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Kinley Dowling- My Game Plan for ECMW in Charlottetown

ECMW is the best party in Atlantic Canada. I’m really excited to see my favorite performers in my hometown Charlottetown, where everything is within walking distance.

I’m looking forward to seeing PEI’s own Catherine MacLellan, as well as Death Valley Driver-two extremes of the Island’s rich musical landscape. I’m also thrilled to see my pal from Nova Scotia, Jenn Grant. Her music is like a colorful painting and she is always entertaining. I am a huge fan of Wendy MacIsaac’s playing so I’ll definitely be going to see Mary-Jane Lamond and Wendy perform.

Catherine MacLellan

Catherine MacLellan

I am positive that up and comer Steve Maloney and the Wandering Kind will be your new favorite. Steve’s rich classically trained voice and his natural folk instinct make him the one to listen for this ECMW.

Are you here on Wednesday, the first night of ECMW? Try Churchill Arms’ amazing 2 for 1 British curry. Why not enjoy a pint while you wait in line? There WILL be a line.

Kinley Dowling

Kinley Dowling enjoying a Falafel at Cedar’s Eatery.

 

Best food? Cedar’s Eatery, a Lebanese restaurant that has been around since 1979.

Late night? Pizza and Poutine Company has got you covered. Celebrate ECMW with a Stompin’ Tom pizza (potato, jalapeno bacon, pulled pork and onions).

Need some great coffee after a late night? Kettle Black and Row 142 are the places to go. Row 142 roasts the beans for both cafes. Kettle Black also has some of the best fresh local food around, cooked by Chef Robert Pendergast AND it’s just a skip and a hop from the Delta hotel!

The Kettle Black

The Kettle Black on Water St

If I could stay anywhere in Charlottetown for ECMW I would choose the Delta Prince Edward Hotel because that’s where a lot of the shows and most of the after parties take place. But if you’re a musician you’re probably staying on someone’s couch. All of my couches are currently booked up for ECMW musicians. Can’t wait!

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Kinley Dowling, a sweetheart in the Maritime music scene, regularly tours with Hey Rosetta and currently calls Charlottetown home.

 

Twitter @KinleyDowling Instagram: KinleyDowling  Website: www.heyrosetta.com
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Insider’s Guide to the East Coast Music Week in Charlottetown

Well, it’s early March and I think everybody is ready for winter to end. Good news is it’s going to heat up sooner than Environment Canada predicts… it’s time for East Coast Music Week 2014 (ECMW), and thanks to the PEI 2014 Sesquicentennial Celebrations (I can’t even say that word), it’s back in Charlottetown earlier than scheduled!

I want to get one thing out of the way right off the top, you often hear people say “Charlottetown is the best ECMA” and as somebody who’s in the music industry and was part of making two Charlottetown ECMWs happen… it really is the best! I’ve been to ECMW’s in Moncton, Fredericton, and Halifax, and I can tell you first-hand that Charlottetown can’t be matched in what it offers.

Why? Well, that’s a bit harder to explain. The fact that many of the top-notch venues are within an 8-block radius in the downtown core, meaning you can walk from show to show in as long as it takes two bands to change over their gear. The geographical benefit isn’t the only reason. It’s the atmosphere of Charlottetown. We have some of the best music fans, they go out and support shows of all levels, they party like rock stars and they make the ECMW experience top notch.

Now, down to the business of ECMW, taking in shows and seeing artists!

Paper Lions at the PEI Brewing Company Photo by Al Douglas

Paper Lions at the PEI Brewing Company Photo by Al Douglas

I’m often asked the question “What are you planning to see or do?” and the answer is simple, during ECMW I want to see as much as I can – new artists, up-and-coming artists, established artists and marquee acts. This is also one of the only times each year I get to see friends and associates, meaning this week can be a bit busy for me. I encourage you to take in as much as you are able to, push yourself outside your comfort zone a bit, stay out later than you planned, end up at a late night party, you never know who’s going to be there playing some tunes…

I set out on my mission for ECMW party dominance with a plan (I have found that you need it), which can be a bit intense as ECMW is five jam-packed days…

Here are some points that will help:

  • Cross off the things you’re just not that into, but double check the list of artist at each show so you don’t miss anybody of interest (this is a common mistake).
  • Grab a copy of The Buzz (Local Event Publication) & ECMW Gig Guide as soon as you can. They will give a set time breakdown, allowing you to create a map of where you need to be when…
  • Ask strong music fans and industry folk, they can give you some insider perspective. Pat Deighan at Back Alley Music is one of the guys I recommend stopping in to see.
The Kettle Black, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

The Kettle Black

I was asked to come up with a must-see list. I struggle with this one as when I read through the list of showcasing artists, they’re all really great in their genres. I will say I am biased and feel that you all need to check out our amazing Island artists. We have everything from up-and-comers, like Jordan Cameron and Dylan Menzie to more established artists, as the North Lakes, Gordie MacKeeman and His Rhythm Boys, Meaghan Blanchard to Dennis Ellsworth, Catherine MacLellan and Tim Chaisson. Then, there’s my favourite PEI band Paper Lions, who are up for 6 well-deserved ECMA Awards this year.

When asked to write this blog I didn’t think I’d have anything to say, I think I’ve proven myself wrong, seems like I can’t shut up. I want to leave you with some points I’ve learned about how to make it through the weekend, other than pure determination and willpower.

Coffee is a must and frequent necessity of the weekend. We have two great coffee shops near the venues, Row 142 on Victoria Row & The Kettle Black on Water Street.

