"Saint John - Born of the American Revolution" Top 5 Page for this destination Saint John by 850prc

Saint John Travel Guide: 128 reviews and 265 photos

Things got going right after Cornwallis' surrender

As we Americans all learned in our school history classes, we had a revolutionary war with Great Britain. At first, things were going really badly and it looked as if we were doomed. But then Washington crossed the Delaware and mopped up the Hessians on Christmas Eve. The fighting continued on for several more years until Benjamin Franklin convinced the French to help our cause. Fast forward to 1781 and Virginia's Yorktown peninsula. Washington's army cornered Lord Cornwallis and the British forces and, with the undeniable assistance of the French fleet and Admiral deGrasse, the British "saw the light", and chose to end their hold on colonial America.

There was much celebration and the new nation was born. But - there were people who were on the other side, people who were NOT happy with the way things worked out. These folks were the loyalist, loyal to the crown, loyal subjects of King George III. And, revolution or not, they wanted to STAY loyal subjects of the British crown. So when things didn't go their way in America, they looked north to Canada. THAT is the genesis of the town of St. John, it was essentially founded by loyalists fleeing the new United States of America.

There were other waves of people fleeing issues that continued to expand the St John population. In the early 1800s, thousands fled the Napoleonic Wars in Europe, finding their way to both Canada and St John. And when the potato famine decimated Ireland in the 1840s, St John grew along with the American cities to the south.

Yes, St John is a proud loyalist town, and they owe their birth to these American ex-patriots' move northward after the 1783 Paris Peace Treaty.

The photo above shows the final resting place of a member of the Royal Artillery. He's buried, along with several dozen other contemporaries, in the downtown loyalist cemetary. Perhaps he was a redcoat who chose to stay on this side of the Atlantic - albeit a bit north of the new United States - after the British went home.


Incorporated in 1785 (two years after the Paris Peace Treaty ended the American revolution hostilities), St. John was the first city to be incorporated in Canada.


Saint John is a terrific place to enjoy a huge slice of Maritimes life and culture.

And, it's not a bad place to enjoy a big slice of Sicilian pie, too. :)

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:As welcoming a citizenry as I've ever encountered.... literally a town full of volunteer tourist guides.
  • Cons:Most visitors really would like a little more time in this friendly town.
  • In a nutshell:Enjoyable and hospitable to the "nth" degree - A great place to visit.
  • Intro Updated Dec 12, 2009
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Reviews (15)

Comments (12)

  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo
    Aug 21, 2013 at 6:40 PM

    Nice page

  • ViajesdelMundo's Profile Photo
    Jan 4, 2010 at 11:02 AM

    Yes, DOES sound like a lovely area! but a bit too far north for us (for living), but would be a great holiday area without the long flights! Trinity Ch looks vry interesting, and now yv made me hungry--got to fix lunch!

  • TheWanderingCamel's Profile Photo
    Dec 16, 2009 at 5:19 PM

    You make SJ sound a really great place for a visit. Next time I'm in Canada .....

  • Faiza-Ifrah's Profile Photo
    Dec 15, 2009 at 4:53 PM

    i am still on your NB pages. nice tips. took many into my travel guide :-) and some nice pictures. i liked the one on staircase the best.

  • herzog63's Profile Photo
    Dec 15, 2009 at 12:56 AM

    Long way to haul those rocks...hahahha St John sure seems like a place that is worthy of a visit. Fantastic write-up Pete!

  • umashanker's Profile Photo
    Dec 14, 2009 at 6:19 AM

    Cornwallis came to India as Governor General of East India Company.He started a news system of collecting tax from Indian peasantry that ultimately brought huge fortunes from British but doom for Indian farmers.

  • wise23girl's Profile Photo
    Dec 13, 2009 at 6:31 PM

    Very good useful tips with a bit of substance. Marg

  • robertgaz's Profile Photo
    Dec 12, 2009 at 4:59 PM

    Was is the water bottles and backpacks that gave you away as visitors?

  • Dec 12, 2009 at 9:33 AM

    great new thinks to do! great job also!

  • THLIN's Profile Photo
    Dec 12, 2009 at 6:00 AM

    Nice page, and great story...


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