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 email@example.com 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 …
Ya don’t have to be from Campbellton to appreciate this … I am awed by these photos. And like you, I have seen much of the planet to compare it with. Thanks for sharing, Byron.
I used to cut the grass at the Rainy River [Ontario] cemetery when I was a kid.
Has the Campbellton Tourist Board seen these images? Imagine if everyone could take an aerial tour of “the old home town”. Normally you let your words create pictures in the mind — in this case the pictures speak thousands of words.
Thanks Byron for such beautiful pictures from a town in which I spent and loved for 13-plus years.
You are a great friend. It was fun to have a coffee with you and Don Hume this summer.
WOW! What an awesome job! Such a wonderful place to grow up. To think we could walk to school!
So many wonderful memories.
Many thanks for “taking me back” to my childhood …
I’ll send you along something that may do the same for you.
Wow, and wow, fantastic … I lived in Campbellton for 18 years, graduated from Campbellton High School with your sister, Cheryl!!! Way back in 1966.
The best city in the world!! No doubt about that.
You did an awesome job there Byron and I thank you!! Brings back such wonderful memories!!
Beautiful aerial photos of Campbellton.
I was raised, educated and married, had two children in Campbellton. These photos bring back a lot of memories. Left to follow my husband to B.C. when I was 24.
To this day I consider Campbellton as my home. It certainly is God’s Country.
On photo #13, that is where my cousin Jackie lives … 221 Dover Street. Nice shot.
Thank you again for sharing. God Bless.
Great aerials. I notice — as well as my sister — that your [white] car is parked across the street from my cousin Jackie Olscamp’s place. I’m pretty sure Don Hume lives in what once was Danny Olscamp’s house, or perhaps the the one next to it. Memory isn’t as good as it once was …
Thank you so much Byron for the walk down memory lane! I was like you, left home to find work!! We never appreciate what we have until we don’t have it any longer!!
I agree 100% that it is God’s Country!! God Bless.
Memories going way back … beautiful photos.
Thanks for sharing them with everyone. Love the photo of you and Cheryl.
Happy to have met you after 50 years.
Thank you for the beautiful pictures; great work you did.
We left for Ontario 48 years ago, but Campbellton always was my home. I usually go every summer, but this year we didn’t.
I’m happy Byron that you went and did these great pictures of home. Love them.
These photographs are simply amazing … as is our hometown of Campbellton. You have put a smile on many faces.
Thank-you for sharing this labour of love.
These are beautiful …. thank you.
Campbellton is the home of my father and our ancestors and I feel very fortunate to have visited family there which included my cousins; John and Mary McDonald and Wayne Wyers.
I feel something special about that town; its people, history and the mountain. Wish the Dog Cart was still there.
Thanks for this incredible reminder.
Love it, love it, love it … from a former resident of Campbellton (Atholville, actually). Beautiful photos … thanks for sharing.
Lovely photography. I’ve never seen Campbellton from the air before.
Thanks for posting the photos.
Thanks for sharing these beautiful photos, Byron.
I grew up as your neighbour at 64 Duncan Street. Remember Gus’s Canteen and the delicious fries?
Thanks so much. I always loved Campbellton having grown up there and still have family there. Now I am definitely lonesome!
My uncle Gerry (comment above) sent me this.
I am his niece and these sure brought back LOTS of childhood memories; they brought me to tears.
Some of my memories of Duncan Street include riding down the ‘big’ hill on our bikes, going up to the cemetery to pick blueberries, playing with all the kids on the street, Barry and Joanie Brooks and Debbie Mann.
In winter, we had the most amazing size snowbanks to play in.
Many times we would venture as a family to Tide Head and have big corn roasts on the beach. We went swimming there.
My grandparents lived at 64 Duncan Street — home of Gus’s Canteen and social hangout. I believe I pinpointed it in one of your photos. My grandfather, my Mom’s dad, owned the canteen and I always remember the fun we had in there. His fries were the best!
Through the window in my grandparent’s kitchen we could see the Sugarloaf and my grandma and I would stare at it so often. I remember the day when she showed me the two crosses and relayed the story to me. Every time after that, whenever I looked out that window I would stare at the crosses and wonder what these two girls were like. It was touching to see those crosses revealed in your pictures.
Today when I look at the house at 64 Duncan, although there are some differences and the canteen is gone, I go through the house room-by-room in my mind as I recall it.
Thanks for sharing!!
Thank you so much for sharing our beautiful Campbellton with all of us.
The pictures bring back so many wonderful memories and I will pass this on to other fellow Campbellton natives.
I was born and grew up in Campbellton; our family lived at 96 Duncan Street. I married in 1971 and moved to Saint John, New Brunswick with my husband and over the years have visited with my family in Campbellton. In fact, I am planning another visit next week and I can hardly wait to see my hometown once again.
Lived in Campbellton for 44 years … was a “Vinegar Hiller.” Worked in Ontario for 16 years, retired, then returned east. Now live in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia.
I remember all the places shown. Went to school with you and Cheryl.
Keep up the beautiful pictures. Thanks for the memories.
Thank you so much for sharing these. I’m now all nostalgic and melancholic with tears in my eyes.
