Provincial Archives of New Brunswick

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

New Brunswick

For over 200 years New Brunswick has been a destination for travel writers, sports, and adventurers. Steamboat transport, from the mid-nineteenth century on, made the interior of New Brunswick more accessible, still, leisure travel continued to be only within the realm of the very wealthy. The introduction of rail transportation in the latter part of the nineteenth century reduced the time required to travel in North America. At the same time, there was an increase in the number of people, particularly in urban areas of New England, with the resources and time to partake of such travel opportunities. This combination of cheaper, faster travel and a larger upper middle class made for the possibility of a holiday industry. Of course, New Brunswick was not the only possible destination but it had the advantage of close proximity to New England and the province's rivers and forests had already fostered the development of fishing camps on all the major river systems and hunting camps throughout every region. What was needed was a concerted effort to package New Brunswick as a tourist destination and critical to the growth of such an industry were promotion and charisma. The forests and rivers of New Brunswick and the province's renowned guides - prototypical, frontier sages, provided the ingredients for a naturalist adventure for the new urban elite and these two cornerstones would form the thrust of province's advertising campaign in the United States market for over 50 years.

Since most of these endeavours were aimed at males and had seasonal limitations, there were efforts to extend the season for such traffic and broaden the appeal of the province to couples and families by depicting an ambience of rustic leisure. By the turn of the century, part of these promotional efforts was to attract residents of New Brunswick's largest city, Saint John, to partake of the pastoral experience their province had to offer. One such attempt took place in 1903. Sponsored by the Canadian Pacific Railway, the Saint John Globe newspaper, and the Fredericton Tourist Association, a canoe trip down the St. John River from Grand Falls to Fredericton was organized as a way of marketing the tourism potential of the upper St. John River Valley. In addition to publishing an article in the Saint John Globe on August 1, 1903, an album was produced containing photographs of the journey.

This virtual exhibit contains the original newspaper article, a transcription of the newspaper article interspersed with the photographs taken on the trip, an essay by David Folster providing a commentary on the newspaper article, and a selection of other photographs taken in the late 19th, early 20th century in the upper St. John River Valley.

Canadian Heritage 

Introduction  Page 1  Page 2  Page 3  Page 4  Page 5