Is this Hugh Jackman’s greatest show? – Sydney Morning Herald

Is this Hugh Jackman’s greatest show? – Sydney Morning Herald

One thrilling aspect of seeing Jackman in the flesh is the way he can glide from high-octane showstoppers into a spontaneous, intimate rapport with the audience.

The show is a carousel of visual and sonic splendour – rock-concert style lighting and video projections, a stellar live orchestra, and not one but two choirs – yet the moments when Jackman stops the ride to tell honed personal anecdotes, or engage in playful banter with fans, command the highest form of charismatic authority: he makes you feel, in a stadium of 12,000 others, like you’re the only person in the room.

His infectious love of Broadway provides many highlights. One set-piece combines songs from Les Miserables, with Jenna Lee-James soaring through I Dreamed A Dream. Another more pop-oriented sequence, dedicated to New York, time-travels from Frank Sinatra’s signature tune to Jay-Z and Alicia Keys’ Empire State of Mind.

Jackman reprises a mega-medley of Peter Allen songs – flouncing across stage maracas in hand for I Go To Rio; sitting down for his heartfelt acoustic version of Tenterfield Saddler. He sings as Gaston from Beauty and the Beast, swells into a huge choral number with You Will Be Found from the musical Dear Evan Hansen, and jazzes up classics such as Sing Sing Sing, Luck Be A Lady and Mack the Knife.

Although he seems pleased to have relinquished the role of hyper-masculine mutant Wolverine after 17 years, the star still enjoys mocking those who see musical theatre as an effeminate pursuit. They can stick Jackman’s furious tap-dancing routine (to Acca Dacca’s Thunderstruck, no less) in a pipe and smoke it.

Not all the glory belonged to Jackman. Keala Settle’s rendition of This Is Me from The Greatest Showman raised the arena’s retractable roof; the uplift soared into the stratosphere with her single Harder. And the Indigenous performers in the show anchored and deepened the last homecoming sequence by preceding it with Aboriginal language, music and song.

The show’s rousing farewell – split between From Now On and I Still Call Australia Home – proved a splendid finale for a star performer who seemed as delighted as his audience to be back on native soil.

Religion notes: Aug. 17-25 | Faith and Values | – Lincoln Journal Star

Religion notes: Aug. 17-25 | Faith and Values | – Lincoln Journal Star

Brock’s Boutique — 9 a.m.-noon, Aug. 10. Free clothing and meal, donations accepted, all proceeds go to flood victims. Havelock Christian Church, 6520 Colfax Ave., 402-430-7569.  

Bible study — 5:30-7 p.m. (Thursdays). Led by Pastor Judy Fitzgerald. Bring your Bible. Study ends with a prayer and 20-minute silent sit, Contemplate Lincoln, 135 N. 31st St. or 402-802-9508. 

150th Anniversary Celebration and Service at First Baptist Church — 5:30-8 p.m. Aug. 24 banquet, Cornhusker Marriott, 333 S. 13th St., 10 a.m.-noon; Aug. 25 service and guest speakers, 1340 K St.

Adult Choir or Handbell Choir  Beginning in August, open to high school age and up, First Presbyterian Church, 840 S. 17th St. Contact Brian Pfoltner, 402-477-6037 or [email protected].

Arc of Lincoln annual membership picnic — 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Aug. 18, annual Arc of Lincoln picnic at Christ United Methodist Church, 4530 A St. All current members, and new members who sign up on Aug. 18, will get a free meal at the picnic, $5 (single membership); $20 (family membership). Register: or 402-421-8866.

Christian Men’s cancer support group — 6:30 p.m. Aug. 19. Men can get hope, support, and share concerns with members, Sheridan Lutheran, 6955 Old Cheney Road.

Coffeehouse Church — 6:30 p.m. (Wednesdays). Interactive music, conversation and lesson led by the Rev. Evan Coleman, Unity Lincoln, 1941 N. 68th St. or 402-476-6887.

