Off to the Maritimes! New Brunswick is known for its majestic floral scenery and one of the lowest costs of living in Canada. Besides cheaper housing and one of the oldest universities in North America at UNB, there’s a lot on the inside that makes this province a special place. So let’s learn about the newest Brunswick here with some quick geography and a look at its special features.
NEW BRUNSWICK: Quick Geography
Also called Nouveau–Brunswick (Nu-voh-Brhunz-wick) in French, this place is a lot smaller than the “Central Canada” provinces we’ve seen in previous posts. It is both a part of the Atlantic region and the Maritimes region of Canada, mostly encompassing what was the historic French Acadia. The first settled part of New France, New Brunswick is actually the center of historic Acadia.
It borders the U.S. to the west and has Atlantic coastline in almost every other direction. Most of the province lies in the Northern Appalachian mountain system which is home to large forested areas. Most of these fall under a humid continental type climate with more subarctic features in the highlands.
The capital towards the center is Fredericton, while Moncton in the east is the biggest city. The province after all is named to honor King George III of England. That’s because he was the ruler of a German duchy called Brunswick back when New Brunswick became a province.
So what makes New Brunswick unique? Here are 12 (-ish) cool reasons!
1. Because of the Hopewell Rocks & Fundy National Park
Possibly the most iconic sites on the Bay of Fundy, the towering Hopewell Rocks are truly a postcard image of NB. The Bay itself is a section of the Atlantic that creates these huge fluctuations in tide level. This makes it so that the rocks, many of them with miniature forests on them, can be sailed by at one time and walked under on the same day.
Because of all the arches and crazy-shaped rocks, these are probably the coolest things about the province. Still, they form a part of the larger Fundy National Park, which adds beautiful Atlantic forests and waterfalls to the equation. Some really pretty ones are Dickson Falls, Laverty Falls, and Third Vault Falls.
2. Because of the Bay of Fundy
Outside of those localized attractions, the entire Bay of Fundy is a great place to explore, especially along the Fundy Trail Parkway. This road/trail leads to a series of scenic coastal views that pass pretty landmarks like Cape Enrage.
The Big Salmon River has a cool extension bridge aside from being a wonderful nature spot. There’s also Saint Martins, home to a quiet town, forested beaches, and some impressive sea caves to take awe in.
3. Because of Campobello & Grand Manan
Bordering the U.S. state of Maine is another bay called Passamaquoddy which is home to a number of islands. The most intriguing is probably Campobello Island which was U.S. President Roosevelt’s seasonal home. Encompassing the area is Roosevelt-Campobello International Park (that’s right, inter-national) which harbors a series of homes and gardens on the island.
Nearby is Herring Cove laid aside for enjoying the peaceful green seaside by trail. Not far from Campobello is Grand Manan Island, a classic Maritimes island with rocky shores, lighthouses, and little historic villages. The landscapes are dramatic and a wonder to take in, having some arched rocks of its own.
4. Because of Fredericton
Fredericton is probably one of the lesser-known capitals in Canada, but it plays a role in making NB special. Home to important museums and historic zones, Fredericton is a great place to witness the traditional Changing of the Guard ceremony.
The city is also home to a popular Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival. Fredericton isn’t very big, and so there’s plenty of green space to connect with nature like in the arborous Odell Park.
5. Because of Moncton
Switching quickly to New Brunswick’s most populous city, Moncton is another example of nature mixed well with urban life. Besides historic architecture and the street art scene, natural anomalies like the Tidal Bore carry water upriver for a chance to surf the wave.
Magnetic Hill also offers up some mystery as cars can be witnessed rolling uphill when the time is right. A little less creepy is the Magnetic Hill Zoo which is a nice spot to interact with animals that otherwise have no business at such a high latitude.
6. Because of Historic Saint John
St. John is one of the more popular cities in New Brunswick, and it’s easy to see why. There are important cultural centers like the New Brunswick Museum. Prince William Street is a living outdoor museum showcasing the city’s classic façade.
