Jellybean Row, St. John’s Newfoundland

Whenever I think of the east coast I think of brightly coloured houses, particularly the ones in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

They are an amazing sight. I absolutely LOVE bright colours, especially when they're on the facades of vintage homes!

Courtesy of Geoff Meeker

These row houses are characterized by bold colours with contrasting door and window trim. 

They affectionately called 'Jellybean Row Houses' because of their eclectic mix of colours. 


Courtesy of Geoff Meeker

I have heard many stories about why the houses in St. John’s are so colourful.

One is because of the bleakness of the coast line. The houses were painted to be defiant of the environment they stand in. 

My favorite reason is that they helped sailors find the coastline in the famous fog that surrounds Newfoundland.


Courtesy of Geoff Meeker

Apparently none of this is true. The arrival of colour to Newfoundland houses are much more recent. 

In the 1960’s the houses were drab and darkly painted. The colour came as a part of St. John’s downtown revitalization project.

The row houses in the late 1970’s began to be painted until it spread across the downtown resulting in the colours of St .John’s. 

When I picture St. John’s, this is now how I envision it.

It is amazing how far a coat of paint can go in giving new life to any old home.

Photographs – Geoff Meeker of Jellybean Row: a St. John’s business devoted to these unique buildings. Check out the website or the facebook page for more images of these incredible buildings or of their unique art.


Courtesy of the Toronto Star

Researched and Written by Sarah Coates, Masters Student of History at the University of Toronto

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