Friends Book Club — 6 p.m. (Tuesdays), beginning Aug. 27. “Finding Yourself in Transition” by Robert Brumet, join anytime, book is available for purchase, Unity Lincoln, 1941 N. 68th St. or 402-476-6887. 

Lincoln Lutheran Choir kickoff and retreat — 2-5 p.m. Aug 25. All singers welcome. Register: [email protected], Messiah Lutheran Church, 1800 S. 84th St.

Men’s breakfast and Bible study — 6-7 a.m. Aug. 20. Enjoy a light breakfast and Bible study, Room Hebrews 2:11, First Presbyterian Church, 840 S. 17th St. 

Men’s quarterly breakfast — 7:30-9 a.m. Aug. 24. Food, fellowship and speaker Rhonda Mattingly, Bridges to Hope, presents on encouraging women and men who transition after incarceration, donations accepted, Sheridan Lutheran Church, 6955 Old Cheney Road.

Morning Blend — 8 a.m. Aug. 18. Worship with coffee, pastries and scriptures, First Plymouth, 2000 D St. 

My Big Fat Greek Festival — 4-9 p.m. Aug. 23; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Aug. 24, $2 (adults), or bring a non-perishable food item; free (kids 12 and under); free (military, firefighters and police officers, Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, 950 N. 63rd St. More details: 402-560-5150.

Moving in the Spirit Tai-Chi and Zumba — 10-11 a.m. (Fridays), Moving in the Spirit Tai-Chi; 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (Fridays), Zumba. Wear comfortable clothing, bring something to drink, First Presbyterian Church, 840 S. 17th St. [email protected] or 402-477-6037. 

Prayer and bag lunch — 11:45 a.m. (Wednesdays). Thirty minutes silent prayer, bring your lunch, Unity Lincoln, 1941 N. 68th St. or 402-476-6887.   

Silent prayer group — 12:15-12:45 p.m.  Mondays-Fridays. Silent prayer period to pause, renew and restore, beginning with a brief reading, Contemplate Lincoln, 135 N. 31st St. or 402-802-9508.

 Tuesday evening round table — 5:30-6:30 p.m. (Tuesdays). Volunteers read a small passage, silent reflection and period between readings, everyone welcome, Contemplate Lincoln, 135 N. 31st St. or 402-802-9508.

Thankful Thursday men’s group — 6:30-8:30 a.m. Aug. 22. Join St. Mark’s United Methodist Church men’s group for fellowship each week, Egg & I, 6891 A St. More details: Call Keith, 402-770-6496.  

Workshops, classes, forums, retreats 

Book series (Wednesdays) — 5:30 p.m. supper, 6-6:45 p.m. viewing video “In Pursuit of Paul: the Apostle,” 6:45 p.m. discussion following, healing service and Holy Eucharist after discussion, St. David’s Episcopal Church, 8800 Holdrege St. 402-489-2772. 

Caregiver and grief support groups — 10-11:30 a.m. (Mondays), “Loss of a Loved One Drop-in Grief Group,” Front Porch Coffee Shop, 5925 Adams St.; 1:30-3 p.m. (Wednesdays), “Loss of a Loved One Drop-in Grief Group,” Harbor Coffeehouse, 1265 S. Cotner Blvd.; 1:30-3:30 p.m. (Fridays: July 5 and July 19) “Men’s Drop-in Grief Group,” Hy-Vee deli, 7051 Stacy Lane. 402-486-8577.

Metaphysics class — 9 a.m. (Sundays). The Rev. Evan Coleman leads this philosophy and religion class, Unity Lincoln, 1941 N. 68th St. or 402-476-6887.

Theatre pipe organ concert, dinner and bus trip — 3 p.m. Aug. 18. The Northeast United Church of Christ will travel to the Rose theater, 20th and Farnam streets, to listen to Brett Valliant, theater organist, and the Sing Sing Swing Band, a tribute band to Glenn Miller. Dinner will be at Spaghetti Works in the Old Market. Bus will leave from Northeast United Church of Christ at 6200 Adams St. at 1 p.m. Aug. 18th. Cost of trip $60. More information and registration: Janet, 402-429-9286; or the church, 402-466-0696.

