Skip to main content Skip to Search Box

Definition: New Brunswick from Collins English Dictionary

n

1 a province of SE Canada on the Gulf of St Lawrence and the Bay of Fundy: extensively forested. Capital: Fredericton. Pop: 751 171 (2011 est). Area: 72 092 sq km (27 835 sq miles). Abbreviation: NB


Summary Article: New Brunswick
from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Largest of the three Maritime Provinces of eastern Canada; area 73,400 sq km/28,332 sq mi; population (2001 est) 787,100; 33% French-speaking; 52% rural inhabitants. It is bounded on the north by Québec, with the Matapédia and Restigouche rivers forming part of the border; in the northeast Chaleur Bay separates New Brunswick's north shore from Québec's Gaspé Peninsula. Off its eastern coast is the Gulf of St Lawrence and in the southeast the Northumberland Strait, on the far side of which lies Prince Edward Island. Nova Scotia province is situated to its south and southeast, across the Bay of Fundy and the narrow land bridge known as the Chignecto Isthmus. To the southwest lies the US state of Maine, with the Saint John and Saint Croix rivers forming parts of the boundary. The capital of the province is Fredericton, and Saint John and Moncton are other towns.

Grand Lake, Saint John River, Bay of Fundy, and Hopewell Cape are features found in the province. Industries include the production of wood, pulp, and paper; mining (lead, zinc, copper, nickel, silver, tungsten, gypsum, bismuth, antimony, coal, and potash), and oil and natural-gas extraction. Manufacturing includes heavy engineering, light industries (electronics, footwear), and production of building materials (bricks and tiles). There is also arable farming (cereals, potatoes, and apples), plus livestock-rearing and dairy industry, and fishing (herring and lobsters).

Features New Brunswick is comprised of Appalachian upland in the west and coastal lowlands in the east. Its rivers almost all flow from the upland to the ocean – the Saint John and Saint Croix southeast into the Bay of Fundy, and the Restigouche, Miramichi, and smaller rivers east into the Gulf of St Lawrence. At 820 m/2,690 ft, Mount Carleton is the highest point of the province.

The Fundy Islands are part of New Brunswick's territory, and are situated in the Bay of Fundy between the southwestern mainland and the US state of Maine; Grand Manan Deer, and Campobello (linked to Maine by bridge and notable for being the summer residence of US president Franklin Roosevelt) are the largest of these islands. The sharp narrowing of the inlet produces a tidal bore of up to 1 m/3ft, and the world's highest tidal flow at the mouth of the Petitcodiac River, Hopewell Cape. The sea rises 19 m/62 ft between low and high tides. The cape is also the site of Rocks Provincial Park, with its unusual ‘flowerpot’ formations; these towering rock stacks, sculpted by wave action, are topped with vegetation, and at high tide take on the appearance of islands.

Economic activities In comparison with the rest of Canada, New Brunswick is relatively poor, and unemployment is comparatively high. Manufacturing has been the fastest growing sector of the economy since 1994 in terms of jobs generated, with around 51,000 people working in the sector by 2000 – many of them in food processing. Saint John, the largest city and chief port, is the principal industrial and trading centre, with shipbuilding, oil-refining, paint-making, food-processing (flour, sugar), and brewing operations. Moncton, which developed as a transport centre, manufactures railway rolling-stock and a wide range of machinery. It remains a major distribution point for the province and Newfoundland. Employment in the small capital city of Fredericton is provided mainly by the administrative and educational services. The province also produces footwear, bricks, and tiles. An electronics factory is situated at Campbelltown. Communications and information technology are growing in importance in their contribution to the economy.

Agriculture in New Brunswick is based around potato-growing, especially in the Aroostook and upper Saint John river valleys. 75% of the province's potato crop is produced here, in the counties of Carleton and Victoria, which have well-drained, fairly high-quality morainic soils. The potatoes are sold throughout Canada either for consumption or as seed. The main activities in the lower Saint John Valley are dairy and vegetable farming for nearby urban markets, and the production of apples for export. Mixed farming predominates in the other agricultural areas: the Kennebacasis valley, the Moncton and Shippegan districts, and the coastal lowlands of the Northumberland Strait. Most of the land is kept under pasture for dairy and beef cattle, but oats, root crops, and potatoes are grown in small quantities.

Fishing and fish-processing are important industries. The lobsters from the fisheries along the coast of the Northumberland Strait command high prices in the large urban markets of Canada and the USA. Sardines, Atlantic salmon, and bluefin tuna are also landed in the province. Dulse, an edible seaweed, is picked in the coastal areas. Inland, the Miramichi and Restigouche and their tributaries are among the world's most renowned rivers for salmon fishing. Aquaculture, for salmon, trout, and shellfish, is a growing industry.

