The capital of the smallest province in Canada, the city of Charlottetown is Canada’s birthplace. In 1864 the Fathers of Confederation met here and discussed the possible union of all British North America into one country. That country eventually became Canada. Located centrally on the south shore of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown feels quaint with its Victorian architecture and many parks.
When arriving into this beautiful port, you are greeted by fiddlers and dancers dressed in Celtic costume; about sixty percent of residents living here are from Scottish and Irish descent. Wearing bright blue colours, the Cruise Ship Ambassadors are there to help passengers by answering questions and offering information about the port and its surroundings while the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in red surge, are waiting to allow you a special photo opportunity with them. The Charlottetown Pavilion will be set up where you can find brochures and maps of Charlottetown and the area.
A winding boardwalk curves around the pier to offer beautiful views of this port and is adjacent to shops and restaurants.
Peake’s Wharf, near the cruise pier, is a collection of shops and restaurants in a beautiful waterfront setting. Offering crafts, local gifts, hand-made jewellery, souvenirs and fresh seafood it is a great place to explore when you disembark the cruise ship.
Within a short walking distance is Victoria Row, a great example of Old Charlottetown, and is still today the market centre of the city. With a variety of shopping and dining options, including traditional pubs and of course fresh seafood, Victoria Row’s original market was destroyed twice by fire. Rebuilt in the Victorian style, it has cast iron storefronts and brownstone structures.
Great George Street is architecturally beautiful, once the business centre, it is now full of boutiques and unique accommodations. At the foot of Great George Street stands the Province House National Historic Site of Canada, a national icon it was the heart of the 1864 Confederation. Designed by an architect from Yorkshire, you can tour the 1860’s period rooms filled with displays. A documentary plays about every hour showing Canadian history.
- Getting around
When arriving at the pier, there will be taxi’s waiting as well as public buses throughout the area. The best way to see the main part of town is by foot, as it is a small area to cover.
Bicycle rentals are available at several shops and will cost about £25 a day to rent.
Horse drawn carriages are a popular way to see the city and offer brief descriptions by the driver. A horse drawn, narrated, trolley tour is also available to pick up in town.
Renting a car is a great way to travel this island on your own or be more adventurous and explore the trails by mountain bike.
The airport is located 3.5 miles away and there is a 9-mile long bridge that connects P.E.I. to Nova Brunswick making it the longest bridge in the world to run over ice-covered waters.
- Beyond Charlottetown
The tiny, picturesque island of P.E.I is a beautiful place to explore with its rolling green hills and abundance of back roads and scenic trails. Miles of reddish, white sand beaches line the island and the red sandstone cliffs drop into the sea.
North Cape is considered to be one of the windiest places in Canada and has advanced windmill technologies and an interpretive centre to learn about harnessing the power of wind. One of the island’s oldest lighthouses is also in North Cape.
A unique beach to visit is Souris Beach because of its “singing sand” that is high in silicone and therefore creates an interesting sound as you walk through it.
Cyclist enthusiasts love this island for its Confederation Trail, about 300 miles of recreational trail. Great for both trekkers and cyclists, this extensive trail system runs through some of the most beautiful parts of this province.
Dotted with small fishing villages along the shores, the slow paced towns bring an old-world charm to P.E.I. Joining in a clam dig and beach cookout on the eastern end of the province is a great way to experience the P.E.I. culture.
Home of the world’s only potato museum, this demonstrates the rich history of the Irish immigrants who came here during the potato famine in Ireland.
- Local activities
Anne of Green Gables House
A visit to the Anne of Green Gables House is a must for any lover of the classic novel written by L.M.Montgomery in 1908. What began as a novel turned into a television series and a stage production. A store dedicated to the Anne of Green Gables novel is located in Charlottetown or you can visit the house where it all began, 45 minutes drive across green landscapes to the quiet agricultural community of Avonlea.
The Charlottetown festival at the Confederation Centre of the Arts is a theatre delight for visitors, one of Canada’s most popular theatre festivals. Open year round, the Confederation Centre art gallery showcases Canadian talent and admission is by donation. There is also a restaurant and gift shop with unique giftware, artworks, jewellery and Anne of Green Gables memorabilia.
Cows Creamery Tour
A tour of Cows Creamery shows its visitors how their delicious ice creams, butters and cheeses are made. A friendly and inviting tour guide shares the secrets to making some of the best tasting ice cream. A fun and interesting tour that many guests repeat each time they visit Charlottetown and at the end you can sample their ice cream and cheese selections.
- Local cuisine and drinks
Known greatly for its delicious and fresh seafood including lobster, fresh mussels and Malpeque oysters, P.E.I also has its share of Irish and Scottish pubs serving traditional food and beer.
The Culinary Institute of Canada is located about three blocks from the ship and is a great alternative for a reasonably priced yet gourmet meal.
- Where you are docked
Cruise ships dock at the Charlottetown Marine Terminal on the South coast of P.E.I. The historic port sits along the waterfront of the city and few blocks take you into the centre of the city.
- Regional weather
During the winter months Charlottetown is subject to heavy snowfall. Like most Canadian port cities, the weather is largely dictated by the movement of the Gulf Streams. Charlottetown summers are mild, and winters also mild by comparison to other inland cities.