FREDERICTON, AN ELEGANT LITTLE CITY BEST TOURED
by Pam Hobbs.
It's different. Unlike other provincial capitals of Atlantic Canada,
Fredericton wasn't chosen for its harbour, and its citizens are not
dependent on the sea. Instead of sailors and whalers in centuries
past, Fredericton had its military men and Loyalists and a prestigious
university, all of which reflect in the air of gentility pervading its tree-lined streets today.
A French military community established in 1692 where the
Nashwaak River empties into the St John was destroyed by the
British. During the early 1700s a few British settlers trickled in.
More came in 1783 as Loyalists fled the United States, and two years
later Fredericton (renamed for George lll's second son) became New
Brunswick's elegant little capital.
Tourists can readily find
the military and Loyalist past
carefully preserved here.
Make your first stop the
tourist information centre
located in the City Hall for a
free pedestrian guide. It will
direct you past the Justice
Building to that solid looking
stone structure completed in
1827 to house the British
army, and known simply as
the Soldiers' Barracks. Tours
are conducted in summer by
guides from the Guard House around the corner. It too is restored to
period, and open in summer.
In Officers' Square a Changing of the Guard ceremony is
performed daily at ll a.m. by youthful red-coated recruits. Beyond its
colonial arches, Officers' Quarters now house the York-Sunbury
Historical Society's museum which portrays an excellent capsule of
Fredericton's past. At the close of the American War of
Independence, thousands of people choosing loyalty to the British
crown abandoned everything and emigrated to other British colonies.
Many found their way to St John, then came inland by river to
Fredericton. Now we can see pictures of the 19th century river boats,
artifacts, documents written by Loyalist arrivals.
Military exhibits, tales of hardships told by arriving Loyalists, even
splendidly furnished rooms are serious stuff. Yet I am told some
visitors come to the museum for a chuckle. They have heard about
the Coleman Frog, a gigantic bullfrog which weighed close to four
kilos when first discovered in a lake near the city, and eventually
grew to an unbelievable 42 pounds (21kg.) (Had it been discovered
by a beautiful maiden, this story would surely have had a happier
This 1000 word illustrated story
GETTING THERE" For
information on Fredericton, and New
Brunswick generally, contact the
Visitors Information Centre, City
Hall, Queen Street, P.O. Box 130,
Fredericton, E3B 4Y7. Telephone:
(506) 460-2191 or www.city.fredericton.nb.ca
The Carriage House Inn
is at 230 University Avenue, Fredericton, E3B 4H7. Tel. (506)452-9924.