Our home and native land. 🇨🇦 We arrived to Fredericton, New Brunswick in time to celebrate Canada Day on July 1st. 🎉 Fredericton is the Capital City of New Brunswick.
Canada Day is the Canadian version of the American 4th of July. On July 1, 1867, the nation was officially born when the Constitution Act joined three provinces into one country: Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the Province of Canada, which then split into Ontario and Quebec. However, Canada was not completely independent of England until 1982.
It was so cute at the RV Park to see all the kids, and there was a lot of them 😜, ride their decorated bikes in the ‘parade’ and then head to the clubhouse for cake. Nice also to see the Canadian pride with all the decorated RV’s and sites. 🇨🇦
What a perfect way to celebrate Canada Day by cycling along the Trans Canada Trail – aka The Great Trail 😎. As the longest recreational trail in the world, The Great Trail offers a wide range of activities through a variety of landscapes – urban, rural and wilderness. It goes right across Canada and can be accessed by hiking, biking, paddling, cross-country skiing or snowmobiling. And, it just happens to pass right in front of our campsite! You can look up the map at thegreattrail.ca.
We rode into Fredericton along the St. John River on an old rail bed and stopped for a great lunch and beer – sadly, no lobster! 🦞
A surprise on the way, the trail goes right beside the Government House of the Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick, and it was open for tours, so we just had to pop in and check it out. The present, and 31st, Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick is Jocelyne Roy-Vienneau, who has served in the role since 23 October, 2014. The house was rebuilt after a fire in 1826 and has served many roles in its history.
The Coat of Arms Motto of New Brunswick is ‘SPEM REDUXIT’, which is translated as ‘Hope Restored’, representing the establishment of New Brunswick as a home of refuge for settlers, when a vast influx of British Loyalists flowed into the area following their expulsion from the newly formed United States in 1784.
It was a great way to spend Canada Day, and with all the red and white everywhere, we felt quite patriotic! 🇨🇦
We did a day trip to St. John to view the natural phenomenon of the Reversing Falls Rapids and the Bay of Fundy! It is an amazing feat of nature that happens every six hours and is quite exciting to view.
The St. John River flows through the Bay of Fundy into the Atlantic Ocean. Each time the tide changes, the flow of the river is reversed. At high tide the flow is upstream and water is forced up the river, and the effects can be be seen even 90 kms/60 miles up the river in Fredericton! For about 20 minutes at each slack tide, the river is motionless and boats can navigate the rapids safely. Then at low tide, the opposite happens and all that water rushes out as the Bay of Fundy empties into the ocean.
You can’t really tell by the photos, but we watched the river flow in one direction, stop, then flow in the opposite direction. It was pretty cool.
We also witnessed the extreme tides at the beaches on the Bay of Fundy in St. John, although this day there was only 22 feet of height difference between high and low tide, where at times, the upper reaches of the Bay Of Fundy can experience over 50 feet of difference! We really enjoyed learning what Mother Nature can do!
And, here’s a few examples of some famous people from St. John. 😃
Continuing on our journey of Canada, we moved into the beautiful province of Nova Scotia and settled into a campsite near Halifax.
A day exploring took us to Lunenburg, Mahone Bay and Peggy’s Cove.
Lunenburg is the home port of the famous Bluenose II, which is a replica of the Bluenose, which was a fishing and racing schooner built in 1921 in Nova Scotia. From 1921-1938, Bluenose was the envy of all the nations that participated in racing their fishing vessels and still retains the final win in that type of racing. For anyone who knows our Canadian money, the Bluenose is the ship engraved on our 10 cent coin, the dime!
We were looking very forward to touring the vessel, and after searching around the port of Lunenburg looking for it – surely it’s a large ship that we would notice?! – we found out it wasn’t there! She just happens to be traveling with the Tall Ships Tour of North America 😳and won’t be back to Lunenberg for a few months!
We then stopped for lunch at a fabulous seafood restaurant in the adorable village of Mahone Bay. Fresh Cod Tacos 🌮! Yes, we could have had fresh lobster, but are kinda lobstered-out!
Peggy’s Cove is a quaint village and home to the world famous Peggy’s Point Lighthouse – the most photographed Lighthouse in Canada. If you are a tourist in this area, please do not step on the black rocks!
We met our young friends, Merissa and Curtis, at Rinaldo’s Pizza Place in Halifax, for a fun evening! Merissa was one of our daughter-in-law, Hannah’s, college roommates at Memorial University in Newfoundland. It was great to catch up with her and meet her husband! They just celebrated their one year Anniversary. 💕We picked this restaurant because the chef, Rick, just happened to once work at our friend’s Pizza Place in Roblin, Manitoba! Small world. Lydia, this one’s for you 😘
July 6th – Happy 30th Birthday to our wonderful son! Where did the time go?!? We’re so proud of you, Joseph, and the man you’ve become. Love you lots, kid 💖and miss you tons 😘
Spent the day in Halifax. Met for lunch with our family friends, Darlene and Ken, who are also on holidays in Nova Scotia. We were at a great restaurant on the wharf, The Bicycle Thief, and it was fun to catch up with them.
Halifax was once the main port of entry for Immigrants from Europe to enter Canada. From 1928 to 1971, Pier 21 is where the boats would dock and the immigrants would be processed and given their Canadian papers. Over 1,000,000 people passed through this pier, and 2 of them were Henry’s parents, immigrating from Holland, on their honeymoon!! Henry found it quite emotional knowing we were right where his parents entered the country and became proud Canadians, 63 years ago!
