Introduction to New Brunswick

(continuer en français) – Last updated: January 9, 2022

The only officially bilingual English-French province in Canada. In reality, the 30% of French speakers are indeed bilingual, the 70% of English speakers, hmm, a little less. When the first French settlers arrived in 1604, contact with the first Micmac nation was generally harmonious, and encouraged the exchange of knowledge and the formation of mixed families. The massive arrival of Loyalists at the end of the 18th century changed the balance.

In 1867, when the Canadian Confederation was formed, New Brunswick was one of the four founding provinces.

For a long time, fishing, forestry and agriculture occupied most of the population. Small industries processed the products, and it was only later that a heavier industry was established around Saint John, mainly the Irving group, which is omnipresent in the province. Tourism is taking an ever-increasing share.

Le Pays de la Sagouine

Fredericton

The provincial capital is located in Fredericton, in the centre of the province. The city remains modest in size and is mainly occupied with administrative affairs. It dates back to 1783, when Loyalists who had fled the United States came to occupy the site of an Acadian village. There was a military garrison, whose parades are still re-enacted today. The official administrations, Government House and Parliament House, give the downtown area a bit of character, and there are also cultural institutions (more).

Saint John

As much as Moncton, the most populous city in the province, plays the role of commercial and distribution centre, Saint John has a small heavy industry, also relying on its port to export Canadian products brought by the railway. It was in Market Slip that thousands of Loyalists disembarked in 1783 following the American Revolution, transforming the village into a commercial and soon industrial town.

Fort Beauséjour

Fort Beauséjour was built by the French in 1751 on the isthmus between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, one of the locks designed to protect what remained of French interests in the region. The fort was reoccupied during the War of 1812 with the United States and abandoned again in 1835. In 1920, the estate was declared a Canadian historic site, and is maintained by Parks Canada, whose visitor’s centre summarizes the highlights of the local history.

Fort Beauséjour

Caraquet

Located in northern New Brunswick, Caraquet was founded in 1758 by Acadians who had escaped the British-led Great Upheaval of 1755. Throughout history, the people of Caraquet have had to fight for their rights to French-language education and Catholic schools, with official bilingualism only being recognized in 1969. Still very much a fishing town, the economy relies increasingly on tourism.

East Coast

Beyond Caraquet, the entire East Coast has a strong Francophone presence, sometimes ostentatiously so. The coastline has many salt ponds, lagoons and dunes. Many inhabitants still live from fishing, mainly lobsters and crabs. Here again, tourism brings new resources, notably by capitalizing on the Acadian particularism which is expressed today in cultural activities like Le Pays de la Sagouine.

Le Pays de la Sagouine

Île-aux-Puces recreates the world imagined by Antonine Maillet for her character La Sagouine. She is a poor, uneducated but wise Acadian woman who struggles to raise her family in difficult times. Antonine Maillet wrote La Sagouine in 1971, introducing her readers to the rich Acadian culture of the region. Originally devoted entirely to the monologues of La Sagouine, the village has since grown to include several professional actors who are constantly engaged in outdoor theatre and Acadian music.

Acadian Village

As in all the provinces of Canada, there are villages regrouping the old houses with guides in costume recreating the activities of the past. The Village Historique Acadien has existed since 1977. It is now composed of 40 old Acadian houses from the 18th to the 20th century, recreating the period of the Acadians’ resettlement after the Great Upheaval of 1755. It continues its journey to the early 20th century, showing the living conditions of past generations (more).

Kings Landing

Modeled after the Village Acadien, there is a Loyalist village. Many of the old houses along the Saint John River were threatened in the 1960s by the construction of a dam. This created the opportunity to bring them together to recreate the village of Kings Landing. The King’s Head Inn, dating from 1855, is still the village pub. The houses built by the Loyalists fleeing American independence are still standing around it.

Fundy National Park

In the south of the province, Fundy National Park covers a large forest with varied flora, punctuated by lakes and waterways that are pleasant in summer. Green tourism is skilfully managed here. The park leads to the shore of the Bay of Fundy, which is famous for its high tides. The amplitude can reach 50 feet, 15 meters, and dry up a vast surface taking then strange aspects. However, you should not miss the tide times.

Cap Enrage

The Acadian sailors called it Cap Enragé, its name was anglicised to Cape Enrage. The sandy ocean floor is exposed for nearly 220 yards, 200 metres, at low tide, but at mid-tide, the waters produce violent, raging currents due to the presence of rocks. The present lighthouse is over 150 years old. It has recently become a tourist attraction, after being restored by a group of students who hold a summer camp there.

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13 comments

  1. Excellent post on a great province. We have explored many of the areas you included here and hope to get back to visit family in 2022. It has been almost 3 years since we have been there. Thanks for sharing. Allan

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve love to explore New Brunswick someday. The landscape looks stunning. I love all the small coastal villages, rugged coastline and light houses. It would be so incredible to see the extreme differences in the tide in the Bay of Fundy.

    Liked by 1 person

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