Saint John, New Brunswick’s young entrepreneurs are reinventing the city as a tourist destination, a place to live, and a place to camp.
First View of the City
Be daring; you can take a detour on approaching the city from the southwest. Use your GPS and cross the river at the Reversing Falls Bridge. When driven with care, the roads are big rig friendly, and you get your first view of the city from the bridge as you emerge from the early morning fog. In front of you are the city, its harbour, and the cruise ship terminal.
Stop before the bridge at the Reversing Falls parking lot and walk down the 110 steps to get close to the water. Remember, you must be able to walk back up!
The waters of the Bay of Fundy rise 16 metres from the low tide level. As the Bay of Fundy level rises, it forces the Atlantic seawater back into the river twice daily. Sit in the Reversing Falls restaurant, have a coffee, and watch the river.
I met Mike McPartland and Carl Davies at Mike’s Irish pub, the Cask and Kettle. Mike calls it an Irish Gastropub, serving good food and various beers, wines, and spirits.
This busy pub became packed at 5:30 PM with tourists and office workers stopping for a drink or a meal. It was the perfect setting to discuss Saint John and the reinventing of itself as a tourist destination of the 21st century.
We sat at a long table where strangers and friends sat together. We listened to the live music of Caric at the Kettle, a band playing a mixture of East Coast and Irish music. The murals mounted on the wall depict the history and development of the city and New Brunswick. They were painted by another young Saint John entrepreneur named John McPartland.
Mike’s parents brought him to Canada as a small child, and they settled here in Saint John. He said the young entrepreneurs are helping reinvent the city. For example, the high-tech shipbuilding and nuclear industry was built on the long heritage of building wooden ships and the timber and pulp industries. It’s these industries that established this city.
Today, they’re building on the technical infrastructure that their parents developed. This evolution brought bankers, lawyers, and a centre of Canadian nuclear excellence.
Rockwood Park, located within the city boundary, is a massive 900-hectare park of forested hills, caves, lakes, and a campground. Designed by one of the designers of New York City’s Central Park, it includes a golf course, campground, and water/ice activities, depending on the season. In addition, the unspoiled wilderness areas have walking, biking, and even car trails just 10 minutes from downtown.
The Worker Monument and Restaurant
Lily Lake Restaurant and Pavilion provides good food and is within walking distance from the campground. This is one of the several safe lake swimming areas and the location for kayak rentals.
Outside, the worker monument shows four figures working together as a team. The two figures are ghost-like and symbolize those who have died on the job. The woman standing on a crate brings attention to unsafe work practices.
The confident man lifting the pole indicates the strenuous work that went into building Saint John. The monument forms a sundial marking the passage of time and the continuous reinventing of this city.
Bus or walking guided tours give people the pleasure of exploring this little city on the east coast of Canada—a town with a walkable downtown and renovated Victorian period-designed stone homes and buildings. Cruise ships tie up at the new cruise terminal during late spring, summer, and fall.
In container cities, stores are built out of brightly painted transport containers. It’s perfect for tourists looking for inexpensive souvenirs, clothing, coffee, or more robust.
Explore The History and Enjoy the Camping Experience
Today’s city of Saint John, New Brunswick, has been built from humble beginnings. Today Saint John is an industrial city of commerce and culture. Diverse industries thrived here. Created by large corporations, political pressure, and ambitious young entrepreneurs.
The latest reinvention of this city has been to add Saint John as a destination for the eastern seaboard cruise lines. Dozens of cruise ships put thousands of tourists ashore at Saint John’s container city cruise terminal every year.
Residents and tourists use the shopping, entertainment, and restaurant facilities built not by corporations but by young entrepreneurs.
Saint John, New Brunswick, a city to visit, explore, and enjoy. A camping destination is waiting for you to experience.