Steam Boats

2016 Steamboat 200th Anniversary

In 1802, the chief land surveyor for New Brunswick, Douglas Campbell claimed, "Ten miles of road fit for any kind of wheel carriage is nowhere to be found in New Brunswick".

Transportation throughout the province was primarily on the waterways powered by muscle or sail. As travel was weather dependent, it could sometimes take five days to move passengers or freight between Saint John and Fredericton, a distance of only ninety miles.

During the early 1800s a new technology, the steam engine, had been installed in the first commercial boats. New Brunswick quickly realized the benefit steam powered boats would have in the development of the province.

On May 20th, 1816 the first steamboat in New Brunswick, the General Smyth, plied its way from Saint John to Fredericton. This boat was the fourth in North America and was the beginning of 130 years of steamboat use throughout the provincial inland and coastal waters. These craft were critical in moving people, food, equipment, resources, and the products of New Brunswick.