Waterside weddings at Port Saint John

February is wedding month, so we’re celebrating with our very own “real weddings” story.

Liz and Nick 1

Liz & Nick at their wedding reception in the Fundy Room, Diamond Jubilee Cruise Terminal. September 2015   (Photography by Judith & Jordan)

Meet Liz and Nick.

Liz, who works in not-for-profit, and her husband Nick, a lawyer, both grew up in the Greater Saint John area. Both spent time away from the city for school and work, but recently moved back to the Port City, engaged and ready to set down roots.

They planned their September 25th wedding to be an uptown affair.

The ceremony was held at the Stone Church, and they wanted a reception venue that would be handy for their 140 guests.

Liz says she pictured a wedding reception that wasn’t too trendy or old fashioned – she envisioned something in-between, which would look great in photos for years to come.

They chose the Diamond Jubilee Cruise Terminal at Port Saint John as their venue.

“I graduated from Saint John high in 2004, and Uptown was pretty different then,” says Liz. “But since then, there has been a transformation in this city, and the Port has been a big part of that. They have changed the skyline here, in a wonderful way. They have made Water Street a real destination.”

She explains that venues like the cruise terminals didn’t exist before, and are unique in the city as having the best views.

“Many uptown venues just can’t offer the views the port does. It was great to be on the water, and that rooftop patio is terrific.”

“Our guests appreciated all the free parking, too,” says Nick. “It wasn’t a deal breaker for us, but it really mattered to our guests.”

Liz found that having the reception at the Port gave her the freedom to make her vision come to life.

Liz and Nick 2.jpg

Fundy Room in Diamond Jubilee Cruise Terminal, set for Liz & Nick’s wedding (Photography by Judith & Jordan)

“One of the great things about the port is that you aren’t forced to use just one supplier. You have four caterers to choose from, and you can choose any decorator or DJ you like – so you can really put your own stamp on your event,” she says.

“The port staff were so supportive. They were there for us whenever we had a question or needed something in the days leading up to the event,” says Liz. “I can’t recommend the cruise terminals as venues enough. They are the best uptown venues available.”

To learn more about Port Saint John venues visit:  www.sjport.com/venues


Looking ahead with optimism: Port Saint John Strategic Plan 2016-2020

cover for webIn an economy that is creating headlines for all the wrong reasons, Port Saint John’s five-year strategic plan is a ray of optimism and a testament to good planning.

Over the past few years, the Port has redefined and re-positioned itself, attracted new customers, and experienced double-digit growth.

Jim Quinn, President and CEO, attributes this positive trend to having a strong plan.

“Five years ago, we put a strategy in place to re-introduce our port to the global shipping community with the goal of growing our business and modernizing our facilities,” says Quinn. “Thanks to a great team of Board, management and staff, we’ve successfully executed initiatives in all our business areas – and our growth is a reflection of that work.”

Looking forward over the next five years, the Port is remaining focused on the guiding principles set down by the Canada Marine Act:

  • Maintaining financial self-sufficiency
  • Maintaining strategic significance to Canadian trade
  • Maintaining a link to rail and highway infrastructure
  • Maintaining a diverse cargo base

With priority initiatives including sustainable business development, product diversification, infrastructure renewal and land use planning, Quinn says the next five years will be exciting times for the Port.Strategic Road Map 2016-2020

“During the next five years we will be investing in modernizing our facilities, which will strengthen our position as one of Canada’s leading ports. That’s exciting for all
of us here, and I am sure for people throughout our community
because it will position us for continued growth.”

The Port has carefully positioned itself as an agile solution provider, which is paying dividends both on the home front and with customers around the world.

“We have great natural advantages, and excellent intermodal connectivity ,” says Quinn. “What makes us exceptional, however, is that we offer a willingness to continuously innovate, to think outside the box and to take a positive solutions-based approach to the challenges we encounter. We want our customers see us as a responsive and collaborative trade facilitator, and our local stakeholders to see us as a community builder and a tool for prosperity.”

