New Brunswick borders on Nova Scotia, Québec and the U.S. state of Maine. It is rectangular in shape, extending 322 km north to south and 242 km east to west New Brunswick has a land mass of 73,500 square kilometers, 85 percent of which is forest. The northern part of the province is very mountainous, while the interior is mostly plateau, flatter in the east and more hilly in the southeast.
Twice a day, with the rising tide of the Atlantic Ocean, 100 billion tonnes of water stream past a rocky headland in the Bay of Fundy. The current created is practically equal to the flow of all the world’s rivers over a 24-hour period. The eastern end of the Bay has tides of nearly 15 meters, the highest in the world, sufficient to completely submerge a four-storey building.
New Brunswick is a maritime province with three coastlines: Chaleur Bay, the Bay of Fundy, and the Northumberland Strait. The eastern shoreline has a temperate climate and some excellent beaches. Summer is warm with cooler evenings. Autumn is relatively mild. Winters are cold with heavy snows. Residents tend to wear light-to-medium weights of clothing during summer months, heavyweights in winter. Waterproof jackets are advisable all year.
In 1996, the population of New Brunswick was 761,075. With the highest percentage of Francophones outside Québec (almost 35 percent), New Brunswick is Canada’s only officially bilingual province. The heritage of New Brunswick’s people is a blended one, combining elements of the French, British Loyalist, Scots and Irish traditions, with later elements of German, Scandinavian and Asian. The little municipality of New Denmark boasts North America’s largest Danish colony. The First Nations people of New Brunswick number more than 12,000, most are Mi’Kmaq and Malecite. The coasts and river valleys are the areas of heaviest population; Saint John is the largest city, followed by Moncton and Fredericton, the provincial capital.
Leading the manufacturing industries are food and beverages, followed by pulp and paper, sawmills, manufacturers of furniture and other wood-based industries, metal processing, transportation equipment and processing of non-metallic ores and primary metals. Tourism is a vital part of the province’s economy. In 1991, nearly 1.5 million people visited New Brunswick’s tourist attractions, including its two national parks and numerous provincial parks.
New Brunswick has many natural resources. Forests take up 85 percent of the land mass; as a result, wood and wood products are a cornerstone of the economy, with black spruce and fir leading the list. Mining, too, is important. New Brunswickers mine silver, bismuth, cadmium, coal, copper, natural gas, gold, oil, lead, potash, peat, tungsten, silica, salt and zinc. Fishing and agriculture are also very important. More than 50 varieties of fish and shellfish are caught here. In agriculture, New Brunswick is self-sufficient in the production of forage, milk and poultry.
In recent years, New Brunswick has undertaken an effort to further promote economic development that has resulted in new industries and companies being established in the province. Information technology has been a growth industry for the province, which now describes itself as the “Call Centre Capital of North America,” with well over a dozen major companies having established facilities in the province.