26 Jul 2020

Sonia on Sunday: Leisure activities

As a newcomer to Newfoundland & Labrador you might already know that our weather can be challenging at times. Our winter season is exceptionally long, we often see snowfall in April and May. Our summers do not start until July, although this year we also had some hot days in June. We can now say that our Newfoundland & Labrador summer has officially started.

Sonia Krajewska is the ANC’s Community Settlement and Integration Counsellor (Permanent Residents).

I would like to share with you a few activities, mostly in the St. John’s area, which you can do this summer, even in spite of ongoing pandemic and social distancing measures.

Long hikes on the East Coast Trail
The East Coast Trail is a long-distance coastal path located on the Avalon Peninsula. It is over 300 km long and it is made up of number of shorter trails. It was named on of the best adventure destinations by National Geographic, so you certainly need to check it out! These days you might still be able to see some whales in the ocean close by. To find out more about trails visit the East Coast Trail website

Have a picnic in the park

Coronavirus put a lot of our plans on hold, but we can still head down to the park and have a little picnic with our family and friends. There are number of parks in the city of St. John’s such as Bowring Park,  Victoria Park, Pippy Park, Bannerman Park and more, including many smaller neighbourhood green spaces. Grab a blanket, a basket with some homemade snacks, few bottles of water and enjoy the outdoors. Your body and mind will thank you for this!

Visit Water Street Pedestrian Mall

The City of St. John’s is trying out this experiment on Water Street, to help attract people to local shops and restaurants downtown. Water Street is now closed for vehicle traffic and only pedestrians can enter it. Plenty of restaurants, bars and pubs opened their patios outside, music is playing, and people seem to love the atmosphere. Head downtown to see if it’s your cup of tea!

Join the local gym

To keep yourself in good physical condition it is recommended to exercise regularly. Most gyms were closed due to COVID-19 up until recently. You may want to find a local gym and join them for classes of your interest. Gyms are applying social distancing measures; many of them limit the number of people entering the premises, but you can always register online and come for a bike ride or a run on a treadmill.

Go for a stroll around the Quidi Vidi Lake
Quidi Vidi Lake is located at the east end of St. John’s. The length of the lake is 1.6 km but its walking trail is 3.8 km. That is where we hold our annual Royal St. John’s Regatta in August, which unfortunately was cancelled this year due to the pandemic. We recommend you have a little stroll down there, see beautiful Jellybean Houses which are surrounding the lake and if you have a dog, there is a dog park by the lake too. And if you like ponds, there are many in and around St. John’s with developed walking trails.

Mountain path with ocean and other mountains in the background.
There is much beauty to be discovered in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Try out kayaking in our cold waters
If you are not afraid of water, you can rent a kayak and head out to sea with a tour guide. It might be extremely exciting adventure, especially if you are lucky enough to see a whale. But be careful not to get too close to them, as it might be unsafe. Sea kayaking is the perfect way to explore waterfalls and to feel closer to the nature.

Have a bonfire at the beach
Many Newfoundlanders enjoy bonfires at the beach. Popular bonfire spots are Middle Cove Beach and Topsail Beach. You can bake some potatoes, smoke some fish, or simply have roasted marshmallows. It is such a nice way to watch the sunset and enjoy your time with a family. Always be aware of the dangers fires can cause and follow posted regulations.

Visit Gros Morne National Park
Do you have time for a longer trip? Head to the West Coast and spend time in Gros Morne National Park. There are many camping grounds so you can either have a camper van with you, or simply bring a tent and enjoy wilderness. You can climb all the way onto the Gros Morne mountain which is the second highest peak in NL. Gros Morne is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so it is a must-see place in our province!

There are many more activities you can do while the summer is here. If you run out of ideas, feel free to message me at skrajewska@ancnl.ca and I will be able to help you with that.

Read all of Sonia’s blog posts here.