane, the vista opens up to a broader view of the harbour, including a fleet of idle sea-worn fishing boats.

Fort Amherst sits quietly, awaiting the next splash of ocean breeze.

Arriving at the lane’s guard rail, you catch The Narrows welcoming the Atlantic Ocean. Your eyes will not stay focused here for long because they glance across to absorb the historic landscape of the Battery.

Above, the rocky sides of Signal Hill climb into the sky until you spot the weatherbeaten symbol of St. John’s — Cabot Tower. After scanning the top of Signal Hill, the eyes slowly meander along the edifice-lined street until you face west. Here, Shea Heights can be seen between the framing of the TD Building and Atlantic Place.

The etched granite hillside and the coast guard vessels provide a filling to complete the picture.

All this from a location a couple minutes’ walk from Water Street!

A public view plane.

A perspective of St. John’s readily available to all.

This view plane has many visitors — the artists with their easels, the photographers with their tripods, the tourists with their cameras.

Citizens come and sit on the retaining wall absorbing and enjoying a sun-glittered harbour, or a storm-clouded ocean or a fog-shrouded Signal Hill. Sometimes, one can be fortunate to see icebergs drifting by or observe whales spouting their way across the harbour entrance.

Nunnery Hill is also a viewing platform. The Santa Claus parade, a military parade or other processions are viewed from here as they proceed along Duckworth Street.

Is St. John’s to lose this public view plane?

I urge citizens to provide councillors with their opinions on this issue.  


Lionel West

Nunnery Hill

St. John’s

Organizations: TD Building

Geographic location: Gower Street, Signal Hill, Atlantic Ocean Cabot Tower Atlantic Place Water Street

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page



Recent comments

  • NowIsee
    June 03, 2013 - 08:08

    Sorry bud but it's time for St. John's to catch up to the rest of the world. There is no more space and people want to live and work here. The only place we can build is up. If you want a nice ocean view with your ocean breezes and fishing boats, move out to some bay somewhere. Young people want to see tall buildings, gives us a feeling that we are in the 21st century, not in the 1600's.

    • Eli
      June 03, 2013 - 14:42

      The distinction of being the oldest city in North America is obviously lost on you. A suggestion of a history or geography lesson for you would be met by the now standard: "I'm not really into geography or history". Atlantic Place referenced by the author should be imploded!

    • St. John' b'y
      June 03, 2013 - 15:56

      NOWISEE but really you don't. Why the 1600's? We're here since 1497. Whether or not you're "into ocean breezes and fishing boats" it's probably where you should be if you want to live and work here. People from CBS and The Irish Loop actually live and work here, much to the consternation of O'Keefe. Here's a thought... When the Canadian Pickers were here one of 'em said "this is the most beautiful harbour I've ever seen". Get on the ball or get on the bus!

  • Christopher Chafe
    June 03, 2013 - 07:56

    Did just that when all this nonsense came to "view". How about the residents get together and buy this land from the owner? That way you can ensure nothing ever goes there.