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Dave's Tour Guys

Stay a while...See a lot!

Private personalized tours of Saint John and surrounding area.

Dave's Blog


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The Roses & Pins, the inside story!

Posted on September 29, 2014 at 9:19 PM Comments comments (8675)

I recieved the following question from one of my passengers and thought hey, I bet alot of people would appreacaite this story!

3 Ships visit Saint John & the Bay of Fundy in October

On 2014-09-29 13:42, Grann wrote:

Hi Dave,

Thanks for the terrific tour and pictures.

Question – what is the reason for receiving the roses or flag pins (?) for men when we disembarked from the Gradeur of the Seas in Saint John. Couldn't remember the story and am putting together an album about the cruise.

Until later

Ann T. Thompson (the crab bag lady with Goetz's candy from Baltimore!!!)

On Sep 29, 2014, at 8:47 PM, Dave <[email protected]> wrote:
Hi Ann;
Dave here, glad you enjoyed the tour and very happy you are using the pics!
15 years ago, the first cruise ship came into port seeking safe harbour from a massive hurricane called Floyd coming up the Atlantic Seaboard. Saint John was given only 12 hours to plan the welcome of the ship before its arrival. All hands were on deck working through the night to prepare for its arrival. Special busses were arranged by Saint John City Transit, the Taxi companies called in extra drivers and every rose in the city as well as a hoard of pins from City Hall was gathered together to be given out as small tokens of welcome and gratitude for the opportunity to host the ship and her passengers. Volunteer greeters we assembled and briefed to help the arriving passengers find their way on tours and answer questions. All through that night the welcome mat was woven readied to go as the ship sailed in. Locals were informed of the ships arrival on the morning airwaves and asked to be especially friendly and helpful to our surprise guests that would be carrying roses and sporting pins on their lapels’.
This welcome wagon was so successful, we have grown from that first ship, to approx. 80 ships each year, from those 3300 passengers to over 220,000 passengers annually. 

Today, the tradition of giving the Roses & Pins continues, to welcome our cruise guests, remind ourselves how fortunate we are to have this beautiful city to share and of course, they still identify our guests to the locals, so everyone gets a warm welcome!
Thanks for asking~

UPDATE: After 26 years there has been a new development with this long tradition. The Roses & Loyalist Pins have been replaced by a "Three Sisters Lamp" Pin instead. They are limited in number and each year a different Landmark will be reproduced and given to cruise passengers as the come ashore to play! Great Idea!

Cruise Season 2014 is our Most Successful to Date!

Posted on September 23, 2014 at 7:09 PM Comments comments (1267)
Hello out there in vacationland!

The Cruise season is in full swing now with ships arriving almost daily! Our schedule is nearly full with only a few dates still available to host tours. Please act fast if you plan on booking a tour as we are selling out availability fast!

Of course as in years past our most popular tour is of the Top Sites of Saint John & St Martin's and the Bay of Fundy.This tour includes but is not limited to:

Pick up at Terminal 

St. Patrick’s Memorial Park (Historical Site)
Tour of the Imperial Theater (Historic Theater, Harry Houdini performed here)
Fort Howe (Historical, Photographical and Scenic Site)
Reversing Falls (Natural Wonder)
Big Rig Launching Pad (Engineering Wonder)
Witch's Manor (Home of the Wicked Witch of the West) …really!
Carlton Martello Tower (National Historical Site of Canada)
Travel to St Martins along the coast of the Bay of Fundy->
Black River Harbour (Scenic)
Duck Pond Beach (Scenic Ocean Vista)
Lunch Break at The Caves (seafood)
The Fundy Trail (Scenic Toll Road, Natural beauty and Flower Pot Rocks)
The Sea Caves of St Martins (walk on Ocean floor)
Visit to St Martins twin Covered Bridges, the Harbour and one of the oldest lighthouses in Canada (you can climb to the top!)
Quaco Lighthouse high atop the Quaco Ledges overlooking Thurm Rock
-->Return to Saint John with a return visit to the Reversing Falls (the change in the river will be amazing).

Tour terminating either at your Cruise Terminal or the City Market (recommended as it allows you to meander back to the ship through the heart of historic Saint John, only 3 blocks from the ship!)

Hope to see you soon, till then may you have calm seas and fair winds!

Dressing for your Saint John Adventure

Posted on September 2, 2013 at 2:47 AM Comments comments (1993)
So you’re coming out to explore in Saint John!
First of all, thanks for deciding to come out to play in Saint John!  So what do you need to know about the weather? I bet you have a dozen questions. What does one wear to walk on the ocean floor? Is it cold in Saint John? 

