Difference between revisions of "New Brunswick"
Revision as of 16:21, 2 May 2009
For the article on the city in New Jersey see New Brunswick (New Jersey).
New Brunswick (French: Nouveau Brunswick)  is one of the Atlantic Provinces of Canada, and the only constitutionally bilingual province in the country. The provincial capital is Fredericton. Statistics Canada estimates the provincial population in 2008 to be 751,527; a majority are English-speaking, but there is also a large Francophone minority (32%), chiefly of Acadian origin.
The province's name comes from the English and French translation for the city of Braunschweig in north Germany, the ancestral home of the Hanoverian King George III of the United Kingdom.
New Brunsiwck is a relatively sparsely populated province, with considerable forests forming the main body. The core of the province is virtually uninhabited, with the population very focused on the Eastern, Western, and Southern coastlines.
History and language
New Brunswick is part of historic Acadia, an early 17th century French land claim in North America. Governed by the British in the 19th century, Acadia was forcibly depopulated by the British and its inhabitants dispersed.
As such, there is a noticeable divide within New Brunswick. If one splits the province diagonally from Moncton in the Southeast to Grand Falls in the Northwest, the Acadian (Northeast) and anglophone (Southwest) divide is almost exact. This divide does not result in significant ill will, however the divide definitely exists within older generations of the province.
If one were to callously describe the landscape of New Brunswick, one would describe it as largely being comprised of trees. Logging is a major industry within the province, and softwood forests dominate the interior of the province. Outside of those forests are a number of areas of maple forests, resulting in the production of maple products such as maple syrup in the province.
The rural areas of New Brunswick offer a range of small rivers, lakes, and swampland which make canoeing a common weekend activity in much of the province. Hiking paths are also common, though more prevalent within parklands.
In coastal areas, the scenery of New Brunswick comes to the fore, ranging from the warm sandy beaches of the East coast in Kouchibouguak National Park to the rugged southern coastline. New Brunswick is also home to large tidal forces, and as such has claim to the highest tides in the world.
Much of New Brunswick's climate is moderated by the extreme proximity of the ocean, resulting in mild summers, and winters which are mild relative to the temperatures seen in Ontario and the prairie provinces. The recorded temperature has ranged from -47.2° C (-53° F) in 1955, at Sisson Dam in the northwest, to 39.4° C (102.9° F) in 1935, at Nepisiguit Falls in the northeast. That said, winter temperatures are most commonly in the range of -5° C to -15° C, and summer temperatures from 15° C to 25° C.
Snowfall is common during the winter months, however snow does not typically accumulate in large amounts until late December.
Tourism is a good source of revenue for much of the province, and during busy periods of the summer, it is advisable to book ahead to ensure rooms are available. Due to the relatively limited range of options within the province when following the trans-Canadian highway, a very busy weekend could result in being informed the closest available rooms are hours of travel away. That said, outside of peak times, accomodations are quite plentiful.
New Brunswick sees a large amount of through-traffic, as it is often seen as little more than a gateway to the rest of the Maritimes; Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and Cape Breton are all reached via New Brunswick. That said, parts of New Brunswick such as the Southern coast and the South-Eastern coast offer lovely scenery, as well as some excellent beaches.
There are a few major junior hockey teams in New Brunswick. These are the Saint John Sea Dogs, who play in the city of Saint John, the Moncton Wildcats who play in the city of Moncton and the Acadie-Bathurst Titans who play in the city of Bathurst and have been ranked as the number one junior team in Canada for the 2005-2006 hockey season.
New Brunswick is the only province in Canada that is officially bilingual (English and French). Francophones speak a dialect known as Acadian French. Acadian is not related to Quebec French, since Acadia's history is separated from the one of Quebec. Acadian French speakers are instantly recognizable by their charming and strongly trilled r.
Near Moncton and in other urban areas, a distinct English-French creole language known as chiaque is spoken. It's frowned upon as "bad French" by Francophones and "bad English" by Anglophones, but it's popular among young people. Some effort is being made to rehabilitate chiaque, with a nascent literature and support organizations.
The English / French split within the province is approximately a Northeast / Southwest split. Despite the split, English is spoken throughout the province. French speakers may struggle to find fluent French speakers in the Southwest of the province.
See also: French phrasebook
New Brunswick has road links with Quebec, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Maine.
Travel by car is the easiest way to see New Brunswick. Recent refurbishments and expansions of the transcanada highway have left four lane highways in place across much of the southern stretch of the province. Drivers accustomed to any major metropolitan traffic will find most intercity roads to be very lightly used, even in summer months.
The roads of New Brunswick are patrolled by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), and speed traps are sometimes in place. Speed limits have no official tolerance in them, however typically travel under 10 kilometres per hour above the speed limit will not attract attention. That said, RCMP officers are not always known for their sense of humour where speeding (or anything else) is concerned, and tickets may be issued for any speed above the posted limits. If you are pulled over by the RCMP, typical North American rules for police interaction apply; keep your hands on the steering wheel while being approached by the police, and be respectful at all times.
As with much of Canada, winter roads are more dangerous, and travellers are advised to treat the roads with caution. Winter tires are recommended for long distance travel, however snow chains are only necessary on very rural roads and private roads. When travelling during the winter, drivers should carry an emergency kit with a source of heat, blankets, and an amount of food to ensure that being caught in a storm is only an inconvenience, rather than a life-threatening issue.
In some winter storm conditions, roads such as the transcanada link between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia can be closed due to whiteout conditions.
Acadian Lines Bus Service  serves the entire province, and is relatively standard for a bus service. Stops on some lines are frequent, and often include very small villages - wherever you are headed, there is likely to be a bus servicing the area. That said, this does mean that buses seem to stop frequently.
Via Rail  provides a somewhat limited service along the Eastern coast of New Brunswick, entering the province at Aulac, and then passing through Moncton, up to Bathurst, and then from Campbellton across the border into Quebec, eventually terminating in Montreal. This service passes through the province once per day in each direction, and as such, travellers should not miss their train unless willing to extend their holiday.
Options for the trains vary, as two different types of rolling stock are in use. Standard class involves sitting for the entire journey, while a range of berths, single rooms, double bedrooms, and sitting rooms are available, depending on the cars in use. Standard class is feasible, but an exhausting option!
View some of the sights in the bay of Fundy:
Visit New Brunswick's national parks:
And see some of the other unusual attractions New Brunswick has to offer:
The province of New Brunswick offers a wide variety of restaurants ranging from seafood to oriental to fast food to acadian. One of the provinces main dishes are fiddleheads, which are found in the Saint John River Valley area of the province. Poutine rapée is another dish served along the acadian coast area of New Brunswick.
The drinking age is 19.
Many travellers pass through New Brunswick to reach other parts of the maritimes. When passing through New Brunswick, it is advisable to use the number 2 highway, which passes along the border with Maine before turning East and passing through Fredericton and Moncton. That said, more adventurous travellers can find more to see by following highway 11 up the East coast of the province, and then cutting across the province via the remote road connecting Miramichi to Plaster Rock. It should be noted by the adventurous that this road is used largely by logging trucks, and there is only one gas station, which is approximately halfway along the road.