Old Home Week
In August, there's Old Home Week at the Charlottetown Driving Park. The main event is the big horse race, but there's also a midway with carnival rides and games, as well as farm animal exhibits. All this happens at the Charlottetown Driving Park. On Friday morning/afternoon before the big race (which is Saturday), there's the Gold Cup and Saucer parade going through Charlottetown. It's a great event for all ages.
Eat a traditional lobster supper in a local church
The lobster suppers hosted by some of the local churchs is a great tradition for visitors to attend. I was told the tradition began as a way to bring the community together as well as supplement the church's offering plate. Now, people visiting PEI from all over the world seek out those churchs that still host a lobster supper for the experience of fitting into a community for the evening.
Bottomline, the lobsters are good and you can have as many mussels as your heart desires (my heart desired a lot) and you might just meet someone from around the corner or around the world.
St. Anne's is located in the town of the same name which is by Hunter River, PEI. Take Centre Road off Route 224 to get to the lobster suppers.
The Birthplace of Canada
Charlottetown was known as “Canada’s Birthplace” after the historic 1864 Charlottetown Conference which led to Confederation. I am told that the current legislative members still use the same seats when the first conference was held back in 1864. Charlottetown offers a small town feel and relaxed atmosphere. Visit the Province House National Historic Site; this building was once used to house the colonial government. It is now the seat of Provincial Legislature and has been restored to its mid-19th century Victorian appearance.
Good things come in small packages
My Charlottetown Adventure
I went to Charlottetown, PEI as part of a tour of Atlantic Canada a few summers ago with a friend from New Haven who has always referred to Canada as her "personal heaven."
Charlottetown is the capital city of Prince Edward Island, which became a part of Canada in 1873, six years after Confederation. The city was originally named for Queen Charlotte, wife of King George III of England.
I was less than impressed with the Confederation Bridge, a 13 kilometre fixed bridge which connects Canada's smallest province to the mainland of New Brunswick. I thought, what an amazing view we'll have!
WELL, let me tell you. Our rental car didn't even allow us to see over the one-metre cement barriers (that's over three feet high for you Yanks) separating traffic from what must be a stellar picture of the icy waters of Northumberland Strait. So what should have been a thrilling ride across the then-two-year-old span -- it opened in 1997 -- turned into a boring fifteen-minute drive into a bizarre tourist-mad, Green Gabled hell. Luckily, Charlottetown and the rest of PEI provided some of the most friendly, relaxing and intriguing moments of our trip.
Probably the most surprising thing about Charlottetown (and any other Atlantic Canadian city for that matter) was just how small it was! Growing up, I always heard Charlottetown this, Moncton that in history class, Canadian geography class, and of course in the newspapers. So I had always assumed that these were large urban centres similar to, say, Calgary or even mid-80s Vancouver. But noooooooo, these are tiny places! They contain a lot of Canadian history, and are wonderful locations to visit, but I was very much taken by their small size.
This picture is one I took of the Charlottetown Cenotaph, which was constructed on July 16, 1925, in memory of all from the province who gave their services in the day of our country's need.
This monument was designed by sculptor G.W. Hill and cost $16,000; $11,500 paid for by the city and the remainder by public donation. Additional lettering was added at a later date to recognize WWII and the Korean conflict.
For a history of Prince Edward Island, check out my Travelogue!