Recently we packed up our curiosity and visited the sweet tooth of Canada, otherwise known as, “Canada’s Chocolate Town” in an effort to research the province for our www.CanadaEH.net Travel and Adventure Website Network.
“Canada’s Chocolate Town” is located on the banks of the St. Croix River in the small community of St. Stephen, New Brunswick, Canada. In some ways the community of St. Stephen is Canada’s version of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” but instead of Charlie we have James and Gilbert Ganong.
The Ganong Family are Canada’s oldest candy makers operating since 1873. Celebrating the chocolate magic of the Ganong Family in town is a Chocolate Museum. The museum provides chocolate making programs, hands on chocolate exhibits and artifacts of candy making machines and equipment… and yes, samples of choclate to snicker and snack at.
The Ganong’s are candy makers with many firsts like :
This all sounds sweet and yummy but there is much more to Chocolate Town than chocolate. Like many communities in Canada, there is often more than meets the eye once one visits.
St. Stephen, New Brunswick is also a border town. There are three border crossings conneting to the United States in the region. Just across the St. Croix River in town there is the Ferry Point Bridge connecting to Calais, Maine U.S.A. The TCT (Trans Canada Highway) and the International Bridge connect to the United States outside of town. And another nearby is on Riverside Drive.
Border crossings with no guns, no tanks, roadside bombs and no hostility. We are truly fortunate to leave in North America. It is nice to know that the worst most of us may fear when going through customs is meeting up with a rude, steroid driven, border guard on a bad day.
In town… well Bro was checking out the washrooms (nature was calling in a big way)… I sat in the riverfront park eyeing up the buildings and the people going about their day in Calais, Maine, USA. The tide was out and the river was showing its mud flats. Dotting the shoreline was a mini-me lighthouse and a dory boat. Up high there was a seagull, perched on the brim of the lighthouse, giving me the business – a good piece of its mind – as I approached cameras blazing.
We did the walk down the city streets. Poking in stores playing tourists. Some buildings groaned and hissed with age looking withered, maybe leaning, feeling tired. Most… have been given a new lease on life looking pretty, keeping in character and all dressed up for tourism.
Like many road trips we plan the best for last. Ending a day on a sugar high in Chocolate Town, New Brunswick may be the highlight for many – it is not for us. Many would like that and we can understand!
But the Girard Brothers are cut from a different cloth. We prefer to end road trips and research missions with parks, sightseeing and adventures. In St. Stephen that steered us towards the Ganong Nature Park.
Ganong Park treated us to hiking trails and riverfront views. It is a 350 acre park with 180 acres of intertidal riverfront to explore. One trail leads to a lookout with views of St. Croix Island and the river. The other trails mix-match exploring riverfront and forest.
On site there is a large lodge, day use picnic area, grassy lawns and washrooms. The site is a very popular location for events and festivals. Often groups rent the site for special occasions, farmers markets and more.
It was a great day and we now can say we have been to “Canada’s Chocolate Town.”