Fredericton Travel Guide, New Brunswick
If you are a history buff and fancy low-key destinations, you should add Fredericton to your list. Set on the banks of St. John River, with a population little over 80,000, Fredericton is the charming provincial capital of New Brunswick, a city rich in history with streets lined with an extensive inventory of architecturally significant old buildings. Most of them are to be found downtown where they beautifully mix with the modern ones.
Actually the city can be seen as being formed of three zones: downtown, the area hosting the University of New Brunswick and the commercial centre on the top of the hill.
Walking its peaceful streets shaded by beautiful elm trees, makes you recall a period when the peace of life was slower. This historic and funky city with a sense of humor, but not much happening, charms the visitors with its handsome buildings. To better understand their history and architecture and plan your visit of the city, it is advisable to ask for the free Fredericton Visitor Guide either at your hotel or at the information centers. If you don’t want to wander and discover the attractions alone, a more entertaining way is to sign up with the Calithumpians of Fredericton's Outdoor Summer Theatre for a walking tour, it is all free and you will definitely enjoy the costumed guides pointing out the highlights. Especially for pointing out buildings are the free building tours.
You will notice that most of them are on Queen Street, one of the busiest streets in the city especially during high season. The street probably takes its name after Queen Anne and a major part of the buildings’ architecture bear the print of this style. There are other architectural styles like the fine Victorian architecture which is highly appreciated by the architecture-literates. One fine example of this style is the City Hall, a beautiful historic landmark with prominent brick tower. Downriver of downtown, there is Waterloo Row, a nice group of privately owned historic homes. Another historic building is the Old Government House built in 1828 to serve as the official residence of the lieutenant governor until 1890. Then it was in turn a school and home to a detachment of Mounties, just to return to its initial purpose to be the residence of the lieutenant governor after it went under a restoration process. It is open to the public and you can tour the building admiring its art gallery, the reception rooms.
Officers' Square is a good park to relax while listening to some music or watching some shows given by local actors dressed in soldiers reminding the public of the past when it was a military centre. Buildings still stand as proof of that era, thus you can see the Soldiers' Barracks at a short distance from Officers' Square. The square hosts the statue of Lord Beaverbrook, a local hero. He donated part of hiss assets to the city. The city’s museum is hosted in the Officers’ Square and it’s called York-Sunbury Historical Society Museum. A not very famous museum, it does its best to attract visitors especially with a so called famous stuffed frog, but of what could be of greater interest are the display on Loyalist settlers and the re-creation of a German World War II trench.
Not far from the museum is the Boyce Farmers' Market, a must for all those who happen to be in town on a Saturday morning. It is a market with a tradition that leads back to the late 18th century and you can find here everything from food to crafts. Besides walking around the city there are other more active possibilities for those who want to keep fit. They can do so by biking along paths 5km long or hike along the Nashwaak River. If you’d rather see things from the water sign in for a tour and hop on a ship and see the city from the scenic river. Rowing shells, canoes, and kayaks are on rental for those who like exploring things by themselves.
If you number historic architecture and history among your passions, Fredericton is definitely it.
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