Sussex, New Brunswick Canada

Discover Sussex, New Brunswick: A Historical and Tourism Perspective

Sussex, a town nestled in Kings County, New Brunswick, Canada, is a gem waiting to be discovered. Located in south central New Brunswick, Sussex is conveniently situated between the province's three largest cities: Saint John, Moncton, and Fredericton. The town straddles the Kennebecasis River, 70 km northeast of Saint John, and is a major dairy product producer in the province. Sussex is also home to Atlantic Canada's largest hot air balloon festival. As of 1 January 2023, Sussex amalgamated with the village of Sussex Corner and part of the local service district of the parish of Sussex, bringing the total population to approximately 5,900.

The Rich History of Sussex, New Brunswick

In 1857, the European and North American Railway connected the farming communities of the Kennebecasis River valley with Saint John and Moncton. Sussex was officially established as a Town on June 2, 1904, under Chapter 44 of the Town Incorporation Act of 1896. The settlers were primarily British Loyalists who had fled the American Revolution in 1776, with many Irish refugees of the Great Famine from the mid-19th century settling in the nearby farming communities.

In 1885, the Sussex Military Camp was established on the eastern edge of the town. The facility was closed following the Second World War, and the town purchased the land to expand the municipal boundaries. Today, the agricultural exhibition and some areas remain as open land on the former site of Camp Sussex.

Sussex underwent several changes in the post-war period. In the early 1960s, several local roads were upgraded as part of the Trans-Canada Highway project which saw Route 2 pass immediately north of the town between Fredericton and Moncton. At the same time, a series of local roads in the Kennebecasis River valley were designated as Route 1, running from an interchange with the Trans-Canada at Sussex, southwest to Saint John.

Sussex, New Brunswick: The Golden Triangle

Sussex is considered the best strategically located town, being in the centre of what has been called New Brunswick's "Golden Triangle". Potash was subsequently discovered in large quantities in the area surrounding Sussex, with the deposit being the second largest in the world after an area in Saskatchewan. Three mines were built near the town, two at Penobsquis, 8 km to the east, and another at Cassidy Lake (no longer operational), 10 km to the southwest. CN Rail built track to serve both mines, which employed hundreds from the surrounding area. Since 2003, natural gas has been produced from the McCully field near Sussex.

Tourism in Sussex, New Brunswick

Sussex began to see a growing tourism trade, with many flocking to see the collection of wood-constructed covered bridges throughout the central area of Kings County. As the heart of Kings County with its 16 covered bridges, Sussex is known as the Covered Bridge Capital of Atlantic Canada. Eight of these wooden structures are within a ten-minute drive of town hall. An agricultural fair draws visitors each August, as well as the establishment of southern New Brunswick's only alpine ski hill in the Caledonia Mountains southeast of the town at Poley Mountain. 26 murals were created during the summers of 2006 and 2007, establishing its reputation as the Mural Capital of Atlantic Canada. An international hot air balloon festival is held every September, and Canada's largest outdoor flea market each August.

Atlantic International Balloon Fiesta in Sussex, New Brunswick

The largest hot air balloon festival in Atlantic Canada is held each summer in Sussex. On the weekend after Labour Day, Sussex hosts up to 35,000 visitors who come to watch 40 hot air balloons. Along with the twice-daily flights, the event includes a giant craft fair, a free outdoor concert and an amusement park. The festival has been held since 1985.

Princess Louise Park Show Centre in Sussex, New Brunswick

The Princess Louise Park Show Centre is Eastern Canada's premier Agricultural Exhibition Center. Located in Sussex, this facility is the host of many shows that include equine, dogs, livestock, sales and exhibitions as well as 4H and youth group activities. It is known as the heart of Canada's picture province (New Brunswick). The centre has five barns with stalls, three riding rings, and electrical and sewage hookups. The facility is one of the most advanced exhibition grounds in Atlantic Canada.

Demographics of Sussex, New Brunswick

In the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Sussex had a population of 4,440 living in 2,065 of its 2,219 total private dwellings, a change of 3.7% from its 2016 population of 4,282. With a land area of 8.9 km2, it had a population density of 498.9/km2 in 2021. Most people in Sussex have some Scottish, French, English, or Irish ancestry. There are smaller groups of German and Dutch lineage. The town is almost universally anglophone, being in the heart of English-speaking southern New Brunswick.

Climate of Sussex, New Brunswick

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