Fredericton, New Brunswick Picturesque Parks
Fredericton offers pristine wilderness where deer and other animals play right in the center of the city. The City of Fredericton has approximately 800 acres of parkland with abundant flora, fauna, and wildlife.
In addition to tree-lined boulevards and residential areas, there are over seventy-five kilometers of bike trails along the majestic St. John River Valley. As it winds through the downtown core, it passes through the Green, officially named the So Long y Lobkowitz Paddock. You will join many a Fredericpudlians on their lunch-hour walking, jogging, biking, or just sitting in this city's parklands.
This park is 4.41 hectares (11 acres) in size, and is a popular picnic site on the northside. This green runs along Riverside Drive and mirrors the southside Green and has a superb sunset view of the City. Large open spaces with a number of elm trees are ideal for picnics and quiet strolls. The park features a well-used boat launch, which was modernized in 1997.
Originally in the old Village of Gibson, the park was developed after the Town of Devon was amalgamated with the City of Fredericton in 1945. In 1888, the area was used as the site for unloading granite to build the first train bridge across the Saint John River at Fredericton. Following the Gibson Fire in 1893, the area was used for 50 years by a succession of lumber mills. During the last quarter of the 19th Century the site was also used as a railway yard. The park area was leased from the Van Buskirk family by Canadian Pacific Railways, and when it ceased to be a railway yard, it was leased to the City of Fredericton as a park, which is also park of the Trans-Canada Trail.
The park across from the courthouse and the Lord Beaverbrook Hotel celebrates Canada's centennial back in 1967. There is a metal obelisk that marks the sport of the old British American Coffee House that stood from 1785 to 1961, which was demolished to make way for the Playhouse. The Coffee House was where the new Brunswick House of Assembly held its first Fredericton meeting on July 18, 1788. The Indian Totem Pole in the park was donated by the Coast Salish first nations of British Columbia, to commemorate the centenary of that province joining confederation in 1871. Stan Modeste, of the Cowichan Indian Band carved the totem at Kohselah, BC. The Centennial Survey Monument is dedicated to the surveyors who made a significant contribution to the exploration, mapping and development of Canada. The Centennial Building, across from the Park is the location of many provincial government offices.
Fredericton Botanical Garden
Prospect St or Cameron Court
The Fredericton Botanic Garden, on the west side of Odell Park, was begun in 1990 and is continually evolving through he efforts of the members of the Fredericton Botanic Garden Association in cooperation with the City if Fredericton. It can be entered from the parking lot of the Prospect Street Ball Park or from Cameron Court off the Hanwell Road.
The delightful Entrance Garden at Prospect Street leads to a two kilometre walking trails through a wooded hillside and along a creek with interpretive plaques. Printed interpretative guides are available at the entrance to the trails, identifying some of the unique plants along the trails. The return walk along Odell Park presents outstanding views of the Saint John River and Fredericton North.
Several perennial beds are established near the Administration Centre at the Cameron Court entrance. This is also the site of a collection of Rhododendrons and Azaleas. Plans are being made for twelve theme gardens for the enjoyment of visitors and for study. Demonstrations and talks are arranged from time to time.
Visitors are welcome at any time and admission is charged. Guided tours are not usually available but can be arranged for groups by contacting the Fredericton Botanic Garden Association. Call Jim Nicholson at 455-5376 or leave a message at 452-9269
Hyla Park Nature Preserve
off Greenwood Drive/Watters St
(506) 457-2398 Nature Trust of New Brunswick
The Nature Trust of NB has developed a protected area for the Gray Tree Frog (Hyla versicolor), Canada's First Amphibian Park Fredericton is the most northly point where the versicolour is found. This tiny frog is the main reason for the nature preserve's existence, through the work of photographer and amateur herpetologist Don Vail. The tree frog has a sticky disc on the tips of their toes, shaped like a suction cup which allows it to sit in the crooks of trees or shrubs, where it can most often be found. Visitors will also find a variety of trees and flowers, including three rare plant species: the red milkwort, the purple gerardia, and the small-flowered gratiola. The Hyla Park kiosk is located behind the Greenwood Drive Baptist Church parking lot and along side the Gibson Trail.
Killarney Rd (5 km north on St. Mary's Street)
Lake Killarney, is an ideal place for family activities, with a lifeguarded beach, concessions, and a pathway to walk around the lake.
The centerpiece of the City's parklands is the 75-hectare (388-acre) Odell Park, which features barbecue pits, picnic tables, children's play equipment, a duck pond, deer pen (there's also a free ranging wild deer in the park), arboretum, botanical garden), and the Fredericton Pony Club. Odell Park's ambiance contributes much to Fredericton's reputation as a "last surviving hometown of America". There are also 16 kilometres of trails, winding their way through a varied forest spared from the woodsman's axe and the ravages of fire. Some of the trees in the park are more than 400 years old! The woodlands and fields of the park, which opened in 1954, once formed the estate of Reverend Jonathan Odell. The multi-purpose visitors centre was opened by the Queen Mother in 1967. Open daily from 8 am to 10 pm.
