86 Fascinating Facts About New Brunswick

Interesting and fun facts about New Brunswick province Canada

In this post, you’ll learn the many things New Brunswick is known for with these fascinating and fun facts about New Brunswick.

New Brunswick, the “Picture Province,” was one of Canada’s original provinces with a unique history and culture.

General New Brunswick Facts

1. New Brunswick (Nouveau-Brunswick in French) is one of Canada’s 13 provinces and territories.

2. It is one of the six provinces that make up Eastern Canada.

3. New Brunswick is also considered one of the four “Atlantic Provinces” (along with Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador) and one of the three “Maritime Provinces” (same as the above but minus Newfoundland and Labrador).

4. New Brunswick was one of the four original provinces of Canada, along with Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia, which joined in Confederation in 1867.

5. New Brunswick is the 3rd smallest province of Canada, after Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia.

6. At 72,908 km2 (28,150 mi2), New Brunswick only accounts for 0.7% of Canada’s area.

7. It is roughly the same size as Panama in Central America.

Confederation Bridge at night
Confederation Bridge connects New Brunswick to Prince Edward Island

8. 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.

9. Prince Edward Island’s province lies just off New Brunswick’s coast. The two are connected by the 12.9 km (8 mi) Confederation Bridge, the longest bridge in Canada and the world’s longest bridge over ice-covered water in the winter.

10. New Brunswick has a population of 794,000, the second-lowest of any province (after Prince Edward Island) but still more than any of the territories.

11. Six cities in Canada have more people than the whole province of New Brunswick (they are Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, and Ottawa-Gatineau.

12. Despite its low population, New Brunswick has Canada’s 4th highest population density (10.5 people per km2) due to its small size.

A lighthouse on the bay in Mactaquac Provincial Park
Mactaquac Park is one of many places in NB with an indigenous name.

13. Around 4% of people in New Brunswick are First Nations, belonging to the Mi’kmaq, Maliseet, and Wolastoqiyik tribes, or Métis.

14. New Brunswick is Canada’s only province with English and French as official provincial languages (both English and French are official languages nationally).

15. 8.5% of people in New Brunswick speak French only, while 34% can speak both French and English.

16. New Brunswick (along with Nova Scotia) is the Acadians’ homeland, originating in southwestern France. They have a different history and dialect (Acadian French) than the Quebecois. The British expelled them to the US (where they are called Cajuns), but many later returned.

17. The capital city of New Brunswick is Fredericton, 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 (108,000), while Saint John is similar to Fredericton.

The New Brunswick Legislature on the riverside in Fredericton at night
The riverside Legislature building in Fredericton

18. People from New Brunswick are called New Brunswickers. They have also been nicknamed “herringchokers,” possibly because women working in fish packing plants used to pinch off the heads of sardines or because locals “choke down” (eat) lots of fish.   

19. New Brunswick was named after King George III, who was also the Duke and Prince-elector of Brunswick-Lüneburg in the Holy Roman Empire in Germany.

20. New Brunswick’s official motto is Spem reduxit (Latin for “Hope Restored”).

21. From 2009 to 2011, New Brunswick license plates said, “Be…in this place / Être… ici on le peut”. Before and after that, they don’t have any slogans on them.

22. The flag of New Brunswick shows a golden lion on a red background on 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.

New Brunswick flag
The flag of New Brunswick

23. New Brunswick has also been nicknamed “The Picture Province” for its beautiful scenery and friendly people and “The Loyalist Province,” as most English in NB are descendants of Loyalists.

24. The black-capped chickadee is the provincial bird of New Brunswick and also of the US states of Maine and Massachusetts.

Random Interesting Facts About New Brunswick

25. McCain Frozen Foods, founded in 1957, makes one-third of the world’s frozen French fries in New Brunswick.

26. 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.

An exposed sea floor in Fundy Bay at low tide
Low Tide on the Bay of Fundy

27. The Bay of Fundy between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia is famous for having the highest tides in the world, around 16 meters. 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.