New Brunswick is heavily forested, and its vast timber resources have been exploited since colonial times, formerly as naval supplies and sawn wood, but now almost exclusively for pulp and paper. The main forests, and their associated mill centres, are located in the western part of the province. Dalhousie, the largest milltown, and Bathurst are coastal sites with access to the forests of the Restigouche and Nepisiguit river basins. Edmundston, in the northwest of the province, draws timber from the northern section of the Saint John basin. A large pulp and paper mill using timber from the central region has been built at Nakawic on the Saint John River, upstream from Fredericton. Other plants are sited at Campbelltown, Newcastle, St George, and Saint John. About 120 sawmills supply not only the local market, but also a growing export market in Europe. Forest products are some of New Brunswick's most significant exports.

The mining of antimony and bismuth generates much income and employment for the province. Zinc, potash, silver, lead, copper, and peat are also major products. Bathurst, Sussex, Minto, and the north shore are the major production areas. A mining complex has been developed at Belldune near Bathurst, incorporating extraction, milling, smelting, and chemical facilities. In 1996 zinc made up 45% of the value of New Brunswick's non-fuel mineral production. The Brunswick mine is the world's most productive zinc mine. Coal was mined for many years at Moncton and Minto. The Moncton mine has been abandoned, but Minto continues open-cast coal production. Its pits are operated by NB Coal Ltd. All production is sold to NB Power for electricity generation. A small oil and natural-gas field is located at Moncton. Valuable amounts of tungsten have been found at Cross Creek, and gypsum discovered at Hillsborough. Other mineral resources include limestone, gold, cadmium, quartz, indium, molybdenum, marl, and tin. New Brunswick also has two potash mines, with proven resources of 150 million tonnes. The province is the sixth-largest potash producer in the world.

Eight thermal power stations are located at coastal sites, fuelled by the province's coal resources. Hydroelectric power plants are concentrated along the Saint John River; the three largest being at Grand Falls, Beachwood, and Mactaquac. There is a nuclear power station at Point Lepreau. Shortage of power has been one of the main obstacles to the industrial development of the province in the past.

History The region was originally home to the Mi'qmak and Maliseet, American Indian Algonquian-speaking peoples. The French explorer Jacques Cartier first visited New Brunswick in 1534, and European settlers began to arrive in the early 17th century. Dochet (Saint Croix) Island, in the St Croix River on the Maine boundary, was the site of a short-lived French outpost established by Samuel de Champlain in 1604. Later, as part of the French colony of Acadia, enduring coastal settlements sprang up throughout the area. Despite the fact that the British gained control of the region in the Treaty of Utrecht (1713), they did not exercise their dominion immediately, and the French briefly retained a power base at Fort Beauséjour, near Sackville in the Chignecto isthmus. In the 1750s–60s, however, the Acadians were forced to flee the colony or retreat inland, up the Saint John Valley. After the British ended French colonial interest in northeastern America when they defeated New France in 1763, New Brunswick was administered as part of Nova Scotia for 20 years.

With the British defeat in the American Revolution, many United Empire Loyalists emigrated north into the region, settling around Saint John and along the southern coast. Accordingly, the British authorities decided in 1784 to found a new colony, which they called New Brunswick, after King George III's German duchy of Brunswick–Lunenburg. Its capital was established at Saint Anne's, up the Saint John River, which was renamed Fredericton. French Acadians were displaced farther northwest, to the Madawaska region, where they created a distinctive culture centred around Edmundston. Disputes with the USA over the western border continued throughout the early 19th century, with outbreaks of fighting at Aroostook and Madawaska in the 1830s and 1840s. In the late 18th century, Acadians began to resettle the Chaleur Bay area, especially around Caraquet and Shippegan; their fishing and farming settlements gradually spread south. Throughout the 19th century, the ports and shipbuilding centres of the south, especially Saint John and Saint Andrews, flourished; fishing was also economically critical, and Moncton became the rail nexus for Maritime Canada. New Brunswick was one of the first proponents of Confederation (1867); ironically, Canadian union altered economic patterns in favour of regions to the west, bringing local decline. In the 20th century, the province has struggled with cyclical fluctuations in the lumber market and the decline of Atlantic fisheries and the railways.

Geology The landform of the province was created by the upward warping of a great syncline (inward fold of the Earth's crust), which had formed around the edge of the Precambrian Canadian Shield. This orogeny (mountain building) occurred in the Cambrian, Ordovician, Silurian, and Devonian eras, and resulted in a complex series of ridges and depressions. Eastern and central New Brunswick is formed by one of the basins, a large triangular area of late Palaeozoic sandstones, limestones, and shales, bounded on the north and south by highland masses. The upland areas appeared mainly during the Cambrian and Ordovician periods, when great granite and other igneous domes were pushed up through the overlying sandstones and limestones. In the north, the mountains rise to a high point of 820 m/2,690 ft at Mount Carleton, but become slightly lower and less imposing in the south. The region has experienced repeated glaciation. Ice sheets deepened the valleys, and swept the uplands clear of all loose material, giving them a rounded appearance. Moraines (glacial debris) were deposited in the eastern lowlands. Recent glacial activity and the cool damp climate have given rise to immature soil profiles throughout the area. Leaching (the washing of substances from the earth) has caused the formation of acidic soils. The low-lying coastal plain and sandy morainic deposits offer areas of cultivation, but only following liming and fertilization.

