NEW BRUNSWICK: BE­YOND THE OR­DI­NARY

Be­yond the Or­di­nary

Travel Guide to Canada - - Table Of Contents - BY SAN­DRA PHIN­NEY

New Brunswick is blessed with su­perla­tive nat­u­ral at­trac­tions. Here you’ll find one of the planet’s largest whirlpools, some of its old­est moun­tains and, of course, its high­est tides—twice-daily ones pow­er­ful enough to sculpt mono­liths like the Hopewell Rocks and, as ev­i­denced in Saint John’s Re­vers­ing Rapids or Monc­ton’s Ti­dal Bore, push rivers back­ward. Such sites are, quite literally, phe­nom­e­nal. But they are not this prov­ince’s only claims to fame.

NO­TABLE NAMES

For starters, New Brunswick has spawned count­less larger-than-life char­ac­ters. To wit: nov­el­ist Ju­lia Hart wrote St. Ur­sula’s Con­vent back in 1824—the first piece of fic­tion by a Cana­dian-born au­thor to be pub­lished in Canada. John Peters Humphrey penned the Univer­sal Dec­la­ra­tion of Hu­man Rights which was adopted by the United Na­tions Gen­eral As­sem­bly in 1948, and peo­ple are still talk­ing about Yvon Durelle and his lightheavy­weight cham­pi­onship box­ing match against the great Archie Moore in 1958.

Hol­ly­wood has fea­tured many New Brunswick­ers on the big screen, in­clud­ing Don­ald Suther­land and Wal­ter Pid­geon. And the lists of “firsts” run the gamut from Wil­lie El­don O’Ree, the first black player in the NHL, to Myr­tle “Molly” Kool, the first fe­male sea cap­tain in North Amer­ica.

New Brunswick is also the birth­place of other fa­mous char­ac­ters in­clud­ing Stompin’ Tom Con­nors and Klondike Kate (Kather­ine Ryan). Abra­ham Ges­ner in­vented kerosene here. This is the stuff New Brunswick­ers are made of.

HIS­TORIC OCCURANCES

Roots run deep in the prov­ince. In fact, Mete­pe­na­giag—which is a 3,000-year-old Mi’kmaq fish­ing vil­lage also known as

Red Bank—is New Brunswick’s old­est con­tin­u­ously oc­cu­pied com­mu­nity. Along with the Maliseet and Pas­samaquoddy, they were the first known in­hab­i­tants in the re­gion.

Fast for­ward to 1604 when the French es­tab­lished the first colony in North Amer­ica on St. Croix Is­land. Although the ex­pul­sion of the Aca­di­ans be­gan in 1755, they were al­lowed to re­turn nine years later. Be­fore the end of that cen­tury, thou­sands of Loy­al­ist ex­iles from the Amer­i­can Rev­o­lu­tion moved into New Brunswick. In 1785, Par­tridge Is­land (on the out­skirts of Saint John) was es­tab­lished as a quar­an­tine sta­tion—100 years be­fore El­lis Is­land! More than 30,000 im­mi­grants from all over the world stepped foot on Par­tridge Is­land.

Many com­mu­ni­ties in the prov­ince show­case their cul­ture. Events and fes­ti­vals take cen­tre stage and experiences abound. Oh yes—and New Brunswick is the only bilin­gual prov­ince (English/French) in the coun­try.

COOL AC­TIV­I­TIES

One of the unique things about New Brunswick is that it is also big on cer­ti­fi­ably cool win­ter sports and events. With one of the long­est snow sea­sons in the prov­ince, Su­gar­loaf Pro­vin­cial Park of­fers the largest va­ri­ety of out­door cold-weather ac­tiv­i­ties in one lo­ca­tion: from Alpine ski­ing, cross-coun­try, snow­shoe­ing and to­bog­gan­ing, to ice skat­ing, snow­mo­bil­ing, tub­ing and snowboarding.

Fredericton is noted for Fros­ti­val, a fam­ily-friendly out­door fes­ti­val, which cel­e­brates Old Man Win­ter with over 100 events. For some­thing out of the or­di­nary, slip up to Plas­ter Rock for the World Pond Hockey Cham­pi­onship, where 120-odd teams world­wide com­pete for tro­phies— and for the pure love of the sport.

WHAT’S NEW

Sky­walk Saint John—a glass plat­form pro­ject­ing over the Re­vers­ing Rapids— of­fers a new way to ogle the churn­ing water (www.sky­walk­sain­tjohn.com).

The world-class Beaver­brook Art Gallery proved big­ger is bet­ter when the rib­bon was cut on its ex­pan­sion late last year (www.beaver­brookart­gallery.org). Down­town Cen­tre, Monc­ton’s new sports and en­ter­tain­ment com­plex, is set to be un­veiled late in the year (www.monc­ton.ca/ busi­ness/down­town_events_­cen­tre.htm).

