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Great Canadian Rivers

Explore the history, ecosystems, culture, recreation and economy of Canadian waterways. Find out more about Canadian river facts and figures, including length and location, natural environment, fish and wildlife, and salmon species, habitat, history, culture and conservation. Learn about Canadian parks, trails and outdoor travel and eco-tourism opportunities for sport fishing, canoeing, whitewater canoeing, kayaking, hiking, cycling, mountain biking, camping, boating and birdwatching. Discover the distinctive First Nations cultures, historical figures and events, heritage and historic sites, museums, festivals and cultural attractions that reflect the spirit and legacy of Canadian rivers from coast to coast.

Saint John River
Before its beauty is praised, its virtues extolled, its rich heritage of sacrifice and settlement described, the Saint John River is to be noted for its fine historic pedigree: New Brunswick's greatest waterway was named by one of Canada's greatest explorers, Samuel de Champlain, as he sailed into its mouth at the Bay of Fundy on June 24, 1604, the feast day of John the Baptist. Of course, Champlain's christening of the river was an act of cultural chauvinism. For the Maliseet, or Wolastoqiyik who had camped along its banks for centuries, the Saint John was known as the Wolastoq; for them, it was a bountiful river that led to a bountiful sea. It was their refuge, but it was destined to become the refuge of other cultures, as first the Acadians, and then the Loyalists, fled from persecution and personal danger to the safety of its valley. The Saint John was also destined to become both an international boundary and a major artery of culture and commerce through the heartland of New Brunswick, leading, ever so conveniently, to one of Atlantic Canada's most important harbours. Stretching 673 kilometres from its rugged headwaters in the woods of northern Maine, running southeast to its mouth at the city of Saint John, and draining a vast area of 55,000 square kilometres, the Saint John is one of Canada's greatest workhorse rivers. Forests, farms, massive hydroelectric projects have all left their mark on the Maliseet's beloved Wolastoq, but its rank as one of eastern Canada's greatest waterways remains unchanged.

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