Charlottetown

Destination Location

Charlottetown

Overview

In this small city by the sea, you can explore history and discover vibrant culture, all while immersing yourself in gorgeous surroundings. Pretty streets with Victorian-era buildings blend seamlessly with modern life here, allowing visitors to relax and easily take in the daily pleasures of vacationing in Charlottetown.

People from near and far visit the city year-round to experience its unique culture and history. Known as the Birthplace of Canada, Charlottetown is where the Fathers of Confederation met more than 100 years ago to discuss the creation of a country. The province of PEI is also the birthplace of Anne of Green Gables author Lucy Maud Montgomery. And Cavendish, the location of the bona fide Green Gables farmhouse is home to the Prince Edward Island National Park – a National Historic Site.

Experience Charlottetown’s natural beauty by boat, land or air. Stroll through scenic parks or bike for miles along trails such as the well-known Confederation Trail. Go on a harbour tour and breathe in the fresh sea air. Or, go on a seal- or whale-watching adventure, carriage ride, scenic seaplane flight, fishing trip and just about any other outdoor excursion.

Prince Edward Island is also known as one of the best golf destinations in North America. With more courses per capita than anywhere else in the world, PEI is a paradise of green with a temperate climate and steady breeze. Charlottetown itself is centrally located close to most area golf courses.

While you’re here, don't forget to sample local seafood. If you've never tried fresh oysters, this is the place to introduce your tastebuds to a delightful new delicacy.

So what are you waiting for? If you’re ready to kick up your heels, relax and explore the fancy, family-friendly, fun and many other sides of Charlottetown, you can rest assured that this city by the sea will be happy to have you.

Charlottetown is a fantastic destination for:

  • culture and history
  • outdoor adventure
  • nightlife

Airport served by: YYG

Destination basics

With humid summers and snowy winters, many would say Charlottetown has the best of both worlds. Summertime highs are typically in the mid 20s C, perfect for exploring the city’s beautiful harbour. Winters are mild but offer plenty of picturesque white snowfalls. Average winter temperatures fall just below zero degrees Celcius, typically with one week falling near -20 C. The average winter snowfall is around 312 cm.

Average monthly temperature and average monthly rainfall diagrams for Charlottetown
Charlottetown’s past is entrenched in an eventful history that witnessed several epoch-making events, ultimately leading to its status as the ‘Birthplace of Confederation’. With a beautiful harbor that emerges from the convergence of three rivers, a thriving waterfront, and a brilliant cultural landscape, this seaside capital has a lot to offer.  

The city’s focal point is its core downtown area, while its surrounding neighborhoods, each with their own colorful personalities envelop the northern, southern, eastern and western portions of the city.

Downtown Charlottetown
Wedged between the boundaries of Euston Street and the Confederation Trail, the lively downtown of Charlottetown holds an ever-bustling array of shops, boutiques, friendly pubs, and restaurants. Facing its sparkling harbor, the Historic Charlottetown Waterfront is a prime area for retail therapy, as is the picturesque Queen Street and the pedestrian-friendly Victoria Row. On University Avenue, the Confederation Court Mall sprawls over an entire city block, and is counted among the city’s major retail landmarks. The city also enjoys a zealous arts scene, evident from long-standing institutions such as the Confederation Centre of the Arts, the Confederation Centre Art Gallery, and the Homburg Theatre that throng the neat pathways of Queen and Grafton Streets. The city’s core downtown preserves historic corners that are home to prestigious landmarks, reminiscent of its eventful past. These include the Charlottetown City Hall, and the Province House that hosts the Prince Edward Island’s Legislative Assembly.
 

Brighton
The neighborhood of Brighton holds the city’s most illustrious buildings, indicative of the moneyed residents and notable citizens that helped shape the city. Located along Colonel Gray Drive and Brighton Road are some of the most beautifully designed houses in the city that span more than a century. Most houses are equipped with expansive lots and courtyards, enclosed by leafy trees that neatly line Brighton’s well-tended streets. Old Brighton is privy to Victorian architecture, while the section of Brighton that lies near the city’s namesake harbor tend to comprise of larger plots and houses. Some of the streets are also riddled with comparatively newer additions that go back to the 1970s and 1990s.

