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St. Andrews is a small town situated on a peninsula on the Passamaquoddy Bay in Southwestern New Brunswick. Alongside the outer perimeter of the town runs the Saint Croix River that divides the Canada/United States international border. St. Andrews currently has a population hovering around 1,700 people with its main industries being tourism and aquaculture.
The town was settled in 1783 by United Empire Loyalists seeking a safe home from persecution in the United States during the American Revolution due to their loyalty to King George III and is as such considered a premier example of a "Loyalist Town." Its early settlers laid out a perfect grid pattern of streets on the peninsula, naming the majority of them after the children of George III. Almost immediately after its inception, St. Andrews became a busy, thriving seaport rivaling the largest on the Eastern seabord. Its largest industry was shipbuilding; the town turned out hundreds of ships in its heydey of the early 1800's. However, as the steamship gained importance in trade by the late 1800's, St. Andrews could no longer compete and was in danger of receeding completely until it was discovered by wealthy industrialists who saw it as an ideal summer resort town. Indeed, St. Andrews can be considered to the first summer resort town in Canada. With the construction of the luxurious first Algonquin Hotel in 1899, St. Andrews' prominence as an ideal summer destination was sealed. This, coupled with the construction of a railway and the fact that "Hay Fever," or allergies due to pollen, was not experienced by visitors, contributed to its success with visitors in these early years of tourism.
As time progressed, St. Andrews established itself further as a prime summer destination with various high profile Canadians and Americans chosing the town as the spot for their summer homes. Residents such as Cornelius Van Horne, President of the Canadian Pacific Railway, C.D. Howe, Fathers of Confederation Sir Charles Tupper and Sir Leonard Tilley and Sir James Dunn boosted the town's prominence among the wealthy elite of Canada and the United States. Their stately homes continue to be landmarks in the town.
St. Andrews continues to be a destination for thousands of tourists annually, who come to rest and relax while participating in whale watching or kayak tours, visit its historical attractions and museums, and shop in the lively downtown retail district. The town continues to enforce a by-law outlawing commercial chain stores and restaurants, a fact that proves popular with visitors looking for a unique vacation. Attractions include tours of Minister's Island (Van Horne's stately summer home accessed only by the receeding tide), Kingsbrae Botannical Garden, The Hunstman Aquarium, The Ross Memorial Museum, Sherrif Andrews House, the St. Andrews Blockhouse (built to safeguard the town during the war of 1812) and the Charlotte County Courthouse and Gaol. The town is host to a large number of Bed and Breakfasts, Inns and Hotels, including the year-round Fairmont Algonquin, as well as numerous restaurants and shops.