Global economic forces including the price of oil, and the value of Canadian dollar, will certainly have an impact on growth forecasts, but Jim Quinn remains optimistic:

“The global economy presents many challenges for the entire transportation sector, but it also provides opportunities. We are ensuring our Port takes every advantage of these opportunities, from the attractiveness of export trade due to the low dollar, to Canada’s progressive approach to lateral and multi-lateral trade agreements.”

But bottom line, he says, is this: success requires diversity, and good people to make it happen.

“Diversity in our business is a key to success. Maintaining existing areas of our business, while incorporating the flexibility for continuous improvement and exploring new business provides opportunity for continued growth even if one particular sector experiences a slowdown due to varying market conditions or economic cycles,” says Quinn. “Diversity is our advantage, and our people are our strength.”


PEVOM8 Samuel de Champlain students complete their two-port tour this week

When is a car wash not just a car wash?

When it’s a PEVOM8 project!

PEVOM8 is an entrepreneurship initiative that sees grade eight students at Centre Scolaire Samuel de Champlain develop and implement small business ideas to raise funds for a trip to Montreal at the end of the school year.

Almost 50 students traveled to Montreal this week, having exceeded their fundraising goal this year.

Port Saint John and the Port of Montreal co-sponsored the program, which included port tours in both locations. .

“The students visited us in April,” says Paula Copeland, Manager of Corporate Communications & Governance at Port Saint John. “They saw our operation from bulk and breakbulk to containers and cruise on both sides of the harbour.  Through this they learned of the importance of a Port to New Brunswick’s export-driven economy.”

This week they’ll have a similar tour of Port of Montreal.

“The Port of Montreal is proud to support activities that deepen students’ knowledge about port activities and that could also, by the same token, perhaps spark an interest for a marine career,” said Sophie Roux, Vice-president, Public Affairs at the Montreal Port Authority. “I hope the PEVOM8 students’ visit to the Port of Montreal will achieve this and more!”

Eric Levesque, grade eight teacher and PEVOM8 program coordinator, is looking forward to giving his students the chance to see how the two different ports work with their respective cities.

“For us, the involvement between the two ports means that our students will be able to see how both ports contributed differently to the development of the two cities,” says Eric Levesque, teacher and PEVOM8 program coordinator. “It also will permit students to see different types of businesses within each city.”

“We were so pleased to be able to work in partnership with Centre Scolaire Samuel de Champlain and Port of Montreal on this,” says Copeland. “An opportunity like this one is completely win-win: the students will have a great experience, and we have the chance to promote inter-port relationships with another of Canada’s 18 Canada Port Authorities.”

The students will be posting photos of their trip to Montreal on their Facebook page: Les entreprises PEVOM 8.

Prevom8 April 2015

Centre Scolaire Samuel de Champlain students during visit to Port Saint John in April 2015.

Getting down to business at Port Days 2015

 Recognizing and seizing upon opportunities takes vision and confidence.

Turning those opportunities into growth takes skill and experience.

Turning opportunities into growth, the 2015 Port Days theme, is designed to inspire and energize local business leaders and visiting delegates with success stories, big ideas, productive discussions, and networking opportunities.

Mark your calendars and clear your schedules for Port Days’ business programming, which rolls out June 8th and 9th.

Port_registration2015 - 2nd reminder

June 8th

 This the day to kick your networking into high gear through these events: our now sold out golf event at the Algonguin Resort in St. Andrews; our newly offered vineyard tour in King’s County, and our opening reception which includes the Port Award of the Year in the evening.

June 9th

 On June 9th, after opening remarks from Premier Brian Gallant, you’ll hear from our breakfast speakers John Van der Put, Vice-President, TransCanada Pipelines and Mark Sherman of Irving Oil Ltd,  on the topic the Energy East Pipeline project.

Through the morning, you’ll watch Madeleine Paquin, President & CEO of Logistec Corporation, moderate an all-star panel of speakers as they discuss our theme: Turning Opportunities into Growth.

At lunch, you’ll take in Federal Minister of Natural Resources Greg Rickford’s keynote address, delivered in conjunction with the Saint John Region Chamber of Commerce’s East Coast Energy Connection 2015 event.

Finally, the ever-popular Seafood Fiesta closes off  the networking and information sharing with a bang on the evening of Tuesday, June 9th.