Terra Rouge Charlottetown PEITerra Rouge Charlottetown PEI

Terra Rouge

For early evening drinks and a bite to eat, I recommend a few places close to the venues – Water St Fish & Chips, Gahan House, and The Brickhouse, the newly renovated Globe (which is just open for the weekend), and Water’s Edge, the Delta’s new restaurant. Terre Rouge and Sims Corner offer cultured dinner options close to the action. If you’re feeling a little like getting out of the downtown, you must check out the PEI Brewing Company (they have a show that weekend too). They are making some amazing craft beer.

For a late-night bite to eat, stop into the Pizza & Poutine Co. on Kent Street for a slice, awesome poutine or a pulled pork sandwich. The Orange Lunchbox is also a great option for your late-night fix.

Breakfast can be a much needed and Casa Mia on Queen Street has you covered. The Factory also does a great breakfast on certain days, check them out.

Mark Fisher Photo

I encourage everybody to come to Charlottetown and experience the best week of music on the East Coast, as it won’t be back in Charlottetown for 5 years… Also check out www.pei2014.ca for details on events this summer across PEI.

Mark Fisher is a project manager and event producer based out of Charlottetown. With more then 15 years in the industry, starting in the cycling, snowboard & ski world, It’s music (especially East Coast) that catches his focus these days, he is focused on building the best event experiences for fans and artist.

Follow along for the ride:  Twitter – @peifisher  |  Instagram  |  Linkedin

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An Island Valentine

It’s the heart of winter on Prince Edward Island—the time of year when we start dreaming of springtime sunshine, the sweet aroma of blossoms and the promise of shedding our winter attire for sandals and sundresses. Spring is still quite a ways off but with Valentine’s Day just two weeks away, love is in the air. It’s the perfect time to start planning a mid-winter romantic getaway to Charlottetown! Below are 10 fun ways to enjoy your Valentine’s Day in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island:

1. An unforgettable stay at one of Charlottetown’s best hotels. Charlottetown has many beautiful hotels, B&B’s and inns for your stay. If you are looking for a return to a quieter time, make a reservation at one of our many historic properties. If modern architecture and amenities is what you are looking for, be sure to browse our list of hotels. All of them are within a short distance of our wide diversity of ethnic and Canadian restaurants, pubs and live performance venues. For a list of hotels with special Valentine’s Day packages, click here.

The Great George Hotel

Photo by The Great George Hotel

2. Dinner out. This year Valentine’s Day falls on a Friday, and what better way to kick off your weekend getaway than a romantic meal with your love? One of the advantages of having an internationally renowned culinary institute in Charlottetown, and access to local farms and coastal fisheries is that no matter what are looking for, Charlottetown has you covered. If you want to try out our famous shellfish, make a reservation at the Claddagh House or The Merchantman. Sims Steakhouse will win the heart of any beef lover, and if you are looking for fusion cuisine, be sure to check out Terre Rouge Bistro Marche, The Lucy Maud Dining Room, Mavor’s and Water’s Edge Bar and Grill. If you want the authentic pub experience then The Gahan House, Hunters Ale House and The Old Triangle would be a great fit. Buono Mangia has you covered if you’re looking for Italian, and Cedars is a great spot for some authentic Lebanese fare. If you feel like combining dinner with some fun at Red Shores Casino, make a reservation at Top of the Park, overlooking the historic Charlottetown racetrack and Hillsborough River. Don’t see what you’re looking for? For a full list of all of our restaurants, visit our website. Whatever you settle on, don’t forget to pair your meal with a bottle of local wine or a chilled mug of PEI’s local ale!

Photo by Kamal Hamid

Photo by Kamal Hamid

3. Ice skating under a starry sky. The weather in Charlottetown has been a bit of a rollercoaster so far this winter, but the long-range forecast looks good for the City of Charlottetown to have enough time to get our outdoor rinks back up and running in time for Valentine’s Day. There are few things more fun than an evening skate under a crisp starry sky. For updates on the status of our city’s outdoor rinks, visit Their website.

Photo by Daniel Newman

Photo by Daniel Newman

4. Skiing/snowshoeing. Charlottetown has a number of shorter cross-country ski and snowshoeing trails that are perfect if you feel like getting outside for a few hours of fresh air and exercise, followed by hot drinks and dessert at one of our local cafes. You have three choices in town: the trails at Victoria Park, which are perfect if you feel like a shorter route that meanders in and out of a beautiful stand of snow-covered trees. If you do opt for Victoria Park, go in the evening and enjoy a spectacular show from thousands of crows that migrate into the park’s treetops at dusk. End your trip by taking in the sunset from the boardwalk across the street. The Belvedere Ski trail is a nice and easy 4km loop that circles around the Belvedere Golf Course, passing through a few stands of trees. (Images: http://www.trailpeak.com/trail-Belvedere-Golf-course-XC-ski-near-Charlottetown-PE-6620). Your third option in town is Beach Grove Trails.

If you feel like spending the whole day exploring some of our island’s longer cross-country trails or enjoying some downhill skiing, Brookvale Winter Activity Park is just a 30-minute drive from Charlottetown. For more information on PEI’s rural ski trails visit http://trailpeak.com/.

5. An afternoon on the town. Charlottetown has a great selection of shops selling locally made and one-of-a-kind items that you won’t find anywhere else. Pick up some aromatic, hand-made soap at Emmett & Ellie’s; check out the vintage clothing at the Green Man; browse some of Atlantic Canada’s finest records at Back Alley Music, or pick out a unique piece of jewelry at Moonsnail Soapworks, Nessya’s Gems & Jewels or Cordelia’s Artisan Boutique. Along the way be sure to stop in at Timothy’s for a hot drink; taste some hand-made artisan chocolates or chocolate-dipped potato chips at Anne of Green Gables Chocolates; sample olive oils and vinegars at Liquid Gold Tasting Bar & All Things Olive, and enjoy one of PEI’s famous COWS ice cream cones. Wrap up your day with dinner at one of our city’s many local restaurants!

