- Prince Edward Island - a valued tourist destination
- Charlottetown – a first impression
- St Dunstan's Basilica Cathedral
- Remembering the Charlottetown Conference
- Representative buildings
- A bluefin tuna sculpture made from spoons
- Confederation Center of the Arts
- Charlottetown City Hall
- St. Peter's Cathedral and All Souls' Chapel
- Victoria Park
- The interesting residential buildings on West Street
- Irish Settlers Memorial
- Prince Edward Island Convention Centre
- Big Red Numbers
- Peake's Wharf
- Founders Hall
- Summary of our city tour
The Holland America Line's MS Zuiderdam docks in the Canadian city at lunchtime Charlottetown on Prince Edward Island (PEI). It is the second time that we have sailed to the capital of the province of PEI. Years earlier we visited Prince Edward Island and the city with the Celebrity Summit. During this visit we took a taxi for a tour of several hours to top destinations on the island. Afterwards there was enough time left for a tour of the city on your own. This time we decided not to go on a trip to the surrounding area due to time constraints. Instead, we use our stay for another, more intensive city tour of Charlottetown on our own.
Prince Edward Island - a valued tourist destination
The city of Charlottetown, with a population of almost 40.000, is the gateway to Canada's smallest province. More than 5.660 people live on 170.000 square kilometers. They live primarily in communities and small towns. The most important economic sector is tourism, followed by agriculture and fishing.
Charlottetown – a first impression
Charlottetown's center is laid out in a grid pattern. The layout of the streets makes orientation easier. We start our tour of the historic city center at the spacious cruise terminal with shops and tour operators and the “Historic Charlottetown Waterfront”. The horse-drawn bus provides a good photo opportunity, but we intend to see the local attractions on foot.
St Dunstan's Basilica Cathedral
Our route leads through Water Street to Great George Street. The most important building on this street is St. Dunstan's Basilica, the Roman Catholic cathedral of the Diocese of Charlottetown. It was built between 1897 and 1907 in the style of French churches. Shortly after completion, a fire destroyed the new building. The successor building was completed 110 years ago based on the original construction plans. The bright, airy cathedral has a remarkable altar, a large organ and beautiful stained glass windows.
Remembering the Charlottetown Conference
Opposite the cathedral portal on Great George Street is a bronze sculpture commemorating the historic Charlottetown Conference. It shows two natural-sized delegates having a lively discussion. One of the figures represents the conservative premier of PEI, the other one of the five delegates from the Canadian province of New Brunswick. Irony of fate: both delegates were called John Hamilton Gray.
Bronze sculpture commemorating the Charlottetown Conference
Great George Street leads directly to Province House, the seat of the Parliament of Prince Edward Island. The building has been granted national heritage status. We save ourselves a visit to the building. We saw it on our first visit. Instead, we turn onto Richmond Street, which later becomes known as “Victoria Row”. Victoria Row is a short pedestrian street lined with bars, shops and restaurants.
A bluefin tuna sculpture made from spoons
Victoria Row flows into Queen Street. Opposite the mouth of the road is a life-size sculpture of a bluefin tuna made from stainless spoons. The public work of art is a reminder of the region's fishing tradition that has flourished over two centuries.
The bluefin tuna
Confederation Center of the Arts
We turn right, follow Queen Street and come to the Confederation Center of the Arts. The arts center was co-financed by the Canadian federal authorities and all other provinces in the country with a total of 5,6 million Canadian dollars. The area takes up an entire city block. Several theater halls, an art gallery, a public library, a restaurant and a shop fill the monumental building.
Confederation Center of the Arts
Charlottetown City Hall
One block behind the Confederation Center of the Arts, on the left side of the street at the corner of Queen Street and Kent Street, is the three-story brick building of City Hall. It was built in 1888. The town hall received recognition as a Canadian National Historic Monument in 1984. According to the unanimous opinion of the jurors, the building symbolizes the growth and prosperity achieved by the provincial capital at the end of the 19th century.
