Odell Park is a 175-ha (432-acre), year-round park within the heart of the city of Fredericton. Larger than Sherwood Forest in England, the park was originally the estate of Rev. Jonathan Odell and was officially proclaimed a park in 1954.
Visitors will find a duck pond, barbecue pits, picnic tables, an information kiosk, a children's playground and a lodge (opened by the Queen Mother in 1967). There are also 16 km (10 mi.) of trails winding their way through a varied forest spared from the woodsman's axe and the ravages of fire. Some of the trees in the park are more than 400 years old!
In the winter, visitors can skate on the outdoor rink, slide down the hills and cross-country ski on groomed trails. The Odell Park Lodge is a popular meeting location.
The park is also home to the Odell Arboretum and New Brunswick Species Collection. Since no natural resource is more present in New Brunswick than the trees that make up our great forests, it is especially fitting that the province's capital city features an arboretum containing all the tree species native to New Brunswick. The 2.8-km (1.7-mi.) arboretum trail winds through the woods past 41 separate sites where individual tree species grow naturally and are identified by interpretive plaques.
It takes two-to-three hours to cover the entire trail. If time and/or energy are in short supply, you may choose to walk just one or two of the three loops that make up the entire trail. The first loop incorporates a section suitable for all users. For those even more pressed for time, the New Brunswick Species Collection shows examples of every native New Brunswick tree species set in a park environment of lawns, paths and benches. The arboretum was built in 1985 at the suggestion of Senator Muriel Ferguson, who thought the creation of the arboretum would be an appropriate way for Fredericton to mark its bicentennial as a capital city.