Emergency power that took over 700 Christchurch buildings is still in force –


Heritage advocate Anna Crighton plans to launch a legal battle to stop the Catholic church demolishing the historic cathedral.

The Catholic cathedral is being demolished under a now scrapped emergency earthquake power. What is a section 38 notice, what did it do to Christchurch and why is it still affecting the city? CHARLIE GATES reports.

Just days after the 2011 Canterbury earthquakes, cabinet minister Gerry Brownlee laid out what he wanted to do with damaged buildings in Christchurch.

“My absolutely strong position is that the old dungers, no matter what their connection, are going under the hammer.

Gerry Brownlee speaking to media about demolition on Cashel Mall in July 2011.

Stacy Squires/Stuff

Gerry Brownlee speaking to media about demolition on Cashel Mall in July 2011.

“Old stuff, if it’s got any damage at all, needs to be got down and got out because it’s dangerous and we don’t need it.”

* Fight looming for Catholic church over cathedral demo 
* Bishop chooses demolition for Chch’s historic Catholic cathedral
* Officials: Minister has no power to intervene in demolition

By July that year, further emboldened by the June aftershocks and a drive to get the city centre reopened quickly, Brownlee had sweeping demolition powers thanks to the passing of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act in April.

Canterbury bishop Paul Martin wants to demolish the basilica using an existing section 38 notice.


Canterbury bishop Paul Martin wants to demolish the basilica using an existing section 38 notice.

“The city is going to look very, very different once all the demolition is completed,” he said.

“But I think there is real urgency now to get that done. I think most of the sentiment around buildings has gone as people realise that there is not a lot of hope for most of these buildings.”

It was the start of a wave of demolition in the city centre that removed dangerous buildings, made space for vital rebuild projects and destroyed heritage buildings at an unprecedented scale.

McLean's Mansion on Manchester St also has an existing section 38 notice. The current owners plan to restore the building.


McLean’s Mansion on Manchester St also has an existing section 38 notice. The current owners plan to restore the building.

Between April 2011 and August 2015, an emergency power in the new act called a section 38 notice ordered the demolition of 718 buildings and the partial demolition of 169 more.

Heritage buildings were hit hard, with 181 demolished under the act. A total of 994 section 38 notices were issued in just over four years.

The section 38 notice gave the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Agency (Cera) the power to demolish, order owners to take down their buildings and charge owners of dangerous structures for the cost of demolition. The demolition orders bypassed normal planning laws, with their requirements for consultation and rights to appeal.

216 Madras St in central Christchurch, next door to the NG Gallery on the left, in 2011. The building has an outstanding section 38 notice.

John Kirk-Anderson/Stuff

216 Madras St in central Christchurch, next door to the NG Gallery on the left, in 2011. The building has an outstanding section 38 notice.

Owners could also apply for a section 38 notice if they wanted to demolish their buildings quickly.  Not all applications were successful. The owners of the Public Trust Office building on Oxford Tce were twice refused the notice. The building is now being restored under new ownership. 

The Catholic diocese were granted a section 38 notice for their Christchurch cathedral in 2015.


The Anglican cathedral, which is being restored, has an active section 38 notice.

Iain McGregor/Stuff

The Anglican cathedral, which is being restored, has an active section 38 notice.

The act was repealed in 2016, but the legacy of the section 38 notice endures. There are four buildings in central Christchurch that still have active section 38 notices. Just last month, Canterbury bishop Paul Martin announced plans to demolish the central Christchurch basilica using their section 38 notice.

In some instances, the new power helped the city recover. For example, when buildings were quickly cleared on Cashel St in 2011 to make space for the new Re:Start temporary mall. The quick pace of demolition meant Re:Start opened to the public in October, just one month ahead of the busy Cup and Show Week. It was feared that if there was no retail in central Christchurch for too long then people would make new habits and never return.

