The Same, Only Different

Saint John, New Brunswick, where E.g. grew up, has a number of serious industries. There’s an oil refinery, a pulp-and-paper mill, a port. As you can see from this shot of the harbour,


the business and industrial buildings are the usual sober colours. Nature repeats this aspect


with great swatches of green, much of it constant all year in the form of cedars and other evergreens.

Except for uptown — where brick has been the rule in all new buildings since the Great Fire of 1877 — the houses, too, have a certain regularity, in that for the most part their exteriors are of horizontal siding. But there the resemblance ends. The citizens of Saint John assert their individuality by a method at once subtle and striking:


Paint.


From a light salmon mousse cottage…


…to a cobalt-blue post-war house…


…to a larger home that likes to pretend it’s a brick building, each home identifies itself at a glance.

Even a number of the churches have siding exteriors,


perhaps in a green of a meditative shade…


…or possibly a more eye-catching tint.

In this way, the people of this city can stand tall in their group identity as Saint Johners, and smile with twinkling eyes as being each one their own person.

9 Responses to The Same, Only Different

  1. jamesviscosi says:

    Very nice houses! It’s the opposite out here, where if you try to individualize your house, you get a nasty letter from your HOA …

  2. lavenderbay says:

    It depends on the street around here, James: some are designated historical, with all the crazy rules that apply. Our friend Gilda lived in an apartment in one of them for a while, and when her apartment doorknob (that’s the inside one, not the door onto the street) lost its door knob, she had to replace it with another porcelain knob.
    The pictures in today’s and yesterday’s essay were taken in Saint John West, which doesn’t have those restrictions (yet? ) .

  3. Mutual friend Jane says:

    Ah, yes, the door and window Nazis, the scourge of our particular neighbourhood as well….
    The painted wooden or vinyl-sided houses are a feature of Maritime-province life. When I moved to Upper Canada from Nova Scotia, I got very confused. Since only public buildings were made of brick where I came from, I thought there were an awful lot of post offices and schools on every residential street in the GTA. My first house here was a shade of lilac, just like home. Maybe that’s why I was attracted to my current home with its wood front in shades of grey and blue. The door and window Nazis don’t like it much, though.

  4. Gina says:

    I just love the salmon mousse cottage! I guess it is the colors.

  5. Shelley says:

    Is the overpass the bridge over the Reversing Falls? I don’t remember the “Hollywood” style sign for St. John!

  6. Alyson says:

    So pretty – and the lady sitting outside the blue house looks like a nice person.

  7. lavenderbay says:

    And at first I was puzzled here, Mutual Friend Jane, over the absence of bricks. And yet in Montreal and Toronto, my favourite streets have been the ones with brightly-painted wood-siding houses. And they make much more scenic landscape shots.

    The choice of contrasting colour for the trim really helps, doesn’t it, Gina?

    More or less, Shelley. The bridge extends to the right (with happy aqua-coloured girdings, which detracted from the point I was making 😀 ) and you can see the Rapids from there. There’s also a smaller bridge from which you can take more time to observe them. I’ll have to ask about the sign — no one else is up yet.

    It really is a treat for the eyes, Alyson.
    You’re right on about the “nice person” . The woman on the steps is a friend of Gilda. Pauline has worked for the library and several volunteer organizations, and is an artist, specializing in acrylics. Her husband Gaylord is a commissionaire with the Port of Saint John (kind of a doorman for people entering the Port gates) , and is a musician, specializing in Celtic music. Pauline plays guitar, too. Gilda and I and E.g. spent Sunday afternoon with Pauline (Gaylord had to head out for an afternoon shift) , and I promised to brush up on my recorder skills for another time!

  8. Alyson says:

    A treat for the eyes and the ears then! 🙂 I love Celtic recorder.

  9. lavenderbay says:

    Before deciding that the rental fees and lessons were prohibitively expensive, Alyson, E.g. was playing Celtic harp for a few months. We had two books out of which we could play together — and hey, if the piece is sweet and mournful, who cares how slowly it’s played? Maybe someday we’ll afford to have her buy a harp outright, since she knows how to play now.

    Shelley: The sign on the hill was erected six years ago. Maybe you’re due for another visit?

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