While we were visiting family and friends in Nova Scotia, we took a little side trip to New Brunswick. Our family has a connection to this third smallest province in Canada, in particular to Acadia. So we decided to show our son where part of his family’s history had taken place.
We only spent three autumn days on the road exploring rural Acadia in the northernmost tip of the province and had a short visit in the city of Moncton. We visited friends, ate some pretty tasty seafood and discovered that there are some truly magical places in New Brunswick.
New Brunswick’s French roots
Having lived a large part of my life on the Canadian prairie, Atlantic Canada is like a different world to me. This was my first time in New Brunswick and it felt different from Nova Scotia. Physically, it is just as magnificent to look at – the ocean and the forests are breathtaking. The architecture of the small fishing towns felt more practical than luxurious. Acadian stars decorated most houses, betraying a fierce pride in their French roots.
I am a language geek and travel has allowed me to indulge my curiosity for how languages evolved differently over time as people migrated across our planet to start new communities oceans apart. To me, language is a bridge to the past, and I get very giddy when I can speak with locals and hear a version of the language that once was mainstream.
Many people still use Acadian French on a daily basis and if you are a French speaker from France, be prepared to be transported back a few centuries to the way French used to be spoken. If you are a lover of languages and history, this is quite a feeling. Literally, you are hearing an accent, grammar, and a way of speaking that have long disappeared in France (and have evolved differently), but have been preserved on the other side of the Atlantic.
We also heard Chiac, a vernacular Acadian French, which is heavily influenced by English and to a lesser degree by local Aboriginal languages. It is mostly spoken in the Moncton area. You can listen to the various Acadian French accents here.
Try the seafood
Since New Brunswick is by the ocean, you must, of course, eat seafood. Nowhere else will it be as fresh as in a coastal town. In Moncton, we met some friends for a great chowder at Skipper Jack’s at 211 Mapleton Rd. We also broke our vow of eating nothing but seafood in the Maritimes, when a friend suggested we have lunch at Acadia Korean Restaurant at 498 Champlain St in Dieppe, NB. And we were glad we did, as this was the best Korean we had eaten so far.
Check out the Magnetic Hill
If you’re looking for something unusual to do with your kids, take them to Magnetic Hill in Moncton. Your car appears to drive uphill all by itself. It is in fact an optical illusion.
We would love to come back to this gorgeous province one summer in order to do some hiking and camping. Have you been to New Brunswick? What do you like to do here?