Profile Type: Tourist Villages Location: Bayfield, New Brunswick
Cape Jourimain, the closest mainland point to Prince Edward Island, was once the location of the famous ice boats that ferried passengers and mail to Canada’s smallest province. Inhabited until the 1930’s, it subsequently became part of the Canadian Wildlife Reserve serving as a major refuge for migratory birds. The Cape Jourimain Nature Center group was mandated to provide a sustainable development project, in response to the impact that the encroaching Confederation Bridge was going to have on this environment.
“As a foil to the Fixed Link, this project remains the conscientious observer affecting a net zero impact on the natural environment, thus showcasing the classic struggle between man and nature…”
The Nature Center is comprised of three main components. Firstly, the Entrance Building fronts a traffic interchange and parking area, and contains facilities for Tourism NB, a Nature Store and washrooms. Visitors are invited to proceed over a winding boardwalk to a more natural state through the forest and are welcomed at the Interpretive Building with its commanding views of the water, bridge and PEI beyond. Interpretive display areas, a restaurant, offices and a lookout tower are all housed in this location. Architecturally, each component is designed about a central hall under sloping roofs bisected by a monolithic stone wall. The forms resemble giant birds nestled into the landscape. A Maintenance Building with its service yard is the third component. Natural building materials dominate the palette of finishes, such as eastern cedar shingles, hemlock decking, sandstone paving and wall finishes.