Chipman, New Brunswick Canada

Discover Chipman, New Brunswick: A Historical and Touristic Overview

Chipman, New Brunswick, is a charming community nestled in Queens County, Canada. Once a village in its own right, Chipman became part of the village of Grand Lake in 2023. This community is beautifully situated on the banks of the Salmon River, at the head of the Grand Lake, the largest freshwater lake in the Maritime provinces. The village is approximately 73.4 kilometres from Fredericton, the capital city of New Brunswick.

The Rich History of Chipman, New Brunswick

Chipman, New Brunswick, is named after Ward Chipman Jr. (1787-1851), who served as Chief Justice of New Brunswick from 1834 to 1851. The village was founded in 1835, incorporating parts of the older parishes of Brunswick and Canning. The first settler in what would become the Parish of Chipman was Alexander McClure of County Tyrone, who arrived in 1820 with his wife, Mary McLeod, and their five daughters.

Before 1820, settlements existed upriver at Gaspereau and downriver at the Range. These settlements were home to local settlers and Maine businessmen who established the first sawmills on the Salmon and Gaspereau Rivers. Immigration to the Chipman area escalated rapidly from the 1820s through the 1850s, primarily from the northern counties of Ireland: Donegal, Londonderry, and Tyrone. The burgeoning lumbering and sawmill industries were the primary drivers of this growth, which continued throughout most of the 19th century.

The Parish of Chipman quickly gained prominence due to its large population compared to surrounding parishes. This growth was fueled by the lure of employment from the burgeoning lumber mills, the arrival of the railways, the development of the coal mining industry, and later in the 1930s, the establishment of L.E. Shaw's brick and tile plant. A large, modern sawmill continues to provide many jobs for area residents today.

The Grand Lake Coal Mining industry began in the 1630s when French settlers, known as Acadians, discovered surface deposits of coal in the Coal Creek area, now known as Chipman, NB. The French used coal in their fort at the mouth of the Saint John river and in 1639 began selling coal to the British colony in the area now known as Boston, USA. This commercial trade in coal has been recognized as a National Historic Event and the First Export of Coal in America, by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Parks Canada.

Despite its prosperity, economic growth in the late 19th and early 20th centuries was insufficient to provide employment for all the population at a time when families typically produced several children. As a result, Chipman experienced an exodus of surplus labour force, particularly young men who had gained valuable experience in lumbering and milling. Chipman-area natives became pioneering founders of the embryonic sawmill industries in Montana, Washington state, and California, as well as leading businessmen in other ventures in the new western U.S. territories and states.

In 2018, a controversy arose when a "straight pride" flag, designed by local resident Glenn Bishop, was raised in Chipman but removed the next day due to public outcry and criticism of its potential harm to the LGBTQ+ community. Bishop claimed the removal as discrimination against straight people. On 1 January 2023, Chipman was amalgamated with the village of Minto and all or part of five local service districts to form the new village of Grand Lake. The community's name remains in official use.

Demographics of Chipman, New Brunswick

According to the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Chipman had a population of 1,201 living in 605 of its 647 total private dwellings. This represented a change of 8.8% from its 2016 population of 1,104. With a land area of 19 km2 (7.3 sq mi), Chipman had a population density of 63.2/km2 (163.7/sq mi) in 2021.