An underpass near the Bill Thorpe Walking Bridge in downtown Fredericton, N.B. is seen in this photograph on Friday, Feb. 18, 2022. (Aaron Sousa/AQ)

This piece is a satire. All names and quotes mentioned are fiction, but the locations are all too real.

When I first moved to Fredericton, I was told about all of the hot spots — The Cellar for cheap food and drinks, the Coffee Mill for a delicious brunch, Odell Park for its views and wildlife and the walking bridge for an adventure in any weather.

After four long years, I’m happy to say I’ve discovered the real gems of this gorgeous city.

1. The alleyway by Dooly’s that extends from King to Queen street

The entrance to Dooly’s Billiard Room on Queen Street in downtown Fredericton, N.B. is seen from an alleyway in this photograph on Friday, Feb. 18, 2022. (Aaron Sousa/AQ)

This is on my list for many reasons. I live near here so I walk through it almost every day. The thing that excites me about this hidden gem is that you never know what you’ll experience day-to-day.

Will I be cat-called? Will I accidentally step on the pile of cigarette butts in the Dooly’s parking lot and get one stuck in between the treads of my boots? Will I hear screams that sound like something from my nightmares? Will I see someone climbing one of the adjacent buildings and pawing at the window, meowing like a cat?

It truly is a new experience each time I walk down that unplowed, one-way mystery street.

2. Aitken House

The Aitken House residence at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, N.B. is seen in this photograph on Friday, Feb. 18, 2022. (Aaron Sousa/AQ)

For you university students, this one will hit close to home. Aitken House used to be the all-male residence on the University of New Brunswick campus. I lived in Vanier Hall for my first year, so I know what an all-female house is like, but Aitken House is enough to thrill even the craziest adrenaline junkies. I mean, setting random things on fire, 24 tons of sand lugged inside for their Club Med beach party, a traditional wooden beaver heist – what could possibly go wrong?

Although Canada doesn’t have official fraternities, Aitken House is as fraternity as you’ll get.

I was lucky enough to sit down with Chad “Frodo” Bradley, the 2019-2020 house president. Bradley gave me his insight as to why Aitken House is one of the greatest campus and Fredericton cultural centres.

“Aitken House is for the boys,” said “Frodo.” “If you’re not down to have sand in your underwear from November to the time you graduate, then what are you even doing here?”

3. The underpass near the walking bridge

The road under this bridge curves upwards, which means longer vehicles can get stuck if they don’t pay attention. (Flickr/Endlisnis)

You might have passed under this underpass thousands of times since being in Fredericton. You might be thinking, why is it so special? Is it the oddly complicated traffic lights? The fact that there are election candidate signs that stay hung up on it for months after an election? No! It just so happens to be so low that it’s become tradition for a big truck to get stuck underneath it. This might seem crass, but if you’re ever looking for some free entertainment and a fun drinking game, get your friends together and vote on each incoming vehicle and if they’ll make it under the bridge or not.

You’re wrong = take a shot.

The lack of big trucks at Fredericton’s freedom convoy was quite disappointing to some. Emily Fair-Trade, a raging feminist-liberal-socialist, was sad because she and her friends were planning a massive drinking game in preparation for the trucks rolling into town.

“I bought so much booze and they ruined our fun. Of course your lifted Ford F150 is going to fit under the bridge. I was expecting more of a game,” Fair-Trade complained.

4. Campus parking lots

The student parking lot for Vanier Hall at St. Thomas University in Fredericton, N.B. is seen in this photograph on Friday, Feb. 18, 2022. (Aaron Sousa/AQ)

This section encompasses multiple locations, which just makes for more fun. The campus parking lots are notoriously filled by 9 a.m. and past that, you just have to hope and pray that a spot will open up.

So either get to campus at the crack of dawn, take the bus or hope you find a penny on the way to school. But don’t worry, if you can never find an available parking spot, you don’t have to adjust your budget for a possible refund! Parking passes continue to cost the same whether there’s a single spot on campus or not.

And if you decide to opt-out of a pass but park anyway, you won’t even have time to get out of your car before a parking attendant is sprinting towards you to write out a ticket that you probably can’t afford anyway.

Georgia Chance, a fourth-year student, said the campus parking lots are her favourite locations in Fredericton. She used to struggle with a gambling addiction, but these days, the rush of getting a parking spot is enough to keep her out of a casino and into the school parking lot (if she can find a spot.)

“I got really lucky about halfway through my second year. I found a parking spot about a 20-minute walk from my class. I felt so excited because it was my first time ever getting this lucky with a spot,” said Chance. “I still haven’t found another since, but hey, I’m only wasting about $200 a year, so that’s a lot better than what I lost to slot machines.”

Chance said she respects students who refuse to buy a parking pass and live in constant fear that they will start ticketing at McLeod House.

“Bravery comes in many different forms.”

Do you have a hidden gem in Fredericton? Write it in the comments below!