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Blissfield, New Brunswick

Site Number: 6
CSD (1991): 1309218

Principal Researcher(s): David Bruce

Assistant Researcher(s): n/a

Blissfield is an unincorporated parish of approximately 1240 square kilometers in Northumberland County, NB. The parish is bisected by Rte. 8 Hwy and the southwest branch of the Miramichi River and is located approximately 65 km from Miramichi City, approximately 210 km from Moncton, and 105 km from Fredericton. 

The forestry industry is very important. There are four lumber yard sites within a 30 kilometer distance of the Blissfield centroid. The two most dominant have been the Blissfield Lumber Yard, owned and operated by Glen Gilks, a resident of Blissfield; and the Russel and Slim Mill that has undergone numerous rebuilding efforts and that was recently purchased by the Irving Company of New Brunswick. The arrival of Irving to Blissfield was not one that was accepted by all of the residents in the beginning. The purchase was fought by many people but in the end the mill became a dominant employer for the people of Blissfield.

The region has numerous outfitting groups, inns, and lodges that provide visitors with access to the resources and beauty of the river. The Miramichi River has in recent years seen decreasing salmon stocks which is leading to a decrease in the numbers coming to fish along the river. The region has executed different strategies to help in the regeneration of the river. A catch and release program has been implemented, the Miramichi Salmon Association has formed, and a Watershed Management Committee, established, all in an effort to help save the river's ecosystem.

The levels of out-migration are rather high for youth as they have great difficulty in finding employment. If a person is looking for work in any other field - with the exception of those businesses related to forestry - they have to leave the area. Those who are looking to further their education are also required to leave.

The general sense of the people of Blissfield is that there are many possibilities for development and growth. The problems they are facing surround the little funding they receive as well as the high level of competitiveness between businesses. Immediate development would encompass the tourism industry. The probability of another lumber mill opening in the area is slim. There has also been talk of the possibility of a strip mall being constructed within Blissfield, as well as a Tim Horton's restaurant.

Major events & stories

Blissfield is like any other small community in Canada with an abundant history. The community is marked by numerous events that have changed the lifestyles of the residents in one way or another. The events of importance to Blissfield residents are the major events which happen in Doaktown.

  • 1998: The old liquor store, located in Doaktown, is in the process of being converted from its present state to an apartment complex. The sale of liquor is now in a neighbouring store.

  • 1996: The most recent event to effect the community was the purchase of the Russell and Slim Mill by the Irving company. This was followed by another purchase by Irving of a piece of the Pond's Resort in Doaktown.

  • 1995: Stedmans, in Doaktown, was once owned by the Cumming family but after a fire devastated the store, in 1995, it was demolished at an age of more than 150 years. Stedmans was rebuilt and purchased by another family.

  • 1993: A very important event in the history of Blissfield, and for many residents, was when the Catholic Church was torn down. It is still possible to see the remains of the front steps as well as a parking lot and graveyard.

  • 1987:  What was known as Old John Murray home was demolished after a fire ripped through the 150 year old house. Another building in Blissfield also built in 1837, was recently destroyed as well by fire.

  • Early 1980s: The most important event in the history of Blissfield was the reconstruction and rerouting of the highway. When the highway was rerouted, numerous houses along the previous road were directly in the way of progress. There were many houses that were either torn down, moved back, or sold and moved to new destinations. This affected the citizens and businesses, and it also dramatically increased traffic in the area.

  • 1970's: A forest fire swept through the community and destroyed numerous houses as well as the piece of forest, known to residents as MacDonalds Woods. The destruction of the woods is apparent as the trees growing here are quite small and the entire forest is in a process of regrowth.

  • There is one infamous characteristic in Blissfield. This is located along Route 8 at the Molasses Barrel bend in the road. This turn is well known because after every winter storm, there has been a car accident of some kind.


These documents summarize the work completed and insights gained from updating Economic Capacity Profiles for the New Rural Economy2 (NRE2) sites. The initial set of Profiles was based on the 1996 Census and 2001 NRE site profiles data. The updated Profiles are based on 2001 Census data and 2003 NRE site profiles data.

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