But when the power was applied to heritage buildings, or “old dungers” as Brownlee called them, they became lightning rods for discontent about the rapid pace of demolition, the loss of local control over the city and the destruction of the country’s irreplaceable built history.

Demolition of the DTZ Building on the corner of Cashel Mall and Oxford Tce in 2011.


Demolition of the DTZ Building on the corner of Cashel Mall and Oxford Tce in 2011.

About 44 per cent of protected heritage buildings in the central city, or 135 properties in total, were demolished in the wake of the 2011 earthquakes, according to the Christchurch City Council.

In 2015, Graham Stanley of Linwood wrote a letter to The Press complaining about the demolition. “They destroyed my landmarks and roots which have sustained me over my 76-plus years, the touchstones of my life,” he wrote.

“They did this from a position of dictatorial power, even labelling some dungers, and rendering we Christchurch citizens powerless to have a democratic voice.”

A wrecking ball reflected in the mirrored glass of the DTZ building on Cashel St in 2011.

Dean Kozanic/Stuff

A wrecking ball reflected in the mirrored glass of the DTZ building on Cashel St in 2011.

In 2014, protesters gathered at the historic Majestic Theatre on Manchester St to protest the section 38 notice that would eventually lead to its demolition. The Government partly wanted to demolish the building so they could widen Manchester St by a few metres. One protest placard stated: “DEMOLISH SECTION 38s!”. There were also protests when the historic Cranmer Courts on Montreal St were demolished after a dangerous building section 38 notice was issued in April 2012.

The Government even tried to use section 38 powers to force demolition of the Christ Church Cathedral.

In November 2011, the building was issued with a section 38 notice. Then Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee said the order would not force the cathedral into demolition. “We certainly haven’t pushed that position, but it is severely damaged, ” he said.

Cera demolition general manager Warwick Isaacs in a scene of destruction in 2011.


Cera demolition general manager Warwick Isaacs in a scene of destruction in 2011.

“I believe [demolition] was the right decision and it is not easy to say that.”

In February 2012, then Cera general operations manager Warwick Isaacs recommended the cathedral was taken down to the height of the window sills.

When Isaacs, who signed demolition orders for the Majestic and the Anglican cathedral, left the job in 2015 he had no regrets about the wave of heritage demolition.

Opening day of the Re:START mall in Christchurch in October 2011.

Don Scott/Sutff

Opening day of the Re:START mall in Christchurch in October 2011.

“It’s been the hardest part of my job, having to make those decisions knowing they are not going to please everybody.

“But nevertheless I’ve had to make those decisions so we could move on with the recovery of the central city.”

In 2013, then Cera chief executive Roger Sutton said the demolition powers were being used to keep the city safe.

Emergency powers were used to clear buildings to make way for the new RE:START mall in 2011.

Iain McGregor/Stuff

Emergency powers were used to clear buildings to make way for the new RE:START mall in 2011.

“The … Act is not heritage focused and was never intended to be. It is safety focused with an overarching mandate to push the recovery forward and ensure that everyone affected by the earthquakes has an opportunity to move on.”

But, have we moved on?

In 2019, the demolition powers still cast a shadow across the city. There are active section 38 notices on the Anglican cathedral and McLean’s Mansion on Manchester St, which are both being restored, along with a building on the proposed stadium site next door to the NG Gallery on Madras St owned by the Government and the Catholic cathedral.

The Wizard casts a spell during a protest over the demolition of the Majestic Theatre in 2014.

Dean Kozanic/Stuff

The Wizard casts a spell during a protest over the demolition of the Majestic Theatre in 2014.

A spokeswoman for government department LINZ, which now administers the notices, said they do not have expiry dates and only lapse “once the conditions have been fulfilled or the notice is lifted by the LINZ chief executive”.

The section 38 notices were introduced during an emergency to urgently make buildings safe and get the rebuild underway as quickly as possible. But the power is now being used to demolish the Catholic cathedral at a time when that urgency has long passed.