Photo via Moonsnail Soapworks

Photo via Moonsnail Soapworks

6. Indulge in art. The Confederation Centre of the Arts is located in the heart of downtown Charlottetown, and houses Atlantic Canada’s largest Art Gallery. The gallery showcases the best of Canadian visual arts talent year-round. There are two ongoing exhibits showing at the Confederation Centre of the Arts Gallery, two more opening February 1st, and a fifth opening February 15th. The two ongoing shows are Early Drawings by Marcel Dzama: A series of drawings from the formative stage of Dzama’s career, demonstrating the development of his distinctive visual idiom; and Cold Pop: a selection of works that demonstrate how Canadian artists have responded to American pop culture, and the phenomenon of Pop Art. On February 1 two shows open: Chronicler of the North—illustrations and paintings by Arthur Heming, whose work depicting the Canadian North played a key role in defining the image of Canada; and In Transit: Artists on Locations—a 50th anniversary exhibition that features travel images in the Confederation Centre of the Art Gallery’s collection. If you’re in town for the weekend, join curator Pan Wendt on February 15th at 7pm for the official opening of Somewheres: A survey of the work of emerging contemporary artists living in the Maritimes and their engagement with the question of region.

In Canada's Fairyland 1930, (detail), oil on canvas, 76 x 101.9 cm. Collection of the Art Gallery of Hamilton

In Canada’s Fairyland 1930, oil on canvas, 76 x 101.9 cm. Collection of the Art Gallery of Hamilton

7. Body bliss. Whether you are single or a pair, there is no better way to enjoy Valentine’s Day than to indulge in a full day of self-pampering. Sign up for a yoga class at Dynamic Fitness; book yourself a full body massage at one of our local spas, or treat yourself and go for a full body makeover so you look and feel your absolute best!

8. Don your chef’s hat. Join local chef Ilona Daniel for a Valentine’s Day cooking class on Thursday, February 13th from 6.30-8.30pm. For her Dinner of Love, Ilona will be demonstrating how to prepare maple and thyme roasted pear salad with organic arugula and goat’s cheese, with a maple balsamic vinaigrette; pan-seared pork tenderloin medallions with Parisian mushroom sauce, creamy asparagus and parmesan orzo pasta; and melting middle white chocolate cake with lime spiked berries to wrap things up on a sweet note! The class is just $18, and you get to sample everything prepared! Sign up here.

Photo by Rachel Peters Photography.

Photo by Rachel Peters Photography.

9. Music all the way. Prince Edward Island is known for its lively music scene. The challenge is not whether there is anything going on, but how many shows you can take in while you’re in town. If you’re in the mood for a full-on Valentine’s Day fiesta, get tickets to the Valentines Cabaret at The Mack for a night of music, fusion and romance. If you feel like sampling a number of different shows around town, the Buzz has an updated list of shows with local musicians and visiting bands.

Photo by PEI 2014

Photo by PEI 2014

10. Movie buffs. For the dinner and a movie fans, Charlottetown has two options: City Cinema is within easy walking distance of the downtown core, and caters to the more alternative, artistic film crowd. Cineplex Charlottetown is the larger cinema in town, and is just a five-minute drive from downtown. It features a handful of Hollywood blockbusters. Both theatres have copious amounts of buttery popcorn to enjoy while you snuggle with your date!

Blog cover photo by Jeff Cooke.

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Jack Frost Brings Family Winter Fun to Charlottetown

The abundance of snow that turned Charlottetown into a winter wonderland during the holiday season has also been perfect for outdoor winter activities. With more snow headed our way this week, this is the perfect time to read up on some of the winter activities that you can come enjoy this winter in Charlottetown!

 

Ice skating in Charlottetown

One of the things that we do well on Prince Edward Island is celebrate winter. Instead of hibernating inside from December through March, we bundle up and hit the slopes at Brookvale for some downhill skiing or sledding; head over to Victoria Park, the Belvedere Golf Course or the Confederation Trail for some snowshoeing or cross-country skiing, or grab our skates and spend an afternoon or evening enjoying one of the public outdoor rinks that are located around Charlottetown.

winter activities in Charlottetown PEI

© Discover Charlottetown

Added to our other winter activities, from February 28th-March 2nd Charlottetown will be hosting our 9th Jack Frost Children’s Festival. For three full days, Charlottetown will be welcoming visitors from all over Canada and the United States to explore and celebrate the wonders of winter!

The outdoor Snow Kingdom will be feature ice sculptures, skating rinks, a playground made entirely out of snow, a snow maze, and horse-drawn sleigh rides. When you need to warm up you have two indoor activity choices: Jack Frost’s Indoor Playland at the Eastlink Centre will have Carnival rides and inflatables for children of all ages, a games and arcade centre, face painting, balloon artists and stage performances. One of the highlights that festival goers can look forward to at this year’s event is performances by Sesame Street Live at the Eastlink Centre. There will be three performances of “Sesame Street Live: Elmo Makes Music!”– an interactive production that features nearly two dozen songs, including “The Hustle” and “Rockin’ Robin”, along with childhood sing-alongs such as “C is for Cookie” and “The Alphabet Song.”

Those looking to enjoy some fun creative activities can join students from the Holland College School of Performing Arts at the Confederation Court Complex for the Princess Pretty Boutique, a mock salon allowing children the opportunity to dress up and have their hair and nails done by magical princesses; or a Music Camp, where children can discover the joy of making music.

Sesame Street Live at Jack Frost Festival PEI

Ice sculptures at Jack Frost Children's Winterfest PEI

© Discover Charlottetown

Jack Frost Children's Winterfest Charlottetown PEI

© Discover Charlottetown

Start your day with a hot breakfast and a piping hot cup of coffee or tea at one of our local eateries before you catch a shuttle over to the Charlottetown Event Grounds to dive into some winter fun! One of the advantages of attending a festival in Charlottetown is that nothing is very far from anything else, so after a full day of festivities, you will find a wide selection of restaurants close to both the event site and your hotel.

