St. Andrews, New Brunswick
Posted on 10 November 2008
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The resort, dominating the hilltop, was built in 1889 by a group of investors to attract Canada’s wealthy. It was so successful that several tycoons built their own shingle-style “cottages” nearby. One estate is now Kingsbrae Garden. Ministers Island Provincial Historic Site protects the estate of Sir William Van Horne, builder of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and other estates line Prince of Wales Street.
In fact, the entire 5-by-15-block downtown is a National Historic District. The architecture and streetscapes are charming, and locals are proud of their classic, well-kept homes. Some eagerly explain their homes’ histories to passersby, especially if the attic beams bear Roman numerals for reassembly after the 18th century trip from Castine.
Just up Market Street from the wharf lies St. Andrews’ most popular attraction: Kingsbrae Horticultural Garden, ranked among Canada’s Top 10 public gardens (see accompanying story). South along the harbor are the informal St. Andrews Royal Yacht Club (home to 20-some friendly boaters), the 1833 octagonal Pendlebury Light (awaiting restoration by St. Andrews Civic Trust), and Indian Point’s expansive views of Passamaquoddy Bay and the Fundy Islands. You’ll also find Science-by-the-Sea interpretive displays and a walking trail to Katy’s Cove.
Children will enjoy the Huntsman Aquarium Museum (a half-mile north of town) featuring Bay of Fundy marine life. A twice-daily highlight is watching the staff feed the harbor seal family.
Golf draws many to the Fairmont Algonquin’s wooded seaside course. The 18-hole, par-72 course designed by Thomas McBroom is ranked Best in New Brunswick and among Canada’s Top 100. The Algonquin Golf Club, with its 1895 clubhouse, is the oldest in Atlantic Canada.
Several companies rent kayaks and bicycles, and offer whale-watching, tide-running and nature cruises. You’ll also find downtown public tennis courts, saltwater swimming at Katy’s Cove, picnic areas and children’s playgrounds. The town hall and the Visitor Center list performances in churches, restaurants and the W.C. O’Neill Arena Theater.
The restored 1808 West Point Blockhouse stands at the north end of town and is one of three built to protect St. Andrews from American invasion during the War of 1812. Three 18-pound cannons are still trained on the river, though they never fired a shot in anger.
For a night ashore, you can choose among motels, bed and breakfast inns, cottages and the Fairmont Algonquin, all within a few blocks of the harbor.
Few boaters rent cars to visit nearby sites, according to B.B. Among the most popular attractions are Ministers Island, the St. Croix Island International Historic Site (where the first French colonists wintered in 1604), and the Atlantic Salmon Interpretive Centre (for a detailed look into the life and conservation of wild salmon).
Tim Easley, who cruised to St. Andrews many times on his 32-foot cutter during his working years, retired here in 2000. “I came back to paradise,” he says. The Davisons and others agree.