Christchurch lawyer Mark Christensen said he was surprised the Catholic diocese was relying on an old law for demolition. “I was interested to see that they are relying on something from way back,” he said.

About 30 protesters march against the demolition of the Majestic Theatre in 2014.


About 30 protesters march against the demolition of the Majestic Theatre in 2014.

“I do wonder that if a section 38 was applied for now the same decision would be made.”

Resource management lawyer Jen Crawford said the section 38 was still a valid tool for demolition, despite being based on an old law from the emergency period.

“They may well have been appropriate to use in the early days when things needed to happen quickly,” she said.

“I would imagine that sense of urgency has passed, but if someone acquired one legitimately they should be able to use it.”

Christensen was philosophical about the legacy of the section 38 notice. “The buildings are gone. There is no use crying over spilt milk.

“We were faced with an unprecedented situation and people thought they were doing the best thing.”

“In hindsight, people might think differently about certain situations.”


Gallery hops, great coffee and a lot of salmon: An artist’s guide to falling in love with Saint John –

Gallery hops, great coffee and a lot of salmon: An artist’s guide to falling in love with Saint John –

Everyone knows about the art scenes in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver — but what about Calgary, Yellowknife or Thunder Bay? In CBC Arts’s continuing series “I He(art) My City,” a local artist offers an insider’s guide to the city they call home. Here, filmmaker Matthew Brown shows you his Saint John.

Saint John (or #SaintAwesome, as the locals refer to it) has been undergoing a kind of cultural renaissance as of late.  It’s an industrial city, but an industrial city with soul…and a kind of poetry to it that’s hard to put into words. Personally I love all of the Atlantic Canadian cities, but Saint John has always held a special place in my heart.  I love the historic buildings, the city market, the night life — I love that the city parks, the ocean, and trails, are all a short walk or drive away. Most of all I love the people, and the other artists here!

Outside Rogue Coffee in Saint John. (Discover Saint John)

First Things First: Coffee.

If you’re like me you need a coffee before you can do anything else, and then you need it in timed intervals throughout the day. So lets get our coffee first. For coffee there are three local spots I gravitate towards. The first on my list is Rogue Coffee. Situated just off of Grannan Alley, (my favourite alley in the city) The cafe offers a variety of coffees, espressos, kombucha and prosecco on tap, and nitro-infused cold brew. The next on my list of places to grab coffee from is Catapult Coffee and Studio. The cafe functions as both a coffee shop and a place to buy handcrafted furniture and fibre arts. It’s a social enterprise, providing work for people who might otherwise be prevented from joining the workforce — so not only are you getting great coffee, you’re giving back. The coffee is brewed from beans sourced from local roasters in Hampton, New Brunswick and North Mountain Coffee in Berwick, Nova Scotia. They also have a toast bar! The third spot I like to visit is Java Moose. Java Moose has been a staple of the Saint John coffee scene since 1996. If I’m having a Java Moose coffee I like to pick it up at the city market…

Saint John Farmer’s Market. (Discover Saint John)

The Market   

The city market in downtown Saint John is one of the first places anyone arriving in Saint John needs to visit. It’s the oldest continuing farmer’s market in Canada and is rich with history, quality local produce, baked goods, and art! Designated a National Historic Site in 1986, the original market was built between 1874 and 1876. In 1877, the great Saint John fire swept through the city, but fortunately the market narrowly escaped and remained intact. The building was designed in the Second Empire Loyalist style by New Brunswick architects McKean and Fairweather. One of the more interesting architectural details to be noted while visiting the market is that the roof of the City Market resembles the inverted keel of a ship — a reminder of the city’s history of once being one of the leading shipbuilding centers in the world.  

