Home / Accueil

Westfield Beach

Grand Bay-Westfield, New Brunswick, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2011/03/28

View of Westfield Beach Station; Provincial Archives of New Brunswick, Kevin Corbett collection: P244-98
Westfield Beach
View of Westfield Beach, ca. 1910; New Brunswick Museum
Westfield Beach
No Image

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2011/04/19

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Located between Brundage Point and the mouth of the Nerepis River, Westfield Beach is a community landmark. The designation consists of the beach and the surrounding landscaped area.

Heritage Value

Westfield Beach has been designated a Local Historic Place for its historic and aesthetic value, as well as for its association with the heritage of the Maliseet peoples of the area.

The value of the beach resides primarily in its rich history. This sandy stretch along the bank of the Saint John River was considered "famous" during the early to mid-1800s; it was the first area in the community to be developed into a desirable summer destination for families from nearby Saint John. The history of the surrounding district is still evident in the neighbourhood around the beach; the majority of residences were at one time summer homes, many of them grand in scale and design. Shops and recreational facilities were also built to accommodate the needs and pleasures of summer residents. At one time, the beach boasted tennis courts and a dance pavilion and was the setting for various water sport events organized by local outing associations.

Local histories note that the landscape of the beach was altered in 1869 when the New Brunswick Railway went through the site; the rail bed hindered accessibility to the most popular stretch of beach and covered up a large section of sand. Activities moved to a wider spot located nearer to the Nerepis Bridge.

The historic value of the site is also found in its association with railway heritage. The first locomotive to be brought to New Brunswick was off-loaded from Britain in this area in 1868; the proximity of the river to the tracks made it the ideal spot. The Westfield Beach station, operated by the Canadian Pacific Railway, became a railway hub as two sets of rails joined here en route to Saint John. Accordingly, the Westfield Beach station was larger than others in the area, operated a telegraph, and featured a little park. The station closed in 1961, although the New Brunswick Southern Railway continues to operate a line through the district.

The aesthetic value of the beach lies in its position between Brundage Point and the mouth of the Nerepis River. Looking up river, there is a beautiful view of Long Reach, where the force of the world’s highest tides in the Bay of Fundy reverses the flow of the mighty St John River, creating a tidal river for over 80 km.

The beach is also associated with the heritage of the First Nations people of the Kingsclear Reserve. During the late 1800s, a section of the beach became a summer landing for local Maliseet. The spot was attractive for its muskrat, fiddleheads, as well as for the variety and quality of wood and reeds for their crafts, particularly basket-making. It is believed that, as their camps were damaged or swept away by the freshet every year, the summer camp gradually moved to higher ground.

Source: Grand Bay-Westfield Historic Places Files - Westfield Beach

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements associated with the heritage value of Westfield Beach include:
- stretch of sandy beach;
- proximity to a neighbourhood of former summer homes;
- proximity to railroad tracks;
- view of Long Reach;
- elements associated with Maliseet heritage, including natural features and the potential for archaeological resources.



New Brunswick

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (NB)

Recognition Statute

Heritage Conservation Act

Recognition Type

Local Historic Place (municipal)

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1869/01/01 to 1869/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Communications and Transportation
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Sports and Leisure
Peopling the Land
Canada's Earliest Inhabitants

Function - Category and Type


Civic Space


Pool or Beach

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Grand Bay-Westfield Historic Places files, Town Hall, 609 River Valley Drive, Grand Bay-Westfield, NB

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




Related Places



Advanced SearchAdvanced Search
Nearby Places