We have some great hotel packages available, and the packages are the only way to get VIP access! In addition to property-specific, Jack Frost-friendly programming, our hotel packages include 1-hour advanced access to the festival grounds, dedicated transportation between your hotel and the festival sites, a nightly bed-time snack delivered to your guest room,
 and a Children’s welcome bag when you check in!

Jack Frost Winterfest Sleigh Rides PEI

© Discover Charlottetown

Jack Frost WinterFest live entertainment

© Discover Charlottetown

Fireworks at Jack Frost Children's Winterfest PEI

© Discover Charlottetown

Tickets for Jack Frost Children’s Winterfest are on sale now, and going quickly. There are a variety of ticket options to check out, including individual and family weekend and VIP packages. You can book by phone (Monday through Friday, 8AM – 4PM) at 1.800.605.1840 or online. For information on the best way to get to Prince Edward Island; a full list of our accommodations, family restaurants; and to view a gallery of images of Charlottetown, visit our website. If you’re as excited about the Jack Frost Festival as we are, stay tuned: We have an exciting Facebook contest that we’ll be launching this week!  Watch our page for details!

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Charlottetown is ready for 2014!

If you’re planning on celebrating the New Year, and the launch of the 150th anniversary of the Meeting of the Fathers of Confederation on Prince Edward Island, you’ve probably already started the countdown to 2014!

On December 31st, Prince Edward Island is kicking off a yearlong, province-wide celebration marking the sesquicentennial of the 1864 Charlottetown Conference—the meeting that led to the Confederation of Canada. Throughout the year, PEI will be hosting over 150 festivals, events and programs to commemorate this landmark event, and you’re invited!

The 2014 festivities get underway in Charlottetown on New Year’s Eve. Those who want to spend the night celebrating under a starry sky can join us for the free outdoor events happening on Great George Street and at Province House. Some highlights of the outdoor celebrations are a live concert with Rawlins Cross and Meaghan Blanchard; an ice garden created by members of the Canadian Ice Sculpture Team; old-fashioned wagon rides around Confederation Landing, and one of the largest firework displays in Atlantic Canada.

If country and rock is more your scene, then maybe head indoors to the PEI Convention Centre. Event tickets to the indoor Johnny Reid, Lennie Gallant and More Soul concert at the PEI Convention Centre are already sold out, but if you’re planning a weekend getaway to PEI, there are still a number of NYE Charlottetown hotel packages that include tickets to this exciting concert! Check out this video for a teaser of what you can look forward to at the 2014 festivities:

In addition to the official 2014 New Year’s Eve celebrations, many restaurants will be serving special multi-course menus, and there is a terrific lineup of live music performances at locations all over Charlottetown.

We know it’s tempting to sleep in after a long night of festivities—but we recommend that you resist this temptation, grab a strong cup of coffee and join in on one of Charlottetown’s most well loved New Year’s traditions—the Charlottetown levee. If you don’t know what a levee is or want to know more about how it works, check out this post on “How to Levee,” by Peter Rukavina. Not only are the levees a great way to meet and get to know some Islanders, while enjoying some terrific food and drink–they are also a good way to see more of some of Charlottetown’s best-known historic buildings.  Some of the levees you don’t want to miss are those hosted by the Lieutenant Governor at Fanningbank, the City of Charlottetown at the Charlottetown City Hall, Trinity-Clifton United Church, and Premier Robert Ghiz at the Confederation Centre of the Arts. A number of local community centres, restaurants and organizations are also hosting levees this year. If you are feeling super adventurous and want to go home with a story that will be re-told for generations, the annual Polar Bear Swim takes place at the bottom of Pownal Street at 10.30am. All 2014 levee events to stop by are happening in Charlottetown are listed here.

There’s something for everyone in Charlottetown this NYE, so make a reservation and pack your bags! See you on the Island!

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Charlottetown gets festive!

With the first light snowfall blanketing Charlottetown this week, blowing away the last of the golden leaves; city workers up on ladders decorating the eaves of businesses all over town with strings of Christmas lights, and the official Christmas tree lighting ceremony happening this evening at Province House, we think it’s safe to say that the festive season on Charlottetown has officially begun!

This year’s festivities begin tonight with the official launch of Charlottetown’s annual Wintertide Holiday Festival from November 22, 2013 to January 5, 2014. The Festival opens with a public lighting of the Christmas tree at 6:15 p.m. at Province House. Participants will receive a candle for the Candlelight Walk to the Confederation Centre Upper Plaza for the Christmas tree lighting at 6:30 p.m. The evening will be livened up by a special visit from Santa and live music performed by the Confederation Centre Youth Choir.

There are many exciting events to look forward to in Charlottetown over the next few weeks. If you are hunting for some fun Christmas gifts, stop by Colonel Gray this weekend for their Christmas Craft Fair. The Charlottetown Farmer’s Market and our many shops selling locally made food and crafts are also terrific places to find some unique presents that you won’t find anywhere else.

On November 30th, the Confederation Court Mall is hosting Pre-Parade Family Fun, complete with cookies and hot chocolate. It’s a great way to get revved up for the annual Charlottetown Christmas Parade that will wind down the streets of Charlottetown.

Charlottetown is home to some exciting music performances happening this season. On Sunday, December 1st the Confederation Singers and guest soloists will be performing Handel’s Messiah at the Confederation Centre of the Arts at 2.30pm.

