Things To Do In Charlottetown
In 1797, King George III of England decided to change the name St. John Island to Prince Edward Island after his son Prince Edward. Charlottetown got its name because he decided to make it a family affair and divided the island into three counties and each county has a capital so he chose to name it after his wife Queen Charlotte. One of the peculiar things that you will notice when you walk around Charlottetown is the design of the sidewalk. It dates back to the early 1900s and has not been replaced yet because each of these stones goes six feet into the ground. The stones were imported from Nova Scotia and the islanders dug the holes to set the stones in.
These six foot stones were supposed to be cut into slabs, which apparently the islanders are not aware of and because the tools for cutting stones were too expensive and needed to be imported from Europe they decided to dig deep holes to install the sidewalks. This is the reason why there are two and a half blocks of the so called “pristine sidewalk” that still exists in the city center of Charlottetown in Prince Edward Island.
When To Go:
The peak season for tourism in Charlottetown is from the months of June until September. The daytime temperature ranges from 21°C to a low of 12°C towards the evening. Most of the traditional festivals are celebrated during these months. The countryside is the perfect venue for various outdoor activities. You can plan a hiking, cycling, and mountain climbing expeditions without any hint of bad weather.
The autumn season (October to November) has strong chances of rain and thunderstorm. If you find this inconvenient avoid travelling around these months. Since school has just resumed, there are less crowds in the beaches during these time and hotel rates are offered at discounted rates because of the low season.
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Winter season (December to March) has temperatures ranging from -10°C and -3°C with high possibility of snow storms that can last up to April. If you’re into skiing and other winter sports activities, this is the best time to visit. Just prepare your windbreakers, thick jackets, gloves, and snow bonnet. Hotel rates offer the best deals here in Prince Edward Island during the winter season.
Spring season (April to May) is also an ideal time to book a tour of Charlottetown. The melting “snow season” is the time when crowds are fewer and hotel rates, flight deals, and accommodations are easy to arrange.
These are the things to do in the city of Charlottetown:
St. Dunstan's Basilica
The St. Dunstan's Basilica is an eye-catching basilica located on Great George Street, opposite the Great George Boutique Hotel. It has a sober interior and an impressive organ. It is also located very close to the Confederation Centre of the Arts. The basilica is a nice place for prayer and there reigns an atmosphere of contemplation and calm. The architecture is captivating, the angel sculptures in every corner are mesmerizing and if you attend a Christian service on Sundays, the priest can give a private tour after the Holy Mass. The marbled interior will leave you breathless. This old church is a must in Charlottetown.
The basilica is notably beautiful and has an interesting structure from inside and outside that is worth seeing and admiring personally. The altar and the windows bear intricate details and spectacle of color. The central location of the church is to be considered when going on a city tour of Charlottetown. You can plan and include this in your travel itinerary and see other notable tourist sites next to the basilica, such as The Province House and the Peakes Quay. There is also a pedestrian road where there are good restaurants, cafeterias, etc. It is always a pleasant experience to spend a few hours to walk on this beautiful area of Charlottetown.
Confederation Centre Of The Arts
The Confederation Centre of the Arts is a very large space about art with excellent structure, which makes it also an ideal site for holding events. There are tour selections to choose from and one of the most patronized package tours by guests is the tour of the Fathers of Confederation performed by actors dressed in period costumes.
It is like a refreshing and pleasant walk that will take you back to the important parts of Canadian history from more than 150 years ago. You can also attend the show called Canada's Rock. It features the top beautiful retrospective of songs performed by popular Canadian singers. Some of the performing artists who are part of the show are Ginette Reno, JP Ferland, Gilles Vigneault, Patsy Gallant, and Celine Dion.
Province House National Historic Site of Canada
The Province House National Historic Site of Canada is acknowledged as the official cradle of the Confederation. It is very interesting to visit, especially for Canadians because it serves as a beautiful reminder of the history and humble beginnings of their country. The rooms are well preserved, and the Legislative Council room is surprisingly small. The structure will make you realize that the Prince Edward Island is a small province with respect to Quebec, Ontario, and British Columbia. It is an interesting place to visit with a beautiful slideshow of history that allows everyone to understand the origin of the Charlottetown Conference. It is a must see attraction for anyone interested in the history of Canada. Canadians hold this attraction with much respect because, it educates them so much about things they don’t know about their country. On the ground floor there is an interesting film about the historical background of Canada and the Prince Edward Island.
The Province House is the historical culmination of Charlottetown City. Here, the foundation for the UK and Canada connection was placed where previously there were different colonies, all made subject to the British Crown. The conference in today's Province House led to the creation of a private Canadian crown. Ironically, Prince Edward Island itself has not initially participated. The visit with the audio guide is free (except for commercially guided groups) and you learn a lot or without that it would be cumbersome. There are also popular personalities of Canadian history who go around in period costumes and take pictures with tourists. Along with its impressive architecture and being in the center of the city, it is great to discover its features and understand a little more about the history of Canada and its formation. Around the Province House, there is a rock garden, which is also worth a short visit.
The Founders’ Hall is an interactive museum about the Confederation History of Charlottetown. It also serves as the tourist center of the city. More than a hundred years ago, this place was actually a railway repair station, but the railways were already dismantled and the city needed a new function for the building. The building is the source of historical information about the discovery of the Prince Edward Island.
To have a better appreciation, take the audio guided tour. You will not get confused once you’re inside there are captions and explanations behind every exhibit displayed in this historic museum. There are also film showing and the staff/guide has a funny way of presenting the history of the island filled with anecdotes and amusing narrations.
