Listicle: 12 obvious Saint John problems that locals will deny till they’re blue in the face

Listicle: 12 obvious Saint John problems that locals will deny till they’re blue in the face

Saint John — If New Brunswick’s Port City is known for one thing, it’s denial. Residents of Saint John will speak ill of any other city or town in the province at the drop of a hat, but you MUST NOT point out flaws or even make jokes about their city — or else. Don’t test them!

Here are 12 things that everyone knows to be wrong with Saint John but that are taboo to mention within Saint John itself.


  1. The huge plumes of smoke rising up over the city from a distance: Somehow, this is perfectly fine to Saint Johners. Or maybe it’s that they actually can’t see them and they look like rainbows on the horizon to the highly trained eye of a local.
  2. The fact that the city is entirely owned by one company that makes it clear with signs absolutely everywhere: This would clearly be a bad thing regardless of the owner, but heaven forbid a Saint Johner ever question Irving’s dominance. “Don’t bite the hand that feeds ya” is a phrase you’ll hear if you dare to badmouth an Irving.
  3. The downtown: It’s all one-way streets that point in different directions. And boarded-up storefronts. And panhandlers.
  4. The fact that they call the downtown “uptown”: And shame on you if you don’t capitalize the word Uptown!!! No other city does this, but that’s apparently because no other city is so special that they require their own punctuation.
  5. The mayor is crazy: You never can tell what nonsense will come out of his mouth next.
  6. The water: Whether it’s yet another boil order, or the pipes are literally exploding all over the west side, you can’t count on this basic need being fulfilled. But to a Saint Johner, this is part of the city’s charm.

    An angry Saint Johner

  7. The smell: Unless you like sulphur and ash and wet garbage. We hear that Saint Johners’ olfactory receptors have evolved to transform the smell into something closer to fresh cinnamon buns mingled with rose petals.
  8. Cruise ship passengers: They bumble around cluelessly and ruin the downtown (sorry, “Uptown”) for tourists not off the boat.
  9. Their selectively good spelling: Much of this city is illiterate, but if you visit and they find out you thought it was spelled “St. John,” prepare for a smug, hour-long lecture on your ignorance.
  10. Saint Awesome: Or #SaintAwesome. Seriously, wtf is that about? Is it supposed to be a slogan or a hashtag campaign or what? It’s not even catchy.
  11. Sundays: The entire city shuts down. Everything is closed. You thought there was nothing to do the rest of the week? Just try to stifle your boredom on the Lord’s day of rest. But yeah, we totally buy that Saint John should be the capital of the province!
  12. The stories the local paper constantly puts out about some young couple who moved here from Toronto and are now completely content: Really, they have never been happier. They love the low rental prices and the short commute times. Despite not knowing anyone and making half the wage they did in Ontario. (This one is more of a bonus for those 15 or so people who read the T-J.)

If you agree with anything on this list, we beg you — make sure you keep it to yourself, lest you invoke the wrath of a Saint Johner!

  1. This is not satire, or parody; This is an attack piece with no merit in comedy at all. This is lazy writing and is more mean spirited than anything else. It appears like a hack job by a volunteer contributor who was desperate to make a deadline.

    Try harder. You have done better, you can do better.

  2. I thought it was pretty dead on until the whole most of the city is illiterate comment. That was pretty harsh .I think you could have worded it differently .

  3. I’m a Saint Johnner, it’s pretty well true. Lol even the bits that aren’t are close enough to make it true. Lot of us will bust your ass for pretty well anything. I love lots of places but to be completely honest, haven’t been to another place where the people are friendly, almost all the time.

  4. Saint John is a great city. Yes, we have faults but what city doesn’t? I’ve been around and my preference has always been Saint John. It is home!

  5. I love you guys, but this was pretty mean. Not to mention firing at the easy target.

  6. Not even close to satirical. Try again.

  7. Should have put lack of sense of humor as well Shauna. I thought it was funny as hell. Completely on point. Continue forth with your journalism to make my day brighter.

  8. Your trashing our city,come here and try to talk this shit,we all know this isn’t the greatest place but we call it home,I invite you to come here who ever wrote this because I’d love to make sure you’d never forget about this place I love. You dirty no good pos

  9. LOL THANK YOU!!!! WOW! I am not alone!!! As someone as Saint Johners call a CFA “Come From Away” (yes, us outsiders have own label) I know all too well the attitudes from local people if you are not from Saint John, have family or roots in Saint John or a vested interest or stake. If you have none of these, family, local connections you will feel the animosity, the bigotry, the fear, as evidenced by the response to this…social commentary. Traveled all across the country but never have experienced the animosity, bigotry and fear towards “outsiders” as Saint John. And any of you holier than thou people think it’s all rosey, sunshine smiles and rainbows in Saint John, have YOU REALLY walked through some of the poor neighborhoods in Saint John? Pick one, there’s many to chose. Have you talked to these people? Seen the desperation on their faces, the despair as they sell their belongings for food, heat or electricity, bills clothes or just to survive another day scraping by. I have worked with these people FRONTLINE and I know the desperation because I am now living it! That is why I don’t call Saint John’s poor POS, they are ordinary average working class Canadians that have been so disenfranchised that they have been stripped of any power and feel hopeless about their situations. Think this is fictitious, check stats Canada for jobs stats for New Brunswick. New Brunswick didn’t really lose any jobs Feb. 2018, but noticed 2500 dropped out of the job market, 2500 less people looking for work. Where did they go?? They leave or give up. Saint Johner’s have this great affection and fierce loyalty to their city “How dare you, my daddy worked for Irving and so did did his daddy”. Don’t offend the locals by critiquing Saint John or local or regional politics. There is no freedom of speech or press in New Brunswick. It’s all owned by one company, Irving. Try and submit a letter to be published in the TeleGraph Journal criticizing local and regional politics that involves local big business, voices of dissent. You will NEVER be heard and your voice will be silenced, much like the backlash to this commentary. No one wants to see it, acknowledge it or hear about it. But how the hell can there be change if we are not critical of the social and financial ills that plague this region and what some of us are struggling to call “home”. People are struggling in Saint John, and as long as voices of dissent are silenced, you further rob people of the one last thing they….a voice. Everyone matters….regardless of your status.

  10. well i am from ONT and i agree with everything and its much worse then that. ThIS PLACE IS A FILTHY RUN DOWN HOLE!!!!

  11. Despite everything this article mentioned, and some of the comments, I’m happily moving to Saint John from Onterrible, and I’m bring my Rock&Roll music with me.

    C-F-A, Come From Away
    I’m on my way to Saint John

    Coming from Ontario, leading the Exodus
    To Glooscap the Giants old home


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