Thursday, July 05, 2007

Saint John

Yesterday my work took me to Saint John. I actually love the travel aspect of my work; getting out of the office for a day to work with one of our member organizations is a change at worst and a pleasant diversion at best. It's also given me the opportunity of spending a lot of time in some parts of my adopted province that I wouldn't normally get to explore.

I wasn't five minutes out of town when I saw a dead moose on the side of the road, a victim of a late-night or early-morning accident, no doubt, not yet removed by the wildlife service.

Seeing that, when this is the rental the agency had waiting for you, is damned sobering and ensured I kept my eyes open and my speed reasonable...

...the image on this warning sign is pretty close to scale for many moose encounters.

Saint John, in fact, was the first city I ever visited in New Brunswick. The truly excellent wikipedia entry has a lot of photos of the wonderful architecture in this old city. From that time I was charmed by the city market, the oldest continually-operating farmers' market in Canada.

On this day they were gearing up for a visit from a cruise ship, and the sense of anticipation was palpable; "Welcome Cruise Ship Guests!" signs, extra tables and chairs being set out, little (and big) American flags (it was the Fourth of July, after all). Saint John is becoming quite popular as a stop for American ships cruising the Eastern Seaboard. It gives a much-appreciated shot to the economy to the town.
Saint John has its own unique culture, as do all of NB's small urban centres. It was once a great shipbuilding centre, initially wooden ships fed by the ample forests of New Brunswick via the Saint John River. It must've been something to see, the logdrivers dancing great booms of logs towards the shipyards.

Its shipbuilding history continued; for some time it boasted Canada's largest shipyard and built many modern vessels for Canada's military; sadly, a lack of contracts saw the shipyard close in 2003. It's still, however, the province's (and indeed one of the region's) center of industry; the Irving empire is headquartered here, as is Moosehead and a number of other NB corporations. It's very blue-collar, very English, and it reminds me in some ways of St. John's in Newfoundland with its Victorian and and Georgian architecture, brightly-painted row houses and its large deep harbour.

So it's nice to get to visit, even for work.

And as I was leaving town, thar she blows - that dot is, believe it or not, a huge cruise ship carrying thousands of people into a little New Brunswick city.




Blogger Sherwood Harrington said...

Again, thanks so much for providing a real cheap way of visiting nice places in Canada!

The roadside warning sign about moose reminded me of my only (so far) trip to Australia -- kangaroos are such a road hazard in the outback that many vehicles are outfitted with tube-and-rail "cowcatchers" to deflect 'roos from the windshield on impact. Local apocrypha concerning what happens if one winds up in the front seat are grisly.

Wiki's St. John entry is, indeed, pretty nice -- sure beats Wiki's entry for my locus operandi, Boulder Creek. Maybe I should fix that, eh?

1:24 a.m.  
Blogger Mike said...

The moose signs in New Hampshire warn of "hundreds of collisions" -- kind of like McDonalds, except with fatalities. Part of the problem, the police say, has to do with how dark they are -- unlike nice brown deer, they can seemingly pop up out of nowhere at night. And most of us have seen how tough it can be to see deer until just before they're on your grill. Best to slow down after dark, 'specially if you're driving that little egg on wheels in the picture.

6:06 a.m.  

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