Charlottetown

Length of stay: 1 day
Visited: September 2022

Charlottetown is the capital of Prince Edward Island. It is a small town with a lot of charm and history. It is referred to as the birthplace of Canadian Confederation after the historic Charlottetown Conference in 1864, which merged the three British North American provinces at the time into a united federation. Over the years, there have been numerous changes and expansions, which led to the Canada we know today with ten provinces and three territories.

While staying in Prince Edward Island National Park, we made a day trip to Charlottetown to check out the smallest capital in Canada. It was super crazy windy outside. We didn’t think much of it at the time, but a week later Hurricane Fiona would be making landfall here.

We first went to Victoria Park where the Prince Edward Battery is located. We parked on the side of the road and walked along the waterfront boardwalk to get there. It’s the only surviving fortification of the Charlottetown Harbour’s coastal defences. The site has recently been restored and showcases a series of cast iron guns facing the harbour.

It looked like it was about to start raining at any minute, so we decided to drive to the downtown to find parking rather than walk there from Victoria Park. We headed to the Confederation Centre of the Arts, which was temporarily showcasing a replica of the historic Confederation Chamber. The Province House National Historic Site, which typically displays the restored room where the Charlottetown Conference meetings occurred, was closed for conservation work.

We then walked to St. Dunstan’s Basilica, a large stone church located in the heart of Charlottetown. It was built in 1916 after a fire destroyed an earlier cathedral that was built here. The basilica has been designated as a national historic site of Canada because of its fine representative example of the High Victorian Gothic Revival style of architecture. While Canada isn’t really known for its opulent churches, the St. Dunstan’s Basilica is pretty stunning with its stained glass windows and Gothic architecture.

We continued wandering around the downtown, admiring all the brightly coloured historic houses.

We made our way to the Beaconsfield Historic House, which faces the Charlottetown Harbour. It was built in 1877 for James Peake, a wealthy shipbuilder. The Victorian style house has been converted into a museum and contains furnished rooms that you can tour through at our own pace or as part of a guided tour.

We started off at the main floor and explored the rooms at our own pace. But, as we made our way up to the second floor, we joined the guided tour since it seemed pretty interesting. The guide provided more information about the original owner and how the house was designed.

Once we wrapped up the tour, we headed back towards our car. We planned to spend the remainder of the afternoon in Greenwich exploring the biggest sand dunes on Prince Edward Island.

L

82 thoughts on “Charlottetown

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Charlottetown is very charming and I love how colourful many of the houses are. The weather wasn’t ideal when we visited either as it was super crazy windy outside, but thankfully it didn’t rain. It’s never fun to wander around in the pouring rain.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. kagould17 says:

    Now there is a place still locked in history. It is like it never changes. So many familiar sights and sites. I do not that PEI got hit hard by Fiona, so not so idyllic at the time. Thanks for sharing Linda. Allan

    Liked by 1 person

  2. wetanddustyroads says:

    St. Dunstan’s Basilica is indeed a beautiful church – those stained glass windows are lovely. And the historic houses are so charming – so colourful! Oh well, I guess one can use words like beautiful/pretty/lovely/charming in abundance when you visit Charlottetown 😊.

    Liked by 1 person

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Most of the guided tours we’ve taken have been educational and entertaining. We initially didn’t want to wait around for the next tour at the Beaconsfield Historic House, but I’m glad we caught up to the one that had already started, even if we missed part of the beginning. Agreed, it is a great way to learn more information and some fun facts of the area.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. leightontravels says:

    Charlottetown gives off a nice peaceful vibe. I love the colourful houses, while Beaconsfield Historic House is a gem, inside and out. St. Dunstan’s Basilica is truly stunning. Though I guess the weather there might be less charming than the town itself.

    Liked by 1 person

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Charlottetown has the feel of a small town with so much colour and character. It was neat to just wander through the downtown and admire all the historic houses. I felt a bit rushed though because of the gloomy weather. It was a good excuse to visit Beaconsfield and tour inside the Victorian style house. It was fun to imagine what it would be like to life here. I don’t think I could tolerate all the wind though.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Ab says:

    What a charming town. I love the style of the old homes and also the bright and happy colours. The old church and the Battery are also cool. Looks like a beautiful day out for you and K!

    Did you get to go to Cows ice creamery?

    Liked by 1 person

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      The colourful houses were a nice contrast to the drab and dreary weather we had. We didn’t end up going for ice cream because it was super windy and cold. Plus it looked like it was going to start raining at any second. Next time (because we are definitely going to be returning to PEI at some point)!

