Thursday, October 24, 2019

Presenting in Fredericton at UNB and learning more of the Tales of the Trailbuilders

Today was a special day for us. We slept in a little, worked on adapting our presentation for this afternoon, and spent the morning generally being spoiled by our hosts. It was wonderful to take a bit of a break, and to share stories with two wonderful people.

In the afternoon Gabriela gave us a small guided tour of Fredericton as she took us to the University of New Brunswick, where we gave our talk. We were being hosted by the Kinesiology and Forestry Departments, and our talk was given in the brand new kinesiology building on the UNB campus. This building is designed to encourage a healthy and sustainable lifestyle, with features like a large staircase to promote exercise, and drinking water fountains. It also featured an incredible living wall!

We had a great turnout of over 20 enthusiastic and engaged attendees for our talk who seemed to come from a variety of different groups. There were lots of good questions at the end, and it felt like it went well. We would like to send out a huge thank you to the Kinesiology and Forestry Departments at the University of New Brunswick for co-hosting our talk, as well as everyone who attended.





After our talk we went downtown for a walk and to explore a little of this beautiful riverside city, which is obviously rich in culture and history. One of our regrets is not deciding to stay a little longer so we could learn more about the capital city of New Brunswick.

In our wanderings we walked past the newly expanded Beaverbrook Art Gallery. We didn't go inside, but apparently the gallery houses 6,000 works of art, including pieces by J.M.W. Turner and Salvador Dali. It was built in 1959, and named after Lord Beaverbrook who assembled and funded the original collection.

We also walked past the Historic Garrison District, which was designated a National Historic Site in 1964. British troops were garrisoned at the site between 1784 and 1869. The original buildings were wooden, and they were later replaced with stone ones. Today this is a cultural center which hosts many festivals and events throughout the year.

We also observed a large selection of craft brews available in the area. Indeed, Fredericton boasts the highest density of craft microbreweries in the Maritimes, with over ten breweries in the city itself.

As we walked around we could also tell there is a very active outdoor culture in the city. There are over 115 km of hiking and biking trails in the town, and many opportunities for canoeing and kayaking on the beautiful river. One of the great things to see was that it wasn't only young people or students out running and walking, but also retired folks and those with reduced mobility as well. The sense of community was strong and wonderful to see.




                                (online image)

Our lovely trail angels treated us to a delicious dinner at Isaac's Way. This is a very community minded restaurant in downtown Fredericton that offers local produce, and makes all their dishes from scratch. The colourful, warm restaurant also features the work of local artists on its walls. The artwork is for sale, and one of the owner's goals is to help underprivileged kids via an ongoing silent art auction. They also contribute to one of the local food banks. It is yet another example of how one or two people can make a huge difference to their local community. A great place to visit if you are in Fredericton!




As a brief aside, while the blogs of our time on The Great Trail seem wondrous, after talking with over a dozen trail builders and chatting with those who work for the Trans Canada Trail organization - it has increasingly become our belief that one of the great untold stories to be written is on the decades long efforts of those dedicated trail builders and organizations who have worked - often quietly in communities across the nation - to dream and actualize the pathway we are traversing 1 km, 12 km or 100 km at a time.  These are the heroes whose stories we hope one day come to light (if we had the skill to do their stories justice we would gladly try).  These pathways are not mysteriously maintained, nor do they arise out of thin air for all to enjoy - they are the result of countless hours, weeks, and years of unheralded dedication.

The results of their hard work are daily evident to those who hike on their pathways.  Moreover, their work is far from complete!  While the Great Trail might be connected from the Atlantic to the Pacific to the Arctic it is far from completed.  Like most trailways it is an organic and ever improving and expanding endeavour which constantly means that these intrepid individuals continue their amazing work - often without recognition!

A huge thank you to the Trail Builders of The Trans Canada Trail and The Great Trail in particular, as well as those from pathways from coast to coast to coast across Canada, whether they are dedicated to the East Coast Trail, the Musquodoboit trails, the Confederation Trail, the Bruce Trail, or the West Coast Trail.  None of our adventures are possible without you!
 



 

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