Description of Historic Place
The Bend consists of the section of the Petitcodiac River and its banks that begins at the Hall’s Creek to the east, turning approximately 90-degrees and continuing to the Riverview Causeway to the west. Its banks form the northern boundary of the Town of Riverview and the southern boundary of the City of Moncton.
The portion of the Petitcodiac River known as The Bend is designated Local Historic Place for its significance in the settlement of the City of Moncton. The association with Mi’kmaq, Acadian and Pennsylvanian settlement form part of this historic place. The Bend is also recognized for its role in the economic development of Moncton and for its natural elements.
The original inhabitants of the area, the Mi’kmaq, made use of The Bend as a portage site long before the first European settlers. The Acadians found the area of The Bend suitable for establishing a village as early as 1698. The remains of their cemetery are still visible along the banks of the Hall’s Creek, as are the remnants of the early dike system they used for controlling the tidewaters for arrogation and protection. Battles between the Acadians and the British during the Deportation occurred on the water of The Bend in 1755 and 1758. A key figure in these battles was Lt. Col. Robert Monckton, after whom the City of Moncton was named. The Pennsylvania ‘Dutch’, German settlers that arrived in 1766 via Pennsylvania, helped to re-establish Moncton along with those Acadians who managed to remain after the Deportation. The eight family names that came up the Petitcodiac on a sloop still resound in Moncton today: Charles Jones, Matthias Sommer (Somers), Michael Lutz (Lutes), Jacob Treitz (Trites), John Koppel (Copple), Heinrich Stieff (Henry Steeves), Jacob Ricker, Georg Wortman (George Wartman). The Panacadie Creek was renamed Hall’s Creek after the sloop’s captain, Jonathan Hall.
The Bend is designated for role in the development of commerce in Moncton. Because of the access to the Atlantic Ocean, shipbuilding, commercial shipping and water transportation flourished in Moncton. It began with the arrival of Moncton’s first shipbuilder in 1827, Capt. Benjamin Stanton. Moncton’s first mayor, Joseph Salter, not only served for three terms, he was a renowned sea-faring adventurer and shipbuilder. At its peak, Moncton’s shipping industry at The Bend served the entire eastern coast of North America and beyond. Several shipwrecks from the shipping era are located in this portion of the river. Existing by-products of the growth of the shipping industry, subsequent industries and the City of Moncton itself include two known dumpsites containing artefacts from the 1800’s.
The Bend is nominated for its important natural elements and its continued effect on local tourism. Of the ten known tidal bores in the world, the one that flows through the Bend creates the highest and fastest-rising tides on the planet. Because the tide comes in as one wave, tourists flock to bleachers at Bore Park along the riverbank to witness this twice-daily event. Its many ecological assets include being a migratory feeding spot for shorebirds. In autumn, these birds number in the millions, including 95% of the world’s population of the Semipalmated Sandpiper.
In 1997, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada recognized the national importance of the shipbuilding industry in New Brunswick. In 1998, it recognized the national importance of the Acadian dike system.
Source: Moncton Museum - historic places file – “Petitcodiac – The Bend”.
The character-defining elements relating to location and context include:
- forms southern boundary of the City of Moncton;
- historic landing spot;
- connection with Shepody Bay and Bay of Fundy.
The character-defining elements relating to early settlement include:
- ruins of Acadian dike system;
- 2 known dumpsites containing artefacts from the 1800’s.
The character-defining elements relating to shipbuilding and commerce include:
- remnants of wharves;
- various shipwrecks.
The character-defining natural elements include:
- free-flow of the water in the Petitcodiac River and the natural landforms that contribute to the tidal bore;
- the ongoing health of the ecosystem in particular the support of migratory animal populations;