      Liked by 1 person

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I love the vibe of small towns and how easy it is to walk everywhere. Charlottetown is very pretty with all those colourful historic houses. Even though the weather wasn’t the greatest, I’m glad we had a few hours to just wander around.

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  5. Darlene says:

    Your pictures are great. I too found Charllotteown charming but was sorry to see the parliament buildings under reconstruction and the room depicting the Charlottetown Conference meeting closed. It was also extremely windy the day I was there. (It may well have been the same day!) I dropped by the new library and donated a copy of my latest book. Everyone was very friendly and invited me back to do a presentation one day. Just might have to do that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your lovely comment. Agreed, it was too bad that a few of the historic buildings were under construction and that the weather wasn’t the greatest. Apparently some people walk around in Victorian costumes too, which we missed out on. How lovely that you donated a copy of your latest book in your Amanda series to the local library. I hope you take them on their offer to give a presentation. That’ll be such a great excuse to return to PEI!

      Liked by 1 person

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Even though Charlottetown is a small city, it has so much character and charm. I love the brightly coloured historic houses. History wasn’t my favourite subject in school, but it’s so much more fun to learn about it while travelling.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Bernie says:

    We literally were in PEI at the same time Linda! We also got home a week before it hit! I couldn’t get over how small Charlottetown was! Unfortunately that historic house wasn’t open the day we had available to tour it but we did see a lot of great places including the church. Loved the costumed walkers around the streets.

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    • WanderingCanadians says:

      That’s crazy. Glad to hear you made it back home before the hurricane too. It’s too bad that our paths didn’t cross while we were in PEI. I loved the small town vibe in Charlottetown and how colourful all the houses look. We unfortunately didn’t see any of the people in costumes though. Maybe because the weather was pretty crummy.

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  7. Thattamma C.G Menon says:

    So awesome post Charlottetown 🌷🙏♥️such a beautiful buildings, grace Church and
    Viewing time so clean and lovely place 👍🏻👏 very inspiring explanation dear friend 💕
    Grace wishes 🌷🙏♥️🌷

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    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I loved the small town vibe of Charlottetown. For such a small city, it certainly has a lot of charm and character. It’s too bad the weather was so drab and dreary. I would have loved to spend more time wandering around, but the fear of rain is a good motivator to move on.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Bama says:

    For a city its size, Charlottetown seems to pack a lot! The church and those houses are enough reason to visit this part of Canada. Although I do wonder if I’ll ever be able to visit PEI due to time constraints (I will probably focus more on other parts of the country for my first trip there).

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    • WanderingCanadians says:

      For sure. For such a small city, it sure has a lot of character. Even though it was drab and dreary outside, those colourful historic houses helped brighten our day. PEI isn’t always high up there on places to visit in Canada (even for us), but it more than exceeded our expectations. There’s something special about the Maritimes and the people are so friendly.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. rkrontheroad says:

    I spent a day in Charlottetown once and there was a ceremony to welcome immigrants and new citizens. It was very moving, and the community all came out to support them. I didn’t get inside any of those buildings, so this post was nice to see.

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  10. BrittnyLee says:

    These photos are so awesome ! I love the historical aspect with this post. Prince Edward island seems gorgeous. That was good timing on your part planning when a week after Fiona hit. I love the photos of inside the church. The architecture is mind blowing. I really enjoy finding different architecture and color styles of buildings and homes when traveling. It’s so interesting seeing how they vary. When we went to Curacao, the houses were a lot like the photos you have, with all different colors but they were really bright colors and included reds and greens and so on. It was neat. They had this really high bridge, too. Maybe one of these days I’ll have to do a post on it so you could see it. It was crazy 🤪. I was a little afraid to go over the bridge on the bus. Haha .

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    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your kind words. PEI is super charming. I honestly could see myself living there in retirement. I love how Charlottetown has a small town vibe and is filled with so many colourful houses. You should definitely do a post about your time in Curacao. I’ve never been before, but I’m intrigued. It sure sounds lovely to think about going somewhere warm like Curacao, especially on a miserable and overcast day like today.

