Portal:St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador

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St. John's

St. John's /ˌsntˈɒnz/ is the capital and largest city in Newfoundland and Labrador, and is the oldest English-founded city in North America. It is located on the eastern tip of the Avalon Peninsula on the island of Newfoundland. With a population of 196,966 as of 2011, the St. John's Metropolitan Area is the second largest Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) in Atlantic Canada after Halifax and the 20th largest metropolitan area in Canada. The name is believed to commemorate John Cabot, the first European to sail into the harbour, on June 24, 1497 — the feast day of Saint John the Baptist. A series of expeditions to St. John's by the Portuguese in the Azores followed in the early 16th century, and by 1540 French, Spanish and Portuguese ships crossed the Atlantic Ocean annually to fish the waters off the Avalon Peninsula. In the Basque Country, it is a common belief that the name of St. John's was given by Basque fishermen because the bay of St. John's is very similar to the Bay of Pasaia in the Basque Country, where one of the fishing towns is also called St. John (in Spanish, San Juan).

In 1583, it was claimed as an English colony of Elizabeth I, temporarily captured once by the Dutch, in 1665; and attacked three times by the French, who captured and destroyed it in 1689 and 1707. St John's was retaken each time and re-fortified, the first plans being prepared in 1689. It remained fortified for much of the 18th and 19th centuries. The British making use of it during the Seven Years' War in North America; and as a naval base during the American Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. Guglielmo Marconi received the first transatlantic wireless signal in St. John's on December 1901 from Poldhu, Cornwall. In June 1919, St. John's was the starting point for the first non-stop transatlantic aircraft flight, by Alcock and Brown in a modified Vickers Vimy IV bomber, to Connemara, Ireland. During the Second World War, the harbour supported Royal Navy and Royal Canadian Navy ships engaged in anti-submarine warfare; and it was also the site of an American Army Air Force base, Fort Pepperrell.

St. John's, and the province as a whole, was gravely affected in the 1990s by the collapse of the Northern cod fishery, which had been the driving force of the provincial economy for hundreds of years. After a decade of high unemployment rates and depopulation the city's proximity to the Hibernia, Terra Nova and White Rose oil fields has led to an economic boom that has spurred population growth and commercial development. As a result, the St. John's area now accounts for about half of the province's economic output.

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The Rooms is a cultural facility in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. The facility opened in 2005 and houses the Art Gallery of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Provincial Museum of Newfoundland and Labrador. Its name, as well as its architecture, is a reference to the simple gable-roofed sheds, called "fishing rooms", that were once so common at the waterline in Newfoundland fishing villages.

The Rooms is located on the former site of Fort Townsend, an 18th-century military fort, on a hill overlooking downtown St. John's. Since its construction it has competed with its neighbour, Basilica of St. John the Baptist, for the dominance of the St. John's skyline.

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Dennis O'Keefe is a Canadian politician and the 14th and current mayor of St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.

O'Keefe was elected to municipal politics in 1997 as a councilor at large and was subsequently re-elected to the position in 2001. In 2005 he was elected Deputy Mayor of the city and held that position till the resignation of Mayor Andy Wells in 2008. He served as acting mayor from March to April 2008 before resigning to run in the June by-election to replace Wells. He won the race beating former deputy mayor Marie White by a 5,000 vote margin. In the 2009 municipal election O'Keefe was re-elected Mayor, taking 57 per cent of the votes.

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