On December 7th at 9am, Santa’s elves invite you to join them for their annual Wake Up Santa party. Once you have managed to rouse him from his deep slumber, the elves are pretty sure that the jolly man in red will join you to join him for a home-cooked pancake breakfast!  For ticket information click here.

Wake up Santa at the Confederation Court Mall

Wake up Santa at the Confederation Court Mall

If you aren’t awake for the morning celebrations with Santa, you’ll be excited to know that the Barra MacNeils are performing an East Coast Christmas performance at the Confederation Centre of the Arts on December 7th at 7.30pm. These wildly talented siblings are often called one of the greatest live acts in the Celtic world, and the show is a rockin’ good way to get the whole family into the holiday spirit.

The Barra MacNeils will be performing at the Confederation Centre of the Arts on December 7th, 2013

The Barra MacNeils will be performing at the Confederation Centre of the Arts on December 7th, 2013

History buffs will not want to miss the opportunity to step back in time at one of Hedgerow’s Christmas performances at Beaconsfield Historic House between December 8th and 15th. Storyteller Alan Buchanan, singer-songwriter Allan Rankin and musicians Brad Fremlin and Perry Williams have created a performance that weaves together a rich tapestry of Christmas stories and songs that they will be performing against the rustic charm of Beaconsfield’s Carriage House.

Charles Dicken’s fans are going to love Mavor Moore’s 1988 adaptation of the classic A Christmas Carol that will be playing at the Confederation Centre of the Arts from December 13th-21st. On December 15th come join the Confederation Centre Youth Chorus as they perform classical and contemporary Christmas carols with guest artist Joey Kitson at the Confederation Centre of the Arts.

There’s something for everyone in Charlottetown this holiday season! For a complete list of upcoming events visit our website at www.discovercharlottetown.com.

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Craft fairs, parades & cookies with santa: Charlottetown begins the countdown to Christmas!

This week was officially the end of another vibrantly coloured fall, and the beginning of the countdown to Christmas. This month’s pre-Christmas lineup includes The PEI Crafts Council’s 49th Annual Christmas Craft Fair at the Confederation Centre of the Arts this weekend (November 8-10), the Glen Stewart Primary & Stratford Elementary Annual Craft Fair (November 15-16), the Colonel Gray Christmas Craft Fair (November 22-23), Pre Parade Family Fun at the Confederation Court Mall and the Charlottetown Christmas Parade (both November 30). The weekend fairs are perfect for purchasing one-of-a-kind gifts for everyone on your Christmas list in one place, enjoying the company of many of our Island artists and supporting PEI’s thriving arts and crafts community. First on the list is the PEI Crafts Council’s Christmas Craft Fair, which is this weekend! It will feature unique gifts made by over 50 local artists, specialty food items and books, as well as door prizes and demonstrations.

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If you’re interested in rubbing shoulders with some of our local talent be sure to get there early on Friday for cocktails with the crafters (7-9pm). Some of the artists whose work will be for sale at this weekend’s fair are:

Niki Heddle, owner of Naturally Inspired Art. Niki combines stone, wood and other natural elements to create works of art like the one below. Her work makes the perfect present for pretty much any occasion, and is a good way of sharing miniature stories of place, presence and community–a poem in a frame of sorts!

Artwork by Niki Heddle

Artwork by Niki Heddle

Hutchinson Pottery and Weaverly Yours is the mother-daughter team of Jessica Hutchinson and Lyette Sansoucy. Jessica is an expert potter and her mother is a textile artist. Jessica’s work uses rustic earth tones and gentle lines, and Lyette’s textiles are beautifully woven and exquisitely textured–her wearable pieces are also incredibly cozy. If you are looking for the perfect Christmas gift pick up a couple of mugs and a tea pot and then head home, put the kettle on and curl up by the fire for a relaxing winter evening at home! If you are planning on attending lots of Christmas parties and events, and are looking for the perfect show-stopper item to accessorize your outfit, Lyette’s hand-woven scarves are hard to beat.

Pottery by Jessica Hutchinson. Textiles by Lyette Sansoucy.

Pottery by Jessica Hutchinson. Textiles by Lyette Sansoucy.

Pembroke Farm will be returning to the craft fair this year with their hand-felted wool sculptures and collectables, Pembroke Wool hats and accessories, and craft kits for children. All of these beautifully handcrafted items are made by Lorna & Brian McMaster.

Pembroke Wool Hats and accessories made by Lorna & Brian McMaster

Pembroke Wool Hats and accessories made by Lorna & Brian McMaster

Ayelet Stewart is the artist behind AY Designs. She is a long-time jeweller whose studio and gallery space is in Stratford. Born in Oxford, England and raised in Israel, Ayelet’s work is inspired by the landscapes that she has lived in and called home: Israel, Japan and Prince Edward Island. Most of Ayelet’s work features textured silver, which she creates by hammering, enamelling, etching, using stamps, etc. She regularly integrates precious gemstones and beads to add color and variety to her work.

Earrings by Ayelet from AY Designs

Earrings by Ayelet from AY Designs

Susana Ruthorford is the stained glass artist behind Firehorse Studios, located in Charlottetown, PEI. Susana brings over 25 years experience in architectural stained glass to the PEI stained glass art scene. Susana creates private, public and ecclesiastical commissions for clients on and off the Island. She also offers complete restoration services. If you are looking for a unique addition to your home be sure to stop by Susana’s stand at the craft fair this weekend!

Stained glass art by Susana Rutherford of Firehorse Studios

Stained glass art by Susana Rutherford of Firehorse Studios

Keith Wornell from LexEcon Fine Woodworking will selling his beautiful, handcrafted woodwork. If you do not find exactly what you are looking for this weekend be sure to talk to Keith about his commission work!

Work by Keith Wornell

Work by Keith Wornell

There are many other artists whose work will be exhibited at the PEI Crafts Council Christmas Fair at the Confederation Centre of the Arts. For more information about this weekend’s fair click here.

