St. Stephen, New Brunswick

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St. Stephen is a town situated on the east bank of the St. Croix River in Charlotte County in the province of New Brunswick, Canada. The town is located at Template:Coor dms in the St. Stephen/St. Andrews region of the Fundy Coastal Drive. The river and surrounding area was first explored by the French explorer, Samuel de Champlain when he and his men spent a winter there in 1604. Officially incorporated as a town in 1871, five years later St. Stephen's business district was almost totally destroyed by fire when eighty buildings and 13 wharves burned. The population of St. Stephen was 4,667 in 2001, down 5.9% from 1996.

Missing image
StStephen1908.jpg
St. Stephen in 1908

The St. Croix River marks a section International Boundary between the United States and Canada, forming a natural border between the towns on its banks. Calais, Maine (pop. 3,447) is divided from St. Stephen by a bridge, the eleventh most important link between the world's two largest trading partners.

Residents of St. Stephen and Calais regard their community as one place, cooperating in their fire departments and other community projects. As evidence of the longtime friendship between the towns, during the War of 1812, the British military provided St. Stephen with a large supply of gunpowder for protection against the enemy Americans in Calais, but the town elders gave the gunpowder to Calais for its July Fourth celebrations.

Historically a lumber and ship building economy until the early part of the 1900's, by the end of World War II the town's main employers were the Ganong Chocolate company (established 1873, it is Canada's oldest candy company) and the second largest textile mill in Canada built in 1882 on the river where it operated with its own hydro-electric generating station. In 1957, the textile mill closed but the confectionery maker remains a key employer.

A hotbed of baseball, in 1934 the Boston Braves of the National Baseball League played an exhibition game in St. Stephen against the local "Kiwanis" team. The enthusiastic fans in attendendance numbered more than half of the town's entire population. In 1939, the local baseball team won its ninth consecutive New Brunswick senior championship, topping off a decade of dominance in the sport at both the provincial and Maritime levels.

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