Located on Canada’s Atlantic coast, New Brunswick is a charming Maritime province full of beautiful landscapes and unique adventures. However, aside from all the cool things to do in New Brunswick, there are also lots of interesting and fun facts about New Brunswick. For example, did you know that New Brunswick is Canada’s only officially bilingual province and one of the four original provinces that made up the national confederation in 1867?
Chartered by King George III, the province was named for the royal house of Brunswick, and its capital, Fredericton, was named for King George III’s son Frederick. Despite being one of the smaller provinces and having a lesser role in the national economy, New Brunswick has actually contributed quite a bit to the national life in Canada and has a deep history that has resulted in lots of interesting New Brunswick Facts.
To learn more about this relatively unspoiled province, continue reading below for 110 fun and interesting New Brunswick facts.
Disclaimer: We research a lot of websites to find these New Brunswick facts, as well as talk to locals. However, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the facts below. If you know of more facts, please leave a comment below.
54 General New Brunswick Facts
When it comes to our popular Canada facts articles, we always start off with general facts relating to the province’s history, demographics, geography, and geology.
- New Brunswick is the largest of Canada’s three Maritime Provinces, with a total area of approximately 73,440 sq. km (28,354 sq. miles). The other two Maritime provinces are Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
- New Brunswick borders the US state of Maine to the west, Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula to the north, the Gulf of St. Lawrence to the east, Nova Scotia to the southeast, and the Bay of Fundy to the south.
- New Brunswick is considered one of the four “Atlantic Provinces,” which includes Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland & Labrador.
- New Brunswick was named after King George III, who was also Duke and Prince-elector of Brunswick-Lüneburg in the Holy Roman Empire, in what is now Germany.
- When Europeans first arrived, the area was inhabited by the Mi’kmaq, Maliseet, and Passamaquoddy.
- Today, around 4% of people in New Brunswick are First Nations, belonging to the Mi’kmaq, Maliseet, and Wolastoqiyik tribes, or Métis.
- French explorer Jacques Cartier was the first European to see New Brunswick in 1534.
- In 1604, French Samuel de Champlain reached the mouth of the Saint John River (the modern site of the city of Saint John).
- In the early 1700s, the settlements in New Brunswick became a part of Acadia (Acadie), an official colony of New France that is different from that of the district of Quebec in what was then the Canada colony.
- In 1713, the British took over Acadia during Queen Anne’s War.
- The French continued to dispute the area, building Fort Beauséjour in 1751. Today it is preserved as a National Historic Site. The site is a popular tourist attraction that is close to Moncton.
- In 1755, the British took over the fort and began expelling the Acadians, mostly to Louisiana. Known as the “Great Expulsion”, between 11,000 to 14,000 Acadians were forcefully deported, with approximately 5000 of them dying.
- After the Treaty of Paris (1763), the area of New Brunswick became a part of the British colony of Nova Scotia.
- In 1783, New Brunswick’s first newspaper was published.
- In 1784, New Brunswick became its own district separate from Nova Scotia.
- In 1785, Saint John became Canada’s first incorporated city.
- After the American Revolution (1775 – 1783), approximately 10,000 Loyalists fled the US and settled in New Brunswick, many arriving at the port of Saint John. Most English-speaking New Brunswickers today are descended from them.
- In the 1800s, New Brunswick became a centre of woodwork and shipbuilding. The area prospered, and the population grew by more than 10 times from 1800 to 1850, with large-scale immigration from Ireland and Scotland.
- However, the decline of the wooden shipbuilding industry in the late 1800s caused an economic downturn in New Brunswick, with the effects lasting well into the 1900s.
- New Brunswick was one of the four original provinces of Canada, along with Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia, which joined in Confederation in 1867.
- A railway system connecting the four colonies was up and running by 1872.
- There are three distinct coastlines in New Brunswick that together span approximately 2,250 km (1,398 miles).
- The province has eight cities: Fredericton (Capital), Saint John, Moncton, Dieppe, Edmundston, Campbellton, Bathurst and Miramichi. (Also Read: Things to Do in Saint John).
