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Miramichi Memories Y


or as long as I can remember, my springs and summers have involved


the Miramichi. This summer was no different. I was


here in July for Irish Fest. And I was here again in August to take in the Miramichi’s annual Folksong Festival. As usually happens, I had the


opportunity to hear Susan Butler sing her famous song about the mystical, magical


Miramichi. It never fails. Her song always brings


me back to my many memories of the Miramichi. Every year since 1992, a group of my


best friends from high school and university take a canoe trip down the Southwest Miramichi in the spring. It’s a time for us to catch up on lost time, reminisce and, most of all, relax.


by Shawn Graham Over the course of three days on the


river and two nights camping,we canoe the 70 kilometre stretch from Half Moon Bay to Bloomfield Bridge. We normally camp at Slate Island,while


other times we will make camp at one of the warden’s camps.We pitch a tent, set up our campfire by the river and barbeque our fish, steaks, or chili. Most of the time, we just enjoy a


peaceful paddle down the river, but we do like it when the water is running high and you have to canoe through the class three rapids along certain stretches of the river. We had an accident one year trying to


navigate through some rough waters. The waterwas running really high, andwe upset our canoe by the Irving camp. Luckily,wewere able to recapture all of


our gear, but it meant we were sleeping in wet sleeping bags and tents for the next two days! Nevertheless, what I enjoy most about


canoeing down the Miramichi is meeting people along the river. I love listening to their stories about the Miramichi River. I think my favourites are the fishermen’s tales about their famous catches. These are the people who keep the


folklore and magic of the river alive. They are some of our best ambassadors. They are the reason that somany international guests come back here every year to fish, or simply to breathe in this beautiful river and wonderful people who populate its banks. My summers aren’t quite the same as


they used to be since I became Premier. But one of the things that I continue to look forward to every year (one of the things that I refuse to give up) is my paddle down this incredible river.


Shawn Graham was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from the University of New Brunswick in May 2009. He also holds a Bachelor of Physical Education Degree (1991) from UNB and is a graduate of St. Thomas University,


having


completed a Bachelor of Education Degree there in 1993.Grahamand his wife, Roxanne, both call the Capital City of Fredericton and the small community of Mundleville, NB, “home.”


Shawn Graham enjoying Bread 'n Molasses while visiting Miramichi. Photo by Michael Maloney. 6 • Bread ‘ n Molasses September/October 2010


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