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Ministers Island, New Brunswick
St. Andrews, New Brunswick
Just a short drive across the ocean floor on the bar at low tide will take you to the summer residence of that visionary railway builder Sir William Van Horne.

 the summer residence of that visionary railway builder Sir William Van Horne    Many stories exist about how title to Ministers Island was attained, but in any event around the year 1890 Van Horne became owner and proceeded to construct a summer getaway in Passamaquoddy Bay. Having been the driving force in the construction of the railway from sea to sea, Van Horne's pockets were bulging and what better place to splurge than on his favorite island.

    He named his grand house Covenhoven after his father. It was a huge home with walls constructed from sandstone cut from the shore. It contained some fifty rooms, seventeen of which were bedrooms, and a grand drawing room as large as many of today's homes. Of course, there were servants' quarters and a huge dining room as well as a billiard room where his ornate six by twelve table still stands today.

   circular bathhouse Also constructed from the quarried beach stone is the circular bathhouse where Sir William would spend hours enjoying his hobby of drawing and painting. Indeed he became quite an accomplished painter and several of his works are-on display at the National Art Gallery in Ottawa and the N.B. Heritage collection in Fredericton.

    From the Van Horne era, and still standing on the island, is the gigantic livestock barn which was home for his thoroughbred horses and prized herd of Dutch belted cattle. Among other things it housed a huge hay loft and a creamery where white-coated workers prepared the milk and butter for consumption. There were also heated greenhouses where such things as mushrooms, exotic plants, peach trees and grape vines were grown. Even when Sir William was off his island living in Montreal, fresh milk, butter, fruits and vegetables would be sent by rail from the end of the bar to be enjoyed by him the next morning.

   The windmill, by the big house, with the help of kerosenefired engines, provided running water to the residence from a huge underground storage tank. On a remote island at the turn of the century the Van Hornes enjoyed many of the conveniences we have today. In fact they were almost self-sufficient.

power supplying windmill    Perhaps the loyalist Anglican minister, Parson Andrews whose old stone house (c 1790) still stands and for whom the island was named, felt the same magic that Sir William felt one hundred years later. Now another hundred years has passed and the mystique remains.

    Ministers Island is operated for the Province by the Ministers Island Advisory Committee.

    Guided tours of the property, for visitors with their own transportation, will include: a drive across the ocean floor to reach the historic island; a visit to Covenhoven, the former summer cottage of Sir William Van Horne; the bathhouse with its tidal swimming pool; the livestock barn and the spectacular view from Sheas Hill. The tour will last approximately two hours.
   Ministers Island is located in Chamcook, N.B. near the historic seaside resort town of St. Andrews. The Island is one of the many attractions found along the Fundy Coastal Drive.

Operating Season:June to mid-October.

   Ministers Island is a protected Provincial Historic Site. Due to the danger of tides over the access bar road, the following rules must be enforced to ensure the safety of your visit to the Island.

  • 1. All tour participants shall remain with the tour guide.
  • 2. Visitors are asked to refrain from smoking while on the island.
  • 3. Out of a concern for the island's wildlife and for the comfort of other visitors, household pets are not permitted on the island.
  • 4. There are no picnic facilities or food services on the island. No alcoholic beverages permitted.
  • 5. Please respect the natural flora and fauna of this unique island. Removal of any plants or disturbing any wildlife is forbidden.
  • 6 . All members of the public must leave the island at the conclusion of the guided tour. Camping or extended stays are strictly forbidden.

    NOTE: Fees collected this season will be used by The Ministers Island Advisory Committee towards the operation and further improvements to the beautification of the Island for the enjoyment of all of our friends and visitors.

TOUR INFORMATION Telephone (506) 529-5081

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