3 Ships in October in Saint John Harbour

Saint John, being located right on the Bay of Fundy, experiences moderate weather year round. As the water in the Bay stays cold, between 31 degrees F and 34 degrees F, it has a moderating effect on the weather. In summer months, the cold water of the Bay of Fundy cools the warm summer winds, keeping the city 5-10 degrees cooler than just a few miles inland. In winter, it warms incoming freezing winds, keeping temperatures near a balmy 32 degrees F. The wind changes with the tides and a warm summer day can cool quickly, requiring outerwear to stay warm. Warm moist air reacting to the cold water can generate thick fog banks which have a dramatic effects on the air tempretures. If you are visiting in the fall, September is usually the best time for pleasant weather. Warm and sunny most days, it is cool at night making it comfortable for sleeping or enjoying a roaring campfire on the beach. In October, anything is possible! It is not uncomman to experiance brisk cold winds, rain or even freezing rain. In the latter part of the month, you may even experience the first snow flurries of the year! 

Visitors are advised that no matter how sunny and warm it may be when they arrive, bring a good coat or at least sweater and windbreaker with you, the weather can change quickly and without warning. As many tours focus on the beautiful coastal regions and sites, it is very common to experience gusts of fresh, cold, Bay of Fundy wind when close to the Bay.

Reversing Falls Jet Boat RideThose choosing to ride the Reversing Falls Jet Boats are in for a real treat! They are truly a thrill ride and though the operators offer protective raingear, they really are more efficient at keeping that 34 degree F water in rather than out! Make sure to bring along a change of clothing including those socks and undies! Having a high tolerance to the taste of salt water is a real benefit too! (Please note the Reversing Falls Jet Boats are not in operation for the 2014 Cruise Season, let's hope they are back in 2015!)

Walking on the the ocean floor at St. MartinsNo visit to the Bay of Fundy is complete without a walk on the Ocean floor! So what does one wear? You can expect to get your shoes mildly soiled with red mud. At St. Martins, if you wish to explore the Sea Caves, you will be required to cross loose beach gravel to a small stream, about 8 inches deep, so wise travellers bring “water shoes” or are prepared to go barefoot.  No worries, the stream is not near as cold as the Bay! As for exploring the beach and caves, a pair old sneakers or closed toe, low heeled shoes are best.  Ladies, forget those Italian Pumps or flimsy flip flops back on the ship!  Many of your predecessors have returned aboard with only one flip flop after they came off in the swift waters of the stream headed out to sea! There are also rocky shelves covered in forests of seaweed to climb about, so most find the wet seaweed does not result in a pleasant experience when being dragged between ones toes!

Hopewell Rocks with highest tide in the world, the Bay of Fundy tide receeding
At the Hopewell Rocks you can expect the ocean floor to be a mildly messy place. Easily accessed by a steel staircase, the ocean floor has a mixture of red silt and stone. Closed walking shoes, something you can rinse or wipe off is good. Again, having an extra layer of clothing with you may save your day, so come on out and play, but be prepared!

One thing to remember when visiting the Bay of Fundy, that world famous tide is always on the move! Be careful to watch that water when you visit it's edge. It comes in surprisingly fast and can often sweep in and around behind you. One must be vigilant to make sure you do not become cut off from your way back to dry land! A wise traveller is always mindful of where they leave thier belonging too, least they end up offering a sacrifice to the Great waters of the Bay of Fundy!

Memories of The Saint John City Market

Posted on August 8, 2013 at 6:24 PM Comments comments (675)

Saint John City Market Center AisleSaint John City Market 

"Saint John Public Space Built in 1876, the Saint John City Market is the oldest continuing farmer's market in Canada. The Market forms the historic centerpiece of a revitalized city centre as it lies adjacent to the main street of the urban core area and abuts the City’s most prominent public square, “King’s Square”. The unique architectural design of the building reveals an exterior façade reflective of the Victorian era in which it was built, while the interior space of the Market resembles the hull of a ship. The design was an intentional nod to the City’s economic and cultural heritage, as the City was an active ship building port city in the 19th Century.

