Fredericton is the capital of the Canadian province of New Brunswick. The city is situated in the west-central portion of the province along the Saint John River, which flows west to east as it bisects the city; it is the dominant natural feature of the area. One of the main urban centers in New Brunswick, the city had a population of 56,224 in the 2011 census. It is the third-largest city in the province after Moncton and Saint John.
An important cultural, artistic, and educational center for the province, Fredericton is home to two universities, the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design and cultural institutions such as the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, the Fredericton Region Museum, and The Playhouse, a performing arts venue. The city hosts the annual Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival, attracting regional and international jazz, blues, rock and world artists. Fredericton is also an important and vibrant center point for the region's top visual artists; many of New Brunswick's notable artists live and work there today. Fredericton has also been home to some great historical Canadian painters as well, including Goodridge Roberts, and Molly and Bruno Bobak.
As a provincial capital, its economy is tied to the public sector; however, the city also contains a growing IT and commercial sector. The city has the highest percentage of residents with a post-secondary education in the province and one of the highest per capita incomes.
The 19th and early 20th centuries, the lumber industry, with its corresponding mills, was a primary sector of Fredericton's economy. Over the course of the 20th century, this industry declined and gave way to the provincial government and the universities becoming the primary employers in the city.
The policies of centralizing provincial government functions during the 1960s under New Brunswick Premier Louis Robichaud - along with the expanded role of the public sector characteristic of the 1960s/70s - led to a sizeable expansion of the city's population. It was during these decades that the Hill area on the city's Southside was largely developed and bedroom communities such as New Maryland emerged.
The 1960s also saw an expansion of the University of New Brunswick due to increased post-war university enrolment, as well as the construction of the Fredericton campus of Saint Thomas University. Also contributing to this expansion was the move of the Law School from Saint John to the Fredericton area. This expansion of the post-secondary sector also contributed to Fredericton's population growth during the 1960s and 1970s. Since then, the city's population has continued to grow but at a slower rate due to slower growth of the government sector, along with hiring freezes and in some cases layoffs, during the Frank McKenna and Bernard Lord governments.
In recent years, increased student enrolment at the city's universities has led to greater demand for rental property. This has led to the construction of new university residences and apartment buildings in the city, which has increased rates of rent, making them the highest rental rates in the province.
The predominance of the universities and government provide Fredericton with a measure of economic stability. The city has not been subject to the uncertainty and hardships faced by Atlantic Canadian cities dealing with mill shutdowns and the decline of the mining and fishing industries. For this reason, Fredericton is one of the few Atlantic Canadian cities that has actually reported a population increase in recent years.blog comments powered by Disqus