Here’s what Jim Quinn, President & CEO of Port Saint John has to say about this annual event:

“Port Days is an important tool for business in our region. It helps connect port clients with business leaders and officials from all levels of government – strengthening trade links and creating new partnerships. But it’s more than a chance to network. It’s an opportunity to showcase our port and our city in a way that directly contributes to the prosperity of our province.”

For more information or to purchase tickets to the events listed here, visit www.sjport.com/portdays

Thank you to our sponsors for Port Days 2015 Community & Business events:


Port City do we have a day for you on June 7th!

Join us on the waterfront on June 7th between 11 am – 3 pm for an afternoon of fun, games and fundraising as Port Saint John and co-presenting sponsors Irving Oil Ltd and TransCanada host the 5th Annual Community Day.

Step inside the doors of Marco Polo Cruise Terminal and Diamond Jubilee Cruise Terminal for educational and entertaining exhibits from port, industry and community stakeholders.

The fun continues outside, where you can take in large equipment displays, jump in inflatable bouncers or dunk someone in the pay-for-play dunk tank (proceeds to PALS – Partners Assisting Local Schools).

Adding to the day’s festivities is our new mascot Champ, an adorable and inquisitive harbour seal. Champ will be weaving in and out of the crowds, standing for pictures and passing out his new book, Port City Champ, an illustrated story depicting his adventures living in the Saint John harbour.

Port City Champ_Cover

Take a tour or ride something new this year.  We have a great variety of tours and rides with:

  • Little Obie, CN’s mini train making circuits around Lower Cove Terminal from Diamond Jubilee Cruise Terminal (South door exit);
  • The Canadian Forces providing Light Armoured Vehicles. Meet them near the North side of Diamond Jubilee Cruise Terminal at the gate along the water;
  • Two Big Pink Bus Tours will take attendees for a round trip from the Diamond Jubilee Cruise Terminal to Fort Howe on the authentic antique double-decker buses. Starting as soon as a bus fills after 11 am with the last run leaving at 2:30 pm.  Find the Big Pink Buses at the South door of Diamond Jubilee Cruise Terminal; and, finally
  • We’ll have tours of the commercial Port again this year thanks to our partners at Aquila Tours who have loaned us 2 trolleys and 2 guides to share our Port story with you. Tour departs from south doors of Diamond Jubilee Cruise Terminal beginning at 1:15 pm and thereafter every 30 minutes until 2:15 pm.  This tour takes place entirely on the Aquila Trolley but thanks to our partners at the terminals you will see the Barrack Point Potash Terminal, Rodney Container Terminal, and American Iron and Metals operation.


You also won’t want to miss Atlantic Towing Ltd’s tug water display which will take place in the harbour in front of the Cruise Terminals starting at 1:30 pm.  A great place to watch this from is the roof of the Diamond Jubilee Cruise Terminal.

Princesses, face painting, balloon tying, magic and Little Ray’s Reptiles will round out a huge variety of entertainment options for children of all ages.

Before you leave for the day be sure to grab some dollar snacks or BBQ with hotdogs, popcorn, cotton candy and snow cones on the carnival menu.  Proceeds from these snack items go towards our Community Day charity PALS (Partners Assisting Local Schools).

More than 8,000 people attended Community Day last year. Join us this year!

When & Where:  June 7, 2015 from 11 am – 3 pm on Water Street

Find up-to-the minute event information on our Facebook page (Facebook.com/PortSaintJohn )

Earlier start, longer season, introduction of homeport cruises and more ships highlight 2015 cruise season

A longer season, more ships and the start of homeport cruises with Blount Small Ship Adventures are just a few of this year’s good news stories for Cruise Saint John.

Monday May 11th will be the official kick off the 27th cruise season for Saint John with the arrival of Oceania CruisesMarina.  The last of 60 calls this year will take place on Tuesday November 3rd with Seven Seas Navigator (Regent Seven Seas Cruises).

Highlights of the 2015 season, include visits from 15 different cruise lines over 5 months,  11   double cruise ship days, 2 triple cruise ship days, 4 inaugural calls and a visit from the ever-popular Queen Mary 2 on September 30.