Climate Although bounded by the sea to the south and east, the tempering effect of the ocean on New Brunswick's climate is not marked. It is greatest during the summer when semi-continental conditions prevail in the interior, with July temperatures ranging from 18°C/64°F to 20°C/68°F, while the southern coastal areas are cooled. Intense heating of the eastern lowlands and the Saint John River Valley frequently gives rise to local thunderstorms. In winter the sea has less effect, although slightly higher temperatures are experienced around the Bay of Fundy. The Gulf of St Lawrence freezes over, creating a cold mass which brings severe weather to most of the province. Temperatures vary from −15°C/5 °F in the north to −7°C/19°F in the southwest. The frost-free season varies between 90 and 115 days. A procession of cyclonic storm systems sweep eastwards over the province bringing heavy snowfalls in the winter, and bitter weather to the coastal areas. More than half the total annual precipitation of 890–1,020 mm/34–39 in falls in the summer, when a warm moist air system covers the province. Dense fogs may occur throughout the year; August and September being the clearest months. The Bay of Fundy remains free of ice all year round, which has favoured the development of the port of Saint John.

Transport and tourism Tourism, both in summer and winter, is increasingly important to the province. Visitors are drawn to the coastline, at Kouchibouguac National Park in the east, and especially to the extreme tide phenomena to be seen in the Bay of Fundy, at Fundy National Park and Rocks Provincial Park.

New Brunswick is rich in sites of historical interest. Fort Beauséjour was built by the French in 1750 to protect the border region between British Nova Scotia and French Acadia, created after the Treaty of Utrecht (1713). It was taken and refortified by the British in 1755, and remained in service until 1835. The fort became a National Historic Site in 1925. The Acadian Historical Village, 50 km/30 mi northeast of Bathurst, is a reconstruction of a pioneer village using original buildings transported from their former locations. The King's Landing Historic Settlement, 30 km/19 mi west of Fredricton, is a similar reconstruction of a 19th-century Loyalist village.

In 1997, the construction of Confederation Bridge was completed, linking Cape Tormentine in eastern New Brunswick with Carleton-Borden on Prince Edward Island. Spanning the Saint John River at Hartland is the longest covered bridge in the world, 391 m/1,282 ft in length.

People and culture The steady growth and movement south of the original settler community of French Acadians has made New Brunswick Canada's most linguistically balanced province. French-speakers form a large minority, with its own educational and cultural centres at Moncton and Caraquet. The majority English-speakers are primarily descendants of United Empire Loyalists and 19th-century English and Irish immigrants. Only 1% of the population are American Indians, distributed mainly among nine Mi'qmak and six Maliseet communities.

The demography of New Brunswick has some atypical features. There has been a trend for its urban population to decline, and since 1986 more people live in the country than in towns. In 1991, 52.3% of the population were rural; only Prince Edward Island has a higher proportion. The birth rate is low – just 1.4 children per woman in 1994 (2.1 is needed for replacement), and the province faces the problem of an ageing population. By 2011 approximately 20% of the population will be over 65 (only 12.3% were over 65 in 1994); this is the most pronounced example of an ageing population in Canada.

Fredericton is the cultural centre of New Brunswick; it is home to the University of New Brunswick and a number of other educational institutions. The university, as well as an art gallery and theatre in Fredericton, have been aided by endowments from the press baron Lord Beaverbrook, who grew up in New Brunswick.

Famous people Though born in Ontario, the newspaper and publishing magnate Max Aitken (Lord Beaverbrook) lived in New Brunswick from early childhood until he emigrated to England in 1910. His title was taken from the town of Beaver Brook in eastern New Brunswick. Oil magnate Kenneth Colin Irving opened his first service station in his New Brunswick hometown of Bouctouche in 1924.

images

New Brunswick – flag

© RM, 2018. All rights reserved.

Related Articles


Full text Article NEW BRUNSWICK
France and the Americas: Culture, Politics, and History

The Canadian province of New Brunswick is bordered by Quebec and Nova Scotia, the American state of Maine, and the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. Its...

Full text Article New Brunswick
Britain and the Americas: Culture, Politics, and History

New Brunswick covers 73,440 square kilometers in roughly a rectangular shape about 242 kilometers from east to west and 322 kilometers north to...

Full text Article NEW BRUNSWICK
Ireland and the Americas: Culture, Politics, and History

During the nineteenth century, the Irish contribution to the Canadian province of New Brunswick was immense: the Irish became the largest ethnic...

See more from Credo