The City Market is popular gathering space for people of all ages. It is a place where vendors sell a range of local and international goods along four banks of stalls running the entire length of the building. The Market is well integrated into the City Centre both in terms of its architecture, its entrances from the outdoors, as well as an indoor connection to the City pedway system.The Market is a highly valued meeting space for people from across the region. It serves as an affordable place to get lunch, a convenient location to grocery shop, an excellent source of local artisan goods, fresh seafood and locally roasted coffee. The Market is fully accessible for those with mobility limitations and is within walking distance of nearly all of the downtown business community as well as the large resident population of Saint John’s central peninsula. Given its location, the Market is one of the major sources of fresh food for those who live in the City Centre without a private vehicle.Over the past few years, the Market has become more reflective of the ethnic mix of Saint John’s residents as a number of vendors provide goods from the United Kingdom, Italy, China, Korea, India, the Middle East and others. The Market also showcases local items as well as goods from around New Brunswick including dulse from Grand Manan Island, fresh seafood and soaps from the province to name a few.The City Market is open 6 days a week, 12 months a year with Sunday openings during peak seasons. In addition to being a space to get daily groceries, prepared meals or other goods, the Market is a popular gathering space for seasonal festivities and special events, which have contributed to the Market’s place among the most treasured assets in the urban fabric of Saint John.

Enjoy the bustling sound, smells of spice and exotic foods of this colorful place, the Saint John City Market!The importance of its role in the community extends to a space where dialogue regarding community issues frequently occurs, allowing new ideas and opinions to emerge and take shape. Residents of the City often meet their friends and neighbours in the Market, while community groups and charitable organisations frequently engage passers-by to broach a broad range of important societal issues.Finally, the Market reflects the historic and evolving character of the local culture. As society has evolved over the past 137 years, the City Market has also changed and has therefore remained relevant to the local community that sustains it. Once predominantly a fish market where local fisherman would sell their catch, the Market now has a wide range of vendors selling their food and wares from around the world. The diversity of ethnic offerings at the Market is illustrative of the growing cultural mix of the greater region.The Market has also been a popular space for several community groups and organisations over the years. It is common to find a community group raising funds or awareness from a booth at the market, as well as a number of community and charitable organisations that headquarter from the upper floors of the City Market building. This includes the Human Development Council, the Saint John Multicultural and Newcomers Centre, the City Market Seniors Centre, "Pride of Race Unity and Dignity through Education" (PRUDE) centre, among others.For over 130 years, the City Market has been the most important retail space in Saint John. The growing popularity of shopping centres and large-format grocery stores over the past 50 years has driven a lot of traffic to other areas of the City, but the City Market has managed to remain the most popular to Saint Johners, and easily the most culturally important.The importance of this public space extends much beyond the central peninsula of Saint John. The City Market was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1986, which demonstrates the value other Canadians have recognised in this space.The Market is a distinctly Saint John public space. The market's design was selected in a competition among local architects, and constructed by the city's skilled tradesmen of the day. On December 16, 1874 the Market Committee offered two prizes to architects for a Market design competition. The first place prize of $200 was awarded to Messrs. McKean and Fairweather. A second place prize of $100 went to D.E. Dunham. Mr. W.P. Clark and Mr. W.M. Smith received a premium of $50 for the submission of their plan, and the Saint John City Market on Charlotte Street officially opened in 1876."

Saint John City Market lower Entrance
While this is a great description of the City Market,it misses the point I think, of how important this place is to every citizen. Every Saint Johner that I have spoken to shares a common affection for this place, most built over the decades, that have passed along with our youth. The bond with this place is much deeper.

The Saint John City Market is simply wonderful. When I was a small boy, my Grandfather took me there every Thursday when he cashed his paycheck at the Bank of Nova Scotia across the street. I can still remember the bustle of the crowd, the wonderful smells of exotic spices and foods. I loved the 3 Moose hanging up in the rafters and wondered what it was like to carve those arched beams in the ceiling. Never one to buy us kids candy, Gramps would always take us to Raymond's Deli at the head of the Market where he would buy us a piece of extra old cheddar cheese as our treat. After he passed away, I continued to visit the Market to get my treat, an honor paid to a great man. I took my kids there every time we came home to visit and today I take my Cruise Ship passengers there on every tour. While they explore, I sneak away to Raymond's and buy my wedge of cheese. Some things in Saint John have changed, the allure, delight and wonderment of City Market is not one of them!

I invite you to visit the Saint John City Market and leave a comment here on my blog. For those of you who grew up here, I would love to hear your memories of the Market too. Oh, do not forget to vote!

USA Today Picks The Bay of Fundy as 1 of 10 Amazing Road Trips in North America!

