1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/St John (town)

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ST JOHN, the capital of St John county, New Brunswick. Canada, in 45° 14' N., and 66° 3' W., 481 m. from Montreal by the Canadian Pacific railway. Pop. (1901) 40,711. It is situated at the mouth of the St John river on a rocky peninsula. With it are incorporated the neighbouring towns of Carleton and (since 1889) Portland. The river, which is spanned by two bridges, enters the harbour through a rocky gorge, which is passable by ships for forty-five minutes during each ebb and flow of the tide. The harbour level at high tide (see Fundy, Bay of) is 6 to 12 ft. higher than that of the river, but at low tide about as much below it, hence the phenomenon of a fall outwards and inwards at every tide. St John is an important station of the Intercolonial, Canadian Pacific, and New Brunswick Southern railways, and shares with Halifax the honour of being the chief winter port of the Dominion, the harbour being deep, sheltered and free from ice. It is the distributing centre for a large district, rich in agricultural produce and' lumber, and has larger exports than Halifax, though less imports. It is also the centre of fisheries which employ nearly 1000 men, and has important industries, such as saw, grist, cotton and woollen mills, carriage, box and furniture factories, boiler and engine shops. The beauty of the scenery makes it a pleasant residential city.

St John was visited in 1604 by the Sieur de Monts (1560–c. 1630) and his lieutenant Champlain, but it was not until 1635 that Charles de la. Tour (d. 1666) established a trading post, called Fort St Jean (see Parkman, The Old Régime in Canada), which existed under French rule until 1758, when it passed into the hands of Britain. In 1783 a body of United Empire Loyalists landed at St John and established a city, called Parr Town until 1785, when it was incorporated with Conway (Carleton), under royal charter, as the city of St John. It soon became and has remained the largest town in the province, but for military reasons was not chosen as the capital (see Fredericton). Its growth has been checked by several destructive fires, especially that of June 1877, when half of it was swept away, but it has since been rebuilt in great part of more solid materials.     (W. L. G.)