Review: Leroux tours the ‘magical’ side of Fredericton

John Leroux shared his fascination for architecture with Fredericton locals. (Billy Cole/AQ)

Correction: An earlier version of this story was published stating the tour ended at Wilmont United Church. It actually ended at the 1950s federal building on the corner of Queen and Regent Street. In addition, an earlier version of this article implied the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick was built in the 1950s. It was opened in 1882. We regret the errors.

From a relaxing violin at the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick to witnessing a dramatic scene at the 1950s federal building at the corner of Queen and Regent Street, John Leroux’s Magical History Tour gave its spectators a unique experience.

Leroux, the manager of Collections and Exhibitions at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, kicked off the 2020 Shivering Songs Festival with the tour on Jan. 30 at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery.

“We’re so lucky to live in Fredericton,” Leroux said.

“We’re really in for a treat.”

About 30 people joined Leroux for the tour around Fredericton to learn some history and interesting facts about various buildings downtown.

Multiple performers from the Shivering Songs Festival gave viewers a sneak peek of their upcoming performance during the tour. Brent Mason, a singer songwriter from Saint John, New Brunswick, started off the tour, telling stories and singing songs about his hometown, his grandfather and experiences as a singer. His acoustic style and the plots of his stories gave his performance a true Maritime feel.

Emily Kennedy (left) and Mark Kleyn (right) of Pallmer provided music for the tour. (Billy Cole/AQ)

Leroux led the tour out of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery and across the street to the Legislature where he explained the architecture of the building dating back to the 1880s. He pointed out some of his favourite parts of the building, from the spiral staircase in the back to the library.

“The library is actually my favourite interior space. It’s a gorgeous facility,” Leroux said before taking the group into the rotunda, a small room with numerous painted portraits.

Already in the rotunda and ready to perform was Pallmer, an indie-folk violin and cello duo based out of Fredericton. They performed their 2019 three-song EP Grass Gardens in full.

Finally, Leroux took the crowd further down the street to the federal building at the corner of Queen and Regent Street, a building featured in his book Building New Brunswick about the province’s architectural history.

Here, members of Theatre New Brunswick read a scene from a play currently in the works. In the scene, the two characters were in an argument about loved ones and getting into each other’s personal business.

Leroux finished the tour by thanking his viewers and telling them how lucky we are to live in the city of Fredericton, before rushing outside and sprinting back to the art gallery.

“I will tell you this, I love Fredericton,” Leroux said.

“It’s a beautiful place.”