Cruise 2015 Season Highlights - Final

Ships from a number of these lines will call through the summer months this year including Norwegian Cruise Line who will be visiting twice in the month of June as we work toward increasing our overall summer calls.

Blount Small Ship Adventures will homeport in Saint John this year with 2 cruises on a 10-day itinerary between Saint John and Portland.    The expedition class Grande Caribe will be at the new floating dock on Water Street from July 29-August 3 and August 21-August 25 as they both end and begin cruises with guests joining and leaving this ship from Saint John.   A homeport (turnaround) cruise differs from a traditional ‘port of call’ visit primarily by the feature that guests can begin or end their cruise from a homeport.

In total approximately 121,000 guests and 48,000 crew members will visit Southern New Brunswick on cruise ships in 2015.

The cruise industry will be responsible for $26.5 million in economic impact to New Brunswick’s tourism sector this year.

To keep abreast of cruise information all year follow Cruise Saint John and Port Saint John on Facebook and Port Saint John on Twitter (@PortSaintJohn).  The cruise schedule is available online at www.sjport.com.

The Marco Polo Cruise Terminal gets a sophisticated new look!

Above: the ABC’s of Judith Mackin’s colour scheme for the Marco Polo terminal. A:  Existing ceiling colour. The new palate had to play nice with this shade, since it wasn’t changing. B:  All columns, the wall area above the wood in the main foyer, and all window/door trim in that area too. C:  The wall area in the back entrance, washroom hallway areas. D:  Wall area and trim above wood in the main terminal area.

Above: the ABC’s of Judith Mackin’s colour scheme for the Marco Polo terminal.
A: Existing ceiling colour. The new palate had to play nice with this shade, since it wasn’t changing.
B: All columns, the wall area above the wood in the main foyer, and all window/door trim in that area too.
C: The wall area in the back entrance, washroom hallway areas.
D: Wall area and trim above wood in the main terminal area.

Monday January 19 saw the scissor-lift go up and the drop cloths go down in the Marco Polo Cruise Terminal. In what will be a month-long project, the building will bid adieu to its dusty rose walls and get a fresh coat of paint that will neutralize and modernize its look.

Emily Teed, Venues Coordinator at Port Saint John, says the change was based largely on feedback from venue rental clients.

“This is our third year of renting the space for weddings and other events, and our clients have told us that the existing colour is hard to work with. We wanted to act on that feedback, and give them a more neutral space – but we also wanted to blend in with the surroundings of our neighbourhood in an historic but also contemporary way,” she says.

That was the direction the Port gave to Judith Mackin of PUNCH Inside – when they asked her develop a new colour scheme for the space.

“I was really pleased to be brought in on the conversation,” says Mackin. “I felt there was a lot we could do to enhance the visitor and user experience with some simple cosmetic changes.”

Mackin’s vision for the new colour scheme, which embraces the wood paneling, polished concrete floor and blue ceiling already in place, conjures up visions of bright and airy Scandinavian airport terminals that mix white with natural textures of wood, concrete and glass.

“It’s no secret that I am an ambassador of white in design,” says Mackin.  “But it really is a great fit for this project. In large spaces like Marco Polo terminal, colour needs to be downplayed. When the building is in use, it’s full of visitors and guests. The focus should be on what’s happening in the room, or on the beautiful views of our harbour and cityscape – not on the walls.”

Above: the team from Tim Desmond Painting, hard at work. (Credit: Judith Mackin)

Above: the team from Tim Desmond Painting, hard at work. (Credit: Judith Mackin)

Bids from three painting companies were solicited, and Tim Desmond Painting was awarded the month-long contract.

“As a rental space for hundreds of events a year, the new colour scheme will be a minimalist backdrop which will accommodate a wide variety of event décor styles, and result in better on-site photography,” says Mackin. “It will also create a soothing, modern environment for cruise passenger reception. Travel can be a stressful time, and a space with minimal visual distractions will complement the visitor experience.”

The project will be complete before the end of February.

“We are really looking forward to the finished product,” says Jim Quinn, CEO of Port Saint John. “We think it will have a tremendous positive impact on the space, raising the bar for the Port as one of the city’s most important venues.”

To book a site tour for your upcoming event, send an email to Emily Teed at: eteed@sjport.com