Moncton

Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada by CC user hobolens on Flickr

Introduction

Situated at roughly the dead centre of the Canadian Maritimes, where traffic heading to and from Central Canada, The U.S., Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island must pass in order to get to their destination. Appropriately, Moncton is nicknamed the Hub City, and this urban area has taken advantage of its location to build a thriving shopping and amusement sector, as it has the largest mall east of Montreal, two well known amusement parks, and many excellent restaurants that people travel from around the region to dine at.

Moncton just doesn’t have commercialism and contrived tourist attractions to fall back on though, as its status as an effectively bilingual city makes it the de facto urban centre in the province for looking to be introduced to Acadian culture. Also, with a river that flows into the head of the Bay of Fundy, the massive tides that affect this world famous body of water put on a show upon it everyday.

Whether Moncton is your first point of contact with New Brunswick, or your last taste of it before moving on to PEI or Nova Scotia, it will likely prove to be a very entertaining 1-2 days in the largest city in this province.

U2 at Monton's Magnetic Hill concert site by CC user robceemoz on Flickr

Cultural Experiences

As mentioned off the top of this guide, Moncton is officially a bilingual city, both legally and demographically. With the Acadian coast being located a short distance away, Moncton has become an attractive city to move to for French speakers seeking jobs, as they have become non-existent in the rural countryside in recent years.

The region’s only major French language university (Universite de Moncton) is located here, and it is on this campus where you can find the Acadian Museum / La Musee Acadienne. This historical trove of resources and information chronicles the life and times of this region’s French speaking population, whose descendants moved to this area from France in the 17th century, were forcibly expelled from their homes by the British for refusing to swear allegiance to the British Crown in the 18th century, and re-settled other unoccupied lands later in the 18th century and into the 19th century.

Their story is one of struggle, pain, and ultimately triumph against political forces that attempted to permanently disrupt their society. Topics covered in the exhibits cover culture, the arts, religion, business, and more in a very educational and enriching way to spend a couple of hours.

If your visit takes you through the Moncton area during August, look into if a large mega-concert is scheduled to play at the Magnetic Hill Concert Site. Over the past decade or so, ambitious entrepreneurs, Moncton’s central location, and an expansive field near Magnetic Hill have attracted massive acts that would otherwise have a hard time justifying playing a concert in Atlantic Canada.

In past events, the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, U2, and many others have graced this venue, drawing upwards of 80,000 fans from around the region to partake in the rock music awesomeness that has ruled here during those festivals.

Finally, if you enjoy partaking in culture by way of the performing arts, then dropping by Capitol Theatre to see a show is an ideal way to spend an evening. With plays, concerts, comedy acts and more booked into this venue throughout the calendar year, there is almost certainly something going on at the oldest theatre in New Brunswick whenever your travels bring you to Moncton.

Crystal Palace Amusement Park, Moncton by CC user tourismnewbrunswick on Flickr

Other Attractions

If embracing your inner child is something you indulge in often, then Moncton will be a fun destination for you. Start at Magnetic Hill, where summer time sees a very popular water park open up for the warm months, which includes a lazy river, a wave pool, and water slides that range from easy cruisers to a kamikaze free fall slide that sees rider hit speeds of upwards of 40 miles an hour! Shops, a petting zoo, and an optical illusion that gives Magnetic Hill its name round out the attractions here. Give this place a full day in order to appreciate it fully.

If you roll through during the chillier months, don’t be sad, as Crystal Palace Amusement Park, one of the largest indoor amusement parks in Canada, is open year round, ready to attend to your adrenaline needs with a host of popular midway rides. Whether you love roller coasters, or prefer to work on your putting stroke at the extensive and challenging mini golf course, this amusement facility will also take up a well spent day out of your travel itinerary.

Finally, the Petitcodiac River flows through the Moncton area, which eventually drains into the Bay of Fundy in the countryside outside the city. When high tide hits, a sizable wave called a Tidal Bore roars up the river against the flow, filling in what was exposed muddy banks in the moments before the event. Most people prefer to watch, though skilled daredevil surfers have attempted to ride the wave as it has moved up the river in past years.

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