Fredericton (; French pronunciation: [fʁɛdeʁiktœn]) is the capital of the Canadian province of New Brunswick. The city is situated in the west-central portion of the province along the Saint John River, which flows west to east as it bisects the city. The river is the dominant natural feature of the area. One of the main urban centres in New Brunswick, the city had a population of 58,220 in the 2016 Canadian Census. It is the third-largest city in the province after Moncton and Saint John.
An important cultural, artistic, and educational centre for the province, Fredericton is home to two universities, the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design, and cultural institutions such as the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, the Fredericton Region Museum, and The Playhouse, a performing arts venue. The city hosts the annual Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival, attracting regional and international jazz, blues, rock, and world artists. Fredericton is also an important and vibrant centre point for the region's top visual artists; many of New Brunswick's notable artists live and work there today. Fredericton has also been home to some great historical Canadian painters as well, including Goodridge Roberts, and Molly and Bruno Bobak.
As a provincial capital, its economy is tied to the public sector; however, the city also contains a growing IT and commercial sector. The city has the highest percentage of residents with post-secondary education in the province and the highest per capita income of any city in New Brunswick.
Colonists from the Kingdom of France in the late 1600s built Fort Nashwaak on the north side of the Saint John River, as the capital of Acadia. It withstood a British attack in 1696, but the capital was later moved to Port Royale. In 1713 Acadians escaping the British takeover of Nova Scotia settled the site, naming it Pointe Ste-Anne. It was destroyed in 1758 when the population of about 83 were exiled during the expulsion of the Acadians.
It was in 1783, when United Empire Loyalists arrived from New England, that the history of modern Fredericton began. The following year New Brunswick was partioned from Nova Scotia and became its own colony. Pointe-Ste-Anne was renamed "Fredericstown", after Frederick, second son of King George III. It became the capital of the new colony, being considered to have a better defensive position than larger Saint John.
The streets were laid out in the typical grid pattern of the time, with the names reflecting loyalist tendencies: Charlotte, Brunswick, George, King, and Queen.
In 1785 it became the shire town of York County. In 1790 the New Brunswick Legislative Building was constructed. As a centre of government, it attracted educational institutions, with King's College (now the University of New Brunswick) being the first English-language university in Canada, and religious institutions, with Christ Church Cathedral being built as the seat of the Anglican Diocese of Fredericton in 1853.
It was a British garrison town from 1784 to 1869, and the military compound is preserved as a National Historic Site of Canada.
With the New Brunswick Equal Opportunity program in the 1960s, county councils were abolished, and government services were centralized provincially in Fredericton, increasing jobs and population.
The Saint John River runs through Fredericton, with most of the city's post-war suburban development occurring on the gently sloping hills on either side of the river (although the downtown core is flat and lies low to the river).
At an altitude of about 17 m (56 ft) above sea level, Fredericton is nestled in the Pennsylvanian Basin. It differs markedly from the geologically older parts of the province. There are prominently two distinct areas in the region that are divided around the area of Wilsey Road, in the east end of the city. In the west side, the bedrock underneath the earth is topographically dominant, whereas the other is controlled by Pleistocene and recent deposits leading to the rivers (resulting in the area being shallow and wide). Fredericton and its surroundings are rich in water resources, which, coupled with highly arable soil, make the Fredericton region ideal for agriculture. The Saint John River and one of its major tributaries, the Nashwaak River, come together in Fredericton. The uninhabited parts of the city are heavily forested.
Fredericton has a humid continental climate. On average, Fredericton receives approximately 1,100 mm (43 in) of precipitation per year.
The population of the city of Fredericton is 58,220 (2016 Canada Census) and 101,760 for Greater Fredericton. Along with Moncton and Halifax, Fredericton is one of three Maritime cities to register a recent population increase.
Fredericton's population are predominantly European Canadians. Visible minorities make up 10 per cent, and include, in descending order of population, Indigenous peoples (many the St. Mary's First Nation Indian reserve), Chinese Canadians, Black Canadians, South Asian Canadians, Arab Canadians, and refugees from the Syrian Civil War.
Those who declare a religion are predominantly Protestant. Fredericton has a synagogue, a mosque, a Hindu temple, a Unitarian fellowship, and a Shambhala Buddhist meditation centre.
The Government of New Brunswick and the universities are the primary employers. The policies of centralizing provincial government functions during the 1960s led to an expansion of the population.
The 1960s also saw an expansion of the University of New Brunswick due to increased post-war university enrolment, as well as the construction of Saint Thomas University. The Law School, now the University of New Brunswick Faculty of Law moved from Saint John to the Fredericton area.
The city has been investing actively in IT infrastructure. The City of Fredericton won the "Judges Innovation Award" at the 2004 Canadian Information Productivity Awards due to their "Fred-eZone" free municipality wide Wi-Fi initiative. This and other innovations by the city's utelco, e-Novations, led Intel to do a case study on their successes. Fred-eZone spans much of the city's downtown and parts of surrounding residential areas, as well as peripheral commercial areas such as Fredericton's Regent Mall. In 2008 and 2009 the Intelligent Community Forum selected Fredericton as a Top 7 Intelligent Community, based partly on the city's work in the IT sector.
The Playhouse is the main venue for Theatre New Brunswick, the province's largest professional theatre company.
Fredericton has a long literary tradition, having been home to Jonathan Odell, Charles G. D. Roberts, Bliss Carman, and Francis Sherman. Writers living in Fredericton include Raymond Fraser, Herb Curtis, David Adams Richards, Mark Anthony Jarman, and Gerard Beirne.
There are no professional sports teams in Fredericton, although both universities have extensive athletic programs. The UNB Reds play in the Atlantic University Sport conference of U Sports  and St. Thomas Tommies play in the Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association conference of the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association for most sports, although their women's hockey team, cross-country teams, and track & field teams play in the Atlantic University Sports conference of U Sports.
Fredericton's high schools compete in a variety of sports in the New Brunswick Interscholastic Athletic Association.
Fredericton has a network of 25 trails totalling more than 85 km (53 mi) on both sides of the Saint John and Nashwaak Rivers. Many of the city trails are rail trails that follow old railway lines. These include the Fredericton Railway Bridge that spans 0.6 km (0.37 mi) across the Saint John River. The rail trail system in Fredericton is part of the Sentier NB Trail system and some of these trails are also part of the larger Trans-Canada Trail network.
Fredericton has a non-partisan and Mayor–council government. The mayor and council serve four-year terms with elections in May. The city is divided into 12 wards, (six on each side of the river, one councillor per ward.
The city includes the provincial ridings of Fredericton North, Fredericton-Grand Lake, Fredericton West-Hanwell, Oromocto-Lincoln-Fredericton, New Maryland-Sunbury and Fredericton South, which in 2014 elected the first-ever MLA for the Green Party of New Brunswick, party leader David Coon.
The Anglophone West School District and the District Scolaire Francophone Sud (District 1) run schools including Fredericton High School, École des Bâtisseurs, and the École Sainte-Anne. Leo Hayes High School is a public–private partnership
The Hugh John Flemming Forestry Centre researches in forestry management. Fredericton's Provincial Research Organization specializes in aquaculture, mining, manufacturing, energy and the environment.
Passenger rail service ended in the 1960s, and freight in 1996. All railway tracks have been abandoned and removed.
The Trans-Canada Highway passes along the southern municipal boundary. Routes 7 and 8 (the latter being a former alignment of the Trans-Canada) also pass through the city. Two highway bridges, the Westmorland Street Bridge and the Princess Margaret Bridge, cross the Saint John River. Those bridges feed into controlled-access roads (Routes 8 and 105 serving the city's north side.)