The population of Fredericton will temporarily rise by nearly 1,500 on June 21, as 305 Yorkville University graduates and close to 1,200 of their loved ones are set to convene on the capital in celebration of Graduation 2019.
With so many of this year’s crop of Bachelor of Business Administration, Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology, Master of Education in Adult Learning, and Master of Education in Educational Leadership flying in to New Brunswick – many of them first-time visitors to its capital city – from across Canada for their special day, we sat down with Fredericton Tourism Manager Stacey Russell for some advice on all the top things to do and places to see in Fredericton.
“We work in an industry where we’re helping to improve somebody’s vacation and their experience in the city, so it’s a pretty awesome job to be in…” said Russell, a proud 20+ year resident of Fredericton.”
“Everyone is very proud of this small but mighty capital that’s got an awful lot of punch to it.”
Places to visit in Fredericton
1. The Garrison Night Market.
Launched just last year, Russell said this weekly summer market runs Thursday evenings from 4:30 to 9 p.m. on Carleton Street in Fredericton’s Historic Garrison District, featuring locally grown farm produce, local and imported handmade products, arts, crafts, clothing, local microbrews, ciders, wines and meads, buskers, and, of course, plenty of food and entertainment.
“It’s an art-inspired, downtown farmers’ market where we see close to 150 vendors, as well as buskers and musical entertainment,” Russell said of the Garrison Night Market, which launches its second season on Thursday, June 20 – the night before graduation day.
“There’s always something new happening…It basically inflates the downtown and turns it into a completely different experience – it’s amazing and definitely something I’d recommend.”
2. Boyce Farmer’s Market
There’s also the weekly Fredericton Boyce Farmers’ Market, which this year marks 68 years as Fredericton’s traditional Saturday morning gathering spot for the whole family.
Recognized as one of Canada’s top 10 community markets, it features more than 250 local suppliers offering up everything from seasonal produce such as fiddleheads, to meats and seafood, to cakes and confections.
Russell highly recommends visitors arrive to this foodie heaven with an empty stomach, and to be sure to sample both the samosas and the fresh-squeezed orange juice.
3. Saint John River Trail System
For those who prefer more outdoorsy activities, Russell said Fredericton offers numerous travel routes along the Saint John River – whether that be walking, running or cycling along its banks via the more than 115 km of multi-use trails on both sides of the river, or canoeing, kayaking or paddling along the famous waterway itself.
“Fredericton’s a very green city, and people love just to be able to get outdoors, out along the river, enjoying the trail system,” Russell said, noting that Fredericton boasts a 70 per cent tree cover rate.
“This is one of the only cities where you can canoe, kayak or paddleboard right up to the downtown…and be able to go right underneath the iconic Bill Thorpe Walking Bridge. The photos are amazing and it’s a really neat experience.”
4. Changing of the Guard
For those looking to delve deeper into the history of the city, Russell recommends checking out the “iconic” Changing of the Guard – a re-enactment ceremony featuring period-dressed soldiers.
“In the month of June, one of the big items I definitely recommend is going out to see our guard,” she said. “They do sentry changes where they’ll walk along Queen Street and end at City Hall, where they’ll stand at attention. It makes for a great selfie opportunity.”
Sentry duty changes occur on the hour from noon to 3 p.m. daily at City Hall.
5. Beaverbook Art Gallery
For those bent on infusing their trip to Fredericton with a surprising dose of culture, Russell suggests a visit to the Beaverbrook Art Gallery.
“We have over 6,000 works in that gallery, and any time we bring visitors in – especially from larger cities – they come in and go ‘I can’t believe the calibre of art that’s in little Fredericton of 57,000,’” she said of the gallery, the centrepiece of whose collection is Salvador Dali’s circa 1957 masterpiece, Santiago El Grande.
“It’s really mind-blowing to be able to see the Salvador Dali – to lay on the floor, look up, and take in that artwork. It’s really something.”
6. Tannery District
Lastly, for those looking to enjoy some live music over a pint or two of local brew, Russell suggests wandering down to Fredericton’s Tannery District.
“It’s hard to be able to recommend one music spot in Fredericton, but what a lot of people will gravitate to if they’re on foot is The Tannery in downtown Fredericton,” she said, noting that there you’ll find plenty of watering holes in which to sample some of the best beers in the “Brewing Capital of the East.”