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Charlottetown Through Your Eyes: John Morris

Each week, Charlottetown will be showcased through the eyes of a different photographer or artist. The first week was through the eyes of John Morris of Lens Make A Picture. His new book ”A Trip Around Prince Edward Island” can be found at local bookstore and shops across the Island.

 

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So. Much. Music.

Can we take a minute to talk about how excited I am for summer in Charlottetown?

So. Much. Music.

Charlottetown starts the summer with a series of free outdoor concerts in Victoria Park for the Charlottetown 1864 Anniversary Celebrations June 10th – 15th. I discovered that a lot of my favourite people will be hitting up the stage. Gordie MacKeeman and His Rhythm Boys (June 10), Rose Cousins (June 11), Nudie (June 12), Coyote (June 13), More Soul (June 14) and Paper Lions (June 15) are just the tip of this musical iceberg.

Festival of Small Halls returns in June with shows across the Island, including the Late Nights Festival Club at The Old Triangle in downtown Charlottetown. The Late Nights Festival Club starts at 10pm: June 13, 14, 20 and 21. The lineup for Late Nights is usually kept secret, but trust me when I tell you, the surprise is totally worth it.

A couple of weeks later, starting June 28th, Big Red Fest kicks off the first of two weekends at the Charlottetown Event Grounds. You can find all of the ticket and full lineup info on their website. I can’t decide who I am more excited to see that first weekend: Marianas Trench, Lights, Sam Roberts Band or Hey Rosetta.

Canada Day in Charlottetown is going to be jam-packed. In addition to the 10,000 free access passes that have already been reserved there will be 5,000 more available (first come, first served) on July 1st at the Charlottetown Event Grounds. The Concert for Canada features: David Myles, Classified, Roch Voisine, George Canyon, Tegan and Sara and Barenaked Ladies. Did I mention that all of this is free? Don’t forget about the fireworks on the waterfront too!

The 2014 Celebration Zone opens on Canada Day on the waterfront at Confederation Landing  and will keep everyone busy this summer with a series of free concerts. You can reserve your free passes starting mid-June. If you’re a fan of Natalie MacMaster and/or The Barra MacNeils you will want to be there that first night (July 4). Keep an eye out for Serena Ryder (July 11), Paul Brandt (July 18), Burton Cummings (July 24), Matthew Good (August 8), Buffy Sainte-Marie (August 13), 1755 (August 15), Matt Andersen (August 16) and The Sheepdogs (August 23). There’s more: Music PEI has put together a killer lineup of local talent. Seriously. There are a lot of insanely talented musicians who just happen to call PEI home and you should definitely be checking out these shows this summer!

The Killers

The Killers

On July 12, I’ll definitely be heading back over to the Charlottetown Event Grounds for the 2nd weekend of Big Red Fest. When this lineup was pulled together it was like the organizers were reading my diary. Death Cab for Cutie, Bahamas, Matt Mays, The Killers, Town Heroes and July Talk are all on my must-see list. If you’re looking for me, I’ll be the girl down front swooning over some of my favourites.

From August 7-16 the Civic Centre will play host to everyone’s favourite summer event – Old Home Week. Every year the organizers put together a roster of top-notch musical entertainment and 2014 is no different. There are so many great artists, you just need to check out their website for the full lineup.

Ron Sexsmith

Ron Sexsmith

The TD Jazz & Blues Festival lineup this year is pretty incredible, let’s be honest it always is. I can’t believe I have never been! There are a few big changes happening with the festival this year, including moving to the PEI Brewing Company. Sherman Downey & The Ambiguous Case with The Chronos Band(August 21), Joel Plaskett Emergency with Mo Kenney (August 22), The Legendary Downchild Blues Band with The F-Holes (August 23) will all be hitting up the main stage and John Campbelljohn (August 23) will be on the late night. St. Paul’s Church is the home of the audience favourite church series, which includes Ron Sexsmith and Dylan Menzie (August 22). I also highly recommend checking out Ben Caplan (August 23) at Fishbones.

One of the last big concerts that will be happening this summer is probably the one that everyone has been waiting for the longest. Canadian country music icon, Shania Twain, will be a part of Founder’s Week 2014 celebrations on August 30th. Did you know that this will be the first time that Shania Twain has ever performed on the Island AND it’s her first concert in the Atlantic Provinces in 15 years?  True story.

One last thing. Confederation Centre of the Arts is doing something pretty cool this summer. They have created the concert series ‘Spotlight PEI’. Starting July 12th with Meaghan Blanchard, each week will see a different Island artist taking over The Mack. This concert series could easily be renamed ‘Shannon’s Favourite Island Musicians’. Ten Strings and a Goat Skin (July 19), Ashley Condon (July 26), The Meds (August 2), The First Waltz (August 9), Dennis Ellsworth and Haunted Hearts (August 16), Paper Lions (August 23) and Catherine MacLellan (August 30) round out the roster of amazing artists playing this concert series.

Shannon Pratt

Shannon Pratt

I honestly don’t know how I am going to narrow down my summer concert wish list. I might need to clone myself . I think everyone can agree that there is no better place to be in the summer than Prince Edward Island. Seriously. If you add all of these amazing concerts into the mix, what could possibly be better?

