Picture it. You're on your skis, gliding through the woods, admiring the winter wonderland the newly fallen snow has created when a deer saunters onto the trail. It's a scene not uncommon in Fredericton. Pristine wilderness where deer and other animals play are right in the center of the city! In Fredericton, you can get as close to nature as possible without having to leave city limits - the City of Fredericton is blessed with approximately 800 acres of parkland that support and nurture abundant flora, fauna, and wildlife.
Odell Park - View Park Map
The centerpiece of the City's parklands is the highly acclaimed Odell Park, renowned as one of the most beautiful parks of its kind in Canada. Among the many distinguishing features of this 400 acre park are a duck pond, deer pen (there's also a resident population of deer that freely roam the park), arboretum and botanical garden. Encompassing 400 acres in the heart of the City, Odell Park's ambiance contributes much to Fredericton's reputation as a "last surviving hometown of America".
Here, amid woodlands and fields that once formed the estate of Reverend Jonathan Odell, people find space to play and commune with nature in all seasons of the year. The Odell family called their vast estate Rookwood, a name which today survives on the avenue leading to Odell Park's main entrance. Officially proclaimed in 1954, the park has been enhanced with lawns, duck ponds, a deer pen and a multi-purpose visitors centre which the Queen Mother opened in 1967.
Stretching downriver from the Sheraton Inn is the "Green", where you can enjoy a walk in the grassy tree-shaded area along the Saint John River to the end of Salamanca Landing. It offers a quiet place to relax or stroll.
Another green has been created on the northside of the river. This green, known as Carleton Park, runs along the riverfront drive and mirrors the southside green from Main Street to Cliffe Street. This green has a superb view of the City, especially at sunset. Large open spaces, with a number of elm trees, provides a popular space for picnics and quiet strolls. Carleton Park is also the location for boat launching on the northside of the City.
Downtown Fredericton, on the corner of Queen and Regent Streets, is Officers Square, one of the City's most historic and scenic areas. It was the centre of military activity when Fredericton was garrisoned by the British Army from 1785 to 1869, and by the Canadian Army from 1883 to 1914.
Now, Officers Square is a pleasant park for relaxing or strolling, and is the scene of outdoor summer band concerts on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 7:30 p.m.; outdoor theatre performances and other activities during the year.
The land across from the Old Government House on Woodstock Road is today known as Wilmot Park. It was developed for the public in 1895, but had been originally set aside as a "pleasure ground" in 1860 by the Honorable William Hunter Odell, grandson of Jonathan Odell. In 1894, Edward Wilmot purchased approximately 20 acres of the Odell estate and in 1895, presented the title deed of the land as a gift to City Council.
The park includes passive recreation areas where one can walk along the gravel paths, enjoy the beautiful elm trees and flowers, or rest in the shade of the bandstand. Recreation of a more active style is also available. Children enjoy playing on the playground equipment, in the wading pool or on the basketball courts. Adults can play tennis, horseshoes, lawnbowl, or enjoy a jog around and through the park.
Mactaquac Provincial Park
Mactaquac, an all season provincial park, encompasses 567 ha (1,400 acres), and includes 300 campsites, kitchen shelters, washrooms with hot showers, laundry facilities, a campers store and a mini-golf area. During the summer season there are two beaches, a beach canteen, two marinas, a championship 18 hole golf course with pro-shop, several nature trails, and a recreation program. A new 1 km linear trail has also been opened at the park; highlights include: a bridge that goes over a large beaver pond, trail information stands, picnic sites, tables, and more. Sailing, boating, swimming and small-mouth bass fishing are popular on the Headpond. A spacious Lodge over looks the golf course with a licensed lounge for dining. Reservations for group bookings can be made by phoning (506) 363-4747.
In addition to the regular activities of the park, numerous special events are held throughout the year as well. During the winter, visitors can skate on the ponds, toboggan "suicide hill", snowshoe the nature trails, cross country ski or snowmobile the miles of groomed trails. Sleigh Rides are also available, although a reservation is necessary. For more information, call (506) 363-4747 for details.