I loved growing up there. So many great memories. I too was raised on Duncan Street and later what they now call Sister Green Road, former Val D’Amour Road.
Awesome pics and commentary, thanks so much. Brings back great memories!!
I lived on 200 Roseberry Street most of my life and my aunt, Violet Clayton, was your neighbour.
I now live in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. Returning home is not quite the same for me, but your pictures sure revive some good feelings. Thanks, Byron.
I left Campbellton on October 31, 1965. I was back once, in the mid 70’s, and again two years ago to pick up some fiddleheads. I drove by the old homestead on Duncan Street and everything seems to have changed.
Still one of the most beautiful areas in the region.
Thanks for sharing.
After being gone from the region for 30 years and coming back five years ago after retiring from CN Rail, it sure brings back memories.
Gorgeous captures. It’s rare that people get to see a bird’s eye view of where they live.
Nice pictures. I’m from Campbellton and I remember a lot of those places. Keep up the good job!!!
I enjoyed these pictures having lived in Campbellton and graduated from high school in 1965. My good friend Bill Cananaugh sent me this link.
I lived in Brookside on 12 Ortona Street and the Sugarloaf Mountain was in front of our house. Some bush and a babbling book and then the mountain. I came back in 1996 and was amazed at all the changes!!
I live in Creighton, Saskatchewan and work in Flin Flon, Manitoba, about two kilometres away.
Any former friend or schoolmate can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for the memories!, Terry “Joe” Brown
My mother was born in Campbellton and I remember driving there often to visit my grandmother, who lived near the bottom of Sugarloaf mountain.
I was born in Jacquet, east of Campbellton.
This is a great tribute to a beautiful place on earth. Never really saw it from this perspective before.
I left when I was 18 and try to return a couple of times a year.
Creation did a very good job on this little corner of the world. However I am very disappointed in the total clearing of the hill across from Matheson street and the cliff behind Matheson street. These two beautiful areas have been scarred for a very long time.
Thanks Byron for the fantastic work you did on this project.
WOW!!! What an awesome finding.
I was born and raised at 52 Duncan Street; left home for work in 1962.
Have seen some awesome country working as a locomotive engineer in Northern Ontario, but nothing compares to home.
Some memories are after reading this … I too got the strap from Mr. Bursey, Gus’s Canteen, Vinegar Hill, Day’s grocery store, picking fiddleheads, playing cowboys and Indians in the huge snow banks …
Colin, are you related to Debbie Mann? My grandparents lived at 64 Duncan st and Debbie was my friend. Often wonder where all the friends I had on Duncan st ended up. My maiden name was Donna Spragg and my grandparents were Gus and Neta Roussie. They owned the canteen At 64 Duncan.
Thank you so much for sharing these photos. It is such a beautiful part of New Brunswick!
Thank you so much for sharing these photos. It is such a beautiful part of New Brunswick.
I used to live in Campbellton. Nice place.
You should take pictures of Atholville.
Thanks for the photos Byron! When we were in grade 9, I always knew you would make us proud. You were so quiet in class.
Wow, that’s the Campbellton I so remember when I was growing up. It was the best place and the best era … lots of fun, good education, great friends. I left Campbellton when I was 19.
Now retired and living not too far from the City of Campbellton, I still come to visit. Love that Campbellton … but many changes have taken place and these photos are the “greatest memories” …. thanks, Byron.
Just great to see those pictures, Byron.
I lived at 250 Roseberry Street and hung around with your brother, Alroy. I married an Arpin from just down the road on Duncan Street.
I was in Campbellton last week for my mother’s funeral, who lived there her entire life.
Still nice to go back home!
Thanks, Byron, for the work you are putting into keeping this going. It is so wonderful to look at the photos and pick out certain buildings and homes.
It is even more wonderful to read the comments from people I knew so well.
These times were the best of my life, and even though I detested having to work in Dad’s canteen, the people who came in were my friends for a long, long time. I often think of them and wonder what became of them.
Colin, it was nice to read your note.
Richard, my mother loved you dearly and when you came into the canteen, her joy showed in her face.
If other Campbelltonians want to keep in touch, my email is email@example.com. I’m living in Ottawa now and don’t find a reason to go back home — and Campbellton is still home — because all my relatives except Lorna Johnson have left the area.
Like many, I left Campbellton to find work.
I went to Toronto in January 1965 and have lived there ever since. I have been back to Campbellton about 20 times since I left.
The latest visit was July this year for Brian’s Dream. I met several of my old high school friends but I missed many others; maybe I will see them another time.
I have travelled all over Canada and much of the US, and I can say that the Bay Chaleur area is one of the prettiest places I have been to.
I enjoyed being home, but alas it was not long enough.
Best wishes and a long life to all of you.
I love your photos of Campbellton, especially the Sugarloaf. I climbed that mountain many times in my early teens. It was an adventure filled with anticipation of being the first in the group of friends to get to the top.
Seeing familiar streets and landmarks brought a genuine smile across my face.
I loved living in Campbellton especially with so many special friends.
I am so happy I got to see you at Brian’s Dream just a couple of weeks ago.
Thank you again for the beautiful photos. Take care.