For years, listeners to my talk show in Ottawa have been encouraging my wife and me to visit Newfoundland, the only part of Canada we had never seen. Having just returned from a wonderful week on “The Rock,” both Deborah and I endorse the rave reviews.
Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to see Gros Morne but we did manage to huff and puff our way to the top of Cape Spear, took in the military Tattoo on Signal Hill, went whale and puffin watching from Bay Bulls, marvelled at the Ferryland dig, lunched at the Madrock Café near Bay Roberts, sampled a brew or two in Quidi Vidi, dodged flying gannets at the truly remarkable St. Mary’s rookery, greatly enjoyed the world-class displays at the Rooms and Geo Centre, laughed a lot and stayed up far too late on George Street and, most of all, remained in awe at the truly spectacular vistas of the Avalon. We have travelled the world and can honestly say Newfoundland is one of the most beautiful and interesting places we have ever seen.
The only jarring note was the weeds that flourish along the streets and sidewalks of St. John’s. I’m unclear whether they are intended to provide some kind of local flavour or your city council has placed a ban on “weed whackers.”
Actually, the weeds just across from our Hill O’Chips hotel breakfast window would probably require a two-man bucksaw to hack down — truly magnificent — some at least eight or nine feet proudly tall.
Thankfully, not quite so sky-scraping in downtown St. John’s or they would have blocked not only store windows but also store fronts entirely. I have no doubt those who live in the city have become so accustomed to them that they have become part of the landscape, but weeds sprouting from almost every sidewalk crack — store front — encircling every lamppost and fire hydrant along Water and Duckworth streets seem, well, just a bit tacky, in what is otherwise a very historic, interesting and attractive central core.
Thank you Newfoundland — your drivers and merchants are the most courteous we have ever seen, your restaurants as fine as anything you’ll see in Ottawa or Toronto. We will be back, soon I hope, but unless you tell us otherwise we’re gong to bring along a few spray cans of Round-Up and a whipper-snipper!
Lowell and Deborah Green