Founded by Loyalists in 1783, St. Andrews became a favoured place for the wealthy from Boston to Montreal to while away the summer months in well appointed hotels and luxurious summer homes. They arrived on trains with their entourage of servants and all necessary supplies. These well-heeled, summer residents who sought a respite from the heat and congestion of large eastern cities where they made their money, established a kind of elegance that persists in St. Andrews today.
The most prominent of the summer visitors was Sir William Van Horne who was the president of Canadian Pacific Railway. He built an enormous summer house on Minister’s Island adjacent to St. Andrews. On his summer estate he created a model farming operation, constructed a windmill and gas plant and built a studio in which to pursue his hobby – painting – at which he was quite talented. You can visit Minister’s Island during the summer and take a guided tour of Van Horne’s estate.
To get a feel of the elegance of summering in St. Andrews there are several inns in the town that can provide excellent accommodations or you can book a room at the famous Algonquin Hotel which has a highly rated golf course. Another way to experience the grace of living in St. Andrews is through a visit to the Ross Memorial Museum. This stately Georgian mansion, built in 1824, houses the collection of furniture and decorative arts amassed by the Americans Henry Phipps Ross and Sarah Juliette Ross who summered on an estate in St. Andrews in the first half of the 20th century. They bought the house Chestnut Hall for the express purpose of sharing their collection with the public.
For those who wish to explore aspects of the natural world that surrounds St. Andrews it is highly recommended that they visit the Atlantic Salmon Interpretive Centre, the Huntsman Marine Science Centre and the Sunbury Shores Arts & Nature Centre.
The Atlantic Salmon Interpretive Centre is a unique institution run by the Atlantic Salmon Federation. The Federation is dedicated to preserving the habitat of the wild Atlantic Salmon and to facilitating the conservation and protection of this species that is at risk. At the Interpretive Centre you can inspect salmon up close and be educated and entertained by displays of artefacts from the history salmon fishing housed in a building that recreates the feel of a fishing lodge.
The sea life in the Passamaquoddy Bay and the tides of the Bay of Fundy are the subject of displays at the Huntsman Marine Science Centre where the favourite activity of children is handling marine life in the touch pools and getting acquainted with the seals.
The Sunbury Shores Arts & Nature Centre is a very active place all year long but during the summer the program of courses and activities for adults and children of all ages really takes off. For visitors to St. Andrews this is the place to develop artistic talents and to learn about the natural environment of the region. For families a stop here is a must.
Still looking for something to do in St. Andrews? Take a walk down by the sea. Check out the whale watching tours. Or walk through one of the finest gardens on the east coast. The Kingsbrae Gardenis in midsummer a stunning riot of colour and botanical form that will inspire young and old.