There is no doubt one needs to explore our planet to be a better world citizen, to understand the fascinating diversity of cultures, people, customs and to appreciate its extraordinary beauty. Sharing moments with locals is one of the best experiences to delve deeper into the local culture… and that includes our own culture! Because of its geography, Canada has multiple identities, cultures and even languages within its borders. So why not venture out and meet Canadians for a change and perhaps learn about a side of Canada you didn’t know before? There is no better start to your Canadian exploration than by discovering Canada’s first incorporated city: Saint John, New Brunswick. Over the centuries, the city has had many nicknames including “the Port City” due to its leading role in the shipbuilding trade. It later got the nickname of “Canada’s most Irish City” as it welcomed thousands of Irish immigrants escaping the devastating famine situation in their country. Even though Saint John does not carry any current nickname, New Brunswick’s second largest city could be given numerous names due to its incomparable beauty, fascinating location, unique history and flavourful cuisine.
Enjoy a walk through history as you are taken along the city’s historic residential streets and old business district area and learn about the tragic fire that destroyed most of the city in 1877. Appreciate stories of centuries old traditions brought by the United Empire Loyalist as they founded the city.
Exploring the New Brunswick Museum is also an excellent way to have an insight into New Brunswick’s military and shipbuilding roots and learn about its wildlife.
The reversing fall rapids phenomenon is what makes Saint John’s location so captivating and unique. Located at the junction of the Bay of Fundy and the Saint John River, Saint John offers a unique and natural spectacle to its visitors. As the Bay of Fundy collides with Saint John River, a series of rapids and whirlpools is created at low tide. When the tide is high, the river flow is reversed and rapids form again. This is definitely a site to share! Adventurers who are not afraid of heights will love experiencing the phenomenon from above. Enjoy a different perspective from the Skywalk, a stainless steel and glass platform stepping out above the largest whirlpool.
A few kilometres east of Saint John, walk the Fundy Trail Parkway in the quaint village of St. Martins. Once a shipbuilding centre, the area has been beautifully designed into a shoreline trail. From there, breathtaking red limestone cliffs, echo caves and birdlife can be appreciated. Make sure to walk along the trail both at low and high tide, you will not recognize the scenery.
Back in the city of Saint John, the Old City Market is the perfect place for dinner. Get lost in this beautiful 19th century City Market; let your senses take over and guide you through the food stalls that offer all sorts of local delicacies including fresh seafood, pastries and other savoury treats. Dulse is probably the most interesting, yet famous one in the city. This edible red seaweed that grows in intertidal zones in the North Atlantic and Northwest Pacific Oceans, is picked at low tide. It is then dried and usually eaten as is. Will you give it a try? We look forward to hearing what you thought of it after your first bite!
Saint John is only one port of call on a Canada and New England voyage. There is so much more of Canada to be discovered… Our Cruise Specialists will be happy to help you learn more about our beautiful country. Don’t hesitate to contact them to book your cruise today.
Photos courtesy of New Brunswick Tourism/Dennis Minty and Oceania Cruises