World Famous Reversing Falls
The phenomenon of the Reversing Falls
is caused by the tremendous rise and fall of the tides of the Bay of Fundy, which are the highest in the world. The natural southward-facing opening of the Bay of Fundy receives the on rushing ocean tides directly like a funnel. The tidewater is normal when it enters the bay at its widest point. But the farther up the bay it travels the more it changes. It is, in effect, squeezed by the ever-narrowing sides and the constant shallowing of the bottom forcing the water higher up the shores. The low tide running out of the bay collides with the new, incoming high tide, combining forces to make a higher wave coming in. The combination of wave forces is called resonance.
The Bay of Fundy tides are a result of the tidal action originating in the Southern Indian Ocean sweeping around the Cape of Good Hope and then northward into the Bay of Fundy. They are also affected by the distance of the moon from the earth at this longitude. Here in Saint John, the bay tides rise 28 ½ feet. When the tide is low, the St. John River, 450 miles long, empties into the bay. Between Fallsview Park and the Pulp Mill, the full flow of the river thunders through a narrow gorge. Underwater a ledge, 36 feet below the surface causes the water in the river to tumble downward into a 175-200 foot deep pool. Below the mill and under the bridge, the water boils in a series of rapids and whirlpools.
As the bay tides begin to rise, they slow the course of the river and finally stop the river's flow completely. This short period of complete calm is called slack tide. It is only at this time that boats are able to navigate the Reversing Falls. Shortly after this slack tide, the bay tides become higher than the river level and slowly, at first, the river begins to flow upstream. As the bay tides continue to rise, the reverse flow gradually increases and the rapids begin to form, reaching their peak at high tide. The effect of this reversal is felt upstream as far as Fredericton, more than 80 miles inland. At this point the tidal waters are actually 14 ½ feet higher than the river.
After high tide the bay tides begin to fall and the upstream flow of the river gradually lowers until the bay tides fall to the level of the river - once again resulting in another slack tide. The river then resumes its normal course and begins to flow back out of the bay. The bay tides continue to fall below the level of the river until at low tide the rapids are again at their peak, flowing down stream. At this point the tidal waters are 14 ½ feet lower than the river level.
The tide rises and falls once about every 12 and a half hours. To best appreciate the Reversing Falls, you should try to view them at least twice on a given day - near low tide and near high tide. A good water level vantage point from which to view the Falls is Fallsview Park. A twelve-minute film presentation explaining the phenomenon of the Reversing Falls, and highlighting various attractions in the Saint John area, can be viewed in the Reversing Falls Theater located at Boaz Resturant overlooking the Reversing Falls. A small admission charge applies to view the film.
The Trinity Royal Heritage Conservation Area
is a historic district in Saint John's uptown. The City of Saint John desi
gnated the area as the city's first heritage conservation area in 1982; it has since expanded in area. Surrounding the Trinity Anglican Church, the area includes several National Historic Sites of Canada
within its boundaries. Much of the area consists of Victorian brick buildings raised after The Great Fire of Saint John that destroyed much of the
city's central peninsula in 1877.
Dave recommends a visit to this scenic historic area and it is best viewed on foot. It is a beautiful way to end your tour only a 10 minute lazy walk back to Marco Polo Cruise Terminal at the foot of the hill!
On September 19, 1913, the Grand Formal Opening of Imperial Theater took place featuring some of Saint John’s finest talent of the day. Billed as the ‘Finest Theater in Eastern Canada,’ Imperial Theater was tooled with the best amenities available from its water piping to its theatrical equipment. The structure was built and financed by the Keith-Albee Chain of vaudeville houses and was erected upon the site of the Lyceum Theater that was destroyed during the Great Fire of Saint John in 1877.
Walter Golding, the theater’s original manager, brought many theatrical events to the city, many of which were the biggest names in entertainment, including actress Ethel Barrymore, March king, John Phillip Sousa, and illusionist Harry Houdini.
Irving Nature Park
The Irving Nature Park is a 600 acre (243 hectare) site created by J.D. Irving, Limited to help protect an environmentally significant area. This special part of the Fundy coastline, minutes from downtown Saint John, is now a place where the public can enjoy and experience the various ecosystems of the Southern New Brunswick coastline.
The peninsula of volcanic rock and forest on the Bay of Fundy is swept twice daily by some of the highest tides in the world. Mud flats and salt marsh are along one side. A long sandy cobble beach is on the other. The area nurtures one of the province’s richest marine ecosystems.
