Province 4: “Drive Through” New Brunswick

No disrespect to anyone living in NB but it was kind of boring.  I will say, however, that we didn’t give it much of a chance as we were only there for about two and a half days, and, we were literally just driving through.

Our time in NB was brief and we didn’t see much.  The point of going to NB for many is to see the famous tidal changes at Hopewell Rocks at the Bay of Fundy.  This particular bay experiences the greatest discrepancy between high and low tides in the entire world.  We drove from PEI directly to Hopewell Rocks.  We made it just in time to see the low tide and to walk on the ocean floor.  We made it by the skin of our teeth because we only had about 30 minutes to experience it with about 200 other people.

After the wonders of that, we decided to source some lunch and have a bit of a nap before going back down to view the same scene at high tide, when the water would rise 17 meters.  Before writing this post, I thought that we missed the high tide because we overslept/over-shopped and lost track of time.  (We were pretty tired so parked overlooking a viewpoint and Callum had a nap while I looked in some shops.) It was 12:30pm at low tide and we went back at around 4pm.  We were a bit underwhelmed.  While the difference in tidal height was indeed noticeable, we didn’t have a “whoa-moment” like I had hoped.  After doing some reading, I realized that we should have shopped and napped a teeny bit longer and viewed the site a couple hours later, as I found out that it takes about 6 hours for low to become high tide.  Oh, well.  We were pretty exhausted and still had a bit of a drive in order to get to our accommodation in Fredericton, the capital of the province.

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New Brunswick was one of the four provinces to officially form Canada in 1867 and is Canada’s only officially bilingual province, which totally surprised me.  The one we always refer to as the French part is Quebec.  I guess in Quebec, it’s just culturally expected to be bilingual whereas it’s actually written in NB’s constitution that it is so.  So it was interesting to experience primarily the French language wherever we went (outside of the capital) and to need to practice speaking it before we thought we would need to, as our visit to Quebec was next.

Fredericton is home to University of New Brunswick and St. Thomas University and is basically just a university town.  The cheapest accommodation on short notice we could find was at one of these.  It was very strange being in a place that would normally have a lot of people living at it but was almost completely deserted.  We stayed in a student dorm room with a private en-suite and tried to eat breakfast the next morning in the less-than-equipped kitchen.  We were lucky to find bowls but had no spoons with which to eat our cereal.  I found someone to help us with that problem but didn’t fail to mention a few tips to the front desk receptionist about providing basics for guests, even at a cheap dorm room hostel.  Anyway.

While in Fredericton we had time for one activity and spent a couple of hours at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery where I was delighted to see a couple Tom Thomson and Lawren Harris pieces as well as an Emily Carr.  These are all Canadian artists I admire.  We then had to go, as we wanted to drive up to the north part of the province to visit an Acadian village.  However, we got about 2.5 hours towards our goal when we realized that by the time we got there, we’d only have about an hour to enjoy the village before it closed for the day and then we’d have another three hour drive to our next night’s accommodation.

We decided to cut our losses and go west rather than north east.  We still had 2.5 hours to drive before getting to the border town of Edmunston.  Callum was not pleased and I silently hoped for a bear or moose sighting to appease him.  Luckily, about an hour into our very long detour, we spotted a small and cuddly-looking black bear, just hanging out casually by the side of the highway.  He was munching on some dandelions and didn’t seem to mind having his photograph being taken.  Callum was happier and we eventually continued on our way and made it to Edmunston in time to go out for a pizza dinner at a French-speaking restaurant.

That was that.  We drove to Quebec the next day.  Maybe others who have seen and done interesting things in NB would like to enlighten us and we can plan better for next time!


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