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      • BrittnyLee says:

        It absolutely does. It is rainy and damp here as well. My fibromyalgia is flaring up, too so I’m hurting a lot more. I think it’s the pressure rising and falling rapidly like it is. It’s really warm here one day and then really cold the next. It can’t seem to choose a solid temperature. Maybe I will do a post about Curacao. You would enjoy the resort we went to. There were iguana chilling in bushes. I thought they were statues until one blinked in my camera haha 😂😆. The birds were gorgeous too. It was very calming too

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      • WanderingCanadians says:

        Sorry to hear that. I tend to get headaches with the rapid change in the temperature. Things are supposed to start cooling down here over the next few days with quite a bit of snow on the forecast Wednesday. It would be nice to go somewhere warm like Curacao over the winter.

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      • BrittnyLee says:

        You would love Curacao since you love the ocean 🙂 . The beaches there were crystal clear. They had white sandy beaches and the fish were all different colors. It was beautiful. We were on a resort for that part of the cruise, though. Even after leaving the resort though, Curacao looked beautiful. The buildings and houses were all different colors too. I loved how colorful things were. Did you end up getting snow today ? We did earlier in the day but now it is raining. 😂 This weather is crazy 🤪

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      • WanderingCanadians says:

        Sounds lovely. We’ve been to Bonaire, which isn’t too far from Curacao, but the beaches there aren’t very nice. We were there to go diving though, which was fantastic. Curacao is supposed to have some good diving sites too.

        We got about a foot of snow on Wednesday. It took me over three hours to shovel the driveway and I had to do in stages because the snow was pretty wet and heavy. It sure looks beautiful though. I guess I can’t complain too much since this was the first time I’ve had to shovel in all of January.

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      • BrittnyLee says:

        Right ?! Bonaire has very stoney beaches and when we were there, we weren’t allowed to swim as they didn’t have any open beach sites in the part we were in. They only had the areas where people could go diving. We saw some people dive. It was pretty neat. I am not sure if I would be brave enough to try but maybe someday 🙂 I’m sure the views of the ocean life would be worth it 🙂 oh wow ! A foot !! That’s a lot. I could imagine that would take a while but I’m glad that you didn’t have to do it too much this winter. That’s probably a relief for you 🙂 I always shovel in stages, too. It just makes it easier on the body haha 😂

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      • WanderingCanadians says:

        Bonaire is one of my favourite places to go diving. Most of the dive sites are accessible straight from the shore. Plus there’s typically not much of a current, which is always great. There’s a whole other life under the sea. We haven’t been diving since the start of the pandemic, so I’m eager to jump back in the water. Hopefully this year.

        We’ve only had two real snowfalls in January, which you’re right, it isn’t bad. Most of it will likely melt next week as temperatures are supposed to go above freezing and we’re expecting to get some rain. This weather is so weird.

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      • BrittnyLee says:

        The ocean is a magician. He plays tricks with each wave and draws you in. The first time I saw the ocean I actually cried. I was 17 and went to Atlantic City with my friend. It was December and the nights were freezing. We weren’t deterred from walking along the boardwalk, though. I walked closer to the water edge not thinking about the water coming towards me. It soaked my feet but it was worth it. It was so strong and fast. I think the second night it stormed too. It was one of those winters where you could have rain or snow but mostly rain. We watched outside the hotel windows as the waves crashed on the boardwalk poles. It was terrifying but awesome watching the waves surge like they were. That was something I’ll never forget, especially since it was during winter.

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      • WanderingCanadians says:

        I remember having an emotional moment the first time I saw the ocean too. It made me realize just how small I am and helped put things into perspective. While we’re landlocked here in Ontario, at least we have access to four of the five Great Lakes. That must have been wild to be by the ocean in the winter during a storm. Sounds incredible and incredibly terrifying. There’s just something about storms and waves that’s so mesmerizing.

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      • BrittnyLee says:

        Aw I’m glad you get it. It definitely is an emotional trigger. It’s so massive and powerful but also has a sadness to it. It’s hard to explain. In the winter, the ocean seems especially lonely. The lakes look so pretty. I could only guess at how cold they would be now! We have a lake near us named Frances Slocum. It’s very big and beautiful. You cannot swim in it though as it’s not always moving in all parts of it and can get algae at times. We enjoy going in winter and looking at the frozen lake. It hasn’t frozen yet as it hasn’t stayed cold enough long enough for it to freeze through.

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      • WanderingCanadians says:

        Agreed, water definitely has a quality of sadness to it. Maybe because our tears are made of water? I love visiting the beach during the off-season when things are quiet. Plus in the winter there are typically interesting ice formations and patterns along the shoreline.

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