There’s a lot of great food options to choose from at the market.  For breakfast, I would suggest getting a breakfast bagel from Slocum & Ferris to go along with your coffee. If you’re there for lunch you might want to try one of their DLT’s (toasted dulse, lettuce and tomato). My other favourite spots to grab lunch from at the market are: Kim’s Korean, Shawarma Hut, Taco Pica, Jeremiah’s, Sagrati’s, and the Wild Carrot Café. After I have my coffee, and my belly is satisfied I like to…

Backstreet Records (Discover Saint John)

Shop Music, Books & Art 

So you’ve had your coffee and breakfast, and your now in search of music, books and art to buy and see. One of my favourite places to search out music locally is Backstreet Records

The store has been located at 124 Germain Street now for 36 years. As bigger record stores have fallen by the wayside, Backstreet Records has continued to thrive despite all odds.  It’s the kind of place you end up staying longer than planned and socializing, while flipping through their impressive assortment of vinyl. 

If it’s books your after I recommend dropping in to Scheherazade Books which is not far from Backstreet Records. After I buy a couple of used books (personally, I love buying old, used, classics that have been on my list for years), I might head to one of Saint John’s city parks — either Kings Square or Queens Square — and have a read! Or I might continue on my quest in search of art to experience.

Art gallery hopping in Saint John. (Discover Saint John)


If it’s art your after, there are no shortage of galleries to visit in Saint John. The best way to experience them is on one of the city’s popular gallery hops because it’s a chance to take in several galleries on one tour. If you don’t have the good fortune of being in town when one the hops is happening, here are some of the galleries that participate, and that are all within walking distance! There is: Buckland Merrifield Gallery, Cobalt Art Gallery, Handworks, Jones Gallery and Trinity Galleries to check out.  

Salmon outside the Saint John Art Centre. (Discover Saint John)


You should always be creating something, but there’s certainly no better time then when your in a new place. If you’re a writer, maybe you’ll just want to sit on a park bench, or find a cafe, or crowded bar and just eavesdrop. If you’re a photographer, hit the streets and document city life…write that script! Plan that exhibition! Perform! And the list goes on. In short, I believe that the best way to become embedded in a place — to get in touch with it’s soul — is to create something in that place! Maybe you want to sign up for an art class. I would recommend visiting the Saint John Art Centre and seeing what they have to offer. They do classes in: painting, sculpture, pottery, printmaking, photography — just to name a few art mediums you can explore there. They also have fantastic exhibition openings that are always packed. If you want to meet local artists and art lovers from around the city, and have great conversations about art, life, and the city at large, the Saint John Art Centre is your best bet!  

Public art in Saint John. (Discover Saint John)

Public Art 

While out on your aimless wander the odds are good that you’ll encounter some of these public art pieces, but if not, here’s some cool public art worth seeking out. All over the downtown core you can find work by sculptor John Hooper. One of my personal favourites is “People Apart Coming Together,” which can be found in Market Square. Many of John Hooper’s pieces can be found outdoors in the vicinity of that one, so check them all out! 

Not far away from “People Apart Coming Together,” on your way through the pedway that connects Market Square to Brunswick Square, you can see a cool mural on the ceiling of the pedway done by Saint John visual artist Deanna Musgrave titled “Nest . The mural has a strong spiritual dimension to it, and incorporates symbolism as a means to express a sense of the city, its history, and the people who live here now. 

If you’re out walking around and you’re wondering what’s up with the colourful salmon positioned around town — it’s a public art installation called “Salmon Run,” that’s also commissioned by Discover Saint John. Casts of Atlantic salmon were created by New Brunswick artist John Morgan, and each salmon was then painted by a local artist. The participating artists this year were: Amy Ash, Corinne Monique Long, Deanna Musgrave, Fabiola Martinez Rodriguez, Geordan Moore, Holly McKay, Jack and Jean Hudson, Kelley Joyce- Floyd, Matt Shields, Steve Chanyi, and Tammy Capstick.  

