river in New Brunswick and Quebec, Canada and Maine, USA
North America > Canada > Atlantic Canada > New Brunswick > Saint John River Valley

The Saint John River Valley in New Brunswick, Canada, follows the Saint John River along the western border with Maine. The valley features historic wooden covered bridges, river ferries, falls, artist studios, and historic sites.

Cities edit

Map of Saint John River Valley
  • 1 Cambridge Narrows — a vacation and summer destination, with numerous cottages up and down the shores of the lake
  • 2 Edmundston — 95% francophone, and centre of the Brayon culture, which many consider to be neither Acadian nor Québécois, and home of the New Brunswick Botanical Garden
  • 3 Florenceville-Bristol — home of a 2/3-scale model of Noah's Ark
  • 4 Fredericton — capital city and the cultural, artistic and educational centre of the province
  • 5 Gagetown — many studios featuring pottery, weaving and art
  • 6 Grand Falls — named for a waterfall created by a series of rock ledges over which the river drops 23 m
Longest covered bridge, at Hartland
  • 7 Hartland — home of the world's longest wooden covered bridge
  • 8 Nackawic — home of the world's largest axe
  • 9 Oromocto   — home of Canadian Forces Base Gagetown
  • 10 Perth-Andover — at the Gathering of the Scots at the end of May, you can watch some of the finest Ancient Scottish Heavy Events athletes
  • 11 Plaster Rock — come in February for the annual World Pond Hockey Championships
  • 12 Saint-Léonard   — it has it all: a sawmill and potato farms
  • 13 Saint-Quentin   — gateway to Mount Carleton Provincial Park
  • 14 Woodstock — the oldest incorporated town in New Brunswick preserves its many Victorian buildings

Other destinations edit

Understand edit

The Saint John River is a 673-km-long river that flows from Northern Maine into Canada, and runs south along the western side of New Brunswick, emptying into the Atlantic Ocean in the Bay of Fundy. Eastern Canada's longest river,[ its drainage basin is one of the largest on the east coast.

With the water flow in the spring being six times the average rate, the valley has always been prone to flooding in the spring. Surface runoff from heavy rainfall is the main cause of flooding, and can be exacerbated by ice jams, high tides, and rapid snowmelt. Flooding has occurred in Edmundston, Grand Falls, Perth-Andover, Hartland, and Woodstock, and most severely around Fredericton. The severity and frequency of flooding is increasing with climate change.

When the Europeans arrived, they found that the Saint John River basin was the homeland of the Maliseet tribes, who practised hunting and gathering and farmed near the banks of the river. During the 1600 and 1700s, French colonists populated the lower river valley as part of Acadia. Decades of warfare between the British colonies in what is now New England and Acadia, led to the expulsion of the Acadians in 1784. Following the American Revolutionary War, United Empire Loyalists settled the area. Returning Acadians settled the upper valley.

Large numbers of people began settling the area in the early 1800s, mostly Scottish and Irish, and by the end of the 1850s much of the central Saint John valley had been cleared of old-growth forest for farming. Francophone Quebecers moved into the northern areas. In the interwar period, many of these farms were abandoned due to urbanization, and allowed to reforest.

Get in edit

By car edit

Edmundston is on Trans-Canada Highway 2 between Fredericton and the Quebec border. It is across the river from and has an international border crossing with Madawaska, Maine.

Fredericton is 180 km from Moncton on the Trans-Canada Highway (#2), and 120 km from Saint John on Route 7 (turn west on #2 at Oromocto).

By bus edit

Maritime Bus runs buses between Fredericton and Edmundston daily. Service available from Moncton, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island.

By plane edit

  • 1 Fredericton Airport (YFC IATA), fax: +1 506-460-0938. Flights from Halifax, Montreal–Trudeau, Ottawa, Toronto–Pearson, St. John's (Newfoundland).    

Get around edit

The Trans-Canada Highway (#2) provides the most direct route through the valley, from the Quebec border all the way to Moncton.

Route 105 is a slower, more scenic route that follows the river closely from Grand Falls to Fredericton.

Maritime Bus runs buses between Edmundston and Fredericton twice a day with stops at the towns along the Trans-Canada Highway, including Woodstock, Florenceville, Perth-Andover, Grand Falls and St.-Leonard.

See edit

Grand Falls Gorge
  • A total solar eclipse on Monday 8 April 2024 crosses this area shortly after 4:30PM local time. The track of totality is northeast from Mexico and Texas to Ohio, straddling the Canada–New England border, then across Maine, New Brunswick and Newfoundland.
  • The Beaverbrook Art Gallery in Fredericton is New Brunswick's provincial art gallery. William Maxwell "Max" Aitken, Lord Beaverbrook, funded the building of the gallery and assembled the original collection. It has over 300 works, including paintings by J.M.W. Turner and Salvador Dalí.
  • The King's Landing is a historical settlement near Fredericton north. It is an outdoor living history museum that recreates the sights, sounds and feel of rural New Brunswick in the 1800s.
  • The Hartland Covered Bridge is the longest covered bridge in the world at 391 m. You can still drive across, or walk across on the sidewalk. The bridge is a National Historic Site.
  • The Grand Falls Gorge includes a waterfall with a series of rock ledges over which the river drops 23 metres (75 ft).
  • The World Pond Hockey Championships are held in Plaster Rock in mid-February. The 4-day event has been held annually since 2002. It attracts 120 teams from every province in Canada, 35 American states, and 15 other countries at a variety of competitive levels. Its emphasis is on camaraderie instead of competition. Over 8000 spectators enjoy games on 20 rinks.
  • The New Brunswick Botanical Garden in Edmunston has themed gardens including annuals, perennials, rhododendrons, an alpine garden and a rose garden.
  • 1 Blue Bell Tunnel. An abandoned train tunnel that was once the largest tunnel in the province. Due to its size, it was able to take on the largest rail freight shipment ever handled in North America. While you can explore the entrance of the tunnel, do not enter inside due to falling rocks.

Do edit

Fire-spotting hut on Mount Carleton
  • Zipline over the valley at Grand Falls.
  • Hike the NB Trail on the old railway line and bridges on both sides of the St. John River. It is part of the Trans-Canada Trail.
  • Mont Farlagne near Edmunston offers skiing, tubing, snowshoeing, fat biking.
  • Mount Carleton Provincial Park, near Plaster Rock, has several significant peaks, all of which have trails around or over them. At 820 m, Mount Carleton is the highest peak in the Maritime provinces. The park is in the northern extension of the Appalachian Mountains.

Eat edit

  • Fiddlehead ferns are a local specialty
  • Tarte au sucre is a Brayon sugar pie
  • River salmon are abundant in rivers and on menus
  • French fries, Florenceville-Bristol. Gourmet French fry cafe and potato museum (summer only) in the town that hosts the world headquarters of McCain's.

Stay safe edit

Go next edit

This region travel guide to Saint John River Valley is a usable article. It gives a good overview of the region, its sights, and how to get in, as well as links to the main destinations, whose articles are similarly well developed. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.