Nestled behind a fence of stone and wrought iron, Officers Square, which once made up Fredericton’s Military Compound, initially spanned the two-block area enclosed by Queen, York, and Regent Streets and the St. John River.
From their arrival in 1785 until 1869, British soldiers, instantly recognizable in their bright red uniforms, were a frequent sight on the streets of Fredericton. The colonial troops finally departed for the British Isles in 1869.
This impressive Georgian stone edifice, which served as quarters for British officers, was constructed in two stages, possibly following the plans of Royal Engineer John Woolford. Each segment replaced part of a wooden barracks from 1816 on the same location. The older section, situated closer to the river, was erected between 1839 and 1841 and features significantly thicker walls than the part facing Queen Street, which was added in 1851. A stone arcade upholds a second-story veranda, bordered by eleven cast-iron columns imported from England. The unfinished masonry at the end hints at where the next stone section would have joined, had it been constructed.
This building now houses the Fredericton Region Museum (formerly the York-Sunbury Museum). It’s the home of the world famous Coleman Frog and faces the old parade square which accommodated military drill & inspections, band concerts, sports and social events. “Officers Square” is to this day the social and urban heart of the City.
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