Other historic points of reference are old strongholds like the Carleton-Martello Tower and Fort Howe, adding some Medieval ruggedness to this New World city. St. John also has a number of open areas like Market Square and the nearby City Market held inside the well-preserved market building still in use from long ago.
7. Because of Saint John’s nature
St. John is much larger than a city and counts with some of the province’s most iconic natural sites. This includes the Stonehammer Geopark, home to gorges, caverns, and coastal wonders like the whirlpools at the famous Reversing Falls.
Other pretty coastal areas are the marshes and cliffs at Irving Nature Park and the wide shores of Mispec Beach. Sprawling woodlands also hit close to the city with places like Rockwood Park and the Loch Alva Wilderness Area.
8. Because of its East Coast
The east coast of NB has some important natural spots like the vast wetlands at Kouchibouguac National Park. It is stocked with trails and boardwalks to explore these isolated wet habitats.
A cool town on these ends is Shediac, an old Acadian post now known for its tasty seafood — and for having the biggest lobster in the world (don’t worry, it’s not real). Also in the Shediac is Parlee Beach, a nice-looking chill zone for sun-searchers during those warm months.
9. Because of its Wilderness & Countryside
Settlement in New Brunswick is largely rural, really uncommon for an urban nation like Canada. This makes for a nice country setting and allows for landmarks like the Hartland Bridge, the longest covered bridge in the world. A pretty sight, there’s also little Nackawic which is home to the world’s largest axe. Is it me, or does New Brunswick have a high proportion of “biggest things in the world”?
Taking it even rural-er, Kings Landing is a sort of historic village dedicated to preserving and teaching about how life was way back in colonial times. It’s very cool that they preserved this, actually. There are also scenic wilderness areas like the Jacquet River Gorge and Mount Carleton Provincial Park, home to the biggest mountain in the province. I’ll let you guess what it’s called.
Read more: Plan a visit to Kings Landing!
10. Because of Saint Andrews
When America decided to break free of Britain, some of those settlers clearly wanted to stay loyal to the Crown. Many of the Loyalists went off into New Brunswick, and one of the main towns they established was at St. Andrews. Also in Passamaquoddy Bay, this town is ideal for whale watching trips, as well as a number of really pretty historic structures like The Algonquin resort.
Read more: about St. Andrews & whale watching
The Kingsbrae Garden mixes several of these structures in a series of enchantingly designed gardens with windmills, green groves, and flowers of all shades. Close to town is Ministers Island, a nice little getaway with some languish old manors and long stony banks to wet your feet in.
11. Because of the Acadian Peninsula
This area is one of the true heartlands of New Brunswick and the Maritimes in general. Caraquet is a small coastal town and a good introduction to the wider region. Going in, you have the Village Historique Acadien, another impressive token of preservation for the region’s Acadian settlers.
After exploring the old French village, go out to Miscou Island. It has the wonderful lighthouse and sandy shores that one should expect. Meanwhile, in fall, the ground foliage paints swathes of the island in fiery reds and oranges, covering this place in scenic wonder.
12. Because of the Culture
For being one of Canada’s smaller provinces, NB sure is filled with a lot of special places. The population is a lot more rural than in most of Canada, and this gives a more downhome sense to even the urbanites.
New Brunswick is the only province where both English and French are fully official, and this rubs off on its identity. It was the center of Acadian settlement and still preserves aspects of French and First Nations traditions. Some of the best-preserved historic sites and ceremonies in all of Canada are located here, and the beauty of this preservation attracts newcomers from all over the globe.
Even though it has faced hard economic times compared to much of the country, it aces in staying true to what makes it special. America’s New Englanders even reached in and had an impact given the area’s openness to helping them during war time. With its truly unique and nearly inexplicable natural beauty, New Brunswick is the perfect mixture of present, past, and environmental bliss couped up in a single place.
**Tell us what you think about New Brunswick! What could you add to (or take off of) this list? I know there’s a lot more that makes this place unique. Do you want to write your own article telling us about New Brunswick, or would you like to collaborate with me? Send me a personal message at email@example.com, or write me on my contact page. Thanks for reading! Peace.