Saint John County

Essentially the hinterland of New Brunswick’s great port city, Saint John County forms the single largest portion of the province’s shoreline along the Bay of Fundy.  Most of the county to the east remains heavily forested and contains some spectacular mountainous scenery.  Saint John was the gateway to the hinterland of what is now New Brunswick and the base of the critical overland route to French Canada and the interior British Colonies after 1763.  Since the 1640s, it has been the site of forts and fortresses, and the scene of repeated military and naval actions in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.  After 1867, it was Canada’s most heavily defended commercial port and in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries a key shipbuilding site: most of Canada’s current fleet of twelve frigates was built there, as was Canada’s National Naval Memorial, HMCS Sackville.

There is much evidence of Saint John’s military past still evident: Fort Howe, Fort La Tour, Fort Mispec, Red Head Battery, the Martello Tower of the War of 1812 (a Parks Canada site), the massive graving dock and the extensive fortifications on Partridge Island all speak to its crucial importance as a seaport and the gateway to the Road to Canada.  The New Brunswick Museum records the province’s history in both documents and exhibits.