A Day at Minister’s Island, St. Andrews, NB

Minister’s Island is somewhere I’ve been itching to visit for years. As an architecture lover, I couldn’t get enough of this big beautiful estate. A little background on the island – it can only be reached by driving over an ocean floor road at low tide, so check https://www.ministersisland.net/tide-schedule.htm for the tide schedule before planning your trip. The island is where Sir William Van Horne built a massive 50 room summer home and estate including a huge barn, windmill, and many other outbuildings in the late 1800’s. The architecture is a very interesting style inspired by his Dutch roots. You can tour the buildings in the summer as well as hike and bike the extensive trails and enjoy the nature of the island. It really is a unique experience.

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The main building on the island, The Van Horne Estate

If you time things right, you can take a guided tour of the island for $10. The estate has a ton of interesting history behind it. The furniture and decor of the house is beautifully preserved.

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Inside Van Horne’s bedroom/office on the main floor.

Sir William Van Horne was a busy body who didn’t believe in sleeping through the night – he had too much to accomplish. The chairman of the Canadian Pacific Railway slept a few hours a night downstairs in his own little room to avoid disturbing his wife and children.

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Inside the absolutely stunning games room.

The games room was a dream – it featured the biggest billiards table I’ve ever seen (apparently it was imported from Europe). It also featured wraparound windows and some furry friends. The Van Horne’s loved to entertain and this was just one of the many stunning rooms.

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I wouldn’t want this guy in my bedroom, but he is still pretty magnificent.
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Most of the rooms had period accurate furniture like this one.

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Some of the many outbuildings on the Island.


Inside the Bath House, which was also Van Horne’s artist hideaway.

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The bath house is one of the architectural marvels of the island. The round stone building built into the cliffside has incredible views, and was the inspiration spot for many of Van Horne’s paintings.

We didn’t get a chance to explore the Islands trails during our visit, but they are apparently beautiful for hiking and biking, so that will definitely be on the agenda for the next visit! At just $10 to get onto the island, this is a budget friendly trip packed with unique and interesting things to see, so I definitely recommend including it in your New Brunswick trip itinerary!

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