Caraquet is primarily a lobster fishing village and seaport on the Baie des Chaleurs, a warm bay which separates New Brunswick from Québec's Gaspé region. Tourists tend to arrive in number from Québec in July and early August, with crowds peaking during the August 15 Acadian "fête nationale". After the festival, the crowds leave and life in this tiny francophone corner of New Brunswick peacefully returns to normal. The town is called Acadia's capital by its residents.
Caraquet's economy is primarily marine resource-based, with a fishing wharf and seaport. Several beaches and other tourist attractions, such as the Village Historique Acadien, are in the area. New Brunswick's only francophone daily newspaper, L'Acadie Nouvelle, is published in Caraquet.
The Mi'kmaq Aboriginal people were the first to have visited the region, as early as 4000 years ago. The Vikings visited the region around 1000 CE, then Basque, Breton and Norman fishermen came in the 13th century. Jacques Cartier explored the surrounding area in 1534. In 1713, Great Britain obtained Acadia in the Treaty of Utrecht. Caraquet was founded around 1731 by the Breton Gabriel Giraud dit Saint-Jean, who was a French trader and merchant. He married a Mi'kmaq woman and settled in Lower Caraquet. After the expulsion of the Acadians from southern New Brunswick and Nova Scotia in 1755, some Acadians settled in Upper Caraquet.
Merchants from England, Scotland and Jersey settled in Caraquet from the early nineteenth century. Despite their small number, they would control the economy and politics of the city for a century.
Despite the Industrial Revolution, Canadian Confederation hurt the Maritime Provinces. To counter the exodus of the population and control of fishing companies, new farming villages were founded. In 1864, the engineer Sanford Fleming proposed to build the Intercolonial Railway from Montreal to Pokesudie through Caraquet. While the final route was diverted south to Halifax in 1868, the line was built to Caraquet in 1887 following a part of the proposed route. The opening of the railway increased economic development with the opening of shops and hotels as well as a change of habits.
From Bathurst (New Brunswick), follow NB Route 11 by car.
- Taxi Gionet, 49 Allée Grande, ☏ .
- Musée Acadien de Caraquet, 15, boul. St-Pierre Est, ☏ , fax: . Jun-Sep: 10AM-6PM, Jul-Aug: 10AM-8PM (Sundays 1-6PM).
- 1 Village Historique Acadien, 5, rue du Pont, Bertrand NB, ☏ , toll-free: , fax: . Early June-mid Sept: daily 10AM-6PM. A pioneer village living museum reconstructing a francophone village of 1755-1855 with its people. Château Albert hotel with bar and restaurant on-site. $17.50.
- Cinéma du Centre, 220, boulevard Saint-Pierre Ouest, ☏ . Downtown cinema with a mix of French and English-language films.
- Théâtre populaire d'Acadie. French-language professional summer theatre at the Boîte-Théâtre.
- Festival Acadien, Caraquet. Annual festival culminating in Tintamarre, a boisterous and noisy costume party where revellers make themselves heard at 5:55PM on August 15, the feast day of the Virgin Mary and de facto Acadian national holiday.
- Grains de folie, 171 boul St. Pierre ouest, ☏ . Restaurant, café-bistro, patio, bakery and pastry. Lounge upstairs.
- Le Poisson D'or, Carrefour de la Mer, 51A boul. St-Pierre Ouest, ☏ , fax: . Seafood.
Bed and breakfast
- Maison Touristique Dugas, 683, boul. St-Pierre Ouest, ☏ , toll-free: . Two houses, seven cabins and campground.
- Hôtel Paulin, 143 boul. St-Pierre ouest, ☏ , toll-free: . $200-215.
- Super 8, 9 avenue du Carrefour, toll-free: . 50-room motel with waterpark, conference room.
|Routes through Caraquet|
|Bathurst ← Jct S ←||N S||→ Miramichi → Shédiac|