The Bay of Fundy is home to the rare tidal bore phenomena, where tides overpower the stream of outflowing rivers.
Twice a day, at high tide, a large volume of water floods from the Bay of Fundy into the rivers that feed it. The narrow river banks compress the rising waters in a spectacular surge and a visible standing wave, sometimes 1 meter (3 ft) in height! As the roaring and swirling water races upstream at speeds close to 15 km per hour (10 mph) it generates rapids in its wake that are between 3 and 3.5 meters (10-12 ft) high. Learn more about the tidal bore »
Most rivers draining into the upper Bay of Fundy between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick have tidal bores. Most of them are located on the Nova Scotia side of the bay, but you may have trouble finding them without the help of some locals. A few great places to see a tidal bore are:
- The Petitcodiac River. Formerly the highest bore in North America at over 2 metres (6.6 ft); however, causeway construction and extensive silting reduced it to little more than a ripple, until the causeway gates were opened on April 14, 2010 as part of the Petitcodiac River Restoration project and the tidal bore began to grow again.
- The bore is fastest and highest on some of the smaller rivers that connect to the Bay including the River Hebert and Maccan River on Cumberland Basin (about 10 minutes from Amherst), the St. Croix, Herbert and Kennetcook Rivers in the Minas Basin, and the Salmon River in Truro.
Visitors usually like to visit the sites with some interpretation panels like the ones found along the Maccan River and the Shubenacadie River near the South Maitland Tidal Bore look-off. It’s also important to know that the bore time does not necessarily match with the high tide times listed on a tide chart. It all depends on exactly where along the river you are watching, so it’s best to check with some of the local outfitters beforehand.
Tidal Bore Rafting
As interesting as it is to watch the tidal bore from the shore, it’s even more fun to go white water rafting in it. This experience is unique to the Bay of Fundy because the Shubenacadie River, located in Nova Scotia, is the only place in the world where you can go tidal bore rafting. In the summer months, experienced guides take visitors on a one-of-a-kind, upriver rafting adventure. These adventures often also include an extremely fun mud sliding session. Tidal bore rafting might just be the best way to experience the Bay of Fundy tides first hand!
Fundy’s tidal bore is interesting but it’s not the only way to ‘see’ the tides: plan to view the vertical and horizontal tide range too, for the full tidal experience.