Spring Park
This quiet, cozy suburb is lined with an array of trees, and envelops the central western part of the city. Originally a village, it came into being as a suburb in the 1960s, when it was merged with the city. Back then, the epicenter of this postwar suburb was the Spring Park Elementary School, which was surrounded by medium-sized residential homes. It came into its element in the latter half of the 20th Century, when it was developed to include urban spaces like Maryfield Park and Skyview Park.

West Royalty/East Royalty
The affluent West Royalty neighborhood is most well known for being the site of the upscale Charlottetown Mall, located on University Avenue. Besides being home to a host of well-maintained local schools and housing several well-to-do families, it also reaps hefty revenues in real estate owing to its proximity to the gorgeous North River. Two of its pivotal thoroughfares include Maypoint and Beach Grove Roads.

East Royalty is comparatively nondescript, with its only major landmark being the Charlottetown Airport. Other than that, this neighborhood is riddled with a few urban developments like Hillsborough Park and East Royalty Park, built during the last two of decades of the 20th Century, in a bid to provide affordable housing options.

Sherwood
This sprawling neighborhood comprises of the communities of Falconwood, Mount Edward, and Stonepark. While Sherwood is mainly a residential suburb that is home to middle-class family homes and educational facilities, its proximity to some of the city’s landmarks makes it significant. The Charlottetown Airport is located a short drive away from this neighborhood, while the University of Prince Edward Island lies to its west, just outside of the Mount Edward community. It is also home to the Belvedere Golf & Winter Club, a Par 72, 18-hole golf course refurbished by architect Graham Cooke.

Parkdale
Although dominated by a number of schools, Parkdale offers its fare share of entertainment options for visitors. Parkdale’s Kensington Road is home to the wonderful PEI Brewing Company, which offers brewery tours during the day, and nighttime entertainment at its taproom. The Red Shores Racetrack & Casino, previously Summerside Raceway, offers sports action and thrilling casino games at its location on Exhibition Drive, while the nearby Eastlink Centre is the city’s premier venue for basketball and hockey tournaments.
Charlottetown enjoys a versatile entertainment scene, covering a diverse range of interests, from performing arts and shopping, to sports and art galleries.

Performing Arts
Home to the province’s longest-running and wildly popular show - Anne of Green Gables, The Musical, and the Charlottetown Festival, the Confederation Centre of the Arts has been Charlottetown’s cultural staple ever since it was established in 1964. Besides being the city’s window to the best performing arts shows, the center also houses the Confederation Center Art Gallery, and the Homburg Theatre. The center is also known to host concerts, revue shows, and classical music programs within its culture-soaked walls. Audiophiles can tune into spectacular performances by the National Arts Centre Orchestra at the Homburg Theatre, or catch riveting musicals at The Mack, or the Mackenzie Theater, located on University Avenue. For comedy productions, head to The Guild on Queen Street that stages small plays and musicals as well. The historical Florence Simmons Performance Hall at the city’s Holland College also hosts several concert shows and theatrical productions. At the height of summer, head to the the Peake’s Wharf, near Charlottetown’s waterfront, that comes alive with a host of concerts and local entertainers serenading the town for free.

Sports
The city enjoys one of Canada’s favorite sports, ice hockey, at the Eastlink Centre on Kensington Road. The arena is the home rink of the Charlottetown Islanders, a team that is part of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. It schedules quite a few games here during gaming season, and avid sports fans can cheer their favored team during this time. The Eastlink Centre is also home to the Canadian basketball team Island Storm, part of the National Basketball League.

Charlottetown and its surrounding towns are also home to premier golf courses. While the Belvedere Golf Club is located in the city’s Parkdale neighborhood, the Fox Meadow Golf Course and the Clyde River Golf Club are situated a little outside city limits.

Museums and Galleries
Delve into the military heritage of Prince Edward Island at the Prince Edward Island Regiment Museum. It features more than 2000 artifacts, photographs and trophies that take you back to the early nineteenth century. At the Confederation Centre Art Gallery, see the nuances of Canadian culture and life through the eyes of various artists. The gallery houses a collection of nearly 16,500 artworks, including several 19th- and 20th-century paintings, as well collections of up and coming contemporary Canadian artists. The independently owned Lorimer Gallery features a more eclectic collection of paintings, sculptures, and ornamental jewelry, reflecting a running theme of Canadian and maritime culture. At the Details, Past & Present Gallery on the lively Victorian Row, find curious items of furniture, amid smaller collections of fine art paintings and local artwork.

