The old City Hall - including the city office, council chamber, magistrate's office, jail, farmers market and opera house - was erected on Phoenix Square in 1876.
Mayor George F. Fenety donated his salary to initiate a fund-raising drive for a tower clock. Its eight-foot dials, copper hands and reliable chimes have been keeping downtown businesses and customers in line ever since. The fountain in front of City Hall, Mayor Fenety's second term project, was constructed in 1885.
City Hall's Opera House functions ceased in the 1940's and the Council Chamber was moved to the second floor. With the construction of the Boyce Market on George St. in 1952 the Farmers' Market found a new home, leaving the Police Department and lockup alone in the basement/street level.
Even with the opera singers and farmers gone, City Hall was still crowded, so plans were made for an administrative wing. Architects carefully designed the addition to make it as compatible as possible with the original City Hall. Construction began in September 1975 and included interior renovations and exterior restoration of the original building. It was complete by the summer of l977, and Fredericton had a modern facility for civic administration in a building that retained the integrity and character that is so much a part of the city's history.
History of Fredericton in Tapestries - In honour of Fredericton's 2OOth birthday as Capital of New Brunswick, two local artists - Mrs. Gertrude Duffie and Dr. Ivan H. Crowell - created a unique series of tapestries depicting Fredericton's history. Based on Dr. W. Ausfin Squires' book - Fredericton: The last 200 Years, the tapestries are permanently displayed in the City Hall Council Chamber.
A portrait of Prince Frederick, Duke of York and second son of King George III, for whom our city is named, was hung in the Chamber in 1985.
Council Chamber Tours are available mid May through mid October, seven days a week. English tours daily at 9:30am and 3:30pm. French tours daily at 9am and 4pm. By appointment for the remainder of hte year. Special events take place from time to time in the council chambers, which may result in public tours being cancelled. Groups are asked to book ahead. For information call (506) 460-2129 ; or visit www.tourismfredericton.ca
As you walk down (as the river flows) Queen St. from City Hall, the Justice Building is on your left at the corner of York. Set back behind an iron and stone fence, and framed by stately shade trees, it marks the beginning of the old Fredericton Military Compound. The two blocks bounded by York and Regent Streets, and between Queen St. and the river contain a rich history.
In 1827, a 34 x 37 foot Military Hospital with four, six-bed wards was constructed in stone on the site now partly occupied by the Justice Building. In 1875, the hospital and accessory building were removed to permit construction of the Provincial Normal School. That building was destroyed by fire in 1929, but was rebuilt on the same site. The original annex, which survived the fire, later housed the model school.
When a new Teachers' College was built on the University of New Brunswick campus in 1965, the old building served as part of Fredericton High. After 1970, it was remodelled to house law courts and renamed the Justice Building. Tours are unavailable.
The Justice Building contains three additional points of interest:
Gallery Connexion, a non-profit artist- run centre showing contemporary and experimental art, may be accessed by entering the door located off the York St. Car Park. Hours are Tues-Fri 12-4pm; Sun 2-4pm Tel: 506 454-1433.
Enter the east annex door (next to the Craft College) to visit the School Days Museum. The museum contains an eclectic collection of artifacts, archival material, books and furniture used in the public schools, teacher training, and Department of Education in New Brunswick, dating as far back as the early 19th century.
Hours: June 1 to August 31 - Monday to Friday l0am to 4pm, Saturday and Sunday 1pm to 4pm.
September 1 to 30 - Monday to Friday 1pm to 4pm. October 1 to May 31, by appointment only. Tel: 506 459-3738.
The studios of Dance Fredericton are also located within the building and visitors are welcome to observe any of the daily scheduled dance classes. Programs include classical ballet, modem dance, jazz and creative movement. Tel: 506 457-2538.
Next to the Justice Building is the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design. Established in 1938 with itinerant craft training activities, this institution has formalized into an internationally recognized post - secondary educational institution.