Two distinct elements make up the arboretum. One is the Arboretum Trail winding 2.8 km through the Odell woods and offering 44 separate sites where individual tree species are found. It takes under an hour to cover the entire trail or you can choose to walk just one or two of the three loops that make up the entire length. The other element of the Arboretum is the New Brunswick Species Collection located on the incline west of the deer pen. Collected here, are examples of every native New Brunswick tree species set in a park environment of lawns, paths, and benches. It illustrates and honors New Brunswick's rich forest heritage. The arboretum was built in 1985 at the suggestion of Senator Muriel Ferguson, who thought the creation of the arboretum would be an appropriate way for Fredericton to mark its bicentennial as capital.
About Jonathan Odell
Jonathan Odell was a physician, British Army surgeon, clergyman, poet, United Empire Loyalist and New Brunswick's first Provincial Secretary. Odell Park encompasses the area that was his estate, which the Odell family called "Rookwood" which is the name of the avenue leading to the main entrance of the park. For the most part, the park remains essentially as it was when Jonathan Odell rambled through its forests and fields more than 200 years ago. Interestingly, Jonathan Odell was the godfather of Clement C. Moore, author of "A Visit From St. Nicholas" now known as "The Night Before Christmas". Odell Park is open daily 7am-10 pm. A trail brochure and map are available at the visitor centre in the Odell Park Lodge. Guided tours can be arranged for groups.
Downtown Fredericton, on the corner of Queen and Regent Streets, is Officers Square, one of the City's most historic and scenic areas. This square was the centre of military activity when Fredericton was garrisoned by the British Army from 1785 to 1869, and by the Canadian Army from 1883 to 1914. During the summer, the square hosts the city's Summer Music Series, the Changing of the Guard Ceremony, and daily Outdoor Theatre.
The park is adorned with a bronze statue of Lord Beaverbrook, which was erected in 1957, while he was still alive. Lord Beaverbrook was born William Maxwell Aitken in Maple Ontario, but grew up in New Brunswick, studied law at Dalhouise university, got involved with politics and went to England in 1910 to work with Andrew Bonar Law, the only Canadian-born British Prime Minister. In 1916, he received the title of Lord Beaverbrook, and was the Minister or Aircraft Production in World War II, and built a publishing empire built around London's Daily Express. Over the years he made many significant contributions to the Province, including the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, the Playhouse, the Lady Beaverbrook Rink, and at the University of New Brunswick the Beaverbrook Residence and the Lady Beaverbrook Gymnasium.
Now, Officers Square is a pleasant park for relaxing or strolling, and is the scene of outdoor summer band concerts on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 7:30 p.m.; outdoor theatre performances and other activities during the year.
The Green is a a 5 km long pathway system stretching along the Saint John River in the heart of downtown Fredericton, linked to another 60 km of trails throughout the city. A Riverfront Walkway runs from the Sheraton Fredericton Hotel past Old Government House, underneath the Trans-Canada Trail Bridge. to the Princess Margaret Bridge. The stretch between the Westmoreland St Bridge and the Tail Bridge is named Limpert Lane in honour of Marianne Limpert silver medallist in 200 metre medley swimming event in the 1996 Olympics. The Rgent Street Wharf provides various services to passing waterraft includng gas, electrical hookup and awter, and is open from May until September (506 455-1445). You can also take river cruises from here about the Carleton II (506 454-2628) or the Wood Duck (506 477-7494)
Woodstock Road, across from the Old Government House
The park includes passive recreation areas where one can walk along the gravel paths, enjoy the beautiful elm trees and flowers, or rest in the shade of the bandstand. Adults can play tennis, horseshoes, or enjoy jogging around and through the park. Set aside in 1860 as a "pleasure ground" for an upcoming visit by the Prince of Wales by the Honorable William Hunter Odell, grandson of Jonathan Odell. In 1894, Edward Wilmot purchased approximately 20 acres of the Odell estate and in 1895, presented the title deed of the land as a gift to City Council.
With its streams, ponds, and quiet country roads, and almost four times the size of Vancouver's Stanley Park, the 1,500-hectare UNB Woodlot is one of Fredericton's best-kept secrets. Iit's a Mecca for nature lovers, and the deer, moose, and beaver that live there. But the Woodlot is more than one of Canada's most impressive urban recreational areas; it's a giant outdoor classroom for the University of New Brunswick's Faculty of Forestry, one of the finest forestry schools in the world. Considering the hundreds of foresters, who have trained here, it is truly the Mother of all woodlots.