Pros and cons of living in St. John’s, Newfoundland

The provincial capital of Newfoundland is one of the oldest cities in North America. It has been continually inhabited for 500 years and is the easternmost city in Canada.

St John’s offers a balance between nature and nightlife, and this article explains the pros and cons of living in one of North America’s oldest continually inhabited cities.


1.  Affordable Housing

St John’s has one of the lowest real estate prices in Canada. Buying an average house costs $300,000 and upwards, while rent averages at $800.

The city downtown is marked by brightly coloured rowhouses, while modern-style executive condos dominate the waterfront.

The views on the waterfront are protected by environmental and building laws, which disallow tall structures and disruption of the natural environment.

2.  Reduced Crime Rate

While other parts of Canada, such as Regina or Winnipeg, are struggling to control their crime rate, St John’s has succeeded in lowering crime (especially gun and drug-related crime) in the city by 9% for three years in a row.

As a result, it is one of Canada’s safest spaces for people looking forward to moving to the capital city.

3.  Scenic Destinations

The city is surrounded by flowing rivers and valleys that provide a scenic escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.

The city is also littered with cultural hotspots like signal hill, heritage buildings, fashion and designer stores, and shops dedicated to the many tourists that throng the city.

4.  Great Economy 

Low-cost housing and an average living wage above the national minimum wage guarantee an excellent quality of life for the average resident.

There was a period of economic slump when the cod fishery industry collapsed, but the economy bounced back with discovering several oil fields beside the city.

Moving to St John’s means you can live a pretty comfortable life without doing multiple jobs.

5.  Relaxed Lifestyle

Many residents of St John’s are laidback and live a quiet and reserved lifestyle. However, they are also supportive of new residents and immigrants in a hot and welcoming manner.

The communities that make up the capital city also have supportive health services for new residents and people who want to begin a new life in the region.

6.  Easy Transportation System

The public transport in the city is one of the oldest in Canada, having been continuously inhabited for more than 500 years.

There are routes for local buses and ferries for easy movement between the islands in the area.

Residents and tourists can use the private system or follow the city’s old bus routes. Unlike similar cities around the globe, there are little or no traffic jams at St John’s.

7.  No Language Barrier

Most residents of the city speak English, which is a universally accepted language. This English language adopted by residents is why the city is a top destination for immigrants, mainly from English-speaking countries.  

8.  Friendly population

St John’s has a pretty friendly population, and the communities that make the city are welcoming towards immigrants and tourists. Although there is still some level of crime, residents and visitors feel a certain degree of safety when they are in St John’s.

9.  Functioning Public Essential Amenities

St John’s has top-notch health facilities, including life support for chronic emergencies.

In addition, there are numerous religious centres and financial institutions, shipping facilities with a harbour, outdoor parks and open spaces, an airport, affordable public transport, public toilets, and sporting facilities. St Johns is home to its professional hockey team, the St John’s IceCaps.

10.  Culture and Entertainment

The city is littered with cultural and entertainment spots and is known throughout Canada for its fantastic nightlife. St John’s has plenty of cultural and entertainment centres and activities.

Residents and tourists can enjoy live music sessions, open theatres, and crafts sessions.

These events are spiced up with delicious food offerings, including various fish-based dishes typical to the area. Furthermore, Tourists are treated to walking tours of famous landmarks around the city.

George Street is also renowned for its nightlife, overall party-like atmosphere, and music festivals.

11.  Top-notch educational facilities

St. John’s has top-notch educational facilities from the elementary stage up to the University.

The Newfoundland and Labrador English school districts control education in the area. It represents all English-speaking students in the region with over 65,000 enrollments per annum and 252 schools across the province, including Saint John’s.

St John’s may be a fantastic city to live in, but there is no perfect city in the world, and St John’s is no different. This second part details the cons of moving to St John’s, Newfoundland.


1.  Expensive Public Transport

St John’s has one of the most extensive transport systems and one of the most expensive in Canada.

As a result, car and ferry rentals are more costly than the bus routes (which cost more than $100), and one may have to think twice before embarking on specific trips around the city.

2.  Rising Unemployment

The coronavirus pandemic has affected many businesses in the city and more or less shut down the tourism industry.

Even before the coronavirus hit, the fishing and manufacturing industry, where many residents earn a living, took a nosedive, and many people lost their jobs.

As a result, the region recorded the second-highest unemployment rate in Canada in 2019, with the current rate being 11% – 5.3% higher than the national unemployment average of 5.7%.

However, the establishment of oil facilities in nearby islands is the factor that has kept the city’s economy from total collapse as it seeks to begin attracting tourists once more.

3.  De-Population

St John’s and other cities within Newfoundland have been experiencing a decline in the general population for several years.

The rising unemployment rate has primarily occasioned this as professionals in specific fields such as Engineering and petroleum engineering leave to seek greener pastures in their various fields.

Despite the recent influx of immigrants into the area, the population is still lower than expected. The government has embarked on several schemes to bring more people into the region.

Is St Johns Newfoundland a good place to live?

For those who are looking for a slower pace of life and to enjoy the natural beauty that St Johns Newfoundland is famous for, then yes.

There are still tough times during winters when resources can be scarce but most of what I’ve seen from afar is an amazing community spirit where neighbours come together to help each other get by.

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