The J.C. Van Horne Bridge. Both the 2-lane bridge and the man who fought so hard to get it — Charlie Van Horne — are a source of great pride to locals. The visionary Van Horne was one of Canada’s most colourful politicians who did much for Campbellton.
Campbellton, New Brunswick, Canada. Some call it “God’s Country” but for those from the area, it’s simply home.
Owing to a lack of jobs, many locals — and yes, I was one of them — left Campbellton for greener pastures. Back in the day, we pulled out of town with a train ticket and a suitcase packed with hopes … and a lot of memories.
We left behind one important thing: our hearts. To help explain, check out the 29 aerial photographs in this post.
The birds-eye, panoramic images were taken in September 2014 by the DJI Phantom 2 Vision Plus quadcopter [a remote-controlled drone about the size of a large pizza]. The camera is wide-angle, accounting for the curvature in the photos.
To see a larger version of the pictures, click on them. If you’re using a tablet or a smart phone, simply tap the screen.
Would you like higher resolution copies of the photos? No problem. Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send them your way. There is no charge; happy to do it for you.
So sit back and enjoy! Remember to CLICK on the photos to get them to fill your screen.
29 WAYS TO SAY “CAMPBELLTON, YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL!”
#1 – The City of Campbellton from 1,000-foot high Sugarloaf Mountain. Notice the lookout and the new flagpole, put up by members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police [RCMP] as a tribute to three officers slain in Moncton, New Brunswick on 4 June 2014. The bodies of water in this photo: the Restigouche River, which flows into the Restigouche Estuary [which, at Dalhousie, becomes the Bay of Chaleur].
#2 – From 300 feet over the Sugarloaf, the mountain looks more like a large, heavily-treed hill. The only rocky portion visible is the lookout area. There’s a 1.2 km hiking path up the eastern spine of the mountain.
#3 – A heavily-treed hill from above, but not from the front! This shot shows the jagged cliffs. It was here in 1924 where two sisters decided to make their way down the face but fell to their deaths. A search team found their bodies next morning. Note the crosses at the bottom centre-left [click to magnify]. Those crosses have no doubt discouraged many from climbing the face.
#4 – Roseberry Street [to the right] and Duncan Street [centre]. Now you see why people call this God’s Country. We grew up in Campbellton thinking this beautiful scenery was “normal.” Note the tiny house [shiny roof, left of centre in this photo, with a vehicle passing in front]. That’s my original home: 90 Duncan Street.
1968: Author and sister Cheryl outside our family home on a windy, snowy day. That’s the Sugarloaf in the background. I can’t recall why I was dressed in a suit. [this photo won’t enlarge]
#5 – Similar to the previous image, except that this one shows more of the salmon-rich Restigouche River. Thanks to Denis Blaquiere for his help with this shot.
#6: Looking East: Duncan and Roseberry Streets. No, Roseberry doesn’t really curve like that … this is just the wide-angle lens at play.
Here’s a short video clip shot by the DJI Phantom. There was a strong wind that day — and to make matters worse, the gyro was acting up, accounting for some off-centre footage. The clip runs 1:15.
#7 – At 500 feet, it looks like a tennis racket but in fact is a place of many tears and memories: the main graveyard in Campbellton. When I was a kid it was simply known at the Protestant Graveyard. [Catholics were buried in two other cemeteries — with better views, I might add] Before I went to elementary school, I would ride the maintenance tractor with Harold Sponagle, the grave-digger. It was my introduction to the working world.
#8 – From high above the graveyard, this shot of Campbellton. We’re now looking East, towards the Restigouche Estuary.
#9 – Another shot looking East. My Phantom spotter, John Van Horne, lay on his back in the graveyard, telling me how the machine was behaving. I’m super-cautious about flyaways … and the wind that day was unkind. Thank you, John.
#10 – Looking south towards the Sugarloaf Mountain. Like I say, a big, treed hill. In the 1950s and perhaps sooner, I don’t know, Campbellton was mainly English. Many of the French-speaking people lived in houses spread out at the base of the Sugarloaf in an area known as “Little Montreal.” Now that the French are no longer a minority, perhaps people now call it “Little Toronto.”
#11: The J.C. Van Horne Bridge, which spans the Restigouche River. The bridge, made in the early 1960s, connects Campbellton to Cross Point [Pointe-a-La-Croix], Quebec.
#12: Okay, no shopping centre roofs look exciting, I’ll give you that. The Phantom rose 300 feet in the air to get this aerial of the east end of Campbellton. Hermini Thibeault assisted by keeping a close eye on the Phantom with his binoculars. Historical note: see the red building smack in the middle of this photo? This is where the RCMP began to chase U.S. fugitive Richard Lee McNair, one of America’s most wanted, in October 2007. The Mounties collared McNair less than half an hour later in woods pictured at the top of the photo. “Just good men doing their jobs,” says McNair, now back in a U.S. prison.
#13: Where’s this, you wonder? The treed-area follows Walker Brook. The main road dissecting the photo is Dover Street. My little white rental car [note the red car passing] is parked outside the home of former CKNB announcer Don Hume.
