What is the oldest Canadian city?

St Johnís is the oldest English-founded settlement on the North American continent and the oldest city in Canada. It is the largest city and the capital of Newfoundland and Labrador, found on the Avalon Peninsula. The St. Johnís Metropolitan Area has a population of close to 197,000, making it the 20th largest metropolitan area in the country.

The name of the city is attributed to a Basque fishing town and to the feast day of John the Baptist. St. Johnís started as a seasonal settlement while year-round settlement began in the 1620s. The city is believed to be the oldest surviving English-founded settlement in Canada and North America. It was preceded by the Bristolís Hope colony, founded in Harbor Grace in 1618 and the Cuperís Cove colony, founded in Cupids in 1610. By 1540, Portuguese, Spanish, and French ships crossed the Atlantic every year to fish around the Avalon Peninsula. The Basques believe that it was Basque fishermen who gave the name of the settlement because the Bay of Pasaia and the Bay of St. Johnís are very similar. One of the fishing towns situated on the Bay of Pasaia is also called St. John or San Juan in Spanish.

The earliest records of the location appear on a Portuguese map from the early 16th century. When the English mariner John Rut visited the settlement in 1527, he found Portuguese, Breton, and Norman ships in the harbor. He wrote a letter to King Henry, describing the voyage and his findings. Water Street was built in the 1540s and is known as the oldest street on the North American continent.