Saint John

24" x 24" Oil on gallery-stretched canvas. Sold - Collection of Judith Bailey,Vancouver

A recent painting of a small part of the city of Saint John, New Brunswick. This was done from a photo I took in early March when snow was still abundantly on the ground.

The original photo was a longer shot taken much further away which I zoomed in and cropped this section from.

Saint John is known for its historical architecture though it went through a devastating fire in 1877.

When it was over, the fire had destroyed over 80 hectares (200 hundred acres) and 1612 structures including eight churches, six banks, fourteen hotels, eleven schooners and four other ships in just over a nine hour period. Nearly all the public buildings, the principal retail establishments, lawyers' offices and all but two printing firms were burned in the inferno. To make matters worse, less than one fourth of the $28 million (in 1877 dollars) in losses was covered by insurance.
Nineteen people died as a direct result of the fire and there were an undetermined number of injuries. While some people managed to save a few of their possessions, many residents and business owners lost everything they owned. Starvation and disease threatened, as nearly all the food and medical supplies were destroyed when the business and warehouse districts burned. Shelter was an urgent need. Although several thousand people moved to nearby Portland or simply left the Saint John area altogether, a considerable number of city residents had nowhere to go. The Victoria Skating Rink on City Road served as a temporary shelter for several days. Tents were erected on the Barrack Green and shanties were rapidly erected on King Square and Queen Square as homes for people and businesses.
Today in 2008, Saint John is still going through its growing pains with controversial new structures proposed, and possible razing to the ground of more history.


Sandy said...

That is one gorgeous painting and interesting story to go with it. Sad how so much was destroyed but look how beautiful it is today.


Anonymous said...

Hey, i used to live in the brown house in the first row of buildings. It's a nice spot.
-S. Brick

John Ackerson said...

Thanks again Sandy. Saint John still has a lot of great architecture left in it.

Unfortunately, a few years ago we lost one of the most prominent buildings on our skyline when the city fathers at the time decided it should be blown up instead.

You would recognize what an ironic shame it truly is if you could have seen that building in its 1930's era majesty, and then compare it to the new building in its place.

To know what was once there, and just kills me!

I've been thinking of doing a painting with reference to this turn of events in order to bring closure for myself...

John Ackerson said...

Hi there S.,

If you're in Saint John in May 15 to June 27 check out my exhibit in the Library at the Saint John Art Centre across from where the YW/MCA used to be...(until recently).

Gwen Buchanan said...

Johnie, This is a great post! great story and great painting!!!