Charlottetown City Hall
The next destination is the Rochford Square park. Before we reach it, we pass the fire department headquarters and the Rodd Charlottetown Hotel on the right side of Kent Street. The fire department presents itself as a contemporary, sober functional building; In contrast, the hotel is a beautiful, representative building. Nevertheless, it is worth looking out for a historic fire engine in front of the Fire Department. On nice days, those on duty bring the vehicle into the field of vision of passers-by.
St. Peter's Cathedral and All Souls' Chapel
Rochford Heritage Square
Rochford Square's green space is located between Kent Street and All Souls Lane. We enter the park rather inevitably, as we come to see the Anglican St. Peter's Cathedral. The church appears unobtrusive. It lacks the size and splendor of Catholic cathedrals.
The All Souls' Chapel is a real eye-catcher next to the Anglican Cathedral. It is a Gothic, High Victorian-style sandstone chapel with many pictures and beautiful stained glass windows inside. The building, built in the second half of the 19th century, was declared a National Historic Site in 1990.
We can't miss another important destination, Victoria Park. The impressive residence of “Lt. Governor.” It serves as the formal office of the British Crown Administrator. The members of the English royal family who visit the island from time to time are provided with the accommodation they deserve in the magnificent white building.
To get to the headquarters of Lt. To get to Governor we follow Kent Street. We first pass the Governor's Pond. From the ship we could already see the official residence, which is located in a spacious park landscape. The building looks much more impressive up close. The white, columned house was completed in 1834. Guided tours of the property take place at certain times in summer.
If we followed the Victoria Park Roadway, we would come to the less spectacular Prince Edward Battery. We also noticed this during the ship's entry maneuver. We'll save ourselves a close look. Instead, Beaconsfield Historic House, located on the bay, enjoys our interest. The building stands on the corner of Kent Street and West Street. When completed, Beaconsfield was considered one of the most elegant houses in the city.
The building is an excellent example of Victorian architecture. The building was originally owned by a wealthy merchant family. Now the house is used as an event venue all year round and is open to visitors. A small shop sells books about the island, magazines, pottery, prints and jewelry.
The interesting residential buildings on West Street
On West Street, representative buildings are lined up on both sides of the street. They bear witness to the prosperity of their former and current owners. Some of the properties are used as boutique hotels. That's understandable: the location on the waterfront is great.
Irish Settlers Memorial
The Irish Settlers Memorial borders the site of the LCol J. David Stewart Armory military complex on West Street, which is now used as a military museum. The memorial, surmounted by a Celtic granite cross, honors the more than 10.000 early Irish immigrants. The stone cross is intended as a symbol of Ireland and the settlers' unwavering faith. The circular terrace contains 32 stone slabs. Each of the plates represents one of the counties from which the settlers came.
Prince Edward Island Convention Centre
On our first visit to Charlottetown, we overlooked the modern convention center. It represents an interesting landmark on the waterfront. From the ship, the center with its curved roof and facade is easy to see. The city owes the building's existence to the interests of regional businesses who wanted a suitable venue for meetings and congresses. The building was opened ten years ago.
Big Red Numbers
The convention center faces the bay. Between the building and the water there is a huge number pad with the year “2023”. The attraction, called “Big Red Numbers,” is updated to the new year number at the beginning of each year.
Big Red Numbers
The red numbers were first put in place in 2014. At that time, they commemorated the 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown Conference in the Council Chamber of Province House. This meeting was the initial spark for the founding of Canada.
One of the most popular locations for locals and visitors is Peake's Wharf, adjacent to the Convention Centre. It is within sight of the two cruise ship piers. For more than 200 years, the harbor area was the exclusive access to Prince Edward Island. It is now the starting point for a variety of activities: chic shops and galleries, boat trips and a lively gastronomic scene await visitors.
In front of us is “Founders Hall” on Prince Street. In the spacious hall, modern audiovisual techniques give us insights into Canadian history, and the gastronomy is also remarkable.
Summary of our city tour
Charlottetown on Prince Edward Island is a tourist center and also an extremely pleasant cruise destination. The city's sights are within walking distance, and if you lose interest in looking, you might want to take a break in one of the many fish restaurants.
We have fond memories of visiting Charlottetown on our own. For visitors staying for longer periods, we recommend both tours of Prince Edward Island and city tours lasting several hours.