Enjoy the vibrant history of Fredericton and discover its cultural heritage

A one-hundred-year quarrel is part of the New Brunswick history, the dispute between Fredericton and Saint John was to be named the capital. The dispute or the New Brunswick Seat of Government, Saint John versus Fredericton continued from 1785 to 1882. It all started in 1784 when New Brunswick became a separate province, the seat was originally designated to Saint John as it was the oldest city.

Fredericton barely existed yet the first governor, Thomas Carleton wanted to move to Fredericton, as it was more centrical. Built in 1840, the Christ Church Cathedral, led to Fredericton being nicknamed the Celestial City by Saint John. Several attempts were made to move the capital back to Saint John during the nineteenth century, although New Brunswick could not afford the move.

New Brunswick, Fredericton History

The politicians from Nova Scotia and central Canada hoped in 1864 that the Maritimes would enter as a single province into the Confederation, resistance came from New Brunswick politicians and the merger was vigorously protested and while the Fredericton squabbling with Saint John was uniting against Halifax, New Brunswick joined the Confederation as a separate unit despite the fact that its population was much smaller than that of Quebec and Ontario.

Fredericton, New Brunswick

Originally the Fredericton area was used for seasonal forming by the Maliseet and Mi-kmaq's, the primary crop grown, was maize and Fredericton served as an Aboriginals capital. The first European contact came in the seventeenth century when the land was granted to Joseph de Villebon. Fort Nashwaak was built in 1692 and for a period severed as the French colony of Arcadia's capital.

Fort Nashwaak 1696 - 1700

Fort Nashwaak became a source of torment for New England settlers, Major Benjamin Church set out to destroy it in 1696 and on the 18th of October three cannons were assembled on the south bank of the Naswaak River. Two days of fire exchange resulted in 17 wounded and 8 soldiers killed for the New Englanders while the French suffered a loss of two wounded and one soldier killed and in 1700 after the death of Villebon the fort was abandoned. The area named Pointe-Sainte-Anne by Acadians in 1732 fleeing Nova Scotia when the territory was taken over by the British.

Pointe-Sainte-Anne 1732 - 1768

Due to the hostility of the local Aboriginal and Acadian population, the British settlement attempt failed in 1762 and the settlers build a community next to the river, today known as Maugerville. In 1768, three fur traders settled permanently in the area. A third of the homes in Fredericton was destroyed in the largest forest fire ever recorded in the North America history.

Founding of the City of Fredericton

1783 marks the founding of the City of Fredericton during the settling of United Empire Loyalist after the American Revolution. Several army regiments settled in Fredericton and severe snow storms were experienced, bedding was short and many of the 2,000 loyalists perished during the 1783/84 winters. Loyalist left in spring to other regions hugely reducing the number of settlers in the countryside.

In 1784 Nova Scotia Governor Parr approved the street plan for the townsite. The plan was named after its designer and became known as the Campbell Plot and only in 1819, the streets were named. Fredericton became the provincial capital in 1785 and within a period of three years, it went from a thinly inhabited region to a popular destination for settlers. Fredericton was favored as an ideal spot for military installations. The first building constructed to host the provincial legislative assembly was built in 1788 and in 1880 destroyed by a fire.

Later becoming the University of New Brunswick, the Old Arts Building was completed in 1829 to house the King's College. Known as the St. Mary First Nation today, the Maliseet settlement was founded in 1847 on the north side of the river. The Christ Church Cathedral was built in 1848 and Fredericton could finally achieve city status. In 1860 Prince Edward visited Fredericton followed by an 1861 Prince Alfred visit.

Development in the 19th & 20th Century in Fredericton

19th century Fredericton history includes several industries moved to Fredericton and declined during the 20th century to make way for provincial government become the primary employer and universities. The corporate limit of the city was restrained to the south side until the merge of Devon and Gibson in 1945. The city experienced a significant growth during the post-war period up to the end of 1970. Saint Thomas University was built and the University of New Brunswick expanded in 1964 and the population increased due to the new civil service job availability.

Today Fredericton is a vibrant capital featuring a variety of entertainment options and its calendar is filled 365 days a year with award-winning festivals, exhibitions, brewing competitions, art festivals, craft shows, and parades.