Thursday, 30 April 2015

Top 15 Places to Loiter in Saint John, NB #communitySJ

I think we give the word 'Loiter' a bad rap. 'No Loitering' is a sign we see time and time again along with 'Stay off the Grass'. Well, I'd like to challenge the negative connotation of the word and give you some options for places to go 'hang', 'chill' or LOITER. 

In the spirit of my last post, (which, by the way, THANK YOU READERS for sharing so much! xo) I wanted to expand on one of the ideas within that post with some ideas on where you can connect with your neighbours. 

What makes a community? I have to believe it is making an effort to continually connect and support each other. It's being willing to sit and wait for the connection, conversation or chance meeting to happen. It's being open to meeting people, sharing stories and experiences. It's taking one person's idea and helping to move it forward. 

So without further ado, here are the top 15 places to spend some quality time getting to know your fellow Saint Johners! 

1. King's Square- Spring, Summer and Fall is the time when you should take a chance and sit on a bench with someone you don't know. There are ALWAYS people in King's Square. Don't just buzz through. Ask leading questions like, 'Are you a north/south ender, west/east sider, ?' or 'What do you think about that Mayor Mel Norton?' Us Saint Johners LOVE sharing our opinions so do so in person!

2. Brunswick Square/Market Square/McAllister Place: I work for Brunswick Square and positively ADORE the morning coffee club that gathers in a few common areas. Get your favorite hot beverage and park yourself and see where the day takes you. Every mall has their own set of awesome local characters. 

3. For Summer Day Drinking: Any Patio - If there is a top summer activity Saint Johners love, I would argue it is patio parking. I know it is mine. After a few bevys, get to talking with the people at the next table. Are they travelling? Do they know Pete from the Ale House too? Find the common connection. Some options:The Boardwalk, Britts, Mexi's, Lily's Cafe, Steamer's have some incredible patio game. (Name your fav in the comments!)

4. For Winter Day Drinking: Local Watering Holes - This is also a favorite winter activity when I get the chance. There is nothing like waking up, grabbing a delicious breakfast and meeting pals for a snowy sit in at some of our favorite local haunts. Get to know your server! Let them know you are sticking around and looking for someone to challenge to a game of crib/darts/pool.  Special mention to Pete's Pub, Callahan's, Peel Pub, Rocky's Saint John Ale House, Portland Pub (Name your fav in the comments!)

5. The Floating Dock at the Coast Guard - Don't let the teens have all the fun! When the gate is open (or even if it's not, hehe), hop down on a sunny day and feel the sway of the surf below you. Bring a snack and even a blanket or something comfy to sit on. Tote along your camera or take some snaps with your phone of the gorgeous view of the bridge. Share on social media. 

6. The South End Splash Park- This is the IDEAL family activity in the heat of summer. The monkeys run free (without fear of drowning, yahoo!) and you can sit on a towel with a mindful gaze as you chat with other parents doing the same. Ask where their kids go to school and what else they do for fun in SJ! 

7. Queen Square Market- Okay this is by far my favorite weekly SJ summer activity. My three year old asks every Sunday if we are going to the market with the pizza. Get in line for a hot pie (or grab any other delicious offering) find the sunniest spot on the grass and just loiter the heck out of Queen's Square. STAY FOR HOURS! Talk to the vendors. Walk the area. Get to know the people making your lemonade, french bread, cheese and oatcakes. Ask why they do what they do! 

8. Fisher Lakes Dog Park- For all the dog lovers out there, what better topic is their! Fisher Lakes has an awesome enclosed dog park with the pooches can run free and you can chat with the person next to you about whether or not their dog is a rescue and what their other favorite dog friendly spots are. 

9. Every Single Beach Area: Make a Saint John Beach Bucket List. Go to every single beach this summer and challenge your friends to do the same. Winner buys a round on a patio. ;) Bring your suit, just in case the urge to take a dip in the surf comes along. Special mention to Fisher/Lily Lake area, Bayshore, Mispec, McLarens', Saints Rest (Name your fav in the comments!)

10. Frenchy's West- I cannot even count the amount of times some sweet lady has given me something she thinks would look good on me. DO THE SAME! As your digging through the awesome finds, make a suggestion to your fellow thrift searcher. I have walked away with some amazing things due to the Frenchy's fashionistas! 

11. The City Market -  This one is very obvious but I am not sure people spend enough time allowing themselves to just hang out there. Saturday Mornings, but also lunch hours are the peak times but why not take a free afternoon and linger. People usually have their own crew who they go with, but if you see the same faces week to week, make an effort to say hello. Say hi to Joe at Pete's, Diane at Sisters, Kylee at Sagratis or Dave at Slocum's. Ask how their day is going and thank them for their years servicing our community! 

12. The Beavers at Loyalist Burial Ground- This is a more relaxed, 'take in the history' loitering zone. If you are a bit shy, this place is a good spot for taking a book and just being a part of the park's landscape. As I said in my last post, making an effort to take your day to day activities to public spaces will make our city look better and takes little effort! 

13. Any Coffee Shop: Why not forgo the takeaway cup and settle in and see what happens? Top's, Second Cup, Java Moose, Starbucks and Timmy's all offer cozy corners for people watching. There is a 50/50 chance you will see someone you know so just make no plans and just go park! Chat with the barista's! Friendly regulars are the best kind of customer. 

14. Saint John Free Public Library-  This is another fantastic spot for the shyer sect. A bustling library populated with knowledge hungry locals is a sight to see. Read the newspaper together in the common room. Share your opinion on local matters with someone. Get in a debate! Don't be afraid of friendly discourse. 

15. Community Centres/ Shamrock Park- I love this one because my dad used to take us to Shamrock/Carelton Community Centre to just 'see what was going on'. He would bring some tennis rackets for us and there was always someone looking to join in a game of doubles in badminton, volleyball etc. Go chill at a community centre and see who's up for a pickup game of something. That is what they are there for! 

I know there are plenty more ideas out there so please, feel free to share and chime in! Let's make an effort today to get out there and connect with our fellow Saint Johners. We are special and have a lot to offer each other. Take the pledge to build a #communitySJ with me! I dare you! 







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