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Fredericton, New Brunswick

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Fredericton in New Brunswick.

 

Fredericton is the capital of the Canadian province of New Brunswick, by virtue of the provincial parliament which sits there. An important cultural, artistic, and educational centre for the province, Fredericton is home to two universities and cultural institutions such as the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, the York Sunbury Museum, and The Playhouse—a performing arts venue.

The city hosts the annual Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival, attracting regional and international jazz, blues, rock, and world artists. Fredericton is also known for its indie rock scene, featuring jamband-reminiscent artists like Grand Theft Bus, and the record label Forward Music Group.

As a provincial capital, its economy is inextricably tied to the fortunes of the public sector; however, the city also contains a growing IT and commercial sector. The city has the highest percentage of residents with a post-secondary education in the province and one of the highest per capita incomes.

Culture

Due to the presence of the universities, Fredericton is more cosmopolitan than many cities its size. This is reflected in cuisine offered by local ethnic restaurants (which include Caribbean, Chinese, Greek, Indian, Korean, Italian, Japanese, Lebanese, Mexican, Pakistani and Vietnamese foods). There are also several retail outlets that sell ethnic products and artifacts.

Fredericton is an important cultural centre of the region featuring art galleries, the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design, museums and theatres which promote local artistic and literary talent. The federal government named Fredericton the "Cultural Capital of Canada" for the year 2009. Canada Officer's Square is an outdoor public space located at the centre of the city. It serves as a venue for outdoor concerts during the summer, featuring a variety of local and national talent. During the winter, Officer's Square is transformed into an outdoor skating rink.

Architecturally, Fredericton spans more than two centuries. The city features an eclectic mix of buildings and residences ranging from classical Victorian style to modern office buildings and architecture. Fredericton’s skyline is also distinguished by many historic churches.

Arts

The Beaverbrook Art Gallery, a prestigious art gallery on the south bank of the Saint John River, is New Brunswick's provincial art gallery and maintains a collection of considerable quality, including several paintings by Salvador Dalí. The gallery was established and built in 1958 by British press baron Lord Beaverbrook as a gift to his native province. Fredericton is home to several commercial galleries such as Gallery 78, Ingrid Mueller Arts + Concepts.

The Playhouse hosts plays and musicals throughout the year, as well as presenting visiting comedians and musical performances by both Canadian and international artists. The Playhouse is the main venue for Theatre New Brunswick (TNB). TNB was founded by prominent Canadian director Walter Learning in 1969, and is the province’s largest professional theatre company.

Every fall Fredericton hosts the Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival. The week-long festival draws artists from all over North America. Since its inception in 1991, the event has grown into a large, diverse festival which has attracted artists from around the world including Buddy Guy, Warren Haynes, Oscar Peterson, and Parliament. The festival also provides a stage for local, provincial, and Maritime talent, and has been pivotal in the development of many New Brunswick groups and performers, including Hot Toddy, Abstract Operation, Grand Theft Bus, David Myles, and Ross Neilson.

Fredericton is home to the New Brunswick Summer Music Festival, which, each August, features professional chamber music by top local players and nationally renowned performers. Motion Ensemble, NB’s contemporary music organization, is also based here. In addition, Symphony New Brunswick performs most of its season in Fredericton.

Every November Fredericton hosts the Silver Wave Film Festival. Originally called the Tidal Wave Film Festival, it has been running since 2001. Each year attendance and interest in the festival has risen. Because of the its relationship with the Toronto Film Festival, the Silver Wave Festival offers Frederictonians the opportunity to see films that would otherwise be overlooked in their smaller market. Films created by New Brunswickers are also screened at the festival. Many of the local films come from shorts created through the University of New Brunswick and the New Brunswick Filmmaker's Co-operative.

Historically, Fredericton has been referred to as the Poet's Corner of Canada, because it was the birthplace of Bliss Carman, Charles G. D. Roberts and Francis Joseph Sherman. For many years, it was the home of the acclaimed poet, playwright, and journalist Alden Nowlan.

Prominent writers and poets currently living in Fredericton include Raymond Fraser, Robert Gibbs, M.T. Dohaney, Herb Curtis, Wayne Curtis, David Adams Richards, Robert Hawkes, Shari Andrews, Mark Anthony Jarman and Joe Blades.

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