Updated: Oct 16, 2021
New Brunswick is the only bilingual Province in Canada! And you can see it on their stop signs! It was also in this town, that dates back to before the time of the American revolution, that Sir Leonard Tilley, one of Canada's founding fathers, was Lieutenant Governor.
"…the Canadians, monarchists to the core, had proposed that their creation be termed “the Kingdom of Canada.” After the British warned that American sensibilities might be aroused, a devoutly Christian Leonard Tilley offered both an alternative and a national motto by thumbing his Bible to Psalms 72:8: “He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth.” (A Short History of Canada, p98)
What a beautiful passage, and here I was, travelling across Canada exploring its very mandate: What did God's dominion look like from sea to sea?
The Maritimes are super laid back. I loved it! I joined Morgan at the local farmers market, where she was selling her cacti, when I came across an airplant (which reminded me of a gift a friend gave me before leaving Zimbabwe).
Airplants are incredible. They survive without any roots, and for pretty much my whole Canadian journey thus far, I had had no roots. But, maybe I didn't need roots. In this season of my life, I was on a quest of discovering my roots and the meaning of being Canadian, and this wasn't possible in only one part of Canada!
I truly was growing in my "drifting." And thankful for the opportunity to experience Canada from a diversity of homes and perspectives.
My first in-depth conversation with a local pastor from New Brunswick, included an intriguing introduction to the heritage of the black loyalists, and their roots in Maritime Canada. His father had been a remarkable man, and an testimony of the hand of Providence.
Fredricton is the birthplace of the Canadian army. Preceding this, the British soldiers of Fredricton had gained renown for their epic 53 day trek in the dead of winter, during the war of 1812. This trek of 1176km started in Fredricton and ended in Kingston, Ontario. They went by foot and by snowshoe. A march that remains an incredible feat in military history.
I must admit, I was rather surprised by all the patriotic memorials I discovered on my trip. And what's with all these red poppies?
Isn't Canada a country full of pacifists?
Ooppss...Did I just offend anyone? Sorry!
And if this stereotype of pacifism, often held south of the border wasn't enough, I got the opportunity to practise my apologies here at "home" through playing a board game, called SORRY! A game wholly dedicated to one of Canada's greatest stereotypes.
I was introduced to this Canadian classic, through the wonderful company of Grace. My first home in a series of house hops, she is truly a favourite. Who wouldn't want a grandma like Grace! What a sweet heart and what fun we had, and late into night too. I definitely need to add this game to my collection - eh?
Canada has always fought in wars that she believes in, and after some bloody battles, American casualties, and US British negotiations which lead to a treaty, we got a chance to put our peacekeeping skills to work in 1814. I think we've been friends ever since?
From Fredricton I drove south to the first city to have a charter in North America, St John. The smell of the fresh sea air was invigorating. It was here on this land, before St John was built, that Champlain, the French explorer, arrived by ship on June 24th 1604. He went on to call the river at the mouth of the sea, St. John, as it was St. John Baptist Day. Originally known as Wolastoq, or "Beautiful River" by the Maliseet people,
The Eastgate House of Prayer is amazing! They even have a livestream feed that you can join in on from wherever you are. Discovering more of what God has been doing in the area through the testimonies that Kirk shared with me, only confirmed my deep desire to connect with my spiritual inheritance in Canada, the way God is moving in the nation, how we can pray, and the global shifts that are happening in this hour of history.
Laura invited me into her creative space with open arms, a huge smile and lot's of motherly love. And how many people do you know that kayak to the prayer room? This has to be part of Canadian identity and this nation is not short of rivers!
Being a "saint" in need of some rest, my hike through Saints Rest was just what I needed after all my driving. The sunshine, the fresh coastal air. Yes - the beauty of the wilderness.
Chatting with three intercessors about what God had done through prayer was definitely a highlight. I loved the stories they told, while eating home made banana bread and sipping on my hot, black King Cole tea (A Canadian brand dating back to Confederation). Finding out about David's miraculous encounter with the moose was truly a Canadian story worth telling. One of the only signs I had seen along the highway, on my trip up to New Brunswick, was "Beware of the Moose!"
I decided to visit the Carleton Martello Tower, a unique defence structure built by the British. Thanks to a threat from some feisty Irish, known as the Fenian resistance, and rumours of war coming across the Atlantic to Fundy Bay, the first four provinces of Canada decided to unify, forming a country in 1867, with confederation satisfying the need for a common self defence.
