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Ariel view of St. Stephen

About St. Stephen

A border town at the centre of it all

St. Stephen is, quite simply, a wonderful place to be. Friendly. Warm. And unhurried. The municipality's 8,100 residents are a healthy mix of young families, students, and active retirees. We work, shop, meet, and linger on leafy streets where rich architecture and ambiance set the scene. 

Nestled on the St. Croix River, opposite Calais, Maine, St. Stephen is relatively small, very safe, charmingly vibrant, and wonderfully close-knit. The municipality is defined as much as by our close, longstanding relationship with Calais, as we are by Ganong—the 150-year-old chocolatier that still draws locals and visitors alike to our downtown. But for a municipality with such a rich history, we’re also excitingly progressive.

The middle of everywhere

It’s our motto for a reason! Not only is St. Stephen just a one-minute hop over the bridge to Calais, Maine, we’re also surrounded by a number of dynamic cities and large airports. St. Stephen is 1.5 hours from Fredericton, 1.25 hours from Saint John, and 1.75 hours from Bangor.  Want to explore a bit further away? Halifax is only 5 hours, Boston only 5.5 hours, or take a weekend in Montreal and catch a hockey game since it’s only 7 hours away. We’re also only a quick 25-minute jaunt to the gorgeous tourist town of St. Andrews-by-the-Sea, awarded Best Destination in Canada in 2017, and the grand Algonquin Hotel that overlooks it. 

Gateway between NB and ME

The communities of Calais, Maine and St. Stephen, New Brunswick have shared lives as “border towns” in a most neighbourly fashion. Residents see our separate municipalities as a single community, with shared festivals, and a long history of shared trade. No doubt, part of St. Stephen’s allure is our proximity to our U.S. sibling.

A community with a sweet tooth

St. Stephen is Canada’s Chocolate Town, home of Ganong Bros Ltd. Established in 1873, Ganong is Canada’s oldest candy company, and still the place to indulge today. At the downtown Chocolate Museum you can see how candy was made in years gone by, and watch as exquisite samples of chocolates are hand-dipped before your eyes.

Naturally attractive

Besides cities, St. Stephen is surrounded by endless natural wonder—near downtown, and further afield. Like the Elm Street Nature Park, with about 60 acres of wooded land perfect for short hikes, dog walking, and cross country skiing in the winter. Another park we’re particularly proud of is Ganong Nature Park, a 142-ha (350-acre) natural park, featuring a spectacular coastline that overlooks the St. Croix River. The park has woods, fields, walking trails and 73 ha (180 acres) of intertidal areas. 

A long road to today

The Municipal District of St. Stephen was incorporated in 1871 (then the Town of St. Stephen), but it was settled long before. From the Passamaquoddy people, to French explorers, to Loyalists, the area has seen a lot of change, and lot of various economic activity. Fish, lumber, shipbuilding, and manufacturing have all sustained our town.  Today, though Ganong continues to be a major employer in the municipality, the knowledge industry is becoming a more important part of our economy.