Today was just a wandering around day. We are in the Capital city of New Brunswick so, of course, we had to go to see the Legislative Assembly Building. The original Province House burned in 1880 and was replaced in 1882 with the current building. They offer a self-guided tour, which means you can wander around all you like – which we did.
This unsupported spiral staircase winds up three stories – which in reality is about five stories because all the ceilings are so high. There was a group of women at work in the Council Chamber preparing papers for the upcoming Provincail election which will be held in New Brunswick on Monday. Within the month they also will have a new Lieutenant Governor, the first aboriginal LG. And the Anglican Church – Christ Church Cathedral – is installing a new bishop on Saturday. Lots of changes in the next while here.
After we toured the Legislative Building we walked over to see Christ Church Cathedral. We met a lady, originally from Toronto, who was putting new flower arrangements in the sanctuary for the Installation of the new Bishop. She chatted to us for about 20 minutes. It is a lovely Gothic church, a replica of St. Mary’s Church in Snettisham, Norfolk, England. It has many stained glass windows, a pipe organ and the most beautiful dark wood ceiling.
Then we wandered all around the riverfront Garrison Historic District. Many of these heritage buildings are being used for other purposes than those for which they were built. At the Officer’s Square in front of the old barracks, now the city museum, there are changing of the guard parades all summer.
I wanted to go to the Beaverbrook Gallery. I have heard of this art gallery and the large collection compiled by Lord Beaverbrook. They have a large collection of the Canadian Group of Seven, and works by Gainsborough and Turner. Unfortunately none of them were on display right now. They had several other artist’s work though so we wandered around all the rooms. Some we liked, some we didn’t. But that is the way with art. Some pieces make you shake your head and others touch your soul. No photos allowed of course.
We drove to the edge of town to Government House, the home of the Lieutenant Governor but we arrived just when the last tour was coming out of the building. It is supposed to be open until 5 and no explanation was given as to why they closed early today. It was a lovely Palladian mansion built between 1826-28 as the vice-regal residence for New Brunswick. It was later used as a veteran’s hospitial and also by the RCMP from 1934-1988 until it was restored as the LG’s residence. I would love to have seen the inside.
We drove back into down town to climb to the observation tower of the Lighthouse on the Green. All of Fredericton is pay parking – meters or lots – and John had put most of his coins in the meter by the Legislative Building. He fished out some nickels and dimes and brought the meter up to 20 minutes. We just had to cross the street and climb the stairs to see the view so we thought that would give us enough time. Well, we had lots of time because it was closed and the stairway access was boarded up.
Fredericton is not a large city, about 50,000. St. John has always been the largest city due to it’s harbour. It is over 70,000. None of the cities in the Maritimes are large compared to Toronto, or Montreal or Vancouver. Even Kelowna is larger than most of the biggest cities here. This is fine for me as I dislike all the traffic and congestion in large cities.
And the people are so friendly. They always seem to have the time to have a chat and ask where we are from and how long we are staying and to welcome us to their community. I have really enjoyed the Maritimes; the scenery, the history, and the residents.
They always say in New Brunswick and Newfoundland, “Watch out for the moose, they are everywhere.” Well we saw 7 of them but the thing that is everywhere in all four Maritime provinces are cemeteries. They really are everywhere. This makes sense since the area was ‘discovered’ by John Cabot in 1497 and seasonal fishing went on from then and settlement began in the mid-1600’s. That is a lot of generations laid to rest by every community and homestead.
We have two more days in New Brunswick and then we cross over into Maine to make our way to Niagara Falls and then home. Boo hoo.