Sitting astride the Saint John River, Fredericton is the long-time capital of the Canadian province of New Brunswick. It is the third-largest city in the province and one of the most important cultural, artistic and educational centres in the region. Wide boulevards, tree-lined streets and riverbank walking paths make the capital city feel more like a small town. The area around Fredericton was first settled as a French colony, with French Fort Nashwaak being built in the late 1700s and, later, Point-Sainte-Anne, the first permanent town sited in the area. What is now modern Fredericton was settled after the American Revolution by English loyalists leaving the American colonies. The city was re-named Frederick’s Town, after the son of King George III. In April 1785, it became the capital of the new colony of New Brunswick, and the name was shortened to Fredericton.
Visions of the past can still be seen all around the area. No place is this more evident than the Historic Garrison District, the top cultural attraction in Fredericton. The area was formally part of the British Garrison, and troops were stationed here from 1784 until 1869, when the military camp was closed. Today it is a refurbished and re-purposed scenic space downtown, filled with a variety of activities and attractions for all ages. Visitors to Fredericton can see historical re-enactments of life in the city’s early years and experience the Changing of the Guard ceremonies. During the summer months there is also free outdoor entertainment such as concerts, theatre productions and classic movies shown on the lawn.
Downtown and its historic district also house some of the most fascinating attractions in Fredericton. The Beaverbrook Art Gallery holds unique artworks by British and Canadian artists. The gallery’s most famous display piece is Santiago el Grande, painted by Salvador Dali. The Fredericton Region Museum (formerly the York-Sunbury Museum) inhabits what was once the garrison’s officer’s quarters. The museum presents galleries and artefacts that tell the domestic and military history of Fredericton and the surrounding areas. Science East is New Brunswick’s only existing science centre. Children of all ages can play, learn and explore through over 150 hands-on science-related exhibits and activities.
Do not miss out on the chance to catch the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival that is hosted in Fredericton every fall. This week-long festival draws musicians and crowds from all over North America as it showcases local and touring talent.
After a day of sightseeing, visitors to Fredericton can enjoy a stroll along the river walk or enjoy a night out in one of the many hot spots around town. The Fredericton Playhouse schedules live performances by musicians, comedians, and theatre groups. There are also many different restaurants, pubs and cafés to choose from that offer relaxing and interesting places to unwind. Picaroons Brewing Company, the Lunar Rogue Pub and Dolan’s Pub are all popular taverns in which to enjoy a meal and a drink.