New Brunswick, Canada - Encyclopedia

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NEW BRUNSWICK, a province of the Dominion of Canada, lying between 45° 2' and 48° 3' N. and 63° 46' and 69° 3' W. Its length from N. to S. is 230 m., its greatest breadth 190 m., and it has a seaboard of about 550 m.

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Physical Features

The surface is generally undulating, but in the north and north-west of the province are many ranges of hills from 1000 to 2000 ft. in height, rising in Bald Mountain to 2400 ft. These elevations are an extension of the Appalachian Mountains and traverse the province from the state of Maine. This whole section of the province is densely wooded. The southern region embraces the district along the Bay of Fundy. Its coast is rocky and bold and interrupted by ravines. Inland the numerous rivers, flowing through the soft sandstone and conglomerate rocks, have cut broad valleys, the soil of which is extremely rich and fertile. Along the shores on the east coast, and for some miles inland, the country is flat and composed of mosses and marshes, but beyond that distance it rises into gently sloping hills, which extend as far as St John.

New Brunswick is a network of rivers, bays and lakes, several of which are navigable for vessels of large tonnage. The principal rivers are the St John, Miramichi, Restigouche, Saint Croix, Petitcodiac, Richibucto and Nipisiguit. The St John, which is famous for its scenery, rises in the state of Maine and is over 450 m. in length. It is navigable for vessels of moderate tonnage from St John on the Bay of Fundy to Fredericton, a distance of about 88 m., but steamers of light draught ply as far as Woodstock, 65 m. farther, and during the rainy season boats go as far as Grand Falls, a cataract 70 or 80 ft. high, 225 m. from the sea. Among the many lakes which it drains is Grand Lake, 20 m. long, and varying from 3 to 9 m. in breadth. The Miramichi flows N.E. into a bay of the same name. It is 225 m. long, 7 m. wide at its mouth, and navigable as far as Nelson (46 m.). In the spring and autumn small steamers and barges go much farther up. With its branches it drains a fourth of the province. A large lumber trade is done in this district, and many saw-mills are driven by the river. The Restigouche forms the north-east boundary of the province, is ioo m. in length and flows into the Bay of Chaleur. It is composed of five main branches, its name signifying in Indian "the river which divides like the hand." Large vessels may safely navigate it 18 m. from the bay. With its tributaries it drains over 4000 sq. m. of fertile and wellwooded country. The St Croix separates New Brunswick from the state of Maine at its south-west angle. Its source is a chain of lakes called the Chiputneticook. The Petitcodiac is navigable for 25 m. for ships, and schooners of 80 tons burden may proceed to the head of the tide, 12 m. farther; it empties into Shepody Bay. The Richibucto discharges into the Gulf of St Lawrence. The Nipisiguit and Tobique (a tributary of the St John) in the N. are in much repute among anglers.

The coast-line of New Brunswick is indented with numerous fine bays and harbours. The Bay of Fundy is an arm of the sea separating New Brunswick from Nova Scotia and terminating in two smaller bays, Chignecto Bay and the Basin of Minas. Its length up to Chignecto Bay is 140 m. and its extreme breadth 45 m. It is noted for its high tides, which rise about 30 ft. at St John and over 50 ft. at the head of Chignecto Bay. At Bay Verte, 14 m. distant, on the opposite side of the Isthmus of Chignecto, the tide rises little more than 4 . or 5 _ft. The Bay of hundreds of farmers. Much crown land still remains unoccupied, and is sold by the provincial government on easy terms to bona fide settlers.


Its great forests, through which flow numerous rivers with excellent harbours at or near their mouths, have long made New Brunswick a centre of lumbering. This industry has affected the whole development of the province, and the wilder and more unsettled life of its woodsmen contrasts with that of the farmer of Ontario or of the west. The most valuable and most widely-spread tree is the black spruce (Abies nigra), from which is made a yearly increasing quantity of wood-pulp for paper-making. The hemlock (Abies Canadensis), the cedar, birch, beech, oak, ash and many other valuable trees, are also widely spread. The chief ports for shipping are St John, at the mouth of the St John river, and Chatham, at the mouth of the Miramichi.

