NB Facts

NB Facts

Did you know that sardine cans and snow blowers were invented in New Brunswick? From a place where cars roll uphill and rivers flow backwards, here are some NB Facts worth knowing.

Also see our Famous New Brunswickers pages.

  1. New Brunswick is home to the warmest saltwater beaches north of Virginia.
  2. New Brunswick has the world’s largest lobster. The sculpture is 11 meters long (35 feet), 5 meters tall (16 feet) and weighs in at an astonishing 90 tonnes or about 198,416 pounds! You’ll find the lobster in Shediac, aptly dubbed “The Lobster Capital of The World.” (Other large things to see in NB)
  3. McCain Foods Limited , the multi-billion dollar company famous for its frozen French fries, is Canadian born. The McCain brothers’ first French fry plant was created in 1957 in their hometown of Florenceville. One third of the world’s French Fries come from New Brunswick.
  4. The largest whirlpool in the Western Hemisphere, and the second largest in the world (the Maelstrom Whirlpool of Norway holds the title of the world’s largest whirlpool) can be found between Deer Island and Indian Island and can be viewed from Eastport, Maine. The whirlpool is called “Old Sow” because of the sounds it produces. 
  5. Established in 1785, the University of New Brunswick was the first English-speaking university in Canada and is tied with the University of Georgia as the oldest university in North America.
  6. The first Miss Canada, Winnifred Blair, was from Saint John. She was crowned on February 10, 1923.
  7. Where are the highest tides in the world? The Bay of Fundy, of course! Tourism New Brunswick say, “They rise at a rate of one metre (3.3 feet) per hour. The tides yield many edible treasures, among them mineral-rich sea salt and “dulse” – dried seaweed, which can be eaten as a snack or used to flavor soups and stews.”
  8. Due to the Bay of Fundy’s incredible tides, the Saint John River flows backwards twice a day, every day. According to GreatCanadianRivers.com, “Then, a startling phenomenon occurs. The water level in the Bay of Fundy continues to rise above the level of the river. The force of the incoming tide overpowers the current of the outgoing river, and the water of the Saint John begins to flow upstream – completely in reverse. New rapids form in the river, flowing in the other direction, and the effect of the tide is felt as far upriver as the city of Fredericton, almost 120 kilometres northwest of Saint John.”
  9. The longest covered bridge in the world can be found in Hartland. The covered bridge is 390 meters (1282 feet) long. (Other large things to see in NB)
  10. The oldest Canadian museum is found in Saint John. “Although many people are aware that Saint John, New Brunswick, is Canada’s oldest incorporated city, few are aware that it houses Canada’s oldest continuing museum. The New Brunswick Museum was officially incorporated as the “Provincial Museum” in 1929 and received its current name in 1930. Its history, however, can be traced back another 87 years to 1842, when Gesner’s Museum of Natural History opened to the public in Saint John.” says the New Brunswick Museum website.
  11. Moncton, is home to Magnetic Hill. Objects seemingly roll uphill on Magnetic Hill. Put your car in neutral and, like magic, your car will roll uphill all on its own!
  12. Canada’s foremost performer of old-time fiddle music, Don Messer, was born near Harvey Station. Messer gained national recognition on his CBC television show, “Don Messer’s Jubilee”.
  13. The oldest “still in use” university building in Canada (1829) is on the University of New Brunswick campus in Fredericton, the Old Arts Building, officially known as Sir Howard Douglas Hall.
  14. Sir William Van Horne, the force behind the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway, purchased Ministers Island in 1890. His summer retreat near St. Andrews has been opened to visitors.
  15. Actor and movie star, Donald Sutherland, father of “24” star Keifer Sutherland, was introduced to the theatre through puppet classes at the New Brunswick museum in Saint John.
  16. The Acadian Flag was adopted in 1884, and the original flag is on exhibit at the Musée Acadian, located in the Clément-Cormier Pavilion of the Université de Moncton.
  17. Andrew Bonar Law, the Canadian-born son of a Scottish Clergyman, who was born in Rexton, became the Prime Minister of Great Britain in 1922. His 1870’s home and birthplace remains open to the public for tours.
  18. Sir Max Aitken (Lord Beaverbrook), one of the Commonwealth’s most famous figures, called Miramichi home. Learn more about his legacy at Beaverbrook House, in Miramichi. Several buildings in his memory, or to which he contributed financially, are present in Fredericton. These include the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, the Aitken Centre Arena, the Playhouse Theatre, and Aitken House residence at the University of New Brunswick, to name a few.
  19. Boston Red Sox starter, the late Ted Williams, was an expert fly-fisherman, who spent summers also spent summers fishing Bass and Salmon on Spednic lake at McAdam and on the Miramichi River.
  20. The Village of Plaster Rock is known as the home of the annual World Pond Hockey Championships and the world’s largest fiddleheads.
  21. Moosehead Brewery, in Saint John, is Canada’s oldest independent brewery.
  22. The St. John River was originally known as “Madawaska”, derived from “Madoueskak”, a Maliseet word meaning “Land of the Porcupine”. Madawaska lives on in the “Republic” of Madawaska, as well as being the name of a tributary of the St. John River, a county in New Brunswick and a town on the Maine side of the US/Canada border.
  23. During the colonial era, lumber from this region was very much in demand, especially by the Royal Navy. It is said that Admiral Horatio Nelson went to war during the Battle of Trafalgar with a fleet whose masts were forged from white pine, floated from Edmundston, down the St. John River.
  24. After over 40 years of wrangling, the Webster-Ashburton Treaty (known officially as the Treaty of Washington), finally established the St. John River as the international boundary between northern New Brunswick and Maine. The treaty was signed on August 9, 1842.
  25. The French spoken in the Northern New Brunswick region is called “brayon” – a term derived from the textile industry. Brayon (which can also refer to the people themselves) is a blend of Quebecois and Acadian French, with a sprinkling of American English and Scots/Irish idioms thrown in for good measure.
  26. The fertile, alkaline soil of the St. John River Valley is ideal for the cultivation of potatoes. Some farmers plant their crops in a traditional manner, according to the phases of the moon. Scattered along the roads on both sides of the border, you can sometimes spot small stone sheds built into the side of a grassy mound, where potatoes were stored.
