Tourism and Culture in the Port City

Tourism and culture in the Port City


On cruise ship days, Saint John comes alive.

On any given day during the cruise season, you could see one, two, even three ships docked in the harbour. Gangways connect the ships to two state of the art terminals and connect their passengers to the historic port city.

Saint John, Canada’s first incorporated city is fourth in the country by cruise traffic. This year, Cruise Saint John is celebrating 25 years of cruise and welcoming their two millionth passengers ashore.

Still, even an average cruise day feels like a celebration.

Passengers are greeted by a committee of volunteers who hand out roses, pins and miniature Canadian flags. Everyone is excited to welcome them.

From there, passengers embark on bubblegum pink double-deck buses that allow them to hop on and off across town, each ticket supporting the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. Tour operators wait with excursions to landmarks and landscapes. Passengers also venture out on foot, blazing their own path through Saint John’s cultural core.

“Tourism has a positive impact on Saint John because the growth of entrepreneurial spirit and opening of small shops, galleries and eateries which are here both during the tourism season and all year long for locals to enjoy,” Port Saint John president and CEO Jim Quinn said.

Quinn grew up in Saint John, later moving away. During his time away, the city underwent a transformation. Saint John was named a cultural capital in 2010 and one of the world’s Top 7 Intelligent Communities in 2012.

“There have been many changes. Uptown Saint John today is alive with activity with a variety of galleries, shops and eateries now located in the blocks surrounding the Port,” he said.

Cruise tourism has played a major role in Saint John’s cultural boom. Uptown streets are lined with boutiques, restaurants and galleries, loved by tourists and locals alike.

At Exchange on Germain, the city’s newest high-end fashion boutique, many of the clothes travel the same distance as cruise visitors. Owner Lisa Oland brings in upscale brands like Chanel, Coach and Ralph Lauren from places like New York, Boston, Toronto and abroad.

Oland lived uptown for 13 years and knew she wanted her boutique stationed there.

“I love the architecture. I love the history. I love the vibe of uptown, so it’s where I wanted to be, personally,” she said.

When Oland put together her business plan, she wanted to make Exchange on Germain a sustainable business year round – not just during the summer. The boutique opened its doors last October, near the tail end of the cruise season.

Oland’s business sits near the middle of iconic Germain Street, a side street famed for red brick homes, colourful doors and the historic Trinity Church. When visitors turn away after photographing the church, their eyes land on Oland’s vibrant window displays.

“It wasn’t just browsing. They were shopping,” she said. Word of the boutique spread by mouth from passenger to passenger as they ventured into the city core.

Five years ago, Oland said she didn’t think Saint John was ready for a high-end consignment shop. Uptown Saint John’s cultural boom and influx of creative business owners changed her mind.

Mayor Mel Norton was elected in 2012. He started building dialogue in social media around the idea of Saint John as a “renaissance city.” Along with an increase in cultural hotspots, the city’s population also grew three per cent between 2006 and 2011.

Norton said the cruise ship industry in Saint John is a visible and tangible sign of the importance of the Port to the city. He called port “the heartbeat of the community.”

“Conferences that come to Saint John are now focusing their events around the port. They’re accessing the cruise facilities as meeting spaces to have those conferences. They’re set in a very meaningful way right on the waterfront. It’s really neat to see,” he said.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Hilary Paige Smith is an award-winning writer living in Saint John, N.B. She’s currently working in communications at Port Saint John. She can be reached at

Full Sail University

A world-class entertainment and media school in the heart of the Orlando area

The Orlando area is recognized as an entertainment destination based on its attractions alone, and it’s also home to one of the world’s leading entertainment and media universities.

Located on a 212-acre campus that has the look and feel of a Hollywood studio, Full Sail University is the educational answer to the professional, technical, and artistic needs of the entertainment and media industry.

Offering associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees on its Winter Park, Florida campus and online, Full Sail’s academic programs include those in digital arts, recording, film, video game design and development, entertainment business, web and mobile development, animation, and more.

An Educational Model Based on Industry Best Practices

All programs are centered on Full Sail’s unique educational philosophy – which combines relevant industry insight with immersive experience working on the same equipment and using the same workflow practices found in the real world.

Just one example of the school’s commitment to familiarizing students with industry technology and tools is Project LaunchBox™, which equips every student – both on-campus and online – with a MacBook Pro at an institutional discount, plus the same media creation software found in the professional world.

Real-World Opportunities

Full Sail University’s ongoing connections to the entertainment and media industry provide unparalleled opportunities for real-world student experience. The Full Sail University Sports Lab Powered by ESPN provides an on-site space for the network to develop original content, and allows students to gain experience working alongside the ESPN team.

Additionally, WWE has brought TV tapings of its NXT programming to the Full Sail campus, and nationally syndicated morning show The Daily Buzz broadcasts live from university facilities – both giving opportunities for students to participate in television production.

Student Credits on Major Projects


This emphasis on student opportunities has paved the way for many graduates to make notable achievements within their industries. Full Sail graduate credits include work on OSCAR®, Emmy®, GRAMMY®, ADDY®, MTV Video Music Award, and Spike Video Game Award nominated and winning projects.

Most recently, Full Sail alumni have contributed to films such as Argo, The Avengers, The Dark Night Rises, and Brave, TV programs including Breaking Bad and American Idol, albums by artists such as Madonna, Beyoncé, Usher, and Coldplay, and video games including Red Dead Redemption, Halo 4, and the Call of Duty series.

Awards and Accolades

Full Sail has been recognized as one of the Top Five Game Degree Programs by Electronic Gaming Monthly, one of the Best Music Programs by Rolling Stone Magazine, and one of the Best Film Programs by UNleashed Magazine. In 2011, Full Sail received the “21st Century Best Practices in Distance Learning Award” from the United States Distance Learning Association, was named the “School/College of the Year” by the Florida Association of Postsecondary Schools and Colleges, and was recognized as one of the Top 100 Social Media Colleges by

A Campus Worth Experiencing

With more than 880,000 square feet of real-world media production facilities, including more than 110 studios and labs, 60-plus classrooms, and a state-of-the-art performance venue, Full Sail’s campus is a 24/7 hub of creative activity. The school offers its monthly Behind the Scenes Tour, which gives a personalized and up-close view of facilities and degree programs, as well as daily, hourly tours of the campus.

If you’re interested in learning more about Full Sail University, or want to book a tour any day of the week, visit or call 800.226.7625.