With colourful heritage homes on quaint streets, the capital of Newfoundland and Labrador is a pleasant reminder of Canada's colonial past. Located on the Avalon Peninsula of Newfoundland, St. John's was declared a British colony in 1583. Though the land changed hands numerous times during the city's colonial history, St. John's was most often occupied by the British and was an important military base for the Royal Navy. For hundreds of years, the area's economy revolved around cod fishing. Today, however, St. John's proximity to off-shore oil fields has allowed for economic growth, helped by sizable retail, business and government sectors. The city of 105,000 houses a strong tourism industry too. The brightly coloured buildings on Duckworth and Water Streets, known locally as Jelly Bean Row, are a major attraction. The city also contains more than 20 National Historic Sites of Canada, and was the starting point of the first non-stop transatlantic aircraft flight in 1919.
While nature buffs go whale-watching in the coastal waters around St. John's, art enthusiasts can visit the St. John's Resource Centre for the Arts. Rick Mercer got his start there before making it big as a political commentator and comedian.