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 ending.)

This 1000 word illustrated story ends:

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

The Carriage House Inn is at 230 University Avenue, Fredericton, E3B 4H7. Tel. (506)452-9924.