The Origin of the Cape Jourimain Nature Centre
During the development of the Confederation Bridge in the mid-1990s, a highway was built through the Cape Jourimain National Wildlife Area (NWA), providing newfound access to the heart of the NWA. Recognizing the historical and ecological significance of Cape Jourimain, a group of local residents formed a charitable nonprofit organization with the goal of highlighting its historical and natural heritage. The organization become officially incorporated as the Cape Jourimain Nature Centre in 1997.
During this time, the Government of Canada was grappling with how to mitigate the economic impact of decommissioning the Marine Atlantic ferry service. In an effort to solve this problem, a stimulus package was developed to help establish new employment opportunities in the affected communities and enhance the two end points of the bridge. While Prince Edward Island worked on the development of their Gateway Village, Cape Jourimain Nature Centre Inc. proposed using New Brunswick’s portion of the fund to develop an eco-centre which would provide educational and interpretive services to the public. The proposed complex would include an entry pavilion with a provincially operated tourism office, an interpretive centre with an exhibit hall, observation tower, and a restaurant, and a network of trails to showcase the NWA’s diverse collection of wildlife and habitats.
A portion of land was leased from the Canadian Wildlife Service and construction began in 1998. In 2001, the Cape Jourimain Nature Centre officially opened its doors to the public, welcoming over 45,000 visitors in its first year of operation.
The state-of-the-art eco-centre provides educational programs and tours to thousands of visitors every year. Not a sprawling park, but rather a hidden jewel of trails, beaches and spectacular scenery, Cape Jourimain allows visitors to experience the ocean and coastal forests and marshes in a new way. Undeveloped, undisturbed, peace-filled, and beautiful.