Great George Street
The Great George Street is lined with 18th century buildings that are still standing up to now. The all brick building that stands next to the white painted one in the corner of this picturesque street is called the Gainsford House. It is the oldest remaining brick building in all of Charlottetown and dates back to its establishment since 1853.
This building is very significant to the city because it stopped the great fire of 1857 due to its all brick construction that makes a good fire resisting material and prevented the fire from affecting the row of old buildings here in Charlottetown. Because of this incident, every house here is required to have a ladder and two buckets of water always on standby within their premises. Even the trees were not allowed to grow taller during that time and permitted only within the city limits. The trees that surround the city now are pretty much recent.
Beaconsfield Historic House
The Beaconsfield Historic House is another historic home located along the Victoria Row in Charlottetown. You can observe the interior and admire old furniture, interesting collections, and other art pieces that can make you feel that you’re travelling back in time. If you like history and old houses visit this home in Charlottetown. The house served as a gift by the Canadian Government to signify the anniversary of the confederation. It was opened to the public as a historic museum/home in 1973. It is pure joy to visit this house that was built for more than a hundred years. It's like reliving a childhood memory while observing the furniture and the old style design of the kitchen.
The tour of this ancient home that was established since 1877 is not very long, but the garden is beautiful and it is located near a park on the edge of the water where you can enjoy the site and the ambience for quite a while. The old piano gives an eerie atmosphere to this home as well as he all floral and old style wallpaper plastered all around the house. The dining table has the finest silverware and porcelain like it’s waiting for the whole family to sit down and dine. Everything is neatly arranged and well placed. This house keeps a lot of antique furniture and it’s always crowded with people who line up continuously outside during the peak season. The visit to this period house is best complemented with hiring the services of the resident guide in this attraction. She explains the history behind every piece of furniture that can be seen inside this old home. She can speak French and good English as well.
Charlottetown City Hall
The Charlottetown City Hall is located along Kent Street and it also serves as the main tourism information center of the city. This brick colored building is regarded as stylish and classy because of the arched entrance door. The architecture is striking even from afar. It has a belfry in front and an old clock that stands around the corner of this old building.
The tourist information center is located on the first floor and Canada pin badges bearing the symbolic maple leaf flag is given to visitors who come in and check for maps, brochures, or catalogs of the tour packages that can be availed all around the city. The city’s central fire station is also located near the city hall of Charlottetown. Take a visit here, before exploring any other attractions in the city because; they give guide maps and useful information on how to get from one attraction to another and where is the best place to stay while exploring the city of Charlottetown.
Top Notch Charters - Lobster Excursions
If you want an adventurous ride and a tour in the waters of Charlottetown where you can enjoy the sun, fun and fresh lobster, book a tour with the Top Notch Charters- Lobster Excursions. The Lobster tour headed by Captain Mark and Cody is highly recommended, especially for those who are first time explorers of the city.
You get a lot of exciting and informative insights on the lobster fishing on Prince Edward Island lots of funny anecdotes from the skippers about the fishing conditions here and what they encounter every day. The highlight is of course the sumptuous lobster dinner at the end, it is so delicious and the tour is truly worth it. The ride on the lobster fishing boat alone is already an exciting adventure and a unique experience. Lobster fishing also has its peak season and the skippers here know when and where they mostly gather here around the Prince Edward Island. It is also nice to view the beauty of the city from the sea through this charter ride.
Prince Edward Tours
The Prince Edward Tours is a round-trip bus ride around the city where you can admire beautiful sceneries, have the luxury of time to take some pictures, and have a tour of the city at your own leisurely pace and not being rushed by time conscious tour guides. The reality is it takes a few minutes to see and observe all of Charlottetown's main tourist attractions (a good ten minutes or so) and every attraction will not consume too much of your time.
The bus ride is comfortable and the last stop of the visit is made at the Preserve Inc. which gives you the opportunity to see homes and buy homemade jams that are quite delicious. The guide speaks only English during the 7 hour round trip tour of the city starting from the Founders' Hall. The cost is approximately $60 plus local tax (as of June 2015).
Gahan House Pub Brewery
If you want a taste of how the locally made craft beers in Charlottetown is, the best place to delight in this intoxicating experience is at the Gahan House Pub Brewery. Once you enter, listen to what the crew will recommend. Testing is often served on a tray and where they lay out a glass per every type of beer that they have in their stockroom. The purpose of which is for guests to experience all the best flavors of the handcrafted beers that are produced and brewed here in Prince Edward Island.
The back patio of this site is worth a visit; it is well protected in case of rain. The place has impeccable service when it comes to food. You can have the best calamari, salads, clam chowder, fish and chips, or a good lobster sandwich beside a large mug of beer. Combined with the excellent seasonal beer brewed on site, this forms a perfect whole! First, go for the beer, then for the dishes. The food is excellent, the beer is fabulous after a day of walking in the sun and exploring all the important attractions of the city and it is all offered at very affordable prices here at the Gahan House Pub Brewery. In terms of portion, service, and value, this place tops it all.
A visit to Charlottetown City in Prince Edward Island is like taking a slot to a time capsule machine, where you will learn so much about its interesting history from every corner that you visit. Sometimes, interaction with the locals is the easiest way to know more about any attraction that you explore in this city. They are more eager to talk about what and how this city used to be and how it managed to survive natural catastrophes that came its way. You not only see how the city manages to rise from the ashes, but you get to admire their incredible resiliency and the concerned effort to preserve their 18th century old houses and keeping everything intact. The experience is made more authentic by the presence of guides here who walk around in period costumes. Charlottetown is a city that you not just search for in Google, it is to be seen and experienced.
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