Provincial Archives of New Brunswick
Our office is currently closed to the public. Please send us an email at or call 506-453-2122.

Canoeing on the River: Excitements and Pleasures of a trip down the Upper St. John

Introduction  Page 1  Page 2  Page 3  Page 4  Page 5

In the mile run from the foot of the falls to the smooth waters of the lower basin, the river drops 45 feet, a little more than half the perpendicular drop at the falls itself. This basin is the starting point of a canoeing trip to Fredericton or St. John. It is a trip that can be made in comfort and with the greatest of pleasure, for those who do not want to rough it can reach good hotels for every meal and for every night's lodging, while in the whole distance there are no rapids heavy enough to make portaging necessary. Those who intend to camp will have no difficulty in finding suitable and pretty spots for their tents, and they will find the people everywhere hospitable and ready to sell fresh milk and any required articles at most reasonable prices.

It is only a few minutes' paddle across the basin and almost before the canoeist realizes it his light craft is in rapid water, and moving fast down stream. In the first few miles rapid succeeds rapid in quick succession, and the canoe is hardly out of one before it is into another. None are dangerous; in fact they only add a zest to the pleasures of canoeing. Three miles below Grand Falls is Rapid de Femme, where is located the fish hatchery that annually gets thousands of eggs from the Carleton salmon pond, and here we pitched our tents and spent our first night. The midgets began work as soon as we landed, came in swarms and remained with us until our departure the next morning, leaving every member of the party well marked.

For the second day our plan was a run to the mouth of the Tobique, a short trip up that famous river and then away to Andover, where our lawyer, McCready, had a probate case. After an early breakfast, and a good one, for Henry Allen is a jewel of a cook, the start was made and under delightful weather conditions, and in swift water no trouble was experienced in making six miles an hour. The scenery everywhere is beautiful, and the wonderful sand or gravel banks along the railway line skirting the river are a source of great curiosity. They have been cut through like rock, the sides rising perpendicular from the track and showing in beautiful colors the different stratas of sand and gravel. Only here and there is there a break in the bank, where it has caved in and run down to the natural angle of repose. The whole country hereabouts is of interest to the geologist and shows abundant traces of the glacial and post glacial phenomena. Swiftly down the river the canoe moves, a constant watch being necessary to avoid jutting rocks. Salmon River and Little River are soon passed and six miles above Andover the great Aroostook river, sweeping around a high ridge, enters the St. John. The view from below, looking up the St. John and the Aroostook, past the knife-like point that separates them, is a magnificent one. A splendid steel bridge crosses the Aroostook. Four miles further on is Indian Point, the mouth of the Tobique and the home of a large number of Indians. They are a prosperous people, living like their pale face brothers in good, comfortable wooden homes. In the rapid water, only a few miles from the starting point, a squirrel was passed swimming the river, and making a straight course from bank to bank despite the current.

Click to view full-size image - 94KBAt its mouth the Tobique is a very rapid stream, and it is a good stiff pole up against the current to the slack water at the ledges, a splendid place for dinner.Less than a mile further up is the magnificent steel bridge built by the Provincial government. Click to view full-size image - 52KB This little bit of the Tobique was all our party saw, Click to view full-size image - 55KB but it was enough to give an idea of the gorge, and it gave a splendid race back down the rapid water to the St. John, which is a slow stream in comparison. Those who would like to see more ofClick to view full-size image - 41KB the Tobique can put their canoes on the train at Andover for Plaster Rock, which will give a trip of about thirty miles down this most important branch of the St. John. It is a side trip well worth taking. The water of the Tobique is so much clearer than the St. John that it runs with it a long distance before intermingling.

Additional Scenes from the upper St. John River...

Click to view full-size image - 88KB

Click to view full-size image - 60KB

Click to view full-size image - 35KB

Click to view full-size image - 94KB

/Click to view full-size image - 46KB

Click to view full-size image - 42KB

More historical images of New Brunswick...

Introduction  Page 1  Page 2  Page 3  Page 4  Page 5