Here are some New Brunswickers who have gained National and International acclaim. Have we missed someone? Please drop us a line and let us know. Also check our “NB Facts” page for others not listed here.
Max Aitken (Lord Beaverbrook ) ( 1879-1964 ), born in Newcastle; author, financier, publisher; following considerable business success in the Maritimes, moved to England where he was elected to Parliament in 1910; held cabinet posts during both world wars; awarded peerage, 1917; benefactions included the Beaverbrook Art Gallery and Playhouse Theatre. Winston Churchill considered him a “man of exceptional genius”.
Julia Catherine Beckwith (1796–1867) Born in Fredericton, she was credited as being Canada’s first novelist. She spent much of her early life in Nova Scotia and Quebec. It was through her travels that she incorporated her experiences through her novels. In 1824 at the age of seventeen she published Canada’s first novel “St Ursula’s Covent (or The Nun of Canada)”. It was published as an anonymous author. Beckwith and her husband moved to the United States where she would write her second novel “Tonnawanda”; or, “The Adopted Son of America ; an Indian Story” and was published in Rochester, N.Y., as “By an American.” In 1831 Beckwith, along with her husband and six children, moved back to Fredericton, where she would write her third novel in manuscript “Edith (or The Doom)” that was never published.
Benedict Arnold ( 1741-1801 ), the famous American traitor who during the Revolutionary War switched allegiance to the British. He was considered one of the most brilliant generals of the Revolutionary War. He later left Saint John (where he lived with his family for about 8 years) a disgraced man and died in England.
Joseph M. Augustine ( 1911-1995 ), born at Big Cove; Native Leader and Historian; Chief ( 1952-54 and 1956-58 ) and Band Councillor ( 1960-64 and 1966-72 ) at Red Bank Reserve; discovered the Augustine Mound, a trove of artifacts dating back more than 24,000 years; in 1988, received the Provincial Minister’s Award for Heritage.
Richard Bedford Bennett ( 1870-1947 ), born in Hopewell; lawyer, politician; moved west in 1897; represented Calgary in the Assembly of North-West Territories and the Alberta Legislature, and was elected to parliament in 1911. Prime Minister of Canada from 1930-1935 ; moved to England in 1939.
Carl Francis Biddiscombe ( 1924-2000 ) Born in Saint John. A Hollywood Set Director on TV shows such as Perry Mason, Star Trek and Trapper John M.D. And movies: TAPS, Stripes & Blind Date. He was nominated for two Academy Awards in the category Best Art Direction.
John Williston “Bud” Bird, PC OC ( 1932- ) born in Fredericton. A businessman who is a former Mayor of the City of Fredericton, a Progressive Conservative Party of New Brunswick member of the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick, and a Progressive Conservative Party of Canada member of the Canadian House of Commons.
Andrew Blair ( 1844-1907 ), born in Fredericton; politician; Premier of New Brunswick 1883-96; built provincial Liberal Party and enforced party discipline; resigned as Premier to accept federal portfolio of railways and canals in the Laurier administration.
Bruno Bobak ( 1923-2012 ), Polish born artist, immigrated to Canada in 1925; director of Art Center of University of New Brunswick, 1962; awarded Silver Jubilee Medal, 1978; expands upon expressionist style in powerful oils, drawings and woodcuts.
Molly Lamb Bobak ( 1922-2014 ), Vancouver-born artist; only woman appointed war artist in Second World War; began teaching at University of New Brunswick, 1960; employs rich imagery art, writing, and radio and television work.
Maurice Bolyer (1920-1978) was born in Edmundston. He was a composer and musician known at “Canada’s King of the Banjo”. Beginning in the 1940s, Bolyer appeared regularly on CKCW Radio (Moncton)). Boyler joined the CBC Radio program The Tommy Hunter Show in 1963, continuing with the show when it moved to television in 1965. Bolyer also appeared as a guest on the Lawrence Welk and Arthur Godfrey shows in the United States.
Allison Brewer ( 1954- ) Born in Fredericton. A social activist and politician, and the former leader of the New Brunswick New Democratic Party. She has been particularly active in areas of lesbian and gay rights and access to abortion. She was the founder and longtime director of Dr. Henry Morgentaler’s abortion clinic in Fredericton. She was a recipient of the Governor General’s Award.
