Our special series heads to a New Brunswick city that knows how to party, and is blessed with spectacular natural wonders close by.
Suggested tweet: A Maritime marvel is next in our series of city guides for Canada’s Summer of Sport http://ow.ly/Dxfwy #explorecanada
The sporting world will be the headline acts in Canada in 2015. Starting from the top of the bill, Toronto hosts the 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games while FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015 action plays out at six cities across the nation.
Forming the sporting foundations are Rogers Cup tennis, F1 Grand Prix, RBC Canadian Open golf, Major League Baseball, Canadian Football League (CFL) and Major League Soccer, action that guarantees filled stadiums and excitement all summer long.
To help visitors make the most of Canada’s Summer of Sport, we’re continuing our series of short and occasionally irreverent city guides for the seven host destinations of the World Cup and Pan Am and Parapan Am Games.
Age : 160 years
Appearance : Chocolate River and Magnetic Hill combine with the surrounding and serene Acadian forest, bizarre formations at nearby Hopewell Rocks, plus historic Maritime buildings to give Hub City its unique character.
Moncton in five words : Tides, Acadian, railways, bilingual, polite
Is it easy to get around? Moncton is accessible, approachable and walkable—plus there’s free Wi-Fi in much of downtown, as well as on board the 40-bus public transit system, so Google Maps is always a smartphone click away.
What’s the city’s hidden gem? Marky’s Laundromat Espresso Bar isn’t quite what it seems. Once a laundromat, it’s now an über-hip spot for craft beer and espresso.
Where can you catch the sporting action live? Open-air Moncton Stadium, located on the Université de Moncton campus, has already hosted Atlantic Canada’s only CFL game as well as the U-20 FIFA Women’s World Cup 2014. It’s primed and ready for the crowds expected at its seven 2015 World Cup matches.
Are there fun bars and pubs to watch the games from, too? Overtime Sports Bar on Main Street is a sporty gathering spot, as is Boston Pizza on Mountain Road, where game-day deals attract armchair quarterbacks.
Enough about sport—where are the hot spots to eat and drink in the city? Locals love the tartines (open-faced sandwiches) and fresh pasta at Manuka Cuisine Instinctive, while Calactus Vegetarian Restaurant is converting carnivores with its Big Marc Burger. But the Atlantic provinces are known best for their fresh seafood—be sure to try the catch of the day at Catch 22 Lobster Bar.
Some visitors like to shop ‘til they drop—where should they go? Moncton is home to New Brunswick’s largest shopping mall, 150-store Champlain Place, and the outlets of Trinity/Wheeler Power Centre beckon deal hunters. You can also peruse the merchants of downtown’s Main Street for a small-shop experience.
What’s the nightlife like? Monctonians love the poutine and craft beer at Tide & Boar Gastropub as much as the live music at adjacent Tide & Boar Ballroom. Next door, Duo Wine Bar sets a sommelier scene with its 70-bottle and 20-by-the-glass wine list. Over at Pumphouse Brewery & Restaurant, try the popular Blueberry Ale. Maritimers are known for raucous parties and most of Moncton’s bars stay open ‘till 2 am.
Life isn’t just fun and games—where can visitors feed their minds? Culture vultures should head to the Atlantic Ballet Theatre of Canada—the only professional ballet company in Canada’s Maritimes—which performs in a restored Vaudeville-era theatre. Switch it up with a tour of the brand-new Moncton Museum and Transportation Discovery Centre in Resurgo Place, where interactive displays highlight science, transportation and history.
One of Canada’s attractions is its amazing nature—what are some nearby outdoor delights? Located just 30 minutes from town, Fundy National Park features dramatic 16-m (53-ft) tides and lush inland environs. Walk the exposed ocean floor around Dr. Seuss-like Hopewell Rocks before 160 billion tonnes (176 billion tons) of seawater flows in. Cruise via kayak for a different perspective. Adrenaline junkies can check out Cape Enrage, a 50-m (164-foot) cliff with rappelling and ziplining stations, or the tidal bore that roars up the Petitcodiac River. Sun worshippers love to laze at Kouchibouguac National Park (60 minutes from downtown), home to Canada’s warmest saltwater beaches.
Make local friends in Moncton : Around one in three locals in Moncton is Francophone, so be bold with your “bonjours.”
Make local foes in Moncton : This is no easy task in a city once rated Canada’s “Most Polite and Honest” by Reader’s Digest, but claiming Magnetic Hill is a hoax would be a good start.
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