Arriving into Saint John, New Brunswick in the middle of the night, I was anxious to tour the city in the morning. The Hilton is situated at the end of the Saint John Boardwalk, a colourful array of restaurants, bars, beach volleyball and special events stages (in summer).
The boardwalk continues to a paved walkway that loops around the harbour area, perfect for a stroll or jog. After a well-deserved rest at the Hilton Saint John, I awoke to enjoy a full buffet breakfast in the dining lounge, along with Alison, my touring companion from Tourism New Brunswick. We were set to explore five days in the province by car and ferries.
After breakfast, we set out to explore Uptown Saint John and its unique architecture. The city is located at the mouth of the Saint John River on the Bay of Fundy. It earlier housed several thousand United Empire Loyalists after the American Revolutionary War. It’s also Canada’s oldest incorporated city (1785).
Several examples of heritage architecture can be found along Prince William and Water Streets, close to the new cruise terminal.
The city is interconnected by passageways that link the waterfront to the central business district, convention centre, hotels, and major points of interest.
At the opposite end of town sits St. John’s Stone Church, considered one of Canada’s earliest Gothic Revival churches.
Restored heritage houses dot the city streets; a few have been converted to B&Bs or inns.
We also took in Kings Square with its unique two storey bandstand, imposing Imperial Theatre across the street, the area home to many boutiques and cafés. Saint John is a relatively compact city and easy to explore on foot.
John Hooper’s statues invite photo taking; the English-born Canadian sculptor is a favourite here. During his career, he founded Hooper Studios, an art centre in Hampton, New Brunswick, together with his wife Kathy, a South African artist.
Barbour’s General Store is located close to the harbour. We were there outside of opening hours, but were allowed a peek inside to photograph and check out some of New Brunswick’s earliest staples.
Ganong chocolates are the pride of New Brunswick; next to being Canada’s oldest candy company, it was also the first in the world to design a heart-shaped candy box.
King Cole Tea, Crosby’s Molasses, Surprise soap can all be found here for purchase. The St. Croix Soap Company, founded in 1878 in St. Stephen, New Brunswick, was also founded by brothers James and Gilbert Ganong.
I spent several nights at the Hilton Saint John, in a room facing the harbour. On one particular evening, the air was so thick with fog that the lighthouse was barely visible mere feet away from my window!
The hotel forms a comfortable base for exploring the area, and can accommodate business travellers, couples, children, and pets. The hotel is connected with the Saint John Trade and Convention Center and has 23 meeting rooms, plus catering packages. While I didn’t have a chance to explore the fitness room or heated saltwater pool, I did find the hotel friendly and attentive overall.
The Hilton Saint John is located at 1 Market Square in Saint John.
My stay at the Hilton Saint John was courtesy of Tourism New Brunswick.