28. Due to the high tides, the Saint John River flows backward twice per day.

29. One of the most famous sights in New Brunswick is Hopewell Rocks (see the cover image of this article), a group of rock towers standing 12 to 21 m (40 to 70 ft) on the Bay of Fundy coast, caused by erosion by the bay’s famously high tides. They are also called the Flowerpot Rocks or simply “The Rocks.”

30. Old Sow Whirlpool on the southwestern shore of Deer Island, NB, is the second largest whirlpool in the world, after one in Norway.  

31. The Village Historique Acadien is a living history museum showcasing the daily life of Acadians in New Brunswick from 1770 to 1949.

A row of lobster traps painted blue, white and red, the colors of the Acadian flag, in New Brunswick
Lobster traps painted in the colors of the Acadian flag

32. 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.

33. The University of New Brunswick in Saint John, founded in 1785, was the first English university in Canada and one of the oldest in North America.

34. New Brunswick is home to two of Canada’s three Trappist monasteries. Unlike some in Europe, though, the monks there don’t make and sell beer.

35. At Magnetic Hill in Moncton, water (or a car placed in neutral) appears to run uphill due to an optical illusion.  

36. The Hartland Covered Bridge across the Saint John River is the longest-covered bridge in the world, at 390 m (1282 ft).

Hartland Covered Bridge
Hartland Covered Bridge

37. Franklin D. and Eleanor Roosevelt’s family used to have a summer cottage on Campobello Island, NB, just off the coast of Maine. The island is now preserved as the Roosevelt Campobello International Park, owned by the governments of Canada and the US.

38. About half of New Brunswick’s population lives in rural areas, one of the highest rates of any province.

39. 83% of New Brunswick is covered in forest, and the Appalachian mountains cover its northern half.  

40. The Irving Group of Companies owns many companies in New Brunswick, including most newspapers.

41. New Brunswick has the third lowest GDP of any province (not counting the territories) and is the recipient of equalization payments.

42. Politically, New Brunswick sways between electing liberal and conservative leaders, with the French leaning more toward liberal and the English conservative.

An expansive farm in New Brunswick
A rural scene in New Brunswick

43. Famous New Brunswickers include 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.

44. Winnifred Blair of Saint John, NB, was the first “Miss Canada” in 1923, although the competition was unrelated to the current one, which started in 1946.

45. One of North America’s first female sea captains, Molly Kool, was a New Brunswicker.

46. Willie O’Ree of Fredericton, NB, was the first black hockey player in the NHL, entering in 1958.

47. Louis B. Mayer, co-founder of MGM, was raised in Saint John, NB.

48. 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.

A mosaic of famous people and products from New Brunswick
Famous people and products of New Brunswick: Molly Kool, R. B. Bennett, Willie O’Ree, McCain, Moosehead, and Donald Sutherland (clockwise from top-left)

49. Locals claim that a resident of Sussex, NB (which calls itself the dairy capital of Canada) invented the ice cream cone. The story goes that the baker overcooked some dough and went to the next-door ice cream parlor to fill it. Most sources say that Italians in New York City invented the first ice cream cone in 1902.

50. Moosehead Brewery, founded in Saint John in 1867, was Canada’s first independent brewery.

51. Greco Pizza, a major pizza chain in Atlantic Canada, was founded in Moncton, NB.

52. New Brunswick invented the scuba tank, compound steam engine, the iconic ring-pull on sardine cans, and mixed hot and cold water taps.

The world's largest lobster in Shediac, New Brunswick, with the Canadian and NB flag over it
“Giant lobster in Shediac” by pacres is licensed under CC-By-NC-2.0

53. Shediac, New Brunswick, is home to the world’s largest lobster. The statue is 11 m (36 ft) long and 5 m (16 ft) tall, weighing 90 tonnes.

54. New Brunswick is also home to the world’s largest axe, 15 m (49 ft) tall, in Nackawic.

Historical Facts About New Brunswick

55. Unlike the Canadian Shield, which covers a huge area of Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut, the rocks that make up New Brunswick and the other Maritime provinces originate in microcontinents that once lay near the South Pole.

