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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

Road Trip: A morning jog in Fredericton

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Early in the morning after I arrived in Fredericton I got up and decided to explore a little bit of the city by going for a jog. Because of the conversion of abandoned CP and CN rail lines into a trail system that links to the Trans Canada and Sentier NB Trails, Fredericton has 85 km of great recreational paths that run throughout the city and beyond.

Although parts of the trail system were littered with debris from the recent flooding of the St. John River, the trails were still great for a run, and took me past the University of New Brunswick (which is Canada’s oldest English Speaking University), towards downtown from my friend’s apartment where I was staying in the southeast part of the city. Although if I kept heading west I would have reached downtown, I changed course because I wanted to check out one of the trail’s most interesting features — a converted rail bridge. Just over half a kilometer long, the bridge was originally built in 1936 and was used for train traffic until CN gave it (and its other out-of-use rail lines) to the province for conversion.

The bridge is interesting because of its structure, as it was originally engineered to carry heavy locomotives but now creates a public space for pedestrians, joggers, and cyclists. The bridge is comprised of 8 repeating trussed bays, made of steel, that span between concrete posts, and a ninth, unique bay near the middle that used to swing open to allow boats through (the gears are still visible, as is the docking post where that section of the bridge used to rest when it was open). The truss work acts like a trellis, creating nice shade and interesting shadow patterns along the planked wooden deck, and because of the bridges width, rest areas with benches and information signs have been easily accommodated at points down the bridge’s sides. I thought the length of the bridge might have discouraged people from walking across it (at 0.58 km it is quite a long bridge by pedestrian standards), but as the only car-free pedestrian link between the north and south side of the city across the St. John River, it is extremely well used (at least on the day that I was there).

I particularly enjoyed the view from the centre of the bridge. It was a clear day, and the peaks of some of Fredericton’s historic buildings stood out nicely from their lush surroundings on the banks of the St. John River.



  1. I used to live in Fredericton, and definitely have fond memories of that bridge. It’s a lovely spot.

  2. I lived in Fredericton for two years before moving to Montreal. It’s too bad you didn’t get to go downtown, it’s small but Queen Street is a nice stroll. I used to always hear that the bridge is the world’s longest pedestrian only span but I highly doubt that claim. Perhaps the longest in New Brunswick or something.

  3. I remember the leaves wouldn’t come out until late May, normally, but this looks winter-like. I hope these are old pictures. If not, I feel sorry for my friends still living there.

    Did you get a chance to drive along the old trans-Canada? It’s the most beautiful view in New Brunswick, in my opinion.