|Difficulty||Easy||Features||Internment Camp Remnants|
|Trail Type||Loop||Trail Markers||White Signs|
|Distance||0.5 km||Scenery Rating||Historical|
|Estimated Time||30 min loop||Mainteance Rating||Well maintained|
|Trail Surface Type||Wood chips||Cell Phone Reception||None|
|Elevation Change||8 meters||GPS file||Available on request|
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NB Internment Camp Museum Location
The trail starts at the remnants of the old water tower. Not far behind the old water tower a sign saying "To the Mess Hall" is where the trail starts a loop of the old internment camp property. The trail offers an interesting look at the history of New Brunswick during the World Wars. Remnants of the old internment camp can still be seen at several locations along the trail. The remnants are described by interpretive signs. More information on the internment camp can be found by visiting the Internment Camp Museum in nearby Village of Minto. The museum is in the basement of the Municipal Building (brick building) across from Tim Horton's.
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1940-1945. Size: One of 26 internment camps across Canada during World War II and the only one in the Maritime Provinces, the New Brunswick Internment Camp totaled 58 acres. Within these 58 acres was fenced in prisoners' compound of 15 acres.
Location: During the depression the site was the location of a relief camp and still had serviceable buildings that were later used for the Interment Camp. The surrounding forest provided the camp with 2500 cords of wood per year cut by the internees to fuel the 100 stoves. The remote location of the camp on Highway #10 in Ripples, 34 km east of Fredericton, provided additional security beyond the barbed wires.
Internees - Phase One (1940-1941): German and Austrian men between the ages of 16 and 60 were the first people housed at the camp. The majority were Jewish refugees who had fled Nazi Germany for England. Unaware of where the loyalty of these Jewish people lay, the British Goverment under Prime Minister Winston Churchill, asked Canada and Australia to house the refugees. Seven hundred and eleven refugees were interned at this camp. A year later, the British Government realized that the internees posed no threat and that many people among the refugees could contribute to the war effort. The internees could either return to England and join the military or obtain a sponsor to remain in Canada or the United States. Those who did not wish to return to England or did not have a sponsor were tranferred to other internment camps. Some went on to gain international recognition. One individual was Firtz (Frederich) Bender, an inventor who went to Ottawa where he continued his work to waterproof plywood, which led to the development of the mosquito bomber.
Phase Two (1941-1945): The camp was closed for three weeks between the two phases to allow for the preparation of a larger more diverse group of POSs. During Phase Two the camp held between 900-1200 prisoners of war. Primarily German and Italian merchant marines captured off the coast of the Atlantic and naturalized Canadians. The Canadian internees could be accused of harboring ties with enemy nations, forrmer German World War I veterans, or opponents to the war effort. One example was Camillien Houde, mayor of Montreal, who supported Italy and disagreed with certain Canadian Government initiatives. He spent three years behind barbed wire at the camps.
Guards: At this camp there were 350 guards at any given time who were rotated periodically among the other 25 camps in Canada to prevent fraternization with the internees. The Guards were veterans of the first world war who had enlisted and been denied active duty, but were put on the Veterans Guard roster.
Work: Working for 20 cents a day, the internees cut and hauled lumber in the surrounding forest to supply the camp with the wood required for heating. Other jobs included helping in the camp`s kitchen, hospital, library, canteen and dormitory huts.
What Happened to the Camp: After the war the 52 buildings on site were sold to individuals and businesses in the surrounding towns and villages. Several of the buildings are used as homes or summer cottages in the Minto and Grand Lake areas. The base of the water tower is the only structure remaining on site.
Trail last visited July 3, 2010.
Page Last Updated April 11, 2013.