New Brunswick: Sept 15 – 19, 2019
New Brunswick is Canada’s only (officially) bilingual province, according to the Constitution of Canada. I did not know that! The population is two-thirds anglophones, and one third francophones and then one third of the citizens say they are bilingual. We noticed more prominent French as soon as we arrived in NB, especially at our hotel. A lot of the guests were speaking French, it was strange! Business signs are in French first, then English.
New Brunswick is 83% forested and less densely-populated than the rest of the Maritimes. Over 500,000 Christmas trees are harvested here every year, a close second to Nova Scotia’s 1.8 million trees! (I got totally sidetracked researching Christmas trees in Canada but the 3-6 million trees produced each year come primarily from Quebec, Nova Scotia and then Ontario.)
New Brunswick was an entertaining province that presented some natural wonders for us to see; as long as we consulted a Tide Guide and had the gumption to work around the times of the highs and lows. We visited both the Hopewell Rocks and the Reversing Falls twice, in order to witness the spectacles during both tide times.
Saint John is Canada’s third largest port city with a population of 68,000. In 2016, after more than 40 years of population decline, the city became the second most populous city in New Brunswick for the first time. Saint John is the oldest incorporated city in Canada and is also the oldest of five chartered cities in Canada along with Montreal, Winnipeg, Vancouver, and Lloydminster, AB/SK.
We visited the picturesque Old Town.
The Reversing Falls are a series of rapids on the Saint John River where the river runs through a narrow gorge before emptying into the Bay of Fundy. During high tide, the tides of the bay force the flow of water to reverse against the prevailing current. The rapids, or “falls”, are created by a series of underwater ledges which roil the water in either direction. This causes a major navigation hazard and vessels wishing to enter or exit from the river must wait for slack tide.
Saint Andrews or “St. Andrews By-the-Sea” is a summer town directly opposite a small community in the state of Maine. During low tide you can walk or drive along the seafloor for 1 km to Ministers Island NB and visit a 19th century estate. Unfortunately, the low tide was early in the morning so we missed that, but we really enjoyed this village.
St. Stephen is an even smaller village and a section of The St. Croix River forms a natural border between Canada and the US border into Maine. I mapped it to see how close we were to Bangor and considered popping over to visit Stephen King’s house again!
St. Stephen was given the title of “Canada’s Chocolate Town.” The Chocolate Museum features the history of local chocolatiers The Ganong Brothers. We took the short tour with a guide that took her job way too seriously. Lol. But loved the samples!
Moncton is the largest city in New Brunswick. The city proper has a population of 72K and Greater Moncton has a population of 144K.
My favourite part about Moncton was meeting in person, a former colleague from GLH Vending, Steve McLeod. Steve and I spoke on the phone regularly for 6 years, so it was great to get a hug and put a face to that voice. We discovered he has a background in the record business too, so that was fascinating! Nice to meet you Steve and I’m still kicking myself for forgetting to take a picture!
Joe was excited to take me to Moncton’s ‘Magnetic Hill’. It’s amazingly simple and simply amazing! You drive down to the bottom of Magnetic Hill, put your car in neutral, and your car begins to roll backwards, UPHILL! We were going pretty fast in that Mustang and Joe had it hit the brakes a few time to keep her in the lane! It is an optical illusion created by the rising and descending terrain but it sure seemed real to me! We wanted to do it again, but there were too many cars waiting.
The Chocolate River is a 79 km tidal bore. This phenomenon results when the edge of the incoming tide forms a wave of water that travels up the river against the direction of the current. The famous Chocolate colour is a result of the constant movement of water over the bays’ mud flats, which does not allow the sediment to settle. It looked delicious!
You’ve never seen a high tide until you’ve been to Hopewell Rocks! Hopewell is home to the highest tides in the world, measuring at an incredible 16 meters high. The average high tides in the world are about one meter!
Our first visit to this site was mid-afternoon during high tide, and we were limited to viewing the beach from high platforms.
The next morning we returned at low tide, where you have 7 hours to walk around 2 km of the beach and explore along the ocean floor.
The Hopewell Flowerpots are amazing! Here they are in comparison at high and then low tide.
Every time the tide shifts, Mother Nature slowly spills 160 billion tons of water back into this area of the Bay of Fundy. These advancing and retreating tides and waves have eroded the base of the sandstone rocks much faster than the tops, and the unique shapes are the result. This area reminded us a little of Albuferia, Portugal.
The world’s largest lobster is in Shediac so we stopped to see it. The sculpture is 35 feet long and 16 feet high and weighs 90 tons! You can never have too much lobster!
The Bridge to PEI
We drove across the $1.3 billion Confederation Bridge that links New Brunswick with PEI. The 12.9 KM bridge is the world’s longest bridge over ice-covered water. It takes about 12 minutes to cross the bridge and tolls only apply when leaving Prince Edward Island so it was free! (So far lol) Most of the curved bridge is 40 metres above water with a 60 m navigation span for ship traffic and the bridge is 11 m wide. It was pretty cool!
Talk to you soon to share our adventures from Prince Edward Island! Paula and Joe