Miller Brittain ( 1912-1968 ), born in Saint John; artists; interest focussed on subjects of social or religious interest, using both realist and surrealist styles; earned label ” the Canadian Breughel ” for his sympathetic depiction of working-class life.
Measha Brueggergosman ( 1977- ) was born in Fredericton and is a Canadian soprano who performs both as an opera singer and concert artist. She has performed internationally and won numerous awards. Her recordings of both classical and popular music have also received awards.
Edith Butler ( 1942- ), born in Paquetville; recording artist; since 1973 has composed in blended folk and rock style; cofounder of Editions d’Acadie publishers; has toured internationally.
Susan Butler, a singer-songwriter from the Miramichi has performed for the Pope and Prime Minister and is a recipient of the Order of Canada. She was Director of the longest standing Folk Festival in North America, the Miramichi Folksong Festival.
Dalton Camp ( 1920-2002 ), born in Woodstock; political activist, author, journalist; as national president of Conservative Party, 1964-1968, spearheaded leadership review leading to resignation of leader John Diefenbaker in 1966; author of Gentlemen, Players and Politicians ( 1970 ), about New Brunswick politics in the 1950s and 1960s.
Charlie Chamberlain was born in Bathurst and won the Major Bowes Talent Search in New York in 1937. He appeared weekly for a decade on one of CBC-TV’s most popular shows. Charlie Chamberlain was knows as “The Singing Lumberjack”.
Herménégilde Chiasson ( 1946- ), born in Saint-Simon; Acadian poet, playwright, filmmaker, artist, studied under sculptor Claude Roussel at Université de Moncton; received Bachelor of Fine Arts at Mount Allison University. He has attempted to counteract the folkloric image of Acadians in his work.
Edwin Henry Colpitts (1872–1949) was born in Point de Bute. He was a communications pioneer best known for his invention of the Colpitts oscillator. As research branch chief for Western Electric in the early 1900s, he and scientists under his direction achieved significant advances in the development of oscillators and vacuum tube push–pull amplifiers. In 1915, his team successfully demonstrated the first transatlantic radio telephone. Colpitts died at home in 1949 in Orange, New Jersey
Alex Colville ( 1920-2013 ), born in Toronto, Ontario; painter; taught art at Mount Allison University 1946-63; his painstaking “magic realist” style employs careful measurements, precise details and cool colours; Companion of the Order of Canada.
Stompin’ Tom Connors ( 1936-2013 ) born in Saint John, as Charles Thomas Connors. He worked odd jobs as he wandered from town to town, working on fishing boats, as a grave digger, tobacco picker, and fry cook. He was one of Canada’s most prolific and well-known country and folk singer-songwriters. Focusing his career exclusively on his native Canada, Connors is credited with writing more than 300 songs with total sales of nearly 4 million copies.
Rheal Cormier (1967-2021) was born in Moncton, a lefty pitcher in the majors for 16 years and a member of multiple Canadian national teams as well. He died on March 8, 2021 about a year after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He was 53 years old. Cormier played for the St. Louis Cardinals, Boston Red Sox, Montreal Expos, Philadelphia Phillies and Cincinnati Reds. In his 16 seasons in the major leagues, Cormier appeared in 683 games, including 108 starts.
Paris Crew ( 1867-1871 ), were a famous Canadian rowing team from Saint John. A four-oared rowing crew consisting of Robert Fulton, Samuel Hutton, George Price, and Elijah Ross. Went on to be world champions in 1867 till 1871. Saint Johners were so confident in the teams abilities that they wagered $100,000 in a race against the famous Oxford and Cambridge teams in Paris and walked away with the purse.
Jack Cummings ( 1900-1989 ) born in Saint John. Although his Uncle was MGM head Louis B. Mayer, Cummings started his career at the studio as a low-paid office boy. In 1934 MGM made him a producer responsible for many of the studio’s most famous musicals. Cummings was married to Betty Kern, daughter of composer Jerome Kern.
Nathan Cummings ( 1896-1985 ), founder of the National Tea Company (Consolidated Foods of Chicago) was born in Saint John. Business interest included, Electrolux, Sara Lee, Fuller Brush and General Dynamics.
Joseph Cunard ( 1799-1865 ), born in Halifax, Nova Scotia; businessman, politician; brother of Samuel Cunard, founder of the steamship company; established lumbering, milling and shipbuilding firm in Chatham in the 1820s; by 1832, was one of wealthiest men in New Brunswick; sat on Legislative and Executive councils.
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