56. There is evidence of human habitation going back 9000 years.

A marshy scene in Kouchibouguac National Park
Kouchibouguac National Park

57. When Europeans first arrived, the Mi’kmaq, Maliseet, and Passamaquoddy inhabited the area.

58. French explorer Jacques Cartier was the first European to see New Brunswick in 1534.

59. In 1604, French Samuel de Champlain reached the mouth of the Saint John River (the modern site of the city of Saint John).

60. Saint John was later the site of the first European settlement in New Brunswick, followed by Fredericton upriver.

61. In the early 1700s, the settlements in NB became a part of Acadia (Acadie), an official colony of New France different from that of the district of Quebec in the Canadian colony.

An old stone wall and door entrance at Fort Beauséjour
Fort Beauséjour / Fort Cumberland National Historic Site

62. In 1713, the British took over Acadia during Queen Anne’s War.

63. The French continued to dispute the area, building Fort Beauséjour in 1751. Today, it is preserved as a National Historic Site in New Brunswick, near the border with Nova Scotia.

64. In 1755, the British took over the fort and began expelling the Acadians, mostly to Louisiana. Known as the “Great Expulsion”, around 11,500 of 14,100 Acadians were forcefully deported, with around 5000 of them dying.

65. After the Treaty of Paris (1763), the area of New Brunswick became a part of the British colony of Nova Scotia.

66. Some Acadians later returned to find English, mostly from New England, occupying the homes and lands, so they formed new communities.

A barn with red doors at the Acadian Village in New Brunswick
Barn at the Acadian Village

67. After the American Revolution (1775 – 1783), around 10,000 Loyalists fled the US and settled in New Brunswick. Most English-speaking New Brunswickers today are descended from them.

68. In 1783, the first newspaper was published in New Brunswick.

69. In 1784, New Brunswick became its district, separate from Nova Scotia.

70. In 1785, Saint John became Canada’s first incorporated city (not to be confused with Saint John’s, Newfoundland).

71. In the 1800s, New Brunswick became a center of woodwork and shipbuilding. The area prospered, and NB’s population grew ten times from 1800 to 1850, with large-scale immigration from Ireland and Scotland.

A Canadian stamp showing the Marco Polo ship built in the New Brunswick
Stamp of the Marco Polo ship, built in New Brunswick

72. In 1851, the Marco Polo ship built in New Brunswick earned the title “fastest ship in the world.”

73. In 1861, New Brunswick was the first in North America to use secret ballots in its election.

74. In 1867, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia underwent Confederation, becoming the first four provinces of Canada.

75. A railway system connecting the four colonies was up and running by 1872.

76. The decline of the wood shipbuilding industry in the late 1800s caused an economic downturn and diversification in New Brunswick, with the effects lasting well into the 1900s. French/Acadian communities were especially poor.

77. In 1957, equalization payments began, with better-off provinces giving part of the taxation income to provinces such as New Brunswick.

An old train station beside a railway line in New Brunswick
McAdam train station, dating to 1900

78. In 1960, Louis J. Robichaud became the first Acadian premier of New Brunswick.

79. In 1969, New Brunswick became officially bilingual. Resides can now receive government services and correspondence in either English or French. This right became a part of the Canadian Constitution in 1982.

80. In 1994, the first Congrès Mondial Acadien (World Acadia  Congress) was held in Moncton, NB.

81. In 2005, Sandra Lovelace Nicholas of New Brunswick became the first indigenous female member of the Senate.

82. In 2009, Graydon Nicholas became the first indigenous lieutenant governor of New Brunswick.

83. In 2014, Justin Bourque shot five and killed 3 RCMP officers in Moncton, NB.

Exterior of Saint Bernard's Church in Moncton in New Brunswick
Historic Saint Bernard’s Church in Moncton

84. In 2017, plans to build an oil pipeline from Alberta and Saskatchewan to refineries in Quebec and New Brunswick were canceled due to concerns among indigenous communities and environmentalists.

85. In 2021, a poor potato crop in New Brunswick and other Canadian provinces caused a shortage of French fries around the world.

86. In February of 2022, New Brunswick’s iconic Flowerpot Rock on Fundy Trail toppled into the sea in a storm.

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