Moncton is the largest city in the Canadian province of New Brunswick. Situated in the Petitcodiac River Valley, Moncton lies at the geographic center of the Maritime Provinces. The city has earned the nickname "Hub City" due to its central inland location in the region and its history as a railway and land transportation hub for the Maritimes.
The city proper has a population of 71,889 (2016) and has a land area of 142 km2 (55 sq mi). The Moncton CMA (census metropolitan area) has a population of 144,810 (2016), making it the largest city in New Brunswick, and the second-largest city in the Maritime Provinces. The CMA includes the neighbouring city of Dieppe and the town of Riverview, as well as adjacent suburban areas in Westmorland and Albert counties.
Although the Moncton area was first settled in 1733, Moncton is considered to have been officially founded in 1766 with the arrival of Pennsylvania Dutch immigrants from Philadelphia. Initially an agricultural settlement, Moncton was not incorporated until 1855. The city was named for Lt. Col. Robert Monckton, the British officer who had captured nearby Fort Beauséjour a century earlier. A significant wooden shipbuilding industry had developed in the community by the mid-1840s, allowing for the civic incorporation in 1855, but the shipbuilding economy collapsed in the 1860s, causing the town to lose its civic charter in 1862. Moncton regained its charter in 1875 after the community's economy rebounded, mainly due to a growing railway industry. In 1871, the Intercolonial Railway of Canada had chosen Moncton to be its headquarters, and Moncton remained a railway town for well over a century until the closure of the Canadian National Railway (CNR) locomotive shops in the late 1980s.
Although the economy of Moncton was traumatized twice—by the collapse of the shipbuilding industry in the 1860s and by the closure of the CNR locomotive shops in the 1980s—the city was able to rebound strongly on both occasions. The city adopted the motto Resurgo after its rebirth as a railway town. The city's economy is stable and diversified, primarily based on its traditional transportation, distribution, retailing, and commercial heritage, and supplemented by strength in the educational, healthcare, financial, information technology, and insurance sectors. The strength of Moncton's economy has received national recognition and the local unemployment rate is consistently less than the national average.
Despite being less than 50 km (31 mi) from the Bay of Fundy and less than 30 km (19 mi) from the Northumberland Strait, the climate tends to be more continental than maritime during the summer and winter seasons, with maritime influences somewhat tempering the transitional seasons of spring and autumn.
Moncton has a warm summer continental climate with uniform precipitation distribution. Winter days are typically cold but generally sunny with solar radiation generating some warmth. Daytime high temperatures usually range a few degrees below the freezing point. Major snowfalls can result from nor'easter ocean storms moving up the east coast of North America. These major snowfalls typically average 20–30 cm (8–12 in) and are frequently mixed with rain or freezing rain. Spring is frequently delayed because the sea ice that forms in the nearby Gulf of St. Lawrence during the previous winter requires time to melt, and this will cool onshore winds, which can extend inland as far as Moncton. The ice burden in the Gulf has diminished considerably over the course of the last decade (which may be a consequence of global warming), and the springtime cooling effect has weakened as a result. Daytime temperatures above freezing are typical by late February. Trees are usually in full leaf by late May. Summers are hot and humid due to the seasonal prevailing westerly winds strengthening the continental tendencies of the local climate. Daytime highs sometimes reach more than 30 °C (86 °F). Rainfall is generally modest, especially in late July and August, and periods of drought are not uncommon. Autumn daytime temperatures remain mild until late October. First snowfalls usually do not occur until late November and consistent snow cover on the ground does not happen until late December. The Fundy coast of New Brunswick occasionally experiences the effects of post-tropical storms. The stormiest weather of the year, with the greatest precipitation and the strongest winds, usually occurs during the fall/winter transition (November to mid-January).
The underpinnings of the local economy are based on Moncton's heritage as a commercial, distribution, transportation, and retailing center. This is due to Moncton's central location in the Maritimes: it has the largest catchment area in Atlantic Canada with 1.6 million people living within a three-hour drive of the city. The insurance, information technology, educational, and healthcare sectors also are major factors in the local economy with the city's two hospitals alone employing over five thousand people.
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