  27. The first female sea captain in North America is from Alma. Molly Kool was the first mate on her father’s 70-foot freighter, transporting lumber and gypsum through the Bay of Fundy and Gulf of Maine after passing her sea captain’s exam in 1939. She captained for five years before marrying and settling in Orrington, Maine.
  28. A number of New Brunswick railway workers were noted for their inventions. In this group was the Miller Flanger, sometimes called a “cow-catcher”. This flanger had been invented by a John Hamilton of the Fredericton Branch Railway. However, since he was coloured, his boss, Mr. J. H. Miller obtained the patent and it became known as the Miller Flanger.
  29. Theodore Harding Estabrooks was born in Wicklow  in 1861. He went into business in 1894 on Dock Street in downtown Saint John. He was a local business leader that came up with a great idea… produce and pack a quality blended tea that was consistent from cup to cup. He founded Red Rose Tea in 1890. In 1929, Red Rose introduced tea bags for the first time.
  30. The World’s Largest Axe is located in Nackawic. The axe stands 15 metres (49 ft) tall and weighs over 55 tons. The axe-head is 7 metres (23 ft) wide. The concrete stump is 10 metres (33 ft) in diameter. It was commissioned, designed and built in 1991 by a company in Woodstock. There is a time capsule embedded in the head of the axe. (Other large things to see in NB)
  31. The World’s Largest Artificial Maple Leafstatue  is located in Millville.  (Other large things to see in NB)
  32. Mount Allison University was the first university in the British Empire to award a baccalaureate to a woman (Grace Annie Lockhart, B.Sc, 1875).
  33. New Brunswick’s name originated from the name of the duchy of New Brunswick in Germany, who was in possession of Britain’s King George III in 1784, the year the province was established.
  34. Based on the provincial coat of arms, New Brunswick’s flag was adopted in 1965.  A galley ship in the yellow background symbolizes the importance of shipbuilding in the province, as it sails on waves of white and blue.  The lion at the top of the flag represents the connection between New Brunswick and England.
  35. Coat of Arms: The shield on the coat of arms, which links the province of New Brunswick with England and the United Kingdom through the lion and celebrates the provinces maritime location and shipbuilding and seafaring heritage, was assigned by Queen Victoria in 1868.  Other features of the coat of arms were assigned by Queen Elizabeth II in 1984, during her visit to the capital, Fredericton.
  36. Provincial Flower: The purple violet (Viola cucullata), a perennial which blooms between May and July.  It was adopted in 1936, at the request of the Women’s Institute.
  37. NB Provincial Tree: The balsam fir (Abies balsamea) was proclaimed to be an official symbol of New Brunswick on May 1, 1987 .  Important today in the lumbering and pulp and paper industries, the balsam fir is one of the best Christmas trees on the market and adapts easily to a wide range of growing conditions.
  38. Provincial Bird: The black-capped chickadee was proclaimed as the official bird of New Brunswick in August 1983, following a contest conducted by the provincial Federation of Naturalists. A small, tame acrobatic bird, the chickadee is distinctly patterned with a combination of a black cap and bib, white cheeks and buff sides. Its distinctive “chickadee-dee-dee” call is heard throughout the year. Its clear, high-whistled “phe-be, phe-be-be” call is a signal spring has arrived.
  39. Provincial Salmon Fly: Designed by Warren Duncan, this salmon fly was created using a tag of gold to symbolize the value of Atlantic Salmon in New Brunswick.  It also includes a butt of green in honour of the fiddlehead; a tail or red goose fibers matching that of the Canadian flag, to represent our national ties; a cranberry red body, as it is one of our province’s official colours; a rib of medium oval gold tinsel; a hackle of lemon yellow representing the background colour of New Brunswick’s flag, and a wing of hair from the black bear and a head of black.
  40. Provincial Tartan: The provincial tartan was designed by the Loomcrofters of Gagetown, N.B., and officially adopted in 1959. It is registered at the Court of The Lord Lyon, King of Arms in Scotland . Represented in the design are the forest green of lumbering, the meadow green of agriculture, the blue of coastal and inland waters, all interwoven with gold, a symbol of the province’s potential wealth. The red blocks represent the loyalty and devotion of the early Loyalist settlers and the Royal New Brunswick Regiment.
  41. Fredericton’s Willie O’Ree was the first black player in the NHL.
  42. New Brunswick’s Sir Charles G. D. Roberts was the first Canadian poet to be knighted.
  43. The world’s oldest intact shark fossil, over 409 million years, was discovered near Atholville.
  44. New Brunswick has more than 48 lighthouses.
  45. New Brunswick has 59 covered bridges remaining.
  46. Fiddleheads, a wild New Brunswick fern is considered a delicacy.
  47. The highest and longest trestle bridge in Eastern Canada in located near New Denmark.
  48. Canadian Forces Base Gagetown, located near Oromocto, is the largest military training area in the British Commonwealth and features a museum that is open to the public.
  49. Partridge Island close to Saint John harbour was used as a quarantine station from 1816 until a hospital was constructed in 1830. During the 1840’s Irish Potato Famine the island was used as an immigration station.  It was also the site of the world’s first steam operated fog horn.
  50. An arboretum of all tree species native to New Brunswick is found in Odell Park, Fredericton.
  51. The Central New Brunswick Woodmen’s Museum at Boiestown features the history of those who worked in the woods.
  52. One of the most photographed spots in eastern Canada are the flowerpot rocks art Hopewell Cape.
  53. One of the longest natural sandbars in the world is at Eel River Bar. There’s salt water on one side, and fresh water on the other.
  54. At Rogersville there is a monument to Acadien settlers and the home of a Trappist Monastery since 1904. 
  55. New Brunswick’s last fatal duel between George Frederick Street and George Ludlow Wetmore occurred October 2, 1821, in New Maryland.  
  56. George Stanley, a historian and designer of the Canadian flag lived in and is buried in Sackville
  57. HMCS Sackville, Canada’s Naval Memorial, was named after Sackville
  58. The Marco Polo, a three-masted clipper ship built in Saint John and launched in 1851, earned the title of the Fastest Ship in the World after completing a round-trip voyage from England to Australia in under 6 months. 
  59. Beaver Harbour was the first community in British North America to forbid slavery.