#14: The waters of the Restigouche Estuary slapping up against the East end of Campbellton. The building with the green roof [lower centre-left] is the RCMP Detachment.
#15: looking south from the hill at John Van Horne’s home.
#16: Southeast Campbellton
#17: Sunset Drive, Campbellton
#18: Looking East towards the Restigouche Estuary. The classy old building on the far left used to be the Hotel Dieu Hospital, the birthplace of former CBC reporter and Quebec Premier René Lévesque. He was also known for his chain-smoking. It was on Thursday, 24 August 1922 that a nurse slapped little Rene on the ass, traumatizing him. To calm his nerves, the kid reached for a cigarette. So help me God. Campbellton is also the home of Hockey Hall of Fame broadcaster Peter Maher, a number of National Hockey League players, Canadian Tire CEO Stephen Wetmore … and pop singer Patsy Gallant. And perhaps you as well.
#19: Looking North towards Cross Point, Quebec and the Listuguj Mi’kmaq First Nation. The Mi’kmaq of course were the original settlers. They were in the area thousands of years before French and English settlers arrived in large wooden ships from Europe. Until the 1920s, many large, wooden ships were made in Campbellton.
“Yes, Campbellton, we love you. Your blood runs through our veins. And Sugarloaf, our hearts and minds are part of your terrain.” – Michael Haley
#20: An area east of Campbellton known as McLeods. The rippling waters belong to the Restigouche Estuary.
#21 – McLeods again, this time looking East. You’re looking at the original highway from Campbellton to Dalhousie and Bathurst. As John Woodworth pointed out when he first saw this photo, his neighbourhood was far more populated than he thought.
#22 – The historic Sanfar Resort and Restaurant in Tide Head, five miles west of Campbellton. Here’s an unabashed plug for David Richards and his crew at Sanfar: old-fashioned hospitality that will never go out of style.
#23: Ah, beautiful Tide Head and the Restigouche River. Great fiddlehead country.
#24: Tide Head looking East towards Campbellton. That ‘hump’ in the distance is the Sugarloaf Mountain. Thanks to Jim Babcock for his assistance in getting these pics.
#25: Tide Head, New Brunswick. Who in their right mind wouldn’t want to live in a beautiful spot like this???
#26: Flatlands, a few miles west of Tide Head. Flatlands is the home of CKNB Radio announcer Mark Firth.
#27: Broadlands, Quebec. Just across the Restigouche River from New Brunswick is this summer community. Here, a second vehicle is a canoe.
#28: East of Dalhousie, which is east of Campbellton. To the left is the Bay of Chaleur, named by French explorer Jacques Cartier in 1534. Chaleur is French for heat. And when frisky dogs first swam in the bay, it gave birth to the expression, “in heat.” I just made that up.
#29: The soon-to-be demolished power plant near Dalhousie, New Brunswick.
FLYING DOWN MEMORY LANE …
In July 1976 and in July 1977, Campbellton musician and photographer Omer Legere boarded a small plane with a 35mm camera and flew around the city, snapping a series of photographs which you’re about to enjoy. Thanks, Omer, for having the foresight to do this — and for thinking about your community. And thanks to John Van Horne for sharing these photos with us.
Seatbelt fastened? Here we go! …
The old racetrack is gonzo.
City Centre in its early days. The riverfront had not been developed.
The old “mental hospital.” We can make out some of the path that winds up the eastern spine of Sugarloaf Mountain.
Is it just me, or was there more greenery back then?
A city and its famous mountain, the Sugarloaf.
Note the old drive-in threatre. If ‘Plan A’ didn’t work out, there was always ‘Plan B’ — watch the movie.
Can you spot the bowling alley/hangout?
Notice Memorial Gardens, home of the Campbellton Tigers, on the far centre left. In the 1950s, the Montreal Canadiens — powerhouse of the 6-team National Hockey League — played an exhibition game at the Gardens. There were no empty seats that night, and when Les Canadiens stepped onto the ice, the place rocked.
In the centre of the photo is the Lou Bursey complex for seniors. Bursey, a respected principal, once gave me the strap! In 1969, he was also the guarantor on my first passport.
Far as I knew, Campbellton had only one swimming pool back then, and it was public. The community now has scores of swimming pools, nearly all private.
The United Church Hall, to the right of the church, a beautiful building and home of the Chargers Soccer Team. The building was torn down. The site is now a paved parking lot.
Notice the stretch cars of the 1970s. Not many of these gas-guzzlers on the road today.
Downtown Campbellton: is this the way you remember it? The large, red-brick building rising in the distance was the Soldier’s Memorial Hospital. That’s where I came into a world [at 5pm, give or take a couple of minutes, on 1 May 1949]. I don’t know what I did wrong, but a nurse slapped my ass. The old city landmark was demolished to make way for a two-story senior’s centre. Who knows? … one day it may be my final home. Talk about going full circle.
WANT MORE AERIAL SHOTS?
Here are about 50 more images, taken in June 2015 … you’re just a click away from another flight …