It is unique in Canada by offering both Diploma and Certificate programs in the largest variety of training in craft and design disciplines. Studies may be undertaken in Clay, Metal, Photography, Fabric Surface Design, Textiles, Fashion, Native Arts, and Creative Graphics, along with emphasis on drawing, and design. Many artists, crafts people and College alumnae participate in visiting artist workshops held throughout the academic year.
New Brunswick's enviable reputation for fine crafts is attributed to the presence of the College of Craft and Design, which encourages imagination and innovation. Fredericton enjoys the highest per capita number of resident practising crafts people in Canada.
From September to June, group tours may be arranged by calling (506) 453-2305.
A little farther down the block on Queen, the old Soldiers' Barracks sits almost on the corner of Carleton, with its back to Queen. A bronze plaque honours the 104th Regiment. With remarkably few casualties, six of its companies made a 700-mile, 52-day march to Quebec and Kingston between February and April of 1813!
Turn left on Carleton Street and enter the Old British Military Compound through the iron gate. Fredericton's Military Compound originally consisted of the two-block area bounded by Queen, King, Campbell, and Regent Streets. British troops were garrisoned here from 1784 until 1869. The first buildings on this site were replaced by stone structures.
The Soldiers' Barracks is an 1827 three storey stone structure built by the British Army to accommodate more than 200 British soldiers. One barrack room has been restored to illustrate the building's original use. Life was crowded - 19 soldiers to a room - they slept on iron beds; wooden pegs and shelves held their belongings, a table and wooden benches were the only other furniture.
A soldier's food was mediocre at best, he was lonely and often over-indulged in alcohol, and his punishment for misdemeanors was harsh. Despite these conditions, a history of the 22nd Cheshire Regiment stationed here from 1866 to 1869 says all ranks looked back on Fredericton as an ideal station. Most of the rooms in the barracks are now home to the Province's Archaeology Branch and its collections.
Don't set your watch by the sundial outside the east wall of the Soldiers' Barracks. Although it is a faithful reconstruction of the original sundial which told the time to the citizens of Fredericton in the 19th and early 20th centuries and accurately displays local apparent solar time (LAST), this differs by up to 16 minutes from local mean solar time (LMST). An explanation on how to read the sundial is mounted on the end wall of the barrack building.
The Military Compound Board was declared a National Historic Site in 1964, and in 1965 was designated by the Province of New Brunswick as a protected Provincial Historical Site. Tours are conducted in English or French by guides stationed at the Guard House. Tel: 506 460-2939.
To find the 1828 Guard House, turn left on Carleton. (A disastrous fire destroyed the original Guard House and Cells and 9 other buildings.) The restored Orderly Room in the Guard House, with its nominal rolls and leave passes, looks much as it did in 1829 when it was first occupied by the 1st Battalion of the Rifle Brigade.
The Guard Room was home to the 12-man Main Guard, and a private soldier in an infantry regiment of 1828-1869 could expect to be detailed for either Night Guard or Day Guard at least twice a month. When not pacing his beat, he was permitted to rest by reclining in his full kit on a Guard Bed of hard planks, covered with a thin straw pallaise (mattress). The Guard Room looks as it did in 1866, when the 15th Regiment used the muskets, uniforms and equipment on display.
The cell block originally contained seven cells - windowless stone and brick cubicles with an air-hole of about 10 inches diameter in the outer wall. In very cold weather, the luckless inmates were provided with wooden plugs to reduce the winter blasts. In 1847, the Cell Block was modified to contain five enlarged cells, barred windows and an escape proof ventilation system. The Cell Block reveals conditions as they were in 1848.
Visitors are welcome to visit when the Guard House is open - early June to Labour Day (l0am to 6pm). Admission is free, and tours are conducted by a guide wearing the red-coated uniform of the old British l5th Regiment. Special evening tours (for groups) can be arranged by calling in advance. Tel: 506 460-2939.
The Militia Arms Store, the only wooden structure of the original four to be found on the Military Compound, was built in 1832 to house military weapons and ammunition for the Royal New Brunswick Regiment. In 1882, a rear addition renovated the building for use as a Military Hospital. It has also been used as a liquor warehouse, temperance hall, and caretaker's residence for the adjacent armories.
Tours are unavailable.