Colours of Newfoundland

You may be starting to think our time in Newfoundland involved only iceberg hunting, hiking, and eating (see Deb’s latest post on this topic here).

I want to point out that we also spent time exploring the colourful capital city of St John’s. It’s famous for its row-houses in vibrant colours, but I was in for a few surprises.

St John’s Water Street

The first was that the colourful jellybean exteriors weren’t restricted to a single street or collection of streets as I had originally thought. They were EVERYWHERE, including the commercial areas.

I admit to a serious sugar issue. The 5-year-old in me was delighted by this find.

We also discovered that this colourful display was embraced well beyond the core of the capital. Bright colours popped up in the countryside and small villages hugging the shoreline.

Even when they aren’t trying, they are cheerfully colourful.

However, I think it was the history behind the crayon colours that surprised me the most.

It was the result of a campaign in the 1970s to revitalize the declining downtown core of St John’s. The idea of using eye-catching colour was embraced with gusto and spread like spilled paint throughout the city and surrounding area.

Now the cheerful look of St John’s buildings matches the cheerfulness of the people themselves.

We wondered if there was some committee that regulated the use of colour to ensure each building was different from its neighbour, but I couldn’t find anything to suggest there was.

Even in the rain the village of Brigus flaunts its charm.

I challenge anyone to resist the charm of this delightful province.

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This post and its title was inspired by the advertisement for Newfoundland and Labrador called “Crayons”. It’s one of my favourites. I hope you’ll take a look and let its music colour you too.

86 comments

  1. Wow, wow, wow, Joanne! A beautiful post! We were in Newfoundland and in St. John’s about 35 years ago. I still recall the colours, the wind and the amazing people. Your words “cheerfully colourful” are very appropriate words. We would have been there in the mid 1980s and I saw a colourful community. I did not give it much thought at the time.

    I love, love love the video and the music!!! Actually brought tears to my eyes. “I am a rainbow today.” You have made my day, Joanne. Especially on OUR Canada Day weekend ❤️🇨🇦

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    • There are a few ways to interpret this song and all of them are appropriate. I simply love this commercial and kudos to the people who came up with it.

      The more I reflect on our time in Newfoundland, the more I realize it really imbedded itself in me. There are few places in the world I’ve visited that had that impact. I miss it terribly and want to go back.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Reading about your travels quickly brought back fond memories of Newfoundland. It is difficult to explain the feeling to people who have not been there. A very different part of Canada, yet also contains the essence of being a Canadian. Thank you for sharing with us🙂

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        • You summed it up perfectly. It is so different – and yet the same. How the two can coexist at the same time is impossible to describe to someone who hasn’t been there.
          I feel a deep longing to return.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Those houses are like crayons aren’t they. I just watched Anthony Bourdain’s show on Newfoundland – it was very interesting. I guess when you’re up there moose is a culinary must-try. Did you try it?

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    • lol! I’m from the north so I grew up on game like moose and partridge. Not to mention fish – a lot of fish.
      No, neither of us had while we were there, although it’s easily found on menus. It’s just not to my taste.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oooo! I love the colors! I would think it would make people happy to live among bright colors everywhere. The colors of fall make me happy, so why not colorful buildings, hair, socks, and birdhouses? 🙂

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  4. Joanne, I was leaning toward gray, dreary, cold being the impetus for the colors, but then I remembered that a lot of Caribbean Islands do the same thing. Wynwood in Miami imports artists to paint colorful murals over their dilapidated buildings. It’s good camouflage for age. Maybe I should consider dying my hair red! Such a picturesque place. You guys did a great job capturing its essence. That video steals the show!

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    • It seems that more and more communities are embracing the use of murals to brighten and invigorate. I’m noticing it even in small villages.
      In my opinion, thoughtful artistry always works!

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  5. I love all the colors of the houses! It gives such a feeling of fun and optimism. Lovely pics and video.

    When we lived in Granada, Nicaragua, colors on the exterior of the houses are very typical there too. After that whenever we returned to the Chicago for visits, houses seemed so dull in comparison. In Granada there were often extremely bright colors, just like out of a crayon box.

    Peta

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    • The weather is definitely a deterrent. But then again, if the weather was good, it would be overrun by people who would want to live there and would no longer be the quiet laidback island it is 🙂

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    • It’s still too early into my morning coffee to determine what colour I am today. Since I’m golfing this afternoon, I’d prefer not be “messy” orange. Cool and calm blue would be nice. It’s always hard to predict which Joanne will show up at the golf course 😉

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    • The Boobie Shop is lingerie but I don’t remember what was in Wild Things. We stopped in so many interesting little places. If we hadn’t been limited by what would fit in our luggage, I would have had a field day. As it was, I barely made it under the weight restriction at the airport.

      Newfoundlanders are certainly creative in their naming conventions and signage. More to come on that. The only question is who will get to it first, me or Deb? 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I am, of course, compelled to compare your Newfie landscape to Northern Ontario… many similarities exist, including the bold use of colour.

    Interesting dynamic, and I’m happy for the outcomes on the east coast!

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  7. How lovely. This makes me want to travel there. I love it when communities are so vibrant and fun. I had to stop by and say hi. Hope you’re doing well, Joanne, and enjoying the start of summer. 🙂 ❤

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  8. I love that song! The area looks so beautiful. I thought they painted their buildings so colorful to stave off long gray winter depression. I’m happy to hear that’s not the reason and the people are cheerful!

    I want to go there now. BTW: I am green today! 💚

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    • The song really gets under your skin, doesn’t it? (in a good way 😉). I’m definitely rocking the rainbow today 🌈

      I too had thought they used the bright colours to counteract the long gray winter.
      The truth is a better story 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. It certainly looks enchanting! I think a lot of cold places use colour to keep them happy during the dark days of winter. Scandinavian towns and villages are the same.

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  10. I love those bright colors. It kind of reminds me of Mexico. I wish that trend would “spread like spilled paint” in our area. Out here in the desert, the trend is to paint everything a drab earth tone to make buildings blend in with the landscape. Gets kind of boring.

    I also love that lawnmower.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Love this, Joanne! Love the candy building and it’s octopus popping out of the wall. And the TV ad – yes people, it really is that beautifully colourful there. It’s like it’s Pride every day in NFLD. 🙂

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