avelokiteshvara

So, about living in Fredericton...

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I already have an acceptance at UNB for next year, and from everything I can find about the school, I would strongly consider it even if I'm admitted to all my other choices.

 

My biggest hang-up about it is the thought of living in such a small city for three years -- I'm not from a huge city, but Ottawa still gives me much more access to urban amenities than I would expect in Fredericton (full disclosure: I haven't been to Fredericton since I was about 7 years old, so I'm relying on a combination of hazy memory, hearsay, and assumptions based on size and locations).

 

Maybe I'm too much of an urban snob, but it matters to me whether I'll be able to do things like get a really good cup of coffee (i.e. a well-run independent specialty shop, big step up from Starbucks, BIG step up from Tim Hortons), get a good variety of groceries including indian and african spices and "unusual" vegetables, get everywhere I need around town on foot from a centrally-located apartment, and so on.

 

I don't need the crowded, busy, feel of a city, or really the nightlife, though a few good pubs would certainly be nice, but I don't want to live in what feels like a completely rural or suburban setting.

 

So, how's life in Fredericton?

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It's a small place, and diversity cannot be said to be one of its strong points. However, it is a very student-centered city. It's not a rushed or crowded place, and is pretty relaxed. People talk to you in line at the grocery store. It does feel fairly suburban, at least insofar as it's a low-rise city full of single-family houses. For your specific questions:

1) Coffee: I can think of a few places downtown. Coffee and Friends, Crumbs, and Trinitea's (for tea, at least). I don't drink coffee, so I can't speak to the coffee scene too well.

2) Groceries: You'll probably be disappointed coming from a more diverse city. There is a place I go for Indian spices; for everything else, there's Bulk Barn. Not sure what you'd classify as "unusual" vegetables, but anything beyond the staples will probably be a challenge. There's Sobeys, there's Atlantic Superstore, there's the farmer's market. If you walk over to a Sobeys (or suitable Ottawa-area comparator) and can't find it there, you won't find it here.

3) Getting around: If you live downtown, you can manage without a car. Sobeys and Superstore are at opposite ends of downtown. If you're living near campus, there's a Sobeys within walking distance, and the heart of downtown is about five minutes beyond that. It's a manageable walk, but winters here can be difficult for the pedestrian. The core of downtown is fine, campus is fine, everywhere else is spotty at best. Public transit is terrible.

4) Pubs/nightlife: Pretty good, for its size. Again, it's a student-centered city. There's a small pub district downtown with stuff for all tastes.

 

I wouldn't call Fredericton especially rural or suburban in the city itself. You don't have to get far outside of the city limits before things get really rural, though. Northside (the part of Fredericton north of the Saint John River) is entirely suburban, but you never need to go over there. But that's the catch - much of the city's permanent population lives north of the river, so southside - where most everything in town is - seems much smaller. If I were going to compare it to anything near you, drive out to Peterborough and imagine living in half of it.

I do like it here, though. It's charming and cozy. But I'm from the Maritimes, so I'm biased. But really, when you're so involved in school, besides needing a good coffee place and a good bar, you don't notice much else.

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I recommend living within walking distance of campus (<= 30 minute walk time). If you do not plan on studying at home you can save money by renting a room in someone's house or apartment. As for grocery stores you have the standard chain stores. For retail the Fredericton Mall is about 20-30 minute walk from campus with fast food restaurants and eat-in restaurants on the same road. Of course there are plenty of small restaurants downtown. You might find ethnic foods in the downtown area. The easiest way to learn what is available is to either ask someone or just wander around for a few hours until you familiarize yourself with the geography. The city core is rather small compared to most cities in Canada.

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Thanks for the responses. I think I'll have to try to make a trip down east before deciding, but it doesn't sound at all bad.

 

I just already get a bit of a small-town feeling in Ottawa, so a city so much smaller makes me nervous.

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I agree with the other posters.

I think Fredericton is great, but, I am not one for "big" cities like Toronto.

 

Just a thought, if you do want to have a look at the city you could google for images and you could even use google maps with the street view feature. That said it is difficult to really get a feel without being in the city.

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I went to visit after I got my acceptance, and the place sold itself to me. The grocery situation didn't look super-promising, but I'm not a big ethnic cuisine kind of guy so I think I can manage fine. Other than that it just had a nice feel to it, small enough to feel familiar quickly without being claustrophobic. I'd suggest checking it out in person though, my old hazy memories weren't really on the money, and actually walking around made my mind up pretty quickly.

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Thanks for the responses. I think I'll have to try to make a trip down east before deciding, but it doesn't sound at all bad.

 

I just already get a bit of a small-town feeling in Ottawa, so a city so much smaller makes me nervous.

