St. John’s, ‘Canada’s Ocean City Powerhouse’
Greater St. John’s experience and expertise in cold and harsh ocean environments is legendary!
Home to some of the world’s most exclusive facilities and technologies in ocean tech, research and innovation, St. John’s has long been considered a ‘City of Ocean Excellence’. Boasting the highest concentration of specialized marine companies operating in one area across Canada, it is also considered one of the best places in the world to receive an advanced education in oceans.
This globally recognized cross sectoral expertise in oceans continues to be one of St. John’s core advantages – of great importance in an explosive global market that is expected to double in value to $3 trillion by 2030.
- The ocean economy of Newfoundland and Labrador employs more than 37,000 people annually and contributes more than $16 billion to the economies of the Province and Canada.
- It accounts for more than 40% of NL exports every year to nearly 50 countries worldwide.
- As the capital City of the province, St. John’s is the epicenter of the national ocean innovation ecosystem.
- St. John’s is the home of Canada’s Ocean Supercluster – a transformative cluster model that is driving cross-sectoral. collaboration, accelerating innovation, and growing Canada’s ocean economy.
- Greater St. John’s has over 450 companies operating in the global ocean sector.
- Strategically located, with a safe harbour and global connections, St. John’s is a key port for major international shipping routes between Europe and North America.
Natural Resources & Offshore Energy
Oil and Gas
St. John’s, ground zero for Canada’s offshore oil and gas industry
When it comes to Canada’s offshore oil and gas industry, St. John’s metro is ground zero with four fields in operation offshore of Newfoundland.
For over 25 years, St. John’s economy has been fueled by the presence of multinational oil and gas companies that call St. John’s home. In support from a diversified and supercharged supply and service sector, these ocean industry influencers have evolved to develop products and services designed specially to support offshore operations in a cold harsh water environment. Excelling in everything from ocean navigation and communications, to remote autonomous underwater vehicles, to subsea technologies and marine robotics. Expertise and services that are in high demand globally – transforming offshore energy development and the way the world works on the ocean.
Just the beginning – The Newfoundland and Labrador offshore spans 1.8 million square kilometers with its oil reserves emerging as some of the most sustainable and carbon-competitive in the world. Across just the 10% of NL’s offshore surveyed, there is a combined resource potential of 63.3 billion barrels of oil and 224.1 trillion cubic feet of gas.
- Newfoundland and Labrador accounts for 100% of Canada’s offshore petroleum and 20% of Canada’s conventional light crude oil production.
- Offshore oil and gas industries represent 25% of GDP for NL, exporting over $9 billion in oil and refined petroleum products.
- A total of 5,200 employed directly with petroleum-related activity in the province.
- Bids of over $238 million for Exploration Licenses in Province’s Offshore in 2022 alone.
- A total of $62.7 billion in cumulative expenditure since 1966.
Fishery & Aquaculture
With a diverse and rich history linked to the fishery, St. John’s culture and identity remains anchored to the province‘s seafood industry – which today, produces over $1 billion in seafood annually.
Over the centuries, St. John’s harbour, with its close proximity to the bountiful fishing grounds of the Grand Banks and as a regional hub for global trade flows, has been one of the Atlantic region‘s largest fish handling ports – as well as a key marine transportation and energy supply and service centre.
- Newfoundland and Labrador’s total fish landings reached a record $1.0 billion in 2021, up 78.9% in comparison to 2021.
- Seafood products are exported to over 40 countries with the primary markets being US, China, UK, Denmark, Iceland and Japan.
- Employs 17,234 people from over 400 communities in harvesting, processing, and aquaculture operations.
- During 2021, there were 92 active fish processing plants of which 69 were primary, five were secondary, five were aquaculture, and 13 were in-province retail establishments.
- Sustainable: 75% of fish and seafood in Newfoundland and Labrador is certified to the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standard (by value).
Visit Association of Seafood Producers
Technology & Innovation
The technology and innovation sector is one of the City’s fastest growing economic drivers, with local tech companies contributing in excess of $1.6 billion to the provincial economy each year. From a fast-growing pool of innovative startups to Atlantic Canada’s largest tech giant, Verafin – St. John’s technology sector employs a diversified customer base that spans the entire globe.
Learn more about emerging opportunities in St. John’s thriving tech sector and launch your career in a place where the grass IS actually greener!