Last summer mural artist Sean Yoro (also known as Hula) came to Saint John to create a mural commissioned by Discover Saint John. This summer he’s back, but this time around to create a permanent mural at Market Slip. Also this summer, Saint John saw the creation of a new mural by Montreal mural artist Dodo Ose, unveiled at this year’s Moonlight Bazaar. That mural can be seen on the corner of Canterbury and Princess Street. 

Port City Royal. (Discover Saint John)

More Food!

One of my favourite Pixar films is Ratatouille. One of the reasons I loved it so much was because it got me thinking about the creation of a meal as being an art form, and the chef as an artist. When I’m looking for a good restaurant I try to think in those terms, and these five restaurants never disappoint!  

The first on my list is East Coast Bistro. Fittingly, like Ratatouille, it too is inspired by french cuisine. Using east coast ingredients, the menu is always fresh, creative and delicious!  

The next on my list is Vegolution, the city’s first real vegetarian/vegan restaurant. I’m not a vegetarian or a vegan, and I absolutely loved it — the burger I had there recently was one of the best I’ve had in Saint John ever. Ever.  

Finally, there’s Port City Royal. The food is great, and I really love the ambiance there — a common theme, as of late in Saint John, is to combine old architectural elements such as exposed beams and brick, and give it a modern spin. Port City Royal is one of the best examples of this, and is one of the reasons I like it there so much.

If you want to experience Saint John cuisine in all of its glory visit during one of the city’s Chop Chop weeks. That’s when all of the restaurants bust out their A game to try and outdo one another.   


Another one of the spots you need to check out while in town is the beautiful and historic Imperial Theatre. The Imperial Theatre first opened its doors in 1913. Between the years of 1957 and 1982 it was owned by a church group, but in the mid-eighties interest arose in reopening it as a public theatre. The city rallied together, and money was raised to restore it to its’ former glory. Today the theatre is one of the classiest places to spend an evening. As a filmmaker I’ve had the chance to film some stuff in the theatre, and I’ve spoken to a few musicians who have travelled all over the country, and who told me the Imperial is their favourite theatre to perform in. It’s my favourite place to catch a live show in the city for sure.

Another theatre to mention is the BMO Theatre, home to the Saint John Theatre Company. The Saint John Theatre company does over forty creative works each year, and is the place to go if you’re interested in the local theatre scene. You can also catch music, film, standup comedy and other acts there. In the summer it’s one of the spots where you can go to catch your fix of fringe theatre — it’s one of the main stages used by the Fundy Fringe Festival…


With the upswing in quality dining in the city, there has also been quite a few nice additions to the bar scene. If you prefer wine there’s Happinez Wine Bar. If whisky is your thing there’s Hopscotch. If your looking to listen to some vinyl or live music and enjoy a local craft beer Five and Dime is the place to be. Irish Pub? Head to O’Leary’s, which has been a staple of the Saint John bar scene since 1987.  

Another bar that is a central gathering place downtown that I like to meet up with others is Picaroons General Store. It’s a particularly happening spot at the end of every work day when locals converge to catch a pint before heading out for supper, and on weekends. It’s a dog friendly spot too, so you’re always welcome to bring your furry companion along with you. It also seems to be a popular place for creatives to go to have a pint while “working”. It’s not uncommon to run into an artist tapping away on their laptop, while downing a frothy, cold, local brewsky for courage and sustenance. 

One of my favourite locations to hang out in Saint John for drinks, but also just generally speaking, is down on the boardwalk. There’s several spots to find food and a drink, and in the summer there’s almost always music to catch there. On New Years Eve it’s a happening place to be, as well as on Canada day, when you can catch the fireworks display over the scenic Saint John harbourfront.

The boardwalk connects with the Saint John Harbour Passage, so it’s also a great place to end (or begin) a bike ride, a walk, or a tour of the scenic harbourfront. You can find more public art along the harbour passage, as well as parks, and heritage and recreation sites.  

