LEAVING MY MARK IN FREDERICTON, NEW BRUNSWICK
All shapes, colours and sizes are suspended from the yellow twine that spans the pedestrian bridge. Maidenform, Cross-Your-Heart and Playtex intermingle with under-wires, push-ups and delicate lacy garments.
The seventy-eight year-old Bill Thorpe Bridge that links the south to the north side of Fredericton was originally constructed for trains. It was retrofitted in the 90's to allow walkers and cyclists to cross the St. John River. And recently, it's been used to promote the cure of breast cancer with it's lovely display of dangling bras.
But my hiking-hound of a husband is more focused on other outdoor features nearby. "There are over 80kms of non-motorized routes that weave throughout this city," Brent says, when checking out his visitor's guide. " Both the Sentier and a portion of the Trans Canada Trail systems connect with this trestle crossing."
I know he'd love nothing more than to lace up his boots and hit the trail. But with only one day to check out this capital's treasures, I have other pastimes in mind.
"The Boyce Farmers Market is supposed to be one of the best in the country," I comment, "There's over two hundred merchants!" I realize a lot of men would turn up their noses at the idea of shopping, but not my guy. He'd already researched the plethora of stores that integrate into this city's downtown hub and he's ready to browse.
We enter this venue on Brunswick Street at Food Alley where grilled onions and other aromas waft from the many stalls. Falafels, spicy samosas and other ethnic options meld with local favourites: potatoes doused in poutine, sizzling buffalo burgers and scads of seafood. Outdoor booths boasting organics and ultra fresh produce lead to more goodies indoors –row upon row of vendors displaying everything from home-made baked goods to creative crafts.
After an hour of perusing and fuelling up on sweet wild blueberries and home-baked banana bread, we're off to our next Fredericton must-see, the historic Garrison District.
This two block area sandwiched between Queen Street and the river shore is home to the Sports Hall Of Fame and many summer festivals. Costumed guides take part in a changing of the guard ritual and a regional museum traces the area's roots back to 1784 when a British garrison was stationed here.
The stolid Legislative Assembly Building is another heritage drawing card. Since 1882, this seat and symbol of democracy has taken centre stage on Queen Street and while browsing its noble interiors, we gaze at a little royalty–the painted portraits of King George III and Queen Charlotte.
During our jaunt, it's impossible to miss Christ Church Cathedral, a 19th century Neo-Gothic wonder with a cross-bearing steeple that dominates the skyline. Light flows through amazing stained glass into its rich wood interior and a neighbouring gravestone marks the resting place of Fredericton's first Anglican bishop.
"Did you know this is now a happening place for summer festivals?" Brent asks, when reading about recent performers. "Everyone from opera singers to tango dancers have entertained in this holy house."
Clearly, the arts is alive and well in Fredericton. Thanks to one of the city's historical patron's, Lord Beaverbrook, the Art Gallery and Playhouse offer a steady line-up of performing and visual works, featuring not only local, but Canadian and international talent as well. This generous gent also had his hand in promoting the city's hill-top University of New Brunswick. After it was built back in 1785, he donated a number of first editions by V. Bennett, Charles Dickens and H.G. Wells. And they remain in the provincial archives today.
We end the day by dining at Isaac's Way, a popular eatery on the river's edge, where fabulous local fare is accompanied by a view.
And just steps away is an easy river walk that leads to our accommodation, Brennen's B&B.
This 1895 Victorian beauty, owned and operated by Noreen and John, combines period antiques with modern day comforts. Fine linens, pillow-top beds and sumptuous breakfasts are all topped off with congenial hospitality.
"There's one last stop I'd like to make before leaving Fredericton," I say to Brent, after checking out the next morning. When packing my bag earlier, I had left out one important garment to purposefully leave behind. And after dropping me off at the Bill Thorpe pedestrian bridge, I string up this sports bra alongside the rest. It had been a tough go, battling breast cancer a few years ago, and on this sunny day before leaving this lovely capital of New Brunswick, I feel grateful to be alive and happy to leave my mark behind.
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IF YOU GO:
Where to Stay Brennen's B&B - https://www.bbcanada.com/3892.html
Where to dine: Isaac's Way - http://isaacsway.ca/
PHOTOS by Jane & Brent Cassie
#1 All shapes, colours and sizes suspend from the yellow twine
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