While Fredericton is the capital city of the province of New Brunswick, it has the feel of a friendly town, from the downtown area by the St. John River, through the College Hill area straight up to the shopping malls and the big box centres up on the plateau.
Filled with century old home and mansions, massive oak and elm trees that seemingly enshroud much of the city in an urban forest during the warm months, and a university (UNB) with irresistible red brick architecture and a legacy that stretches back more than 200 years, making it the oldest public post-secondary school in North America, Fredericton is an easy place to fall in love with.
The latter aspect of this city, combined with another university (Saint Thomas) and other colleges, give this place an injection of youth in a region noted for its rapidly rising population of older adults. If you’re looking for a break in a relaxing place that nobody else in the world has ever heard of, Fredericton will fit that task nicely, giving you a proper introduction to the Canadian Maritime provinces if your cross country Canadian adventure has taken you to this undertrafficked region.
While Fredericton is a lovely place to be during the summer, we would highly recommend that you time your visit for early to mid-September, as not only is school back in for the colleges and universities in the city, but one of the Maritimes best music celebrations, the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival, goes on at this time. With over 400 artists playing on 27 stages over six city blocks and many more indoor venues, your need for jazz, blues, and rock will be satiated over the six days that this festival takes place. Also, be sure to check out the New Brunswick Highland Games held annually to celebrate Scottish and Celtic culture in the form of athletic events, bagpipes, drumming, dancing, food and entertainment.
Given the jovial mood of the students that are back in school for the year, and the substantial arts community present in this culturally attuned town, it is an event that has an atmosphere that will keep you coming back for more!
Containing barracks, a guardhouse, and a cell block that last saw action back in the early days of Fredericton, the Historic Garrison District is a peek back into what entailed a soldier’s life back in the 19th century in New Brunswick. Throughout the summer, reenactments of the Changing of the Guard take place here, as well as concerts, festivals, and weekly movies under the stars (weather permitting of course).
One of the University of New Brunswick’s most famous and generous alumni Max Aitken, better known as Lord Beaverbrook, bestowed many gifts upon his beloved former school and host city. One of those gifts was the treasure trove of art contained within the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, a marvellous institution that counts many pieces by Salvador Dali among its marquee works, in addition to many other fabulous works from across Canada and the Atlantic region.
If your visit to Fredericton happens to fall on a weekend, be sure to turn out Saturday morning for the Boyce Farmers’ Market, a cozy but lively collection of local food (ingredients and ready to eat), crafts, and gifts. Food vendors include a surprising variety of food from around the world, as the two universities in this small city grant it the cosmopolitan flair that one would expect in a considerably bigger centre.
If you’re looking for a variety of activities suitable for all ages, then Kingswood Park, located on the outskirts of town, is an excellent place to bring your merry band of travelers. Home to one of the more highly regarded golf courses in New Brunswick, the immaculate design features of the main course will test your skills, while dazzling your eyes with features such as a centrepiece waterfall on the 14th hole. Inside, a bowling alley, gymnasium, lazer tag arena, and ball hockey court will keep the young and the young at heart sufficiently entertained, while a hearty dinner at Sam Snead’s will complete a day well spent, regardless of the weather outside.
If the weather outside is cooperating, then a paddle on the St. John River or on one of its nearby tributaries is an ideal way to get in touch with the natural vibe of this area. The Nashwaak River is particularly popular for this, as its quieter and narrower waters are less intimidating for those less experienced in the art of piloting a canoe.