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Shannon Pratt, a self-proclaimed music junkie, has been working in the arts (film, television, event production and music) for close to 15 years. When she isn’t out at shows she can be found in her garden playing with her pups. Twitter @ShannonPratt // @luckproductions  ShannonPratt on Instagram

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It’s a Big Year for Theatre in Charlottetown

The sun is starting to shine and the snow is starting to melt. The feel of Spring is finally in the air! With the early signs of Spring approaching, that can only mean one thing- the beginning of the summer theatre season. I may be a little biased as I am three of the shows I am about to chat about, but I really think that this is going to be the summer to see theatre on PEI. With so much to offer and so many different stories to share, you’re not going to want to miss any of them. Let’s get started.

Charlie Brown

Kicking off the theatre season is “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown” taking place at The Guild May 2-4 and 8-10. Presented by newly formed company Head First

Productions, this show is sure to please a crowd of all ages. Telling the story of a day in the life of Charlie Brown, this bright and colorful musical follows Charlie’s constant mishaps and misfortunes through classic songs and dance numbers made famous by the Schulz comic strip, Peanuts.

Banquet (Nir Arieli photo)

P.E.I. native, Mark Sampson is leading a new interpretation-in-dance collaboration entitled Banquet. (L-R) Sampson, Cleo Person, Zoe McNeil, and Daniel Ching (Nir Arieli photo.)

If art and dance is up your alley, I highly recommend checking out “Banquet” at the Confederation Centre Arts Gallery May 31 to June 7. Choreographed by Mark Sampson and orchestrated by Christina Bouey, this mixture of movement and music explores the idea of immigrants coming together to try and build a cohesive community, fighting through feelings of alienation, homesickness, loss and ultimately, harmony.

1864: The Tall Hat Chronicles

1864: The Tall Hat Chronicles

2014 marks a big year for PEI due its strong place in history in the year 1864- the year of the Charlottetown Conference and the Meeting of the Fathers of Confederation. To celebrate that union of men, “1864: The Tall Hat Chronicles” will take a comical and satirical look at the Island’s history as it relates to the wider history of Canada and the world from July 1st until October 14th.

Jenn Rider-Shaw and Gabe Antonacci in Canada ROCKS! (Dwayne Brown Studio photo)

Jenn Rider-Shaw and Gabe Antonacci in Canada ROCKS! (Dwayne Brown Studio photo)

Nothing celebrates our nation more than The Charlottetown Festival’s first show to hit the main stage, “Canada ROCKS” June 19 to September 27. Coming back for its third incarnation, this show is sure to be a crowd pleaser of any Canadian music fan in any genre. Along with classic Canadian artists like Celine Dion, Tom Cochrane and Bryan Adams, the show will also feature new tunes from artists such as Metric, Arcade Fire, Justin Bieber and more. Make sure you snag tickets to this toe-tapper.

Katie Kerr and PEI’s Jessica Gallant as kindred Spirits Anne and Diana in Anne of Green Gables—The Musical™ (Charlottetown Festival, Louise Vessey photo)

Katie Kerr and PEI’s Jessica Gallant as kindred Spirits Anne and Diana in Anne of Green Gables—The Musical™ (Charlottetown Festival, Louise Vessey photo)

The Festival’s second and most famous (and now record-breaking) show is of course, the class tale of “Anne of Green Gables”. Celebrating its 50th year, “Anne of Green Gables- The Musical” is sure warm the heart for all ages and lovers of the novels and non-readers alike from July 1 to September 24. Chalk full of great songs, dance numbers and the return of Katie Kerr in the title role with Islander Jessica Gallant by her side as Diana Berry, you won’t want to miss this.

Anne & Gilbert The Musical

Anne & Gilbert The Musical

After you’ve seen the original, head across the street to The Guild. There, you will find the continuing story of Anne with “Anne & Gilbert- The Musical” June 17- October 12. Toted as the story of “Anne in love”, you will follow her remarkable journey through amazing Island tunes and some great stepping. Returning once again in the lead roles are Patrick Cook as Gilbert and Ellen Denny as Anne. You’ll be lucky if you don’t have “Island Through and Through” stuck in your head for days afterwards.

Lennie Gallant in Searching for Abegweit – the Island Songs & Stories of Lennie Gallant (Louise Vessey photo)

Lennie Gallant in Searching for Abegweit – the Island Songs & Stories of Lennie Gallant (Louise Vessey photo)

Rounding out the Charlottetown Festival’s season is “Searching for Abegweit”, debuting June 26 until August 29. Island legends, folklore and poignant tales are woven into the beautiful folk, blues and pop music of Lennie Gallant. The show also features multimedia that utilizes film, and visual works from well-known painter Karen Gallant.

Like I mentioned earlier, this is the summer to see shows in Charlottetown so make sure you get your tickets and book your trip to the Island. I look forward to seeing you in Charlottetown this summer.

Tyrell Witherspoon

Tyrell Witherspoon

 

Tyrell Witherspoon is appearing as Snoopy in “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown” at The Guild on May 2-4, 8-10 and will also appear on the Charlottetown Festival stage in both Anne of Green Gables and Canada Rocks. For more on Tyrell, follow on Twitter: @tlwither.

 

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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!

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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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