Shopping
Charlottetown hosts a rich shopping culture, evident from its various streets that are teeming with a diverse range of shops. From locally made handicrafts, to unique pieces of jewelry and accessories, the city offers you a veritable shoppers’ paradise. March into the sprawling Confederation Court Mall in the city’s downtown for a holistic shopping experience. Here, you’ll find everything from popular brand stores, to more quirky souvenir shops like Luna Eclectic Emporium.

Over at the pedestrian-friendly Victoria Row, the air is abuzz with shopping enthusiasts that jump from one specialty store to another with seasoned flair. The pedestrian mall sports a quaint vibe with its cobblestoned streets, compounded by its tenants’ one-of-a-kind wares. Those who dote on Anne of Green Gables can revisit sweet childhood memories at the eponymous store on Queen Street, which sells all Anne-inspired memorabilia. On Water Street, the Garnish Jewelry Store sells delicate jewelry made from copper and silver.

To keep warm during pesky winters, visit the Northern Watters Knitwear store on Richmond Street for fuzzy warm clothing. The wool used is sourced from native sheep and alpaca. If you can’t have enough of artisan souvenirs, then Cordelia’s Boutique on Water Street definitely merits a visit. For a little bit of everything, drop by at the Charlottetown Farmers’ Market and the Downtown Farmers’ Market that sell fresh produce and artisan food products.  

Movie Theaters
The city is home to City Cinema, an old-school staple for both independent run films and first-run movies. For mainstream releases, head to Cineplex Cinemas on University Avenue for commercial Hollywood flicks.
Charlottetown offers a remarkable mix of amazing ambiance and delicious food, whether it is at a small cafe tucked into one of its side streets, or at a ritzy fine dine establishment. Its locally produced bounty, consisting of vegetables, meat, dairy products, and glorious seafood, makes its way into several restaurant kitchens, ensuring incredibly fresh fare. While it prides itself on its passion for sensational seafood, it is also proud of its open-mindedness when it comes to emerging food trends and global cuisine.

Downtown Charlottetown
Charlottetown’s vibrant dining scene is centered around its booming downtown, where main streets and side lanes are punctuated with numerous cafes, pubs and restaurants. Owing to the neighborhood’s rich architectural lineage that consists of several brick-walled buildings of yore, a few establishments are set up in repurposed corners of historic buildings. One of them is the Claddagh Oyster House, where you can shuck fresh oysters and tuck into splendid seafood meals. Upstairs, the strains of live music emanating from the Olde Dublin Pub call out to you for a pint of cold beer, coupled with a night of merriment.

When you crave beer, head to The Gahan House on Sydney Street. It is a relaxed brewpub serving handcrafted ales, alongside bacon-wrapped scallops and other quick bites. The Blueberry ale is a hot favorite with most regulars. Before you leave, don’t forget to take home a growler of your most favorite ale. For a predominantly food-focused meal, the Terre Rouge Bistro is a fine pick. It is a bistro, a market and a deli, all built into one, and features a chalkboard menu that details daily specials. Sample their wonderfully put together farm-to-fork cuisine, or dig into French classics that make for great comfort food when home seems far away.

Nearby, Cedar’s Eatery offers a taste of the exotic, if that is something you happen to crave. It serves comforting Middle Eastern cuisine at its longstanding location on Great George Street. To boot, it was also voted one of the ‘Ten Best Buys in Canada’ and has been featured in several Canadian lifestyle magazines like Canadian Living and Canadian Geographic. Head to Leonhard’s cafe for quick yet satisfying meals. Wolf down freshly prepared sandwiches and wash them down with heartwarming coffee sourced from Down East Coffee roasters. This cozy cafe is also well known for its filling breakfasts and staggering variety of soups. At Piatto Pizzeria, pizza lovers can swoon over authentic Neapolitan pies, alongside wines from their enoteca.

Historic Charlottetown Waterfront
The scenic waterfront of the city is one of the best spots for patio-side dining, allowing patrons to enjoy both splendid meals, and views of the undulating waters of the harbor. For unconventional meals, head to The Lucy Maud Dining Room, a student-driven lunchroom based in the Culinary Institute of Canada. Surprisingly easy on your wallet, and one of the best places to sample inventive Canadian cuisine, this restaurant features seasonal menus designed, prepared, and served by talented apprentices. The calming harbor views from its floor-to-ceiling windows add an extra touch of charm to the entire setting.

