The Petitcodiac River Tidal Bore in southeastern New Brunswick has fascinated people for centuries. Numerous written testimonies, some going as far back as 250 years, describe the passing of the Tidal Bore in various settings, with the unique perspective of its observers.
1750 – de Lery, French Officer
“The current flows up the river with such speed that, as the tide begins, it builds up a volume of water two or three feet thick that a galloping horse can’t keep up with. The current is just as fast at rising and at falling tides.”
1758 – George Scott, English Officer
“The Tide is the most rapid of any of the rivers in the Bay of Fundy, the Bore (or first of the Tide) running five or six feet high and sometimes seven at Spring Tides, which makes it extremely dangerous for Vessells grounding in the River.”
1812 – Mgr. Plessis, Bishop from Québec
“At Peticoudiac, it can be heard coming from very far away, making a loud noise. It is a furious torrent, rising six to ten feet above the level of the river, running up with a rolling motion and terrible sounds of smashing. Misfortune awaits any rowboat, or any schooner for that matter, found in its path.”
1825 – Peter Fisher, Historian
“The noise of the Boar is heard a great distance, and animals immediately take to the highland, and manifest visible signs of terror if near it.”
1869 – Daily Transcript, Moncton
“That day, October 4th 1869 … during the night, the tide, which was high due to the full moon, came in just as the winds sprang up and quickly increased to gale strength. The Tidal Bore on that night must have been something to see. The Bore, according to various sightings, was estimated to have been between seven and nine feet in height and the roar as it came up the river could be heard for over a mile.”
1910 – Illustrated London News
A remarkable photo of the Petitcodiac Tidal Bore, taken in 1902, appeared in the front page of the Illustrated London News on December 10, 1910, along with a photo of China’s Qiantang River Bore, the world’s largest tidal bore.
1951 – Keith Dalton, Scientist
In November of 1951, an article entitled Fundy’s prodigious tides and Petitcodiac’s tidal bore was published in the Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. “As it moves further, towards Moncton and the right angle bend of the Petitcodiac River, the Tidal Bore develops a foaming and breaking front, and its average height is from 3 to 3.5 feet (1 m). Its height can also increase above 5 feet (1.5 m) if a storm occurs. The Tidal Bore moves at a speed of 8 miles per hour, and travels a distance of 13 miles once it has passed Moncton.”
1965 – R.A.R. Tricker, Scientist
One of the first scientific works on the tidal bores of the world, Tricker’s Bores, breakers, waves and wakes – An introduction to the study of waves on water, was published in 1965. “Tidal bores occur widely in other parts of the world. There is a large one, of some 4 or 5 feet in height, in the Petitcodiac River in New Brunswick.”
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