The Path to Inspiration: Exploring the Fredericton Capital Region Art Trail

The Fredericton Capital Region is full of art and culture, with creativity flowing as naturally as the majestic Wolastoq (Saint John River). Inspiration from our creative community can be found around every corner including many public art pieces and monuments installed in plain sight!

Read on for an outline of a few of the installations found along the Fredericton riverfront trail system, the International Sculpture Trail, and additional iconic pieces in the Fredericton Capital Region.

Looking for more? Embark on a quest to uncover the cultural and historical treasures in the Fredericton Capital Region! With your Cultural Discovery Quest as your guide, journey through the Fredericton Capital Region’s built heritage, vibrant art scene, and dynamic events. 

Fredericton Riverfront Art Trail

What better place to start your Riverfront Art Trail tour than at the Rendez-Vous!? Located on the trail just east of the Westmorland Street Bridge, this stone and granite sculpture called Rendez-Vous was carved by abstract French artist Catherine Leve, and gifted to the city of Fredericton in 2016 by the New Brunswick Medical Society.

Next up is one of the city’s most popular artworks, Watermark, by sculptor Gerald Beaulieu. Watermark is a series of 11 wooden posts, all at different heights which depict the flood levels of the Wolastoq (Saint John River) over the years. The tallest post, the "memory pole", is encased in copper sheets that mark the year and peak water level of the Wolastoq during the annual freshet, the tallest being 8.31 metres, during the flooding in 2018.

As you continue to the pedway, you’ll find one of the city’s most colorful public art pieces along the Wolastoq, a mural by Tobique First Nation artist Emma Hassencahl-Perley. The mural features a traditional design of Wabanaki double curves and warm, bright colours inspired by the sunrise.

Steps away you’ll see the HMSC Fredericton Anchor, which was presented to the City of Fredericton by her namesake ship, the HMCS Fredericton. This piece was presented on the occasion of the ship’s commissioning in September 1994.  

Making your way along the Southside riverfront trail, you will soon arrive at the TD Sculpture Garden, a collection of several stunning pieces that surround three sides of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery. Here you will find installations such as Arriving Home, a 12-foot-high spiral of transparent panels by internationally renowned sculptor Dennis Oppenheim, The Birth of Venus by New Brunswick Acadian artist André Lapointe, and the 7-foot tall sculpture entitled King and Queen (Cornuti) by Sorel Etrog.

Continue past the gallery along the green to see some essential pieces of Fredericton history. First, the 9-foot bronze statue of Lord Beaverbrook, a great benefactor to both the city and the province. The heritage value of this statue is associated with its likeness of the prominent Lord Beaverbrook, as well as the celebrated artistry of its designer, world-renowned Italian sculptor, Vincent Apap.

Second, is the Robert “Robbie” Burns Memorial Statue, cast by sculptor W. Grant Stevenson. At its unveiling in 1906, this bronze statue was not only the first public statue erected in Fredericton, but  the first in New Brunswick!

Also in the sculpture garden, you will find the historic James Dunn Memorial Fountain (The Three Graces). A gift to the City of Fredericton from Lord Beaverbrook in memory of his friend, and fellow New Brunswicker, Sir James Dunn, this two-tier marble fountain is supported by the Three Graces and surrounded by a memorial inscription carved into its granite base.

Across the street is The Fredericton Cenotaph, a memorial dedicated on November 11, 1923 to the 109 Fredericton soldiers who died in WWI.

Carry on across the Bill Thorpe Walking Bridge, and upon your arrival on the Northside, you will be  greeted by a large polished granite plaque in honour of Alexander "Boss" Gibson; lumber, cotton and railway baron. (Insider’s tip: there is also a larger than life bronze statue of Gibson in the lobby of Marysville Place – the old Marysville Cotton Mill).

Continuing to Carleton Park, you will find the final stop on the Fredericton Riverfront Art crawl, a large granite piece called Transformations by Anna Teresa Rasinska. This sculpture is roughly carved into a circular shape with a wheel inside, which represents transformative change.

More public art can be found throughout the city in the form of murals in the downtown, Jim Boyd’s Rhodo art in the Fredericton Botanic Gardens, and Memoria Address by Stephen Cruise, situated beside the Fredericton Convention Centre.

International Sculpture Trail

There is more art to be discovered beyond the city limits. To date, more than 30 pieces, originally part of Sculpture Saint John Symposium, have been permanently installed across the province as part of the International Sculpture Trail, with more installations planned! This trail aims to connect across the border, extending the Maine Sculpture Trail into New Brunswick. In the Fredericton Capital Region, you can find pieces already installed in New Maryland, Oromocto, Gagetown, and Cambridge Narrows.

Currie House Sculptures

The village of Fredericton Junction is home to the Historical Currie House Museum, a collection of New Brunswick history that is open to the public throughout the summer months. On the museum grounds, you will find 20 sculptures by local artist Robin Hanson. Carved out of dead pine trees, these sculptures include renditions of wildlife and historical artifacts. Enjoy a gentle walk through this natural gallery, part of the Oromocto Watershed Adventure Trails! To see more of Hanson’s work, visit his studio in French Village. Throughout his magical sculpture garden, you will find dozens of enchanting interactive sculptures (yes, kids can even climb on some!), as well as a giant chess set!

Go Big!

The Fredericton Capital Region is home to some very unique, and very large, landmark art installations!

A 40-minute drive up river from Fredericton will take you to the World’s Largest Axe in Nackawic, symbolic of the importance of the forestry industry in the region and province. Be sure to stop into their namesake brewery, Big Axe Brewing, while you’re up there!

35 minutes south of Fredericton in Harvey, just in front of the elementary school, you can see a larger than life fiddle, erected in honour of Canadian music legend, Don Messer. Messer was born and raised in Tweedside, New Brunswick, where he started practicing the fiddle at age 5. A five-minute drive down the road will get you to Big Fiddle Still, where you can pick up locally distilled spirits, such as their popular salted caramel vodka.

 Just 20 minutes from the Fredericton city centre, you can feast your eyes on the iconic Big Potato. Since 1969, this top-hatted potato has smiled at drivers along the 105, delighting locals and tourists alike. In the summer and fall months, stop into the Big Potato roadside stand, owned and operated by Silver Valley Farms, for fresh produce, baked goods, jams, jellies, and of course, a photo op!

To soak up the entire Art scene, use our digital map to plan your complete Capital Region art crawl. Featuring over 30 public art pieces throughout the region, this map is continually being updated to keep you informed of the incredible creations popping up in the Fredericton Capital Region. Start planning your visual vacation today!