Posted on July 19, 2013 at 2:17 PM Comments comments (747)
USA Today has discovered The Bay of Fundy! Posted on June 27, 2013 USA Today story listed the Bay of Fundy as one of its picks for Top 10 Road Trips in North America. In part the story reads:

 " Fundy Coastal Drive, New Brunswick

Distance: 220 miles from St. Andrews to Moncton

New Brunswick's Bay of Fundy is home to the world's most extreme tides, and there's no better way to see them than on a scenic drive along the province's coastline. Begin in St. Andrews, a lovely seaside resort town where art galleries, shops, and a luxuriant public garden make up the downtown area and kayak and whale-watching tours line the cove. Continue along the coast to Saint John, stopping at the Saint John City Market for local crafts and regional specialties like dulse, edible seaweed that is dried, flaked, and used as seasoning.

About an hour outside of Saint John, the Fundy Trail Parkway opens up to panoramic views of the bay. Take on any of the parkway's 16 lookouts by foot and you'll be rewarded with wilderness vistas in every direction. Build in enough time to fully explore Fundy National Park. From the park's headlands, watch fishing boats depart and return with fresh hauls, then venture into its deep woods on miles of hiking trails. To witness firsthand the power of the tides, visit the Hopewell Rocks—at low tide, you can walk right out onto the ocean floor and stand dwarfed by the reddish sandstone formations that, at high tide, are surrounded by water."

It seems our little secret is out!

St. Martins & The Fundy Trail

Posted on July 16, 2013 at 8:12 PM Comments comments (2153)
St Martins Sea Caves on the Bay of FundyWalk on the Ocean Floor of the Bay of FundyI took a small group out to St. Martins and the Fundy Trail from Carnival Glory today. The weather was beautiful, sunny and warm. The tide was at its lowest so we explored the Sea Caves and walked way out on the Ocean floor. out 500 feet or so, clear out around the Monkey Face point to the huge cave in the sheltered cove. 

The tide had turned while we walked out and was coming in, covering the path out with fresh, cold, Bay of Fundy water as it swelled in around the rocks, regaining the beach! We made a quick retreat, making our way back to dry land with the Bay lapping at our ankles, up over the rocky ocean floor, back toward the caves! No worries we had lots of time, but I made sure to warn unsuspecting visitors the tide was coming in! My party was surprised how fast the water surged once the tide turned, it was fun and exciting and we only got our toes wet!

Flower Pot Rock at The Fundy Trail stands as a sentinel on the Bay of Fundy.We moved on to the Fundy Trail and stopped to get a picture of the Flower Pot Rock at the P1 Look-off point. The strong tidal waters carve these stone formations all along the Fundy Coast. This one stands silent and beautiful, a testament to the power of wind and sea. Soon the tides will encircle it completely, making it a tiny beautiful island!

Beautiful Fundy Trail coastline over looks the Bay of Fundy

We explored the Fundy Coastline in all its magnificence. A cool sea breeze came up taking the weight of the hot summer day away. The sea haze was light and didn't obscure the view.

View of the Bay of Fundy from the Fundy Trail Interpretive Center

We stopped at the Fundy Trail Interpretation Center to take in the view, got a few snacks before moving on to other adventures.

Fundy Trail Suspension Bridge of Big Salmon River

The Suspension Foot Bridge over Big Salmon River left us hanging...around this beautiful clear river. You can tell by the smiles, we had a great time exploring the Fundy Trail.

Dave's Taxi Tour Guys visit St Martins Covered Bridge

We returned to St Martins to check out the Covered Bridges and the historic lighthouse, one of the oldest in Canada now used as the town Tourist Information Office.

Historic St Martins Lighthouse is one of Canada's oldest lighthouses.

Rescued from destruction when the automated lighthouse was erected at West Quaco Point, this reminder of our Maritime past stands guard now near the heart of the harbour. Open to the public, you can climb clear to the top!

The Quaco Lighthouse at St Martins overlooks the Bay of Fundy.

Of course we had to go see the "new" lighthouse at West Quaco Point. Here the soft cool ocean breeze blows away all your concerns as you view the Bay of Fundy.

All in all it was a beautiful day on the beautiful Bay of Fundy. Thanks to Lynn & Kathy from Montreal, Quebec, Canada, I know you enjoyed your day touring Saint John, St Martins and the Fundy Trail as much as I did! Thanks for coming out to play in Saint John today!