Irving Nature Park. (Discover Saint John)


If you’re like me, you need some nature and a quiet place to go and get away from the hustle and bustle of the city as well.  There’s two parks in particular that have beautiful trails, and waterfront to spend time on. The Irving Nature Park is top of my list. At the park you’ll find forest, marsh, beaches and trails. In evenings, in the summer, you can also take in some stargazing — last summer I was at the park at sundown and ran into some local astronomers out for a night of stargazing.  The park has been designated as an Urban Star Park, and I was told by the local astronomers that ocean front in the park is one of the best places to go stargaze in the region. The park hosts stargazing events with the Saint John Astronomy Club, and a popular Facebook page to find out about local stargazing events is Astronomy by the Bay.

Another nature retreat that’s popular in the city is Rockwood Park. Rockwood Park also has beautiful trails, as well as two lakes that are perfect for swimming, canoeing, kayaking, paddleboarding, etc. In the winter, Rockwood Park is the place to be outdoors with lots of winter activities like skating, sleigh rides, and cross country skiing.  

Finally, if your a fan of coastal views there are a ton of local hidden gems and charming nooks that are worth researching and seeking out.  Recently a spot that I discovered that I really loved, is a spot called Seaside Park. It was a bit treacherous to get down to the beach, so proceed with caution if that’s your goal, and take a look at the tide schedule, so you don’t end up getting washed out to sea! 

More art and culture essentials

Australia’s Got Talent: Nicole Scherzinger, Ricki-Lee Coulter and Lucy Durack on having each other’s back – Who

Australia’s Got Talent: Nicole Scherzinger, Ricki-Lee Coulter and Lucy Durack on having each other’s back – Who

Did you guys know each other before?

RICKI-LEE COULTER: I knew Lucy. We had done a tour together, Disney under the Stars. We did all Disney songs out on the forecourt and the steps of the Opera House. It was the greatest thing I’ve ever done. So amazing. We’d also share a dressing room at Carols [by Candlelight] and things like that. She’s the most lovely, beautiful human.

Ricki-Lee and Lucy, how would you describe each other?

COULTER: A ray of sunshine, happy … I almost want to catch her doing something bad because I want to be able to not believe. I want to believe she’s not that perfect. But she’s perfect. She’s a real-life Disney princess.
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LUCY DURACK: I love working with Ricki- Lee. She is kind, honest, good value and good fun. She is a salt-of-the-earth, super supportive person to have around and I have loved watching her go from strength to strength in the role of host. I really think she is smashing it out of the ball park and I am so proud of her.

What’s Nicole like?

COULTER: Awesome! I mean, she’s a diva. She is?

COULTER: Not in a bad way. She’s sassy, she’s fierce and she’s cool. She’s friendly and lovely, and I was pleasantly surprised.

Ricki-Lee, is it true you were a big fan of Nicole’s before you met her?

COULTER: Yes! When you’re a fan of someone, you know, it’s always hard to meet them. Sometimes you meet people and you’re like “oh, you’re a d–k”. I grew up listening to her music. We did a photo shoot, and we were having a photo together, and I was like “I just have to tell you, ‘Run’ is one of my favourite songs, ever,” and she was like “Babe, I was just listening to ‘Not Too Late’, your song. Oh my God, your voice, your lungs, – you can sing girl!” But we’re saying that in glittery dresses trying to have a photo, and I’m like, “Oh my God!”.

Nicole, did you enjoy working with Ricki-Lee?

NICOLE SCHERZINGER: Yeah! I mean obviously she’s not sitting next to us on the panel, but she’s lovely. I really admire Ricki’s voice. She’s got a beautiful soulful voice.

How did you get along with Lucy?

SCHERZINGER: I think it’s always important for other women in this industry to build each other up. I really adore Lucy as well and I’m a fan of hers. Obviously, we both have a very similar musical theatre background.

DURACK: Nicole and I are from a similar vintage. And seeing strong women rising up, and strong young women who are teenagers, that was really inspiring to us. And it was really nice to have a woman next to me and be like, wow things are changing for women. And it’s so great to see that represented on the stage. It was nice to be united in that way. So yeah, we all got on really well and had a really fun time together.

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