8 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Fredericton
Fredericton is charmingly situated on the lower reaches of the St. John River, where riverside walking trails meet a compact downtown filled with brick heritage buildings. The city is the capital of the province of New Brunswick in eastern Canada, but its museums, busy cafés, and active cultural scene are the greatest draw for visitors.
This New Brunswick city grew out of a small Acadian settlement named Pointe Ste-Anne, founded by French-speaking immigrants around 1732. It prospered when American loyalists settled here, from 1768 onwards.
1 Garrison District
From 1784 until 1869 a British garrison was stationed on this two-block tract between Queen Street and the river. Many of the structures in the Garrison District date to that time, and it's now a hub for museums and festivals in the city. Historic walking tours leave from the former military compound in summer. The Fredericton Region Museum is housed in an extension to the officers' quarters and provides a strong overview of area history. Costumed interpreters are often on-site, and a changing of the guard ceremony is a popular attraction.
Other organizations within the Garrison District include the NB Sports Hall of Fame and New Brunswick College of Craft and Design, where visitors can watch artisans at work.
Address: Queen Street, Fredericton
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Fredericton
2 Legislative Assembly Building
The present Legislative Assembly Building has been the seat and symbol of democracy since 1882, when it replaced a building that had been destroyed by fire two years earlier. The high conference chamber is beautiful; here visitors can admire portraits of King George III and Queen Charlotte by the famous artist Joshua Reynolds.
In the parliamentary library, there's a complete set of copperplate engravings from the famous "Birds of America" by the Haitian-born American artist John James Audubon (1785-1851).
Address: 706 Queen Street, Fredericton
3 Christ Church Cathedral
Christ Church Cathedral in Fredericton, an Anglican diocesan church, is a remarkable and elegant building. It was built in the Neo-Gothic style in the middle of the 19th century. The stained glass and the wooden interior are true works of art. The visitor's attention is also drawn to the gravestone of the first Anglican bishop of Fredericton, constructed in a form not usually found in North America. The cathedral hosts a pleasant summer recital series, which brings a mix of genres (from opera to tango) to the church.
Address: 168 Church Street, Fredericton
4 St. John River
The ambling St. John River bisects the city and is a major source of recreation, both on and off the water. Parks and trails line the banks of the St. John, and pleasure boats and watercraft make use of the wide, slow river. The Bill Thorpe Walking Bridge, which spans the banks near downtown, is a converted railway bridge that's only open to pedestrians and bicycles. It is part of both the provincial and Trans-Canada trail systems. Outside town, small ferries cross the river to connect with scenic, rural roads (such as Route 105) through farms and marshlands.
5 Fredericton City Hall
Completed in 1876, Fredericton City Hall is a three-storey brick structure constructed in a slightly imposing, Second Empire style. It once housed a city market, police station, and jail along with other civic services. Today, it's the tourist information center that's most relevant to visitors.
Address: 397 Queen Street, Fredericton
6 Mactaquac Provincial Park
The power-generating Mactaquac Dam changed the landscape of this area greatly, including this 1,300-acre provincial park with its campground, 18-hole golf course, and freshwater beaches. Kings Landing Historical Settlement, about 14 kilometers upstream from the dam, is another result of the raised river levels. When the dam was built, heritage buildings in the flooded area were moved to Prince William. Costumed interpreters now recreate a 19th-century settlement through the living history museum.
Address: 1265 Route 105, Mactaquac
Located near the legislature, the Playhouse in Fredericton owes its existence to the town's great patron: Lord Beaverbrook. He also financed the first theatrical troupe in the province. The Playhouse offers a variety of theater, dance, and music performances each year. It's a regular stop for touring acts, and performers are a mix of local talent, Canadian favorites, and international stars.
Address: 686 Queen Street, Fredericton
8 University of New Brunswick
The University of New Brunswick was built in 1785, making it the third oldest in Canada. It stands on a hill southwest of the St. John River, and there are excellent views from the campus. Collections at the library and the provincial archives include a number of first editions donated by Lord Beaverbrook, including works by V. Bennett, Charles Dickens, and H.G. Wells.
Other Points of Interest
Beaverbrook Art Gallery
The collection of Lord Beaverbrook (1879-1964), who during the Second World War was a very influential member of Sir Winston Churchill's cabinet, today forms the backbone of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery. The collection contains works by artists such as Salvador Dali, Botticelli, Gainsborough, Hogarth, Reynolds, and Turner. The gallery stands opposite the Legislative Building, at the north end of "The Green" near the river.
The Marion McCain Atlantic Gallery was added in 1995 as a tribute to the late Marion McCain, and the permanent collection represents major Atlantic Canadian and contemporary Acadian artists.
Address: 703 Queen Street, Fredericton
In the picturesque old town of Gagetown, wonderfully situated by the river, time seems to have stood still. Numbers of artisans, especially weavers, have come here to live and work. Queen's County Museum can be found in a house that belonged to Sir Leonard Tilley, one of the Fathers of Canadian Confederation.
During the summer months, Gagetown boasts a very popular marina that attracts amateur sailors from all over the world.
Access to the picturesque town of Oromocto is by Route 102. It lies at the confluence of the Oromocto and St. John Rivers, and the settlement's history goes back to the times of the Mi'kmaq and Maliseet First Nations. Near Oromocto there is one of the largest military academies in the British Commonwealth as well as an interesting military museum at the Canadian army base.