Few people outside the small eastern Canadian province of New Brunswick will know that today is New Brunswick Day. Even fewer will care! In fact, there is nothing historically significant about today – or the first Monday in August – to proclaim it New Brunswick Day. But many provinces and territories in Canada have chosen to make this 1st Monday of August a civic holiday, undoubtedly in recognition of the short-lived season currently underway in most of Canada, called summer. Various provinces, territories and even cities have given today’s civic holiday their own special name, and we have chosen the creative moniker of New Brunswick Day (aka Jour de Nouveau-Brunswick).
There are many reasons to celebrate our province, along with the joy of a beautiful long summer weekend. We have a rich history, spanning many millennia of our Mi’kmaq and Maliseet peoples’ stewardship of the land, then nearly 500 years of French settlement, joining our indigenous peoples, more than 300 years of British settlement, first English (including New Englanders loyal to the King), then Irish and Scottish, and more recently a rich addition of people from all over the world, including most recently our Syrian friends.
We live in a place with a small population, around 770,000, and plenty of space for everyone. In a province that has not been known for its wealth creation for a long time now, it is among the richest in people being able to get to know each other, trust each other, smile and say hello on our streets and trails, and to feel welcome and valued. We’ll continue to improve on the wealth creation, but what we already have in abundance works for me. I love New Brunswick. I love living here.
I love it in the springtime. For full disclosure, spring here does not adhere strictly to the March 21 rule-of-thumb start date. Very occasionally it may start in late April, but more typically it starts in mid-May. It is fleeting but welcome. I love the spring green of the new leaves, which usually show themselves around May 20-25.
I love it in the summer. Summer usually starts by mid-June and in a good year may stretch into mid-September. Not too far off the mark from the June 21 – Sept 21 expectation. What’s not to like? Sometimes it’s a little too hot for my liking, and I get tired of weeding pretty quickly, but, hey!
I love it in the fall. I love the crisp days and cool nights. I love the absolutely spectacular fall colours, especially the maples. I love the sound of the flocks of geese that spend a few weeks on our river, chattering through the night as they decide amongst themselves when they’ll leave for warmer climes. Sissies. Can’t take the cold! Fall here usually starts mid to late September and lasts through October. It’s almost as fleeting as spring. Maybe that’s why each day of it is so precious.
I don’t love November. November doesn’t really belong to any season. It’s cold out and darkness comes early, two portents of winter, but it’s not winter and it’s not fall. All the leaves are gone, but there’s no snow yet to make it look beautiful. All it’s really good for is running; it’s a good temperature for running and there’s no ice yet!
I love winter. I just love it. And New Brunswick has it in abundance. If you’ve followed my calendar description so far you’ll see that winter must run from the beginning of Dec (or earlier) to the beginning or middle of April. Long and spectacular. Snow, snow, snow. (OK, occasionally also ice, ice, ice.) Lots of sun to make the snowscapes glisten. Temps that take your breath away, so you know you’re alive! It’s invigorating!! You can cross-country ski, run and cycle with winter tires on our trails, skate, curl, ski, skidoo, ice fish, play indoor pickleball and tennis. You can make snowmen (when it warms up enough for packing snow) and snow forts. No weeding. No lawn mowing. What’s not to love?!
In between winter and spring we often have what might be called mud season, kind of a pre-spring version of November. Not picture-worthy, but a time of hope
Thank you, New Brunswick, for being such a special place to live. Je t’aime. Have a great New Brunswick Day, everyone!