Great Canadian RIVERS 


History Bites
River Route
The Saint John River formed part of the Temiscouata Portage, an 18th century canoe and footpath route that connected the Bay of Fundy to the St. Lawrence River.
Fishy Facts
Slipping Salmon
Once one of the great Atlantic salmon rivers of New Brunswick, the Saint John has suffered a critical decline of salmon numbers since 1990.
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Saint John River
Before its beauty is praised, its virtues extolled, its rich heritage of sacrifice and settlement described, the Saint John River is to be noted for its fine historic pedigree: New Brunswick's greatest waterway was named by one of Canada's greatest explorers, Samuel de Champlain, as he sailed into its mouth at the Bay of Fundy on June 24, 1604, the feast day of John the Baptist. Of course, Champlain's christening of the river was an act of cultural chauvinism. For the Maliseet, or Wolastoqiyik who had camped along its banks for centuries, the Saint John was known as the Wolastoq; for them, it was a bountiful river that led to a bountiful sea. It was their refuge, but it was destined to become the refuge of other cultures, as first the Acadians, and then the Loyalists, fled from persecution and personal danger to the safety of its valley. The Saint John was also destined to become both an international boundary and a major artery of culture and commerce through the heartland of New Brunswick, leading, ever so conveniently, to one of Atlantic Canada's most important harbours. Stretching 673 kilometres from its rugged headwaters in the woods of northern Maine, running southeast to its mouth at the city of Saint John, and draining a vast area of 55,000 square kilometres, the Saint John is one of Canada's greatest workhorse rivers. Forests, farms, massive hydroelectric projects have all left their mark on the Maliseet's beloved Wolastoq, but its rank as one of eastern Canada's greatest waterways remains unchanged.