Called Oo-lahs-took, "goodly river," by the MALISEET who lived along its banks, it is generally tranquil, except for cataracts at GRAND FALLS (25 m) and Beechwood (18 m), both of which have been harnessed for hydroelectric power. The river flows east past FREDERICTON and OROMOCTO, gradually widening and trending southward through a beautiful valley. On the lower course, numerous long, low islands have been formed by silt and molded by the current.
Near the city of SAINT JOHN the river enters Long Reach, a narrow lake, and receives the Kennebecasis River from the northeast. At Saint John the powerful Bay of FUNDY tides throw the river back through a narrow gorge, called Reversing Falls. De MONTS and CHAMPLAIN anchored in Saint John harbour and named the river 24 June 1604, the feast day of St John.
LA TOUR built a fort at the river's mouth 1630, but it was not until the LOYALISTS arrived in 1783 that significant settlement came to the valley. In the early 19th century, timber was driven from Madawaska, over Grand Falls, to Saint John, which became one of the most prosperous ports in British North America.
Author JAMES MARSH
Links to Other Sites
Rivers of Canada
This site highlights the political and economic importance of Canada’s major river systems. From the Canadian Geographic Magazine.
A nicely illustrated website that highlights the many cultural and natural attractions (including the New Brunswick Botanical Garden) in the Edmundston region of New Brunswick.