- The tech sector in the province currently employs over 3,990 people with high paying jobs in 165+ local companies.
- This sector has an average salary of $71,800 which is 7% higher than the Canadian average.
- The demand in the years to come is set to reach an additional 2000 roles anticipated to be filled.
- The St. John’s based innovation incubator, Genesis, offers a successive stream of programs to support start-ups from the ideation stage all the way to scaling their business.
- St. John’s is home to Atlantic Canada’s largest financial tech giant, Verafin – purchased by Nasdaq in 2020 for $2.75 billion USD and was one of the largest tech firm acquisitions in Canadian history.
- Ranked by CBRE (Coldwell Banker Richard Ellis) across Canadian cities as #11 for talent concentration (talent availability) and #12 for real estate costs (cost competitive).
Film, Arts & Culture
With well over half of the provincial population making or performing art, and nearly every resident participating in culture, it’s safe to say that the arts are a pillar of our identity in St. John’s. With its strong cultural heartbeat, St. John’s has one of highest concentrations of working artists across Canadian municipalities. Our City has long been considered a hotspot for creativity, and our outstanding artists continue to showcase our culture on the world stage. Here at home, the arts and cultural industries act as an important engine of economic growth; arts and culture drive innovation and tourism, improve quality of life, and contribute to that feeling in St. John’s that this is where exciting things happen.
Breathtaking landscapes, small village settings, urban appeal: St. John’s is a location scout’s dream. Combined with a full roster of experienced and talented producers and crewmembers, equipment providers, and a full post-production house, our City is a “one-stop shop” for the film and video industry. Film and video tax credits are available through the Newfoundland & Labrador Film Development Corporation, and the Newfoundland Independent Filmmakers Co-operative offers a full post-production house, as well as filmmaking courses, workshops, and funding opportunities.
St. John’s is also the home base for the award-winning St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival – the second longest running women’s film festival in the world.
Visit Newfoundland Independent Filmmakers Co-operative
Visit NL Film Development Corporation
Music is practically synonymous with St. John’s and Newfoundland! Although the longstanding traditional music of the province is rooted heavily in the folk music of Ireland, England, and Scotland, St. John’s has a thriving and growing music industry that reaches well beyond those roots, with outstanding musicians in every genre: pop, rock, hip hop, jazz, blues, classical, heavy, and more!
St. John’s is also the home of the Memorial University School of Music, which since 1975 has been producing “great instrumentalists and singers, conductors, composers, sound technologists, scholars, and music educators.” The School of Music offers both undergraduate and graduate programs, with plenty of funding opportunities: about one-third of all students receive music and university scholarships.
Visit NL Folk Arts Society – organizers of the famous Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Festival that takes place annually in St. John’s.
Writing and Publishing
You need only look to the long- and shortlists for prestigious literary awards the world over to see the reach of our local writers and publishers. Storytelling is in our blood, and with award-winning publishing houses right in St. John’s, we have plenty of avenues to bring those stories to a national and global audience.
Visual Arts & Craft
An exciting, diverse, and supportive visual arts community adds even more colour to St. John’s. With a well-developed fine craft industry and a progressive community of contemporary visual artists, St. John’s has something for everyone, including a number of commercial art galleries and artist-run centres.
Theatre & Performing Arts
St. John’s has been the centre of development for some of Canada’s most well-known actors and performers, and the City continues to offer not only excellent live theatre experiences, but also training and festivals in growing disciplines such as circus arts and contemporary dance!
Visit Association of Professional Theatre NL
Visit Resource Centre for the Arts – LSPU Hall
Visit Wonderbolt Productions – organizers of the St. John’s International Circus Fest.
Visit Neighbourhood Dance Works – organizers of the St. John’s-based Festival of New Dance.
 Source: Statistics Canada General Social Survey, Cycle 30: Canadians at Work and Home, 2016
 Source: https://www.mun.ca/music/about/
Reminiscent of a mini-San Francisco by the sea, it’s no wonder St. John’s tourism and conference trade industry continues to grow.
St. John’s is an unique blend of cosmopolitan meets small-town vibe and has become a popular bespoke travel and conference destination for those enchanted by the region’s natural beauty and wildlife, colorful jellybean row houses, distinct neighborhoods and old-world charm.
St. John’s is a rare destination on the edge, entirely out of the ordinary – while closer than you think!
But don’t take our word for it, discover it for yourself.