- New Brunswick is the 3rd smallest province of Canada, after Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. At 72,908 square kilometres (28,150 square miles). In fact, New Brunswick only accounts for 0.7% of Canada’s area.
- Approximately 794,000 people live in New Brunswick, the second lowest of any province (after Prince Edward Island), but still more than any of the territories.
- Fredericton is the capital city of New Brunswick, which is inland on the Saint John River. With a population of 58,200, it is only the 55th largest city in Canada. The largest city in New Brunswick is Moncton with roughly 108,000 people, while Saint John is similar in size to Fredericton.
- About half of all people in New Brunswick live in rural areas, one of the highest rates of any province.
- There are six cities in Canada that have more people than the entire province of New Brunswick (they are Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, and Ottawa-Gatineau.
- Despite its low population, New Brunswick has the 4th highest population density in Canada (10.5 people per km2) due to its small size.
- 83% of New Brunswick is covered in forest, and the Appalachian mountains cover its northern half.
A large number of companies in New Brunswick, including most newspapers, are owned by the Irving Group of Companies.
- New Brunswick is Canada’s only officially bilingual province. English and French have been the province’s official languages since 1969.
- Approximately 8.5% of people in New Brunswick speak French only, while 34% can speak both French and English. New Brunswick (along with Nova Scotia) is the homeland of the Acadians, who originated in southwestern France. They have a different history and dialect (Acadian French) than the Quebecois. They were expelled by the British to the US (where they are called Cajuns), but many later returned.
- Manufacturing, mining and forestry are the main industries, and the province is considered a North American leader in forest management.
- However, New Brunswick has the third lowest GDP of any province (not counting the territories) and is the recipient of equalization payments.
- The Bay of Fundy, which lies in-between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, has the highest tides on earth and is one of the most accessible viewing areas for marine life in the world.
- The Saint John River system is the second largest on North America’s Atlantic coastline and extends from the northwest point of the province to the southern coast, where it empties into the Bay of Fundy in Saint John.
- New Brunswick is one of the very few provinces that are accessible by major airports, major highways, cruise ships, ferries and by rail.
- The Appalachian Range, which runs through New Brunswick, is one of the oldest mountain ranges on earth.
- The world’s oldest intact shark fossil, over 409 million years old, was discovered near Atholville in the heart of the Appalachian Range.
- The highest peak in the Maritimes is located within Mount Carleton Provincial Park, measuring 820 metres (2,690 feet) in height.
- Unlike the Canadian Shield, which covers a huge area of Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut, the rocks that makeup New Brunswick and the other Maritime provinces originate in microcontinents that once lay near the South Pole.
- The first French settlement in North America was attempted in 1604 on Saint Croix Island, near Saint Andrews.
- The University of New Brunswick is tied with the University of Georgia as being the oldest University in North America. It’s located in Saint John and was the first English university in Canada.
- The oldest “still in use” university building in Canada is the Old Arts Building, located on the Fredericton Campus of the University of New Brunswick.
- The New Brunswick Museum in Saint John is Canada’s first museum, established in 1842.
- In 1851, the Marco Polo ship built in New Brunswick earned the title “fastest ship in the world.”
- Ten years later, In 1861, New Brunswick was the first in North America to use secret ballots in its election.
- New Brunswick’s official motto is Spem reduxit, which is Latin for “Hope Restored”). This refers to the province having acted as a haven for Loyalist refugees who fled there after the American Revolution.
- The flag of New Brunswick shows a golden lion on a red background at the top and a lymphad (masted ship with oars) on a blue and white wavy sea. The province was once known for its shipbuilding, and many Loyalists arrived there from the US by ship.
- George Stanley, the designer of the Canada flag, was born in Calgary but spent much of his life in New Brunswick, where he was the 25th lieutenant governor of the province.
- The black-capped chickadee is the provincial bird of New Brunswick, and also of the US states of Maine and Massachusetts.
- In 1960, Louis J. Robichaud became the first Acadian premier of New Brunswick.