Arriving on Prince Edward Island later this month? There are plenty of other craft fairs and fun events to hit up! Glen Stewart Primary and Stratford Elementary will be hosting their Craft Fair on November 15th and 16th with over 70 exhibitors selling jewelry, bath and beauty products, toys, knitted products, Christmas decorations and packaged foods. An important annual fundraiser, proceeds from this event will go towards improvements at the schools.The Colonel Gray Christmas Craft Fair the following weekend will feature close to 100 venders selling fabulous handcrafted treasures, beautiful decorations and gifts for everyone on your list!

Screen Shot 2013-11-08 at 9.50.45 AM

After three solid weeks of craft fairs your presents should be wrapped and tucked beneath the tree by the last weekend of November, which makes it the perfect time for some family fun! Get the kids bundled up and come down to the Confederation Court Mall for hot chocolate, cookies and face painting before the heading outside into the streets to enjoy the 15th Annual Charlottetown Christmas Parade. The Parade begins at UPEI and runs all the way down University Avenue. It is Charlottetown at her seasonal best, and is a great way to enjoy the strong sense of family and community, and immerse yourself in the vibrant culture and cozy, warm glow that Charlottetown exudes when she gets all dressed up for the holidays! Stick around after the parade—Santa is coming to town! There is a rumour that he will be making a special appearance at the Confederation Court Mall immediately after the parade. Don’t tell him we told you!

Santa is coming to town! Come see for yourself at the Confederation Court Mall!

Santa is coming to town! Come see for yourself at the Confederation Court Mall in Charlottetown, PEI, November 30th!

If you are planning a Charlottetown vacation in December and are wondering what will be happening around town, stay tuned—we are working on an exciting new blog post about all the upcoming Christmas concerts and parties, as well as some fun ideas for ringing in the New Year in style!

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Postcards from Charlottetown

A postcard is a distillation of experience in a single shot: Storefronts saturated in warm, late afternoon sunlight; a maple tree aflame with a collage of crimson leaves against a baby blue sky; steam rising out of the delicate contours of a hand-painted teacup sitting atop a hand-smoothed wooden table top, a journal opened to a half written entry, pen lying in wait in the crease between pages; church steeples piercing an endless rush of inky storm clouds. The key to choosing the perfect postcard is finding one that captures the tactile experience of place in the spot where the shot was snapped, so that a friend or family member back home is given the gift of momentarily discovering a sense of place in a destination that they may not have visited yet. Below are six postcards that capture some of the things we love about Charlottetown in the fall:

Porktoberfest 

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PEI Porktoberfest at Terre Rouge Bistro Marche

October on Prince Edward Island needs an extra day. For 31 days solid, restaurants all across the Island are serving pulled pork sandwiches – 32 of them to be exact. The pork is all local, and perusing the list of the sandwich ingredients is guaranteed to make you drool. The month-long festival—aptly named Porktoberfest—is a terrific way to celebrate the local hog industry and the perfect excuse (if you needed one!) to enjoy a cold pint of Island-brewed blueberry or pumpkin ale!  If you prefer a home-cooked meal, a number of local markets like Riverview Country Market have an extra supply of PEI pork this month so that you can put your creative juices to the test and create your very own Porktoberfest sandwich at home! This is the second annual Porktoberfest Festival, and there are 24 options in Charlottetown alone, so you need not even venture out of town! For a full list of restaurants taking part visit www.peiporktoberfest.ca.

Fall Foliage

Leaves

© Discover Charlottetown, PEI

Charlottetown’s parks and streets in October transform themselves into a natural festival of colour: sunlight streams through canopies of brilliant crimson, pumpkin orange, canary yellow leaves, turning them into a breathtaking, constantly evolving collage against the wide open sky. Elms, lindens, maples and oaks blush brilliant hues and then slowly drop their fall blossoms like confetti, turning sidewalks, lawns and walkways into thick carpets of colour. Not to be outdone by the trees, residents decorate porches with pumpkins and scarecrows, and hang wreaths of dried flowers and crab apples on their front doors.  If you are on PEI for the last weekend of October, Charlottetown also boasts the best small town Trick-or-Treating in Atlantic Canada. Don’t take our word for it—come see for yourself!

Eclectic Shopping

Green Eye Designs, Charlottetown

Green Eye Designs, Charlottetown, PEI

If you know where to look, Charlottetown is an excellent place to find those one-of-a-kind, “where on earth did you find that?” purchases. From vintage clothes and antiques, to hand-made lace scarves, jewelry, pottery, home decor, music and soaps; olive oil and cheese to chocolates, the number and diversity of shops is surprising for a town the size of Charlottetown. Refreshingly, many of the most unique shops are located within easy walking distance of each other in the heart of the downtown core, which gives shopping in Charlottetown a distinctly European flavour.

Charlottetown Farmers' Market, PEI

Charlottetown Farmers’ Market, PEI. © Discover Charlottetown

Fall is also the perfect time to spend a morning at the Charlottetown Farmers’ Market. Open Saturdays from 9-2pm you can mill around outside, enjoy a cup of hot apple cider and browse hand made clothes, home-baked cookies and fresh produce while listening to live music, or take the plunge and immerse yourself in the surge of shoppers inside. The market serves Island-roasted coffee, a flavourful array of teas and tea lattes; freshly baked bread; pastries and handcrafted chocolates; vegetables; Island wine and beer; fresh and cured meats, cheese, fish, and ethnic food from Africa, Mexico, the Middle East and China. Once your belly is full be sure to check out the jewelry, soap made using island seaweed, hand-dipped candles, pottery, hand-woven sweaters, scarves, hats, mittens and slippers, fresh flowers and door wreaths.