To enjoy the city’s sea-sourced bounty, try the Lobster-On-The-Wharf for a generous helping of all things seafood - lobster, mussels, oysters, the works. All this, on a harborside patio with sweeping vistas. The Brakish offers a similar setting, and sums up just what you need on a fine summer day. Featuring a harbor-facing beer garden, this gastropub features craft beer from the PEI Brewing Co., coupled with classics like Seafood Chowder and fish ‘n chips. If you want to take a break from garden-variety seafood shacks, park yourself in the swank confines of Water’s Edge, located in Delta Hotel by Marriott. The restaurant serves an incredible lobster dinner and Pork Tenderloin. Afterward, head to COWS Ice Cream for dessert. This popular creamery serves fun and exciting flavors such as Chip Chip Hooray and Cowconut Cream Pie, putting a spring in your step instantly.

Parkdale
This neighborhood is not as evolved as downtown when it comes to culinary trends, and features several fast food chains that are worth glossing over. However, it is home to the PEI Brewing Company, which is the neighborhood’s most winning establishment. The taproom has a fine lineup of craft beers, from honey wheat ales and red ales, to classic IPA’s and premium stouts. Nearby, Sam’s Family Restaurant serves eclectic meals all through the day, and is a decent place to stop if you’re on the road and prefer a quick to-go meal. When lunching with family, head over to Maid Marian’s for great value-for-money meals that come with an old-fashioned diner vibe. Feast on splendid burgers, homemade Coconut Cream Pie and crisp fries.
Charlottetown

Province: Prince Edward Island

Country: Canada

Charlottetown by the Numbers
Population: 34,562 (city); 64,487 (Metropolitan)
Elevation: 49 meters / 161 feet
Average Annual Precipitation: 115.8 centimeters / 45.59 inches
Average Annual Snowfall: 290.4 centimeters / 114.3 inches
Average January Temperature: -8°C / 17.6°F
Average July Temperature: 18.5°C / 65.3°F

Quick Facts
Electricity: 120 volts, 60Hz, AC

Time Zone: GMT-4 (GMT-3 Daylight Saving Time); Atlantic Standard Time (AST)

Country Dialing Code: +1

Area Code: 902

Did You Know?
Charlottetown is one of the two cities that make up the province of Prince Edward Island. The only other city is Summerside.

Orientation
Charlottetown is located on the harbor that leads to the Northumberland Strait, and is the largest city of Prince Edward Island. Summerside, the only other city on the island, is 60.8 kilometers (37.8 miles) away from Charlottetown.
The territories of the current city of Charlottetown were first marked by the indigenous peoples who settled here over several millennia. Chief among these indigenous settlers were the Mi’kmaq, who inhabited the Prince Edward Island owing to its rich marine bounty and accessible plantation. By 1720, the French started streaming into the city, their presence first marked by the establishment of a settlement at Port La Joie, the result of an expedition headed by Comte de Saint-Pierre. In the wake of the European settlement, the Mi’kmaq tribe delved into the fur trade, and Port La Joie was maintained as the administrative center.

In 1758 when the British emerged victorious from the Seven Years' War, they took over the territory, abandoned Port La Joie and established Fort Amherst to safeguard the harbor. The French and the Acadians were promptly deported. In 1764, Captain Samuel Holland directed the colonial survey of Charlottetown (named after Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz), which established the layout of the city’s grids and squares.

In 1978, St John’s Island was named Prince Edward Island, and the coming years witnessed the establishment of several capital city landmarks, such as the Government House in 1835, and the Province House in 1847. Charlottetown was incorporated as a city in 1855.

In the years following its incorporation, the city gained momentum as its shipbuilding industry grew, decidedly spelling an economic boom, which soon faded near the end of the 19th Century. The city was also the site of the Confederation Conferences in Canada, held at the Province House. Prince Edward Island’s inclusion in the Confederation in 1873 earned it the moniker ‘The Birthplace of Confederation’. By 1874, the railway industry made its presence felt when the Prince Edward Island Railway opened a line between Charlottetown and Summerside, thus paving the way for further development in the years to come.

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