Moncton, New Brunswick: Your Next Canadian Hub City
The Hopewell Rocks, Moncton, N.B. Photo: Courtesy of New Brunswick Tourism
Brimming with immersive history, delectable fare and one of North America’s longest tidal bores, Moncton, N.B., is a dynamic attraction in and of itself. Historically a rail and land transportation hub, the city is also the geographic centre of Canada’s Maritime provinces, earning the accurate moniker, “Hub City.” With direct flights from most major Canadian cities, Moncton is an ideal home base to some of the country’s most stunning experiences, including sunset lobster cruises, walking and kayaking the ocean floor (on the same day) and witnessing, first-hand, the highest tides on Earth.
Have a Beach Day
With temperatures ranging between 18-25 degrees, the waters off New Brunswick’s east coast are among some of the warmest north of the Carolinas. Closer to Moncton, Plage de l’Aboiteau in Cap-Pelé and Parlee Beach in Shediac are both prime swimming spots, but further north, Kouchibouguac National Park offers saltwater lagoons, paddle opportunities with a Voyageur Canoe and sea life discovery programs. Meanwhile, in Bouctouche – Mi’kmaq for Great Little Harbour — enjoy a beach day with an incredible 12 km long sand dune that extends out into the ocean and surrounds Bouctouche bay. Home to protected plant and animal life, capacity is limited and dogs aren’t allowed onsite, but visitors are encouraged to climb the lookout point, stroll the winding boardwalk and feel the sand between their toes.
A Complete Lobster Experience
Considered to be the lobster capital of the World, Shediac is fittingly home to not only an annual lobster festival but also a 2 1/2 hour Lobster Tales Cruise, a Canadian Signature Experience since 2011. Led by the charismatic and engaging Ron Cormier, a retired, 30-plus year lobster fisher, visitors are welcomed with Acadian hospitality, and treated to an interactive, informative, fun and delicious adventure. Ron explains the important role and impact lobster fishing has had on the community, delves into responsible and sustainable methods of trapping lobster, as well as how to prepare and eat lobster, the Acadian way. Before long, you’re applying the how-to’s and getting your hands dirty, eating your very own freshly caught and prepared lobster.
Pro Tip: Take the sunset cruise and enjoy your post-lobster meal on the upper deck with the ocean breeze, drink in hand.
Kayak and Walk the Ocean Floor at Hopewell Rocks
Here, you’ll be able to experience one of the world’s great natural wonders in two different ways. Strap on a lifejacket, hop on a sea kayak and paddle through the iconic, flowerpot rock formations that make up the Hopewell Rocks in the Bay of Fundy, one of Canada’s most iconic spots. High tide ushers in 160 billion tonnes of water, rising 16 metres high — more than the combined flow of the world’s freshwater rivers, and enough to fill the Grand Canyon twice. When the tide recedes, take the steps down and walk the ocean floor, taking in the amazing rock formations and towering sea cliffs and foliage that surround you.
Pro Tip: Wear shoes you’re willing to get muddy and wet.
The Fundy Coast — a Breathtaking Adventure
From Hopewell, head west to Cape Enrage, another ruggedly iconic destination known for zip lining, cliff rappelling and plant fossils. The quaint fishing village of Alma is a great launching point into the small but mighty Bay of Fundy National Park, home to lovely hiking trails, lush Acadian forest and stunning vistas. Exit the national park on the northwest end, and follow the signs for the Fundy Trail Parkway, New Brunswick’s answer to the Cabot Trail. Take your time, and expect to make frequent stops along what is a beautiful 35 km-long winding coastal adventure. Hike Walton Glen Gorge — New Brunswick’s Grand Canyon — take on a cycling trail or walk on the suspension footbridge overlooking the Salmon River. Stop in serene St. Martins, a quaint fishing village with great dining and fun boutiques, not to mention kayaking through two UNESCO World Heritage Site sea caves while getting up close to the towering sea cliffs.
Pro Tip: Visiting in the summer is great, but considering New Brunswick is 85 per cent forested, driving the parkway in the fall, while surrounded by glorious and dramatic colours at every turn, makes for abundant fall-peeping opportunities and an irresistibly scenic and memorable experience.
A Taste of Moncton
Seafood Chowder Recipe, from Chef-Owner Chad Steeves, Tide and Boar Gastropub, Moncton, N.B.
Chef Chad’s seafood chowder brings out the best of all ingredients used, while providing balance between the umami of the clam juice, the sweetness of the cream and the richness of the seafood. It’s best eaten with a classic pan roll or buttermilk biscuit with salted butter.
2 tbsp of cooking oil
4 medium sized Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
1 medium onion, diced
1,200 ml any type of canned clam juice
1 l of heavy cream
1 carrot, peeled and diced
3 stocks of celery, diced
6 oz haddock, diced
10 bay scallops
5 baby Atlantic shrimp
10 oz hot-smoked, kipper-style salmon (fresh salmon works as well)
Adjust cream levels to reach desired consistency.
- Dice 3 of potatoes, dice the onion — reserve half for later.
- In a large soup pot, turn the heat to medium high, add 1 tbsp oil and onion. Sauté the onion until it becomes translucent, then add potatoes, clam juice, and 350 ml of heavy cream.
- Cook until potatoes are soft then puree with a hand blender until smooth. set chowder base aside for later.
- Small dice carrots, and slice celery.
- In a clean soup pot, add your remaining cooking oil, the rest of the diced onions, carrots, celery and potato — sweat until they start to become tender, then add back your chowder base, heat until scalding hot.
- Prepare seafood by seasoning it all with salt, and dicing the haddock and salmon into bite-size pieces.
- Just before you’re ready to serve, add your seafood to quickly poach in the broth.
- Serve into soup bowls, garnish with fresh dill.
Chef Tip: This is a good base recipe for a classic Atlantic seafood chowder, but creativity counts. Try adding different fish, like lobster, or mussels, or maybe you could add some curry spice to the base.
A version of this story was originally published on Aug. 22, 2022