As I explored the local St John market for lunch options, I came across a local favourite. I gave dulce a try, but it was really quite disgusting, no matter how tempting the nutritional benefits were. But when in St John, live as a St Johnian? At least the locals have good humour, and if the "Saint John market's got its finger on the dulse of the nation" what more can I say?
Visiting a statue park in the city introduced me to some of influential leaders of the province. From Francoise Marie Jacquelin and the Battle for Fort La Tour to Charles Gorman, the renowned speed skater; from Robert Foulis the inventor of the steam foghorn to Irving, the great gas entrepreneur, and then who could forget the infamous Sir Leonard Tilley!
Talking about influential leaders in Canada. Ben Gurion, the first President of Israel, spent time in Canada, where he got his first training as a soldier in the formation of the Jewish Legion, from Jewish immigrants in North America. "They were greeted by supportive crowds in Saint John as they travelled and proudly displayed a blue and white banner inscribed with the words "If I Forget Thee O Jerusalem", a phrase taken from Psalm 137 expressing a yearning to return to their homeland." To date, Jews have had influential and diverse roles in Canada.
I left St. John with a tug in my heart. As I appeared to be on a speed tour of the Maritimes, I couldn't stay long at EHOP, as much as my heart wanted to, but I sure hoped to come back! Oh, how I wanted to stay. Prayer rooms have a way of doing this. The one prayer set I had managed to sit in on was a set on praying for those in business. What a special prayer space in Canada, where intercessors have taken their place on the frontlines for the nation!
"I empower princes to rise and take dominion, and generous ones to govern the earth." Proverbs 8:16
On the way up to my next stop, I decided to stop at the region of the highest tide. Because Fundy Bay is funnel shaped, tides are pushed increasingly higher as they are pushed up the bay. The tides here at Hopewell Rocks, start rising slowly, but speed up until they are approximately half way in. At their fastest the tide can be rising straight upward at a rate of 4m per hour. A lover of the symbolic, I wondered: Is HOPE rising in Canada?
Setting up in Shediac for a few days was special. My hosts have a very strong link to the land and have built the most amazing house on it! It really must be the coolest mud hut in North America, and not everyone can claim that their ancestors trekked across the wilderness by snowshoe to stake out a piece of land in the 1700's. They are presently part of a pioneering church plant in the city of Moncton, and it was wonderful to see what God is doing in the area. Many of the prodigals of my generation are finding hope and healing. There was even a young girl in our worship gathering, who had just come out of witchcraft, after a radical encounter with the love of God! Yes! Hope is rising in Canada!
Scott and Karen took me up to Fort Beausejour for a morning, passed farmland belonging to their ancestors. Having never heard of the Acadien deportation, it was quite saddening to find out that Canada's history is far from perfect, but like most nations - tribes and peoples have learned to adjust with their new found settings and embrace the contexts they now live in.
"French and British interest came head-to-head in the Maritime region. This conflict foreshadowed things to come. Since the arrival of Samuel de Champlain in 1604, the French had claimed the region they named Acadia. By 1714, about 2500 French settlers called Acadia home. But Britain wanted Acadia. Its fisheries and strategic location made the region attractive. The growing conflict between Britain and France would put the Acadians and the Mi’kmaq in a very difficult position." Conflict in Acadia, (National History Museum, Ottawa).
The Acadians reclaimed the salty marshlands through their innovative dyke building. Caught in the middle of the struggle for North America, between the British and the French, these peace-loving farmers were eventually imprisoned, deported and their lands confiscated.
An Acadian herself, Karen was even able to point to the name of her ancestors on a list in the forts museum. What does it means to be Acadien -eh?
If you were deported, where would you go?
The tragic deportation of the Acadiens left a whole people group homeless and searching for land. Many were deported south, along the Eastern shores of the United States, and even today there is a rich Acadien heritage in Louisiana. Known for their love for music, this vibrant people are a fun group to be around.
I just happened to be in the area for Acadie Day (note the flag waving on the far right), and got my shot near the giant lobster. Shediac is known as a great holiday spot for it's warmer waters, but sadly, this day was not one of those days. With not much time, I moved on to my next stop... the birthplace of Confederation!