New Brunswickers have a fondness for superlatives, specifically those of the “World’s Largest” variety. On the previous day, I had visited the giant lobster in Shediac, and later on this day I’d drive (and walk) across the World’s Longest Covered Bridge. And now, here I was, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, headed to see another thing that was larger than it needed to be: the World’s Largest Axe, in Nacakawic, New Brunswick.
Nackawic is located on the north side of the Saint John River, about 60 kilometers west of Fredericton. You can take either Trans Canada Highway 2 or the more scenic Route 102, then cross the river into Nackawic on Route 105. The Axe is on the waterfront, on Otis Drive. Once you’ve crossed the Saint John River, take the first left onto Otis Avenue, and enjoy the leisurely drive along the river into town.
A drive through Nackawic gives you the impression that it’s just another forgettable small town, nice enough, and probably a good place to live, but nothing special. And then, you come upon a huge axe, partially embedded in a massive concrete stump by some towering lumberjack of immense strength.
Now, I know for a fact that this is not Paul Bunyan country. He’s about 3,500 miles away, and this size axe would be much more appropriate in the land of the Redwoods. But, there’s also a good reason that it’s here. Nackawic is considered to be the forestry capitol of Canada, so it makes sense that the town would want to make a big statement.
This big axe stands 15 meters (49 feet) tall. The head of the axe is 7 meters (23 feet) wide. And the stump (which can double as a stage for events) is 10 meters (33 feet) across. I’ve heard that there’s a time capsule embedded in the head of the axe, but I can’t imagine any time in the future when it would seem like a great idea to tear apart the axe to access it. So, it’s probably going to stay sealed for a very long time.
There’s a nice little park around the axe…
… but as you walk around, you begin to get the idea that once you’ve seen the axe from every possible angle, that’s about all there is to do.
It is beautiful though, isn’t it?
I was hoping for some kind of axe-related souvenir — since World’s Largest Whatevers are rarely unpaired with a gift shop of some sort. But here in Nackawic, the axe stood alone. I drove out of the park and into town (the business district is mostly just a strip mall), and poked my head into a small grocery store. No souvenirs. But at least I left with some photos.
Here’s a look at the drive from Fredericton to Nackawic:
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The Bottom Line
If you’re not interested in seeing the World’s Largest Things, there’s no reason to detour into Nackawic. But come on, who doesn’t want to see a 5-story-tall axe?