Literary landmarks: Fredericton, New Brunswick

Fredericton is the capital of New Brunswick, but it's also known as the poetry capital of Canada, thanks to its rich literary history and famous poetic residents! It's also the home of literary press Goose Lane Editions. So what should you see if you love literature and find yourself in Freddy? Check out our list of suggestions below!

Headed to another Canadian capital city? Check out the entire Literary landmarks series here.



Poet's Corner

poetccorner.jpg

Knoxford Guy, Wikimedia Commons


Fredericton being dubbed the "poets' corner of Canada" became official in 1947 when a monument was erected by the Canadian government at the University of New Brunswick in honour of three Frederictonian poets: Bliss Carmen, Charles G.D. Roberts, and Francis Sherman. "Their gifts enriched Canadian literature," the plaque states. The monument currently sits in front of the Harriet Irving Library on the UNB campus.



Westminster Books

westminsterbooks.jpg

Image: Westminster Books Facebook

Westminster Books is the only independent bookstore in Fredericton that sells new books. The store, which opened in 1975, has a wide selection of books, including specialized children's and Maritimes sections.



The Ice House at University of New Brunswick

icehouse.jpg

Image: University of New Brunswick

The Ice House, which is now known as McCord Hall, was originally the university's ice house. It has served many different purposes over the years, including being the headquarters of UNB's literary magazine The Fiddlehead (which is Canada's oldest literary magazine still in publication) and a meeting place for the university's writers. UNB has a great MA in Creative Writing program and past students have included Alistair MacLeod and Wayne Johnston.



Alden Nowlan House at the University of New Brunswick

aldennowlandhouse-584.jpg

Image: Google Maps

Poet, playwright and novelist Alden Nowlan was the University of New Brunswick's writer-in-residence from 1968 until his death in 1983. During that time, he lived in this modest home. In 2003, it was converted into the home for UNB's graduate student society and home of the Windsor Castle Bar.



Owl's Nest Bookstore

owlsnest-584.jpg

Image: Google Maps

You never know what you're going to find at the Owl's Nest Bookstore, which is part of the charm in paying the store a visit. Focusing on used books, the store has a distinct owl motif and is a maze of small rooms containing literary treasures.



Old Burial Ground

oldburialground-584.jpg

Image: Jimmy Emerson, DVM, Creative Commons

This cemetery has been around since the 1700s, with the first recorded burial taking place in 1787. It is considered one of the most important historical burial grounds in New Brunswick. Julia Catherine Hart is buried here. Hart wrote St. Ursula's Convent, which was the first English-language novel ever to be published by someone born in Canada.



Forest Hill Cemetery

foresthillcemetery-584.jpg

Image: Robber Esq, Creative Commons

Four of Fredericton's literary heavyweights are buried here: Bliss Carman, Alden Nowlan, Charles Dow Richards and Sir Charles G.D. Roberts. You can visit their graves, and also enjoy a peaceful and beautiful walk through the property.



Bliss Carman House

blisscarmanhouse.jpg

Image: HistoricPlaces.ca

This house was a pivotal place in the life of acclaimed Canadian poet Bliss Carman: he was born here, grew up here and penned several of his early works here. The house remained with the Carman family until 1965, when it was sold. It is now a private residence, but a plaque commemorates the literary importance of the place. It's worth noting that the configuration of the streets changed after the house was built - the front of the house faces the backyard and the back of the house faces the street!




Thanks to the good folks at Goose Lane Editions for their help in building this list!



Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Submission Policy

Note: The CBC does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that comments are moderated and published according to our submission guidelines.