- In 2005, Sandra Lovelace Nicholas of New Brunswick became the first indigenous female member of the Senate.
- In 2009, Graydon Nicholas became the first indigenous lieutenant governor of New Brunswick.
24 Travel-Related Fun Facts about New Brunswick
Although all New Brunswick facts can enrich a trip to the province, these facts about New Brunswick below are tied to tourism, meaning you can see them with your own eyes!
- New Brunswick has also been nicknamed “The Picture Province” for its beautiful scenery and friendly people and “The Loyalist Province”, as most English People in New Brunswick are descendants of Loyalists.
- Shediac is home to the World’s Largest Lobster statue. This statue is 10.5 m (34 ft.) long and 4.5 m (15 ft.) high, weighing in at a whopping 90 tonnes! It makes for a great photo.
- Grand Manan Island in the Fundy Isles is one of the top birding spots in North America.
- Grand Manan Island is also the Dulse Capital of the World. Dulse is an edible dried seaweed with many healthy properties, containing many minerals and a variety of vitamins.
- Franklin D. and Eleanor Roosevelt’s family used to have a summer cottage on Campobello Island, which is just off the coast of Maine. It is now preserved as the Roosevelt Campobello International Park, owned by the governments of both Canada and the US.
- New Brunswick has more than 60 lighthouses and is famous for its inland lighthouse system that dots its inland rivers. People love getting photos of the lighthouses!
- The Bay of Fundy is a pristine sanctuary for all kinds of rare, unusual wild creatures. Immense blooms of plankton provide a vast feeding ground for up to 15 species of toothed and baleen whales, including Finbacks, Humpbacks, Pilot whales and the rare right whale.
- New Brunswick has more than 55 remaining covered bridges and Kings County is considered the Covered Bridge Capital of Atlantic Canada. The bridges that are standing today are living examples of the pride of craftsmanship, heritage, engineering and design of our forefathers.
- The “Longest Covered Bridge in the World” is located in Hartland, New Brunswick. It measures 390 metres (1,282 feet) long. There’s even a brand of chips called Covered Bridge Potato Chips. I don’t think this qualifies as New Brunswick facts but we can certainly recommend buying a bag while you’re there as they are very good!
- New Brunswick has the warmest saltwater beaches in Canada. However, if you want to be “comfortable”, you’ll want to visit during the summer months.
- New Brunswick is home to the largest ocean tidal whirlpool in the western hemispheres. It is located off the coast of Deer Island and is named the ‘Old Sow’. It is also the second largest whirlpool in the world, after one in Norway.
- Fiddleheads (edible, tightly coiled ferns that resemble the spiral end of a violin or fiddle) are a New Brunswick delicacy. Freshly picked from the riverbanks in the spring, they are wonderful served with Atlantic salmon! You’ll see them on some menus!
- The province of Prince Edward Island lies just off the coast of New Brunswick. The two are connected by the 12.9 km (8 mi) Confederation Bridge, the longest bridge in Canada, and the world’s longest bridge that goes over ice-covered water.
- New Brunswick has two national parks: Fundy National Park on the Bay of Fundy and Kouchibouguac National Park on the Gulf of St. Lawrence coast, facing Prince Edward Island.
- The Bay of Fundy between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia is famous for having the highest tides in the world, coming in at up to 16 metres. Every day, 160 billion tons of water flow into and out of the bay, more than the combined volume of all the rivers in the world. If you visit some of the towns along the Bay of Fundy, look at the docks. At low tide, you’ll often see boats on the bottom of the sea. A few hours later, they are floating much higher!
- Due to the high tides, the Saint John River flows backwards twice per day. This has created Reversing Rapids, one of the most popular natural attractions in Saint John.
- One of the most famous sights in New Brunswick is Hopewell Rocks, a group of rock towers standing 12 to 21 metres in height (40 to 70 feet) on the Bay of Fundy coast. These are caused by erosion from the bay’s famously high tides. They are also known as the Flowerpot Rocks, or simply “The Rocks.”
