Fredericton / Art is at the heart of New Brunswick’s Capital City / Off the wall: Fredericton public art pops up in unexpected places

Off the wall: Fredericton public art pops up in unexpected places

A stroll down Queen Street is a must for any visitor to Fredericton. Sharp-eyed explorers will notice numerous works of art in public spaces along several blocks in the heart of downtown.

There are monuments recognizing the city’s long military history and significant sacrifice. The Cenotaph at the intersection of Queen, King and Church is a memorial to Fredericton’s military casualties since the First World War while at the edge of Officers’ Square, a monument was erected in 2012 to commemorate the bicentennial of the War of 1812 and the contribution of New Brunswick’s 104th Regiment of Foot.

Other public art works celebrate individuals of significance to the city. Along with pipes and drums and swirling tartans, the memorial to Robbie Burns stands as a reminder of the city’s rich Scottish heritage. You can stand in the shadow of Lord Beaverbrook, a towering figure in the early 20th century, as he keeps watch over Officers’ Square. The statue was erected through the voluntary donations of more than 60,000 school children in recognition of the significant contributions made by Max Aitken, 1st Baron Beaverbrook, to his home province. Books containing the names of those who contributed 10 cents or more are sealed in the base of the sculpture.

Inspiration at the intersection

For contemporary art lovers, the intersection of Queen and St. John offers treasures in all directions from the energetic realism of Jonathan Kenworthy’s The Leopard to the abstract power of New Brunswick sculptor Marie-Helène Allain’s Awakening / Éveil . Overlooking the mighty Saint John River, the Beaverbrook Art Gallery’s sculpture garden includes Birth of Venus by Quebec-born André Lapointe, now a professor the Université de Moncton and INBHIRNIS COSMIC FISH (2005) by Nova Scotia’s John Greer. Look up at the fly tower of The Fredericton Playhouse and notice how local artist Tom Forrestall transformed this functional building addition into a gift wrapped in colourful ribbons. Nestled between The Fredericton Playhouse and the Fredericton Convention Centre is Memoria Address (2013) by Stephen Cruise, a Canadian artist known for bringing a strong sense of place and a sense of play to his public arts commissions. Both of these are present in Memoria Address which sees a five-foot Balsam fir cone of Bahama blue granite placed among 228 small trees.

At the end of your stroll down Queen Street, you’ll find the fountain at City Hall. This 1880s fountain was meticulously restored to its original three-tier height in 2013 and is topped with the cherub that locals affectionately refer to as “Freddy the Nude Dude.” Sit and rest for a moment at the base of the fountain and take in the sights and sounds of this cultural capital.

Art pops up in public places around the city so download our public art map and keep your eyes peeled!