 

Fredericton is definitely smaller geographically and population-wise than Ottawa. One of the nicest aspect of the city from a student's perspective is the proximity of everything to campus; you only need be willing to walk up to 30 minutes but 15-20 minutes of much of the things. Parking on campus for non-dorm students is first-come-first-parked unless it has changed recently and parking in the winter can be a nightmare for a city on the side of a long hill. Downtown has a nice large greenspace park area that is really nice during the warmer weather between mid-May and late-September. If you have a car, the botanical garden located off Prospect Street [ http://www.frederictonbotanicgarden.com/findus.html ] offers very good walking and running trails and the large field surrounding the baseball field (outside the fence) is a favorite place my dog likes to stroll around on-leash whenever we pass through the city.

 

Indeed, a trip to Fredercton will likely seal your decision to attend UNB. If you fly to Fredericton, the airport is approximately a 30-minute drive to the UNB campus.

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I grew up in Vancouver and was posted to CFB Gagetown just outside of Fredericton when I was in the army after going to Bishop's in Eastern Quebec.

 

After leaving Vancouver, and spending 3 years in Eastern Quebec, it was still a little bit of a shock at first to move there. I got married when my wife moved to Canada to be with me and we bought a house in Fredericton to get away from the base in Oromocto. I was injured and transferred to the Navy and am on the west coast right now. We fell in love with Fredericton though. We like to go out, but we don't care for huge night life. We still own the house there because buying one near Victoria is crazy expensive. We rent our house out there and we live in a rented military housing unit here in Victoria. We would like to come back there one day and I'm considering UNB for a law school option (provided I get accepted) for a variety of reasons when I try to go back to school in Sept 2012 when I finish my contract with the Navy.

 

People are generally friendly there. I mean, coming from Vancouver, my neighbours didn't really care and the difference between Vancouver and Fredericton really showed while I was away with the military and my wife was home alone. A storm took down a rather large branch from one of the trees in our yard and it wrecked part of our fence. Our neighbours helped her clean it up and repair the fence for free (spare the materials she had to buy). They didn't ask, they just came over and helped out. I think in Vancouver, the neighbours would have told us to get the tree and fence parts off their property before they filed a complaint with the city. I found people generally more friendly there and it was a real pleasure to live there. Great neighbours, and great friends were made while we were there.

 

I think Fredericton now has a sushi place too, I heard they opened one after I left there in late 2008.

 

Yes, as mentioned above, diversity is a bit limited but there is some. There were also multiple festivals in the area which we enjoyed particularly the harvest jazz and blues festival. The playhouse is pretty cool too and we are missing the annual "Christmas at the Playhouse" which we really enjoyed while we were there. The St-Mary's reserve is famous for their Xmas lights during the holidays. Traffic is almost non-existent and doesn't seem to last long compared to any of the major cities. Accomodation is relatively cheap compared to some of the larger cities and so was car insurance for us.

 

There's a few good pubs downtown and a couple more trendy places all of which we enjoyed. Transit downtown didn't seem too bad but we didn't take it often as we could walk from our house just across the bridge on the northside to downtown in about 15 minutes. The town is definitely what you make of it in terms of enjoyment - our friends and the people we met were really what made a huge difference to us. A big pull for me to apply there when the time comes is the people, the cities smaller size, and the fact that we still own a house there that we could afford the mortgage on with my wife working full time at McDonalds if she had no other choice.

 

But those are just my two cents about my experience there. Walking up the hill in the winter can surely suck but I never did it. ;-p

I'm still torn on where to apply because my family is all on the west coast, and that's important to me. Hopefully the choice is a little easier for you.

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Groceries: Victory Meat Market on King Street is a great mom and pop store with good prices and a good veggie selection. There are also two convenience stores that carry Asian specialty foods, and there is an Asian grocery shop on Kimble drive.

 

Coffee: Jonnie Java!!!! He roasts his own fresh coffee beans daily. Super friendly, best coffee in New Brunswick, located downtown on York street.

 

Fredericton has some nice things, you just have to look hard to find them.

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I have got accepted at UNB. I have just one question to ask. Is there a fair amount of chance we got to earn while study? I mean it is a small town.

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I have got accepted at UNB. I have just one question to ask. Is there a fair amount of chance we got to earn while study? I mean it is a small town.

 

Not really sure what you mean. If you're asking whether there are opportunities to work part-time and earn money, the answer is yes. Not many people work while in law school but there are some who choose to.

 

As for being a small town, I guess it depends on your frame of mind or reference point. I find it to be a really comfortable sized place to live. It's not overbearing and hectic like major cities and there is plenty to do in your free time if you want to get involved with things outside the law school.

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Not really sure what you mean. If you're asking whether there are opportunities to work part-time and earn money, the answer is yes. Not many people work while in law school but there are some who choose to.

 

As for being a small town, I guess it depends on your frame of mind or reference point. I find it to be a really comfortable sized place to live. It's not overbearing and hectic like major cities and there is plenty to do in your free time if you want to get involved with things outside the law school.

I think he or she might want an answer that is clear about whether Fredericton as a small town has a reasonable chance of part time employment for a student.

 

I would wonder due to how small the town is, the economic reputation of the East Coast, and the relatively large number of students (a group that commonly seeks part time work during the school year, when he or she would want to as well), compared to the general population of Fredricton.

 

Edit, I have no idea, just to clarify.

Edited by catchthetraiin

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