Our Trip Down East in 2019

to see Nico and Sam at University

Before we start, you have to have some background information. Nico, for the last two years, has been studying engineering at UNB (University of New Brunswick) and was due to graduate in the spring of 2019. You can imagine how proud we are. In all his time in New Brunswick Susan and I had not been to see him and we wanted to do that before he finally came home to stay.

In addition to that, Sam was studying in Ottawa at Carleton University and we wanted to visit her in Ottawa. 

Now, to change subject for a moment, when an engineering student in Canada graduates as an engineer, he is awarded an Iron Ring as a symbol of his new status. This custom originated in 1922 when several prominent Canadian Engineers decided that a organization was needed to unite Engineers and promote a code of ethics within the profession.

The Down East Menu

This Menu is not finished. It will grow as we tell you about our trip.

They wrote to Britain’s Rudyard Kipling, who was possibly the most well known poet in the world, and asked him for assistance in coming up with symbols and ceremony suitable for their purpose. Kipling was intrigued by the idea and he came up with a ceremony, an oath for the new engineers, and the iron ring as a symbol of their profession, to be worn on the little finger of the working hand. The ceremony was called “the Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer”. 

The idea was to emphasize to the new engineer the ethics and responsibilities of their new profession. The ceremony is a private affair and the public is not invited. Only those wearing the iron ring are allowed to attend.


This is where we come in. Nico had told me that if he had a family member who held an iron ring that that person could attend the ceremony and actiually present Nico with his ring. I was thrilled with the idea and promised that I would do that. Well, his cermony was to be on the 8th of April.

So, on the 7th we flew to Monction, rented a car, drove to Fredericton, and found ourselves a hotel. But that was a long way to go for just a day so we planned a trip up to Ottawa to see Sam, then down to Kingston to visit my old university, and finally back to Moncton to return home.

Nico’s “Calling” was the next day, the 8th, and Susan, without an iron ring, could not attend. The ceremony was in the same hotel we were staying in so it was all very convenient.

The event included a dinner and reception and it was very well done. I sat with Nico and his mates from school and we had a great time. Because the ceremony is closed to the public I did not take a camera with me, other than my cell phone, and I really cannot describe the event in any more detail.


After the ceremony Nico, 4th from the left, and his classmates posed showing their new iron rings for this picture which I took with my cellphone. They look pretty proud!

They have a custom at UNB: after the Iron Ring Ceremony the newly called engineers are able to drink for free at the pub in the Students’ Union Building on campus.  Nico invited Susan and I to go along and se we drove over to pick him up and away we went. Boy, did that ever take me back to my student days!!!

We stayed for a few drinks and then we left the young people to their party. From the sound of it they were going to party all night and we are long past that ability!

Nico and Susan with two of Nico’s friends from school in the student pub after the Iron RIng Ceremony.

So that was the beginning of our adventure “Down East”. We stayed another day in Fredericton and then we were off. In the next month we put 4400 kilometers on our rental car and had a great time.

Using the menu on the left you can come with us and share our adventures.