Vibrant Art/Music Scene

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Live music at the Guild in Charlottetown, Saturday, November 16th, 2013

With all the colour outside, it is hard to want to go indoors. Save it for a rainy day, but don’t miss the Confederation Centre of the Arts Art Gallery, a beautiful exhibition space whose curator, a graduate of Yale’s art history program, brings a wonderful diversity of nationally acclaimed art together with lectures and literary events. This fall the gallery has three ongoing exhibits: Quotation: an exhibition focused on works of art that quote masterpieces from art history; Hilda Woolnough: A Retrospective, which includes drawings, prints, paintings and quilts created by one of PEI’s most influential artists of the past fifty years; Ni’n na L’nu: The Mi’kmaq of Prince Edward Island, which uses Wigwam-inspired structures to tell stories and interpret Mi’kmaq history; and Tactile Desires: The Work of Jack Sures, an exhibit of pots, sculptural forms and large-scale murals that explore the artist’s own roots, recent history and traditions of ceramics and pottery. A full list of upcoming workshops, lectures and readings can be found here. The Guild, across the street from the Confederation Centre of the Arts, also runs an interesting mix of art shows, dramatic performances and concerts.

There is so much happening in the Charlottetown music scene that it is hard to choose what live music performance to head out to every evening. From the lively, foot-stomping traditional Acadian fiddle tunes to jazz, blues or rock, Charlottetown’s nightlife is alive and thriving. A few upcoming performances you won’t want to miss at the Guild, The Mack and The Confederation Centre of the Arts are Stuart McLean and the Vinyl Café; Billy McGuigan’s Rock Legends; John McDermott; The PEI Symphony and Lennie Gallant; Dennis Ellsworth & The Dwellers and Jessica Rhaye; Rose Cousins, and the Cecilia String Quartet. For a full, updated list on everything happening around town, visit The Buzz or our website.

A Place to Rest Your Head

Fairholm Inn, Charlottetown

Fairholm Inn, Charlottetown. © Discover Charlottetown

Charlottetown’s hotels, motels, B & Bs and Inns are charming, cozy, centrally located, and often downright luxurious. Whether you’re a budget traveler looking for accommodations that provide just the basic necessities, a business traveler searching for meeting facilities, or a couple looking for a private romantic retreat, you are guaranteed to find accommodations that will fit the bill. Many of our downtown hotels, B & Bs and Inns are located in historic buildings that combine old world class with modern conveniences. Large windows that look out onto tree-lined streets, the occasional clatter of a passing horse-pulled carriage, colourful, beds covered with hand-made quilts, claw foot bathtubs and crackling fireplaces for warming up next to with a hot cup of tea or coffee after a stroll along the coastal boardwalk provide the old-fashioned comforts of a slower way of life in the heart of Charlottetown. To see a full list of our accommodations and book an island escape visit our website.

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Charlottetown hosts the PEI International Shellfish Festival

In 1996 Charlottetown hosted a one-day event to celebrate Prince Edward Island’s shellfish industry. Seventeen years later that single day event has grown into the PEI International Shellfish Festival–four action-packed days that feature culinary demos, celebrity chefs, delicious dining experiences, a potato seafood chowder competition and oyster shucking competitions, and live music!

The PEI International Shellfish Festival opened on September 12th with Feast and Frolic: a four-course meal prepared by Food Network celebrity chef Michael Smith highlighting PEI shellfish, lobster, beef, potatoes and vegetables. Some of the evening’s hightlights were interactive culinary challenges, Prince Edward Island stories told by Chef Michael Smith, and the crowning of the Islands Peoples Choice oyster grower for 2013!

Chef Michael Smith Menu for Feast & Frolic. Photo by Chef Ilona Daniel

Chef Michael Smith Menu for Feast & Frolic. Photo by Chef Ilona Daniel

The menu for this year included lobster chowder with butter poached Prince Edward Island lobster, celery root broth and foraged sea vegetables; a salad prepared using living salad greens freshly harvested from guests’ tables, homemade dressing (also prepared by guests) and Red Fife bread; Cabernet peppercorn Prince Edward Island Certified braised beef shortrib, snow crab cluster, PEI potato crab cake, local vegetables and tarragon butter, accompanied by bowls of fresh steamed Prince Edward Island Blue Mussels; and late harvest berry shortcake with Chef Michael’s sugar crusted nutmeg shortcake, Cows ice cream and local mint syrup!

Chef Michael Smith's Lobster chowder at Feast & Frolic 2013. Photo by the PEI International Shellfish Festival

Chef Michael Smith’s Lobster chowder at Feast & Frolic 2013. Photo by the PEI International Shellfish Festival

Main Course at Feast & Frolic with Chef Michael Smith. Photo by Joss Hilt

Main Course at Feast & Frolic with Chef Michael Smith. Photo by Joss Hiltz

Berry Shortcake with Cows Ice Cream at Feast & Frolic. Photo by Andrea White

Late harvest berry shortcake with Chef Michael’s sugar crusted nutmeg shortcake, Cows ice cream & local mint syrup at Feast & Frolic. Photo by Andrea White

Festival goers who did not manage to snag tickets to the sold out Feast and Frolic kicked off the opening evening of the PEI Shellfish Festival with Mott’s Clamato “Best Caesar in Town” contest at Peake’s Quay.

Competing for the Best Caesar in Town. PEI International Shellfish Festival. Photo by 95.1FM CFCY

Competing for the Best Caesar in Town. PEI International Shellfish Festival. Photo by 95.1FM CFCY

The second day of the festival features a shellfish cooking demonstration and “Back to Basics” cookbook signing with Chef Michael Smith, a Mott’s Clamato demonstration and the Mott’s Clamato “Best Caesar In Town” finals and presentation, the Garland Canada International Chef Challenge competition, the first heat of the PEI Potato Seafood Chowder Championship and an Oyster Relay presented by Frank’s RedHot. Throughout the day and night guests will enjoy live music throughout the day: performers include Celtic Ladies & Men, Eastern Front featuring Joey Kitson, Bang on the Ear and the Trews.