USVA Spa Nordik will bring Scan­di­na­vian well­ness tra­di­tions to Monc­ton when its $2.5-mil­lion fa­cil­ity opens this year (www.usva.ca).

In Fredericton, the newly de­signed Car­leton Street will host the Gar­ri­son Night Mar­ket Thurs­day nights from June through Septem­ber. It will fea­ture a wide range of prod­ucts as well as lo­cal mu­si­cal tal­ent.

CITY LIGHTS

New Brunswick has one of the high­est con­cen­tra­tions of craft brew­eries in Atlantic Canada. Sev­eral out­lets fea­tur­ing lo­cal­ly­made meads, ciders and craft beers are within walk­ing dis­tance of each other in the cap­i­tal city of Fredericton. To top it off, Queen Street is chock­ablock full of unique shops, tons of gob­s­mack­ing open spa­ces, along with a per­for­mance theatre, ho­tel, con­ven­tion cen­tre, and world-class gallery. No won­der Fredericton is re­ferred to as a cul­tural cap­i­tal (www.tourism­fred­er­ic­ton.ca).

Saint John has earned the moniker “Saint Awe­some” be­cause of a hugely suc­cess­ful cam­paign by the same name whereby it rein­tro­duced the city’s dis­tinc­tive din­ing, out­door, her­itage and ur­ban experiences. It’s all here, in­clud­ing the world-fa­mous Re­vers­ing Rapids and Stone­ham­mer Geop­ark—North Amer­ica’s first UNESCO Global Geop­ark (www. dis­cov­er­sain­tjohn.com ).

Strad­dling the Petit­co­diac River, Greater Monc­ton is the prov­ince’s big­gest ur­ban cen­tre. Nick­named the “Hub City” due to its cen­tral lo­ca­tion, it is also a tourist hub be­cause it is home to at­trac­tions like Magic Moun­tain, Casino New Brunswick and Mag­netic Hill which, in ad­di­tion to the hill it­self, boasts a pop­u­lar zoo, win­ery and am­phithe­atre (www.monc­ton.ca).

For a walk on the wild side—and a good dose of French Aca­dian cul­ture—scoot up to Ed­mund­ston. In 1949, two en­thu­si­as­tic cit­i­zens in­vented the con­cept of the “Repub­lic of Madawaska,” in­clud­ing a flag, coat of arms, and the Or­der of the Knights of the Repub­lic. The con­cept stuck. This small city rocks (www.tourismed­mund­ston.com).

THE GREAT OUT­DOORS

Imag­ine kayak­ing among Hopewell Rocks, pad­dling to Par­tridge Is­land, or slip­ping into sea caves along the fa­mous Bay of Fundy! If you pre­fer fresh water pad­dling, you can’t beat putting your ca­noe or kayak in the lazy Green River close to Ed­mund­ston. On Sun­days, scores of peo­ple head to the up­per reaches of the river and party down­stream. Want to try tub­ing? Head to the Mi­ramichi. While in the re­gion, hop aboard a voyageur ca­noe at the Beaubears Is­land In­ter­pre­tive Cen­tre and

cross the river for a tour of this fa­mous is­land—the only un­touched ship­build­ing site left in­tact in Canada and home to two Parks Canada na­tional his­toric sites.

There are lots of out­fit­ters in the prov­ince who can take you on short or longer ex­pe­di­tions, in­clud­ing wilder­ness pad­dling.

Hik­ers will be in hik­ing heaven any­where in the prov­ince as vil­lages, towns and cities have a plethora of hik­ing trails. As well, the Fundy Park­way Trail opened an­other sec­tion lead­ing to Long Beach, which is 2.5 km (1.6 mi.) long. Close by, climb down a ca­ble lad­der to the face of Fuller Falls and en­joy the lookout above the falls. Look­ing for a sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenge? Hike the Fundy Foot­path—a 41-km (25.5-mi.) con­tin­u­ous wilder­ness trail (www.fundy­trail­park­way.com).

HER­ITAGE AND CUL­TURE

New Brunswick has many at­trac­tions and experiences to show­case its his­tory and di­ver­sity. For ex­am­ple, Kings Land­ing is a liv­ing mu­seum with cos­tumed “Bri­tish Loy­al­ist” in­ter­preters. It spans over 120 ha (296 acres), houses over 70,000 arte­facts, and of­fers over 40 ex­hibits and en­gag­ing ac­tiv­i­ties and workshops (www.kings­land­ing.nb.ca).