- However, in February of 2022, New Brunswick’s iconic Flowerpot Rock on Fundy Trail toppled into the sea in a storm. Don’t worry though. There are still other rock formations to see.
- New Brunswick Museum in Saint John is Canada’s oldest still-operating museum. The museum is home to the world’s oldest intact shark fossil, dating to 400 mya.
- The Village Historique Acadien is a living history museum showcasing the daily life of Acadians in New Brunswick from 1770 to 1949.
- At Magnetic Hill in Moncton, water (or a car placed in neutral) appears to run uphill due to an optical illusion.
- New Brunswick is home to 2 of Canada’s 3 Trappist monasteries. Unlike some of those in Europe, though, the monks there don’t make and sell beer.
- New Brunswick is also home to the world’s largest axe, 15 m (49 ft) tall, in Nackawic.
- In 1994, the first Congrès Mondial Acadien (World Acadia Congress) was held in Moncton, NB.
22 Interesting Facts about New Brunswick and What They’re Known For
From frozen french fries to scuba diving, below are some interesting New Brunswick facts that deal with things the province is known for and some of the famous people that are from there.
- One-third of the world’s frozen French fries come from New Brunswick, mainly made by McCain frozen foods, which was founded there in 1957.
- While we’re talking about potatoes, in 2021, a poor potato crop in New Brunswick and other Canadian provinces caused a shortage of French fries around the world. That’s how big potatoes are in this part of Canada.
- Do you love scuba diving as much as we do? Well, the Scuba tank was invented by James Elliot and Alexander McAvity in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1839.
- The Compound Steam Engine was also invented in Fredericton in 1845 by Benjamin F. Tibbets.
- Not everyone loves to shovel snow, so thankfully, the Snow-blower was invented by Robert Carr Harris in Dalhousie back in 1870.
- Sardine Cans were invented by Henry T. Austin in Blacks Harbour, in 1932.
- The Clothes washer with roller wringer was invented by John E. Turnbull in Saint John, in 1843.
- We all love showers so you can thank Thomas Campbell for inventing Combined hot and cold water faucets in Saint John in 1880.
- The Crossword game was invented by Edward R. MacDonald, in Shediac in 1926.
- The dump box for Trucks was invented by Robert T. Mawhinney in Saint John, in 1920.
- Ganong Brothers Ltd. are the first in Canada to produce lollipops (1895), to use cellophane packaging (1920), to make peppermint rolls (1926), and to sell Valentine’s candy in heart-shaped boxes (1932).
- Irving Oil Limited was established in Bouctouche in 1924. In 1977, it became the first Canadian oil company to offer unleaded gasoline at its retail outlets. Later in the 1990s, it became the first oil company in Canada and one of the first in North America to offer gasoline with very low sulphur content.
- One of North America’s first female sea captains, Molly Kool, was a New Brunswicker.
- New Brunswick’s Sir Charles G.D. Roberts was the first Canadian poet to be knighted.
- Louis B. Mayer, the co-founder of MGM, was raised in Saint John, NB.
- Sabian Cymbals, Meductic, is one of the first cymbal-manufacturing companies in North America.
- Moosehead Brewery, founded in Saint John in 1867, was Canada’s first independent brewery.
- Greco Pizza, a major pizza chain in Atlantic Canada, was founded in Moncton, NB.
- New Brunswick has helped produce a number of famous people such as actor Donald Sutherland, Acadian author France Daigle, Acadian musician Cayouche, folk musician Stompin’ Tom Connors, fiddler Don Messer, 11th Canadian Prime Minister R. B. Bennett, hockey players and coaches Rick Bowness and Randy Jones, and Ultimate Fighter Ryan Jimmo, just to name a few.
- Willie O’Ree of Fredericton, NB was the first black hockey player in the NHL, entering the league in 1958.
- Winnifred Blair of Saint John was the first “Miss Canada” in 1923, although the competition was unrelated to the current one, which started in 1946.
Want More Interesting Facts about Canada?
Although there are so many interesting New Brunswick facts, there are also lots of fun and interesting facts about the rest of Canada. Learn more in our guides below:
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