Entertainment at the 2013 PEI International Shellfish Festival.

Entertainment at the 2013 PEI International Shellfish Festival

On Saturday and Sunday festival goers can look forward to joining Chef Michael Smith for How To Make A Cooking Show and a second “Back to Basics” cookbook signing; the Tie One On Competition and finals; the Shiny Sea Oyster Shucking Competition; the PEI Potato Seafood Chowder Championship; the Garland Canada International Chef Challenge finals; the Atlantic Superstore International Seafood Chowder Championship and awards presentation; the Raspberry Point International Oyster Shucking Championship and more. On top of all the fun-filled culinary events the festival will have some hopping live entertainment throughout the weekend. The weekend’s featured musicians are Eddie Quinn, Boys in the Kitchen, Sunday Punch, Signal Hill, and the Chaisson family will wrap the weekend up on Sunday with some wicked Island tunes!

In the highly unlikely case that all of that activity and food isn’t enough for you, restaurants all over Charlottetown are serving special Fall Flavours menus that highlight the fall harvest from both land and sea, and are all a short stroll from the Charlottetown Event Grounds. If your trip to PEI is last-minute, you can see ferry departure times from Nova Scotia here, and if you are looking for accommodations we have a great selection for you to choose from, many of which are within walking distance from the Festival Event Grounds. So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags & escape to Prince Edward Island! We’ll see you at the festival!

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Explore our Farming Heritage & Win Big at Farm Day in the City with Bernardin

This year’s PEI Fall Flavours Festival culminates with a celebration of our Island’s farming and arts and crafts heritage in the heart of downtown Charlottetown. It is the last big hurrah in what will have been a month of celebrating the flavours of land and sea expertly prepared by local and visiting celebrity chefs, and savoured by islanders and visitors alike in coastal and inland locations scattered all across the exquisitely coloured fall landscape of Prince Edward Island.  By the end of September the air is carrying the first hints of winter chill, our root vegetables are sweeter, and the general hue of our culinary offerings has begun the transition from the bright greens of July and August to the rusts, ruby reds, bright oranges and yellows of our fall vegetables and fruits. The stands that our farmers set up along lower Queen Street are overflowing with orange, yellow and white pumpkins; many varieties of sweet, crisp apples from our local island orchards; fresh and dried cranberries; bunches of purple, orange and red carrots; beets; potatoes; turnips; parsnips, light green and deep purple cabbage and every shape and colour of winter squash imaginable.

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Farm Day in the City, Charlottetown, PEI. Photo by Ariana Salvo

Farm Day in the City, Charlottetown, PEI. Photo by Ariana Salvo

Farm Day in the City, Charlottetown, PEI. Photo by Ariana Salvo

Adults stand in groups sipping steaming hot cups of spiced apple cider and enjoying some tender local pork tenderloin paired with apple chutney while their children line up to be transformed into farm animals, butterflies and foxes by talented face-painters.

Farm Day in the City, Charlottetown, PEI. Photo by Ariana Salvo

Farm Day in the City, Charlottetown, PEI. Photo by Ariana Salvo

Farm Day in the City, Charlottetown, PEI. Photo by Ariana Salvo

Farm Day in the City, Charlottetown, PEI. Photo by Ariana Salvo

Local musicians share the main stage, providing a lively musical backdrop for locals and visitors as they wander up and down the street shopping, stopping to chat or to pat the resident farm animals brought in for the occasion. For those who have not managed to tour the many artists’ galleries and workshops located all over PEI this summer, Farm Day in the City is also the perfect time for those looking for birthday or Christmas gifts the chance to see the wide array of jewellery, photography, sculpture, paintings, ceramics, woodwork and weaving that our Island craftspeople have created this past season.

Farm Day in the City, Charlottetown, PEI. Photo by Ariana Salvo

Farm Day in the City, Charlottetown, PEI. Photo by Ariana Salvo

Farm Day in the City, Charlottetown, PEI. Photo by Ariana Salvo

Farm Day in the City, Charlottetown, PEI. Photo by Ariana Salvo

Because Prince Edward Island is blanketed in snow all winter, one of the many traditional fall activities on PEI is canning and pickling to preserve local fruit, vegetables and shellfish that can then be enjoyed through the winter and early spring. Farm Day in the City is a celebration not only of the wealth of flavours that are being harvested in the fall–it is also a community-building event that provides opportunities for those who attend to learn new skills and share knowledge, food, art and music with each other. Bernardin has been providing its customers with canning products, recipes and inspiration for 100 years.  With the mandate of providing people with the tools and expertise they need to bring nature’s bounty to their tables all year long, Bernardin’s mission fits perfectly with our goal of celebrating seasonal flavours at Farm Day in the City in Charlottetown. This September, to make sure that this year’s Farm Day in the City is the best one yet, Bernardin is kicking off the event with a free pickling and canning demonstration with Executive Chef Emerie Brine on September 28th from 12.30-1.30pm at the Culinary Institute of Canada! Participants are invited to come learn how to make the perfect pickles, enjoy samples, and leave with a jar to share with friends and family! In addition to this fun-filled event, Discover Charlottetown and Bernardin are hosting a pre-event contest! Check the details out below, and then enter your recipe for a chance to win here.

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Not a canner/pickler? Not to worry! Visit Bernardin’s website for some inspiration and share your favourite recipe from the site! Join us September 28th for some pickling fun, and come back for a full day of fun on the 29th at Farm Day in the City! See you there!

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