In the late 1800’s/early 1900’s, at Pier 2 (about a mile away), is where Joanne’s Grandparents immigrated from the Ukraine to become Canadians! We tried to find their records of arrival, but there were so many spellings of the last name, that we couldn’t find anything official in the short time we had. But, we were given a copy of the record of their marriage at Rossburn, Manitoba dated 13 June 1902. 😃
Pier 21 is now the Canadian Immigration Museum and we really enjoyed it. There is a cute, very Canadian, play performed every day, and a short movie with more recent immigrants. Well worth a visit if you’re in Halifax!
Moving on in Nova Scotia, we headed to Cape Breton Island, which is about as far East as you can go on the North American Continent. Cape Breton Island is attached to mainland Nova Scotia by a rock passageway called the Canso Causeway. We are at a great campsite near Baddeck, on Bras d’Or Lake – Arm of Gold Lake – which is a salt and freshwater lake, as it is connected to the Atlantic Ocean by natural channels.
This part of Canada is called the Cape Breton Highlands, and has quite the Scottish influence. Gaelic is the second language, not French, and even the signs are in English and Gaelic. There is also a Gaelic College nearby.
Baddeck is the beautiful town where Alexander Graham Bell had his home – Benn Breigh – and ‘kite shop ‘. We toured the museum and saw many of his inventions. What an amazing man! After he made his money inventing the telephone, he spent his time working on devices for the hearing impaired, airplanes and hydroplane boats. He was working on airplanes at the same time as the Wright Brothers, and one of his planes (the Silver Dart) was the first controlled power flight in Canada – 1909. The tetrahedron was his favourite shape and he used it as the basis for many of his theories of flight. He also experimented with hydrofoil water crafts, and built one that eventually set the Marine Speed Record of 70.86 mph / 114 kph in 1919. It was called the HD-4.
In case you were wondering . . . . Citizenship controversy: Bell was born in Scotland, moved to Canada, lived for a time in America and died in Canada. Invention controversy: Bell claimed the telephone was invented in Canada but made in the United States of America. In 1880, Bell’s father, Alexander Melville Bell filed his own telephone patent stating his residence as Brantford, Ontario, Canada.
The Cabot Trail. Turns out it’s not a trail, but a road in dire need of repair, 😬 and had nothing to do with John Cabot (the explorer who discovered the coast of North America in 1497), it just happens to be named after him! We took a cable ferry from Englishtown to start the loop of the trail. It took longer to load the ferry than it did to cross the inlet!
There are various hiking trails accessible from the road, but we chose to do the long, long drive around – 300kms/187 miles 😳 and stop at lookouts to appreciate the views. It was so nice to see the fishing villages and drive through the towns. It was a long day of sitting in the truck, but it had to be done!
On to a new Province . . . . Prince Edward Island! We took the ferry over to Wood Islands and then drove to our campsite near Charlottetown. We couldn’t believe how many vehicles, RV’s and semi’s they fit on board!
PEI – home to Lucy Maud Montgomery, author of ‘Anne of Green Gables’. But, PEI is also home to the best potatoes you can imagine; fresh lobster, oysters, mussels; bike trails across the whole island as they converted all the railways to trails; and just happens to be the birthplace of Confederation for Canada! All this on one little island.
We toured the home where LM Montgomery was born, then went to see the houses, farms and town that inspired her to write Anne of Green Gables, which was first published in 1908. There is even a shopping/restaurant ‘town’ that was designed to represent Avonlea.
The Great Trail runs across PEI and is referred to as the Confederation Trail, so we just had to take a ride on it! We started in St. Peter’s Bay and rode along one of the prettiest sections that passed a mussel farm, where hundreds of thousands of mussels are being raised.
There are fields as far as the eye can see, of potatoes, so we’d be amiss if we didn’t stop to purchase some. Of course, not all of them are healthy, but sure tasted good!
Here’s a Canadian history lesson for you. In 1864, the leaders of the Colonies New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, were planning a meeting in regards to forming a union to avoid being absorbed by the United States, as the Civil War was happening at this time. The leaders of the rest of the Canadian Colonies heard about this meeting and asked if they could come listen in. The conference was to take place in Charlottetown, PEI, mainly because the PEI leaders declared they would not put any money out for travel expenses, so everyone had to come to them!
Long story short, the Charlottetown Conference (September 1-9, 1864) was where the foundation was laid to put their differences aside and commit to being one great country, united in commerce and defense. In 1867, the process was finalized as Queen Victoria gave Royal ascent and recognized Canada as its own country!
One of the Father’s of Confederation, Thomas Heath Haviland (a lifelong resident of Charlottetown), declared “It may yet be said that here in little Prince Edward Island was that Union formed which has produced one of the greatest nations on the face of God’s Earth.”
Historic Charlottetown was really quaint and quite beautiful.
We arrived to PEI by ferry but left the Island crossing over the Confederation Bridge, which is 8 miles long and considered the longest bridge in the world that crosses ice-covered waters. Funny thing, it is free to take the ferry or bridge to PEI, but you do have to pay to exit the Island! Driving over the bridge was a highlight for Henry as it was something he always wanted to do. Our son, Joseph, remembers spending time at Oma and Opa’s house, watching the video of the building of this bridge!
We really enjoyed our visit to the Maritimes, especially Prince Edward Island, and were so happy to experience Eastern Canada 🇨🇦. We’ve been to Newfoundland before (which we loved), so didn’t include it this time. This side of our country is very special and we totally appreciated the fishing villages, quaint oceanside towns, gorgeous scenery, cycle trails and friendly, down to earth people.
It’s now time to brush up on our high-school French 😬. Nous continuons maintenant vers l’ouest jusqu’au Québec!