Lifelong learning and travel through the arts
Set in one of Canada’s most beautiful and creative communities (I’ve been there and can personally vouch for this statement), the city of Fredericton’s edVentures summer program is “Atlantic Canada’s largest and most diverse vacation learning program in craft and culture.”
Now the use of the term “craft and culture” is well-chosen because as anyone with an interest in cultural anthropology knows, human culture is to a great extent defined by what it produces, especially in the conceptual realm.
However, the edVentures program in my opinion is more innovative and visionary, than it might initially seem. And I’m not surprised, quite frankly because bilingual New Brunswick was one of the first Canadian provinces to become extensively “hotwired” and electronically “interconnected” while at the same time retaining its distinct and genuine community-oriented culture.
It is one of those destinations that just “gets it” and “gets on with it” … doing what it thinks needs to be done for the benefit of all concerned. That too is part of the general ethos of this province.
So, creating hands-on travel programs for like-minded people (especially those who have a creative bent or want to engage directly in creative activity while enjoying the environs of the destination) is just the kind of initiative for which New Brunswick is well known.
Thanks to a great extent to the whole new world of electronic resources we all have access to, travellers today are able to research in advance where they want to go and what exactly they want to do. In other words they can “customize” their travel experiences far more then they used to. In short, the consumer is in charge.
Furthermore, this has the added benefit of allowing lesser-known destinations, attractions, even single-owner members of the hospitality industry to reach the travelling public … anywhere on the planet.
And just one more point, if I may.
What the traveller is also able to do nowadays is dialogue with the destination in advance to determine in much more detail what the destination or the attraction has to offer.
So, if edVentures sounds right for you, you can actually chat them up!
Other recommended lifelong learning activities while you are in New Brunswick
One of the last remaining coastal wilderness areas in North America is now accessible to the world via the Fundy Trail.
Breathtaking vistas, flora, and fauna abound in this multi-use corridor hugging the majestic Bay of Fundy — known as one of the Marine Wonders of the World.
The extension of the Fundy Trail continued in September 2008 with the opening of an $11 million bridge crossing the Big Salmon River. This latest addition will allow for the construction of the connection route through to Fundy National Park, which will hug the coastal cliffs and connect to paths, stairways and pristine beaches. You can visit one of a dozen observation areas and lookouts where you just might catch sight of whales feeding along the coastlines which are sculpted by the highest tides in the world.
With 11 kilometres (7 miles) of spectacular coastal roadway and a 16-kilometre (10-mile) network of trails it’s spectacular from every point of view; and it is accessible year-round by foot.
From St. Martins through to the Tantramar Marshes, including the Fundy National Park, the area is now one of 15 designated UNESCO Biosphere Reserves in Canada.
Working as a collective, the Fundy Biosphere Regional Network has launched innovative practices for sustainable development in the entire area.
The centre was developed to preserve and restore one of the last remaining great sand dunes on the northeastern coastline of North America.
The white sand dune stretches 12 kilometres (7.4 miles) across Bouctouche Bay and is protected by a two-kilometre boardwalk that provides access to rare plants and fragile marshes. It is also home to endangered species such as the piping plover.
The culture and spirit of the Mi’kmaq people comes alive at the new Metepenagiag Heritage Centre. The centre first opened in August of 2007 and offers a rare glimpse of this First Nation which dates back 3000 years. The modern facility offers a spectacular view of the village’s fascinating archaeological dig, and displays authentic artefacts, art and crafts.
See also the Metepenagiag Heritage Park.
Grand Manan Island is a beautiful area with unforgettable seascapes, beautiful wildflowers, trails to enjoy at Hole-in-the-Wall and a chance to see bald eagles and porpoises from cliffside vantage points. It’s also an opportunity to experience whale-watching with operators who are devoted to watching the whales in a respectful manner.
Note: Whale-watching expeditions off Grand Manan Island typically last 4.5 to 5 hours. From Black’s Harbour to Grand Manan is a two-hour ferry crossing. (For a map, click here.)
Other New Brunswick travel resources
Tourism Fredericton, the city’s official tourism website
New Brunswick Tourism, the province’s official tourism website
Photographs courtesy of New Brunswick Tourism