To get a sense of Mi’kmaq cul­ture—both past and present—the place to be is the Mete­pe­na­giag Her­itage Park, lo­cated in Red Bank on the Mi­ramichi River, where visi­tors are in­vited to share their mu­sic, lis­ten to sto­ries told by the elders, and view ar­chae­o­log­i­cal finds from the Au­gus­tine Mound and Oxbow na­tional his­toric sites (www.met­park.ca).

Two of the best places to be im­mersed in Aca­dian life are: Vil­lage His­torique Aca­dien up in Cara­quet, where life plays out be­tween 1770 and 1949 (www.vil­lage­his­toriquea­ca­dien.com); and Le Pays de la Sagouine in Bouc­touche where guests can view spec­tac­u­lar theatre pro­duc­tions, en­joy au­then­tic Aca­dian food and foot-stomp­ing kitchen par­ties (www.sagouine.com).

MUST SEE, MUST DO

The Mag­netic Hill Zoo—the largest ac­cred­ited zoo in Atlantic Canada—has a Big Cats Ex­hibit fea­tur­ing two tigers and a leop­ard (www.monc­ton.ca/zoo).

Resurgo Place, home of the Monc­ton Mu­seum and Trans­porta­tion Dis­cov­ery Cen­tre, gives visi­tors a unique and in­ter­ac­tive ex­pe­ri­ence fo­cused on fas­ci­nat­ing as­pects of his­tory, science and trans­porta­tion (www.resurgo.ca). The Saint John City Mar­ket—open six days a week—is one of the old­est con­tin­u­ing farm­ers’ mar­kets in Canada. Be sure to check out Slocum & Fer­ris, fa­mous for lo­cal prod­ucts such as lob­ster an­tipasto, dulse, pick­led fid­dle heads, and Ganong’s

“chicken bones” (www.sjc­i­ty­mar­ket.ca).

The Mi­ramichi Striper Cup—Atlantic Canada’s premier striped bass “catch and re­lease” fish­ing tour­na­ment, with over $50,000 in cash and prizes, takes place the last week of May (www.mi­ramichistriper­cup.ca).

The New Brunswick Botan­i­cal Gar­den in Ed­mun­ston is a fas­ci­nat­ing at­trac­tion, re­plete with a medic­i­nal gar­den and herb cen­tre where workshops are of­fered. Be sure to lo­cate Khronos, an out­door in­ter­ac­tive in­stal­la­tion (www.jardinnbgar­den.com/en).

SCENIC DRIVES

The 460-km (286-mi.) Fundy Coastal Drive presents di­ver­sity galore from is­land hop­ping in car fer­ries to ex­plor­ing the world’s high­est tides and savvy cos­mopoli­tan cen­tres.

The 750-km (466-mi.) Aca­dian Coastal Drive de­liv­ers a quintessen­tially Aca­dian seas­cape of fish­ing wharves, light­houses and colour­ful com­mu­ni­ties. It also boasts some of the warm­est salt­wa­ter beaches in the East.

The 512-km (318-mi.) River Val­ley Scenic Drive fea­tures the sto­ried Saint John River which is loaded with his­tory, in­trigue, beauty and ex­cit­ing experiences.

The 180-km (112-mi.) Mi­ramichi River Route en­com­passes the best of both

worlds be­tween Fredericton—the hip and hap­pen­ing cap­i­tal—and Mi­ramichi, renowned for salmon fish­ing and Abo­rig­i­nal cul­ture.

Along the 278-km (173-mi.) Ap­palachian Range Route is Mount Car­leton, the high­est peak in the Mar­itimes, and Su­gar­loaf Pro­vin­cial Park—both per­fect for out­door ad­ven­tures.

FAM­ILY FUN

Magic Moun­tain—a wet ’n’ wild amuse­ment park with water slides and car­ni­val rides— is hugely pop­u­lar. As well, kids love the long sus­pen­sion bridge over Big Salmon River on the Fundy Park­way Trail and the dis­cov­ery hunt check­list! At Kings Land­ing, “Vis­it­ing Cousins” con­tin­ues to get rave re­views, along with a week-long “Keeper Camp” for teens at Mag­netic Hill Zoo.

TIDE & BOAR GASTROPUB, MONC­TON • TOURISM NB759,700Frederictonwww.tourism­new­brunswick.caGreater Monc­ton Roméo Le­Blanc In­ter­na­tional Air­port,8 km (5 mi.) from down­townFredericton In­ter­na­tional Air­port, 15 km (9 mi.) from down­townSaint John Air­port,16 km (10 mi.) from down­town

HOPEWELL ROCKS, LOW TIDE • TOURISM NB/DEN­NIS MINTY

BEAVER­BROOK ART GALLERY, FREDERICTON • DES­TI­NA­TION CANADA

ST. MAR­TINS COV­ERED BRIDGE • TOURISM NB/DEN­NIS MINTY

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