The area is a traditional staging site for migratory and marine birds that travel between the Arctic and South America. It is a breeding ground for many waterfowl of the Atlantic coastline. Park visitors enjoy the park’s rugged beauty, its trails and lookout points, its boardwalk on the salt marsh with amazing birding opportunities, its picnic sites and its free gas barbecues. Special events like moonlight snowshoeing, geological history, meteor showers, and story sessions are all free. Park upkeep, educational programs and beautification are fully funded by J.D. Irving, Limited.
Dave recommends the Irving Nature Park for those interested in birding, photography and hiking. There is limited access for those with mobility issues. Best viewed by walking the trails which shadow the rugged coastline. I recommend you bring a supply of drinking water and a camera with you!
The Carlton Martello Tower is just one of over 200 defence towers that the British built worldwide. Between 1810 and 1847, eleven Martello towers were constructed in British North America. In an age of smooth bore artillery, these towers were seen as an effective and affordable way to protect coastal areas from enemy attack.But what makes a tower a Martello tower? Martello towers, whether in Canada, England, or Mauritius, all had certain features in common. For instance, these structures were circular in shape with a flat roof on which artillery could be mounted. The towers were accessible through a doorway in the second storey, or barrack floor. The ground floor had storage space and a gunpowder magazine. The key feature was a round, brick pillar that supported both the roof and the arched brick ceiling which, along with the thick walls, was designed to absorb artillery fire. Based on these elements, it is easy to see why Martello towers gained a reputation for strength.
It is believed that Martello towers were named after a place in Corsica called Cape Mortella (the "o" and the "a" would eventually be transposed). It was there, in 1794, that the Royal Navy attacked a circular stone tower being held by the French. Overtaking the tower was no easy task, and the strength of that stone tower made a lasting impression on the British. When Napoleon was threatening to invade Great Britain some ten years later, Britain's faith in the Martello tower design was shown with the addition of over 100 of them on England's southeast coast. Carleton Martello Tower in Saint John, New Brunswick, is one of only nine surviving Martello Towers in Canada.
Dave highly recommends a visit to this historic site. I first visited this museum as a small child and 45 years later it remains one of my favorite places. Please note a small entrance fee is required ($10/family).
The picturesque community is 40 km east of Saint John
and is situated on the Bay of Fundy
. St. Martins was incorporated in 1967. The village was founded by Loyalists
in 1783, and was originally known as Quaco
. Through the 19th century, St. Martins was an important shipbuilding
center. Tourism is now the major industry. Points of interest include twin covered bridges
, the only place in the world where two covered bridges and a lighthouse
can be photographed at the same time, sea caves and a crescent-shaped beach. St. Martins also forms the start of the Fundy Trail, a 16 kilometer auto route along the rugged Fundy coast ending at Big Salmon River, a former lumbering center. In 2007, the St. Martins Book town
Initiative was formed. Later in 2007, the New Brunswick Legislative Assembly officially proclaimed St. Martins as New Brunswick's official Book town. There are now nearly a dozen booksellers located in the village.
Dave highly recommends a visit to St. Martins and the Sea Caves where at low tide you can walk out 300 feet onto the Ocean floor, explore natural sea caves, climb a lighthouse, visit covered bridges or relax and enjoy the best Seafood Chowder.
The Fundy Trail takes you straight to the wonders of the Bay of Fundy, accessibly and conveniently.
- The ultimate Bay of Fundy eco-experience.
- Attractions Canada “Natural Outdoor Site” winner.
- A seasonal multi-use coastal experience and spectacular from every view... whether by motor coach, car, biking, kayaking, walking or hiking the trails.
- Scenic lookouts, footpaths to beaches and a suspension footbridge.
- The Big Salmon River Interpretive Center is a historical re-creation of the area’s logging, fishing, and shipbuilding days with interpretive displays, historic artifacts.
- Guided tours to Sea Captains Burial Grounds and day adventures for the whole family to the famous Hearst Lodge.
- Many lookouts are wheelchair-accessible. Parking lots, washrooms, rest stops, and water stations can be found all along the trail.
Dave high recommends a visit to the Fundy Trail. Bring your camera, this place is nature's beauty at its best. Spectacular views of the Fundy coastline are easily accessible with most look-off points wheelchair friendly. Located 10 minutes from the Caves of St. Martins, this is somewhere you need to see if visiting the area. Please note fog will greatly diminish the experience so I do not recommend a visit if old man Fog is in town.