Click here to learn New Brunswick facts. 

New Brunswick Inventions:  

  • The blueprint was invented by George Taylor of Fredericton in response to the needs of the Crown Lands Department.
  • The underwater cable ferry in 1904, William Pitt, Reed’s Point, NB.
  • Scuba tank, James Elliot and Alexander McAvity, Saint John, 1839.
  • Variable pitch propellor, Wallace Rupert Turnbull, Saint John.
  • McDonald’s Restaurants “McFlurry“, invented by Ron McLellan of Bathurst, 1995.
  • Vortex-flushing toilet bowl, Thomas MacAvity Stewart, Saint John. 1907 
  • Thermal Windowpane, a window with two glass panes separated by a hollow space, hermetically sealed and filled with alcohol was patented by Lawrence McCloskey, Boiestown. 1917 
  • Fog horn, Robert Foulis, Saint John. 
  • Daniel Jones a blacksmith from Saint John designed a machine to act as a fog warning device in 1849. One of the best features of this machine was that it could emit different sounds of varying intensities that had different meanings.
  • Compound steam engine, Benjamin F. Tibbets, Fredericton, 1845. 
  • John Hamilton a black worker for the Fredericton Branch Railway invented the “cow-catcher” ( The metal grille or frame projecting from the front of a locomotive and serving to clear the track of obstructions). His boss J.H. Miller obtained the patent and it became known the “Miller Flanger”.
  • Rotary Ventilator, which uses wind power to increase the updraft in chimneys or roof vents was patented by James T. Lipsett, Saint John. 1889.
  • The “Long reacher” skate invented by James Welply, Saint John. It advanced the 19th century speed skating tradition – mid 1850’s.
  • Snow blower, Robert Carr Harris, Dalhousie, 1870. 
  • Sardine cans, Henry T. Austin, Black’s Harbour, 1932. 
  • Clothes washer with roller wringer, John E. Turnbull, Saint John, 1843. 
  • Combined hot and cold water faucets, Thomas Campbell, Saint John, 1880. 
  • Crossword game, Edward R. MacDonald, Shediac, 1926. 
  • Dump-box for trucks, Robert T. Mawhinney, Saint John, 1920. 
  • Ganong Brothers Ltd., St. Stephen, are the first in Canada to produce lollipops (1895), to use cellophane packaging (1920), to make peppermint rolls (1926), and to sell Valentine candy in heart-shaped boxes (1932). 
  • The Ovatek Life Raft was invented by Vincent Theriault from d’Anse-Bleue. 

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