Though much remains, much has been destroyed by forest fires. To this day traces may be seen of the fire which in 1825 utterly destroyed hundreds of square miles of timber along the river Miramichi.

The same forests are also a paradise for sportsmen. The game laws are being made increasingly strict, and the province draws a large revenue from the sale of licences, extra fees being imposed on sportsmen from other countries. Moose (Cervus alces), caribou and deer may only be shot during about two months in the autumn, and the number allowed to each gun is strictly limited. In 1902 the provincial government set aside a large area of the highlands at the sources of the Tobique, Nipisiquit and Miramichi rivers for a national park and game preserve.

Mines and Fisheries

The mineral wealth of the province is small, though gold, iron, copper, lead, zinc and plumbago have been worked on a small scale at various times. Coal seams are numerous, but are worked solely for local consumption. Albertite, a species of coal found in Albert (Archbishop)|Albert county and giving a very hot flame, is now exhausted. Limestone and gypsum are extensively quarried near St John and in Albert county.

The fisheries, on the other hand, are extensive, though less so than those of Nova Scotia. This industry centres in the counties of Charlotte and Gloucester, herring, salmon, lobsters, sardines and cod forming the chief catch. The Restigouche and other rivers near the northern border are much frequented by anglers in search of trout and salmon.


The chief manufactures, apart from the shipping of St John, are connected with lumbering and with agriculture. The making of paper pulp and of furniture is growing steadily in importance. Co-operation in the manufacture of butter and cheese has produced excellent results, and numerous cheese and butter factories are scattered through the province. In no sense, however, does New Brunswick play an important part in the manufactures of the Dominion.


The rivers are still the main arteries of the province. The roads, though improving, are as a rule bad. The main railway system has since 1876 been that of the Intercolonial, owned and operated by the federal government, by which the province is linked to Nova Scotia on the E. and to the rest of Canada on the W. The Canadian Pacific and the Grand Trunk Pacific also run through the province, and by the Canadian Pacific and the Maine Central it has communication with the United States. Various lines of steamers run, chiefly from St John, to American and other Canadian ports.


Until 1784 New Brunswick formed part, first of the French province of Acadia, later of the British province of Nova Scotia. The first settlement within its borders was made in 1604 by Pierre de Guast, sieur de Monts, with whom was Samuel de Champlain. Their colony at the mouth of the St Croix river was soon abandoned, but throughout the French regime the district was frequented by bands of fur-traders. In 1762 the first English settlement was made at Maugerville on the St John river, and in 1764 a body of Scottish farmers and labourers took up land along the Miramichi. On the 18th of May 1783 a band of American loyalists settled at the mouth of the St John. Thousands more followed, and in 1784 New Brunswick was declared a separate province. At first governed by a representative assembly and an irresponsible council, it obtained responsible government in 1847-1848, after a constitutional.. struggle in which no little ability was shown. In 1867 it entered without reluctance but without enthusiasm into the Canadian Federation. Its economic and educational history, both more important than its political, have been indicated in earlier parts of this article. (For the boundary dispute, see MAINE.) BIBLIOGRAPHY. -Sir J. W. Dawson, Acadian Geology (edition of 1891), is the most easily accessible work on the geology of the province. Numerous studies have been published, chiefly by the Geological Survey of Canada, by L. W. Bailey, R. W. Ells, A. P. Low, and G. F. Matthew. Valuable papers on various provincial subjects have been published in the Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada by W. F. Ganong. The provincial government issues a yearly volume of sessional papers; Acadiensis, a magazine published in St John, should also be consulted. The earliest account of New Brunswick is given by Nicholas Denys, Description geographique (published Paris, 1672; republished by W. F. Ganong with notes and introduction, 1908); there is no good modern history; R. Montgomery Martin, History of New Brunswick (1837); G. E. Fenety, Political Notes (1867); James Hannay, History of Acadia (1879), and Lives of Wilmot and Tilley (1907) may be consulted. (W. L. G.)

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