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A Foodie’s Guide to the Fall Flavours Finale

By Shannon Courtney

With Charlottetown’s new Fall Flavours Finale Weekend taking place Oct 2nd to Oct 4th, I’m here to help you make the most of your foodie getaway.  As any seasoned foodie knows, planning a weekend getaway of feasting is a fine art that takes years of intense study and experimentation. Finding that sweet spot between being simply satiated and being stuffed to the brim is a worthy, yet often elusive endeavour. Besides the arduous task of choosing what and where to eat during a foodie-centric weekend getaway, one must also take into consideration post-meal resting periods and include time for some basic exercise  (like walking from one eating spot to the next).

Really, when you boil it down, it’s all about pacing. Lucky for you, I’ve got my Masters in Food Festival Pacing and have spent countless hours planning out the ultimate Fall Flavours Finale experience. Follow my sage advice (don’t you love how easy it is to make food puns) and you’re sure to have a deliciously grand time.


PEI Seafood


Kick your Friday night off with an Acadian-themed evening courtesy of the Confederation Centre of the Arts.  Evangeline the Musical, based on Longfellow’s famous poem of the same name, tells the tale of star-crossed lovers torn apart during the 1755 Acadian Deportation and this year’s refreshed version of the musical has been winning the hearts of audiences and reviewers alike. What does a heroic love story have to do with food you might ask.   Well, what’s a night at the theatre without a three-course dinner to start things off?  And, oh my, the Centre’s in-house restaurant, Mavor’s, has gone to great lengths to make sure you fall as much in love with its menu as you do with the musical that follows. Inspired by Louisiana cuisine that has its roots in Acadian cuisine, you can look forward to gumbo, a bourbon-inspired chicken dish and a most decadent dessert of bread pudding finished with rum sauce. Really, you can’t go wrong with a meal that includes bourbon and rum in the food itself! After you’ve polished off your meal, it’s mere steps to the your seats in the theatre, where sit back and enjoy world-class theatre while your stomach takes a much-needed rest.




After the theatre gets out, I’m going to wager you’ll be ready to head back to your lovely accommodations to enjoy a fitful sleep before Saturday’s marathon of food. Be sure to set your alarm, Saturday is going to be a full day!

For many Islanders, including yours truly, a visit to the Charlottetown Farmers’ Market is a Saturday morning ritual.  The CFM, which is located across from UPEI on Belvedere Avenue, is really one part market, one part breakfast/lunch spot, and one part social hub.  I can absolutely guarantee that whilst you are making your way through the indoor aisles, you will come across a group of people who’ve run into each other and are ‘catching up’. I can also guarantee that you’ll be impressed by the array of local produce, meats, cheese and other edible products on offer (bring a re-usable grocery bag and stock up for next week’s meals!).  On Oct 3rd, the Market will be featuring a Fall Flavours Finale Cook-Off. The event will see three local chefs duke it out in a friendly competition to create culinary masterpieces with food sourced from the market.  Well-known local foodies Todd MacLean, Ann Thurlow and Andrew Sprague will be on hand to judge the creations.  The cook-off takes place from 10am until noon, and is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.


Charlottetown Farmers Market


Apples at the Market


Lunch options abound in Charlottetown, but if you have a hankering for bacon, I highly recommend heading to one of the restaurants participating in Porktoberfest. This year’s month long celebration of all things pork will see Island chefs vying to win the award for The Ultimate Bacon Sandwich and I can’t think of any better way to ensure lunch satisfaction.




After lunch, you might be ready for a sit down and what better place to give your feet  a rest than at the Culinary Institute of Canada, where you can take in a FREE canning and pickling workshop hosted by Bernardin’s very own executive chef, Emerie Brine, from 1pm to 2pm. Learn how to make the perfect bread and butter pickles, as well as super easy freezer jam! Enjoy samples and leave with a bevy of canning knowledge!



A mid-afternoon wander through Charlottetown’s charming streets will give you a chance to stretch your legs and enjoy the many delightful shops, cafes and historic sites in the downtown area. Or, if you’re in the mood for a brew, you could check out one of Charlottetown’s three craft breweries. The Gahan House, PEI Brewing Company, and Upstreet Craft Brewing all have unique atmospheres and delightful beers to suit every taste.


Saturday evening marks the final Signature Fall Flavours event of this year’s festival and you’re going to need your eating pants for this one.  The Great Big BBQ with Chef Mark McEwan is new to the festival roster this year, but I’m already convinced it’s going to be a keeper and, in all likelihood, it will be sold out so you’ll want to purchase tickets in advance.  The BBQ takes place on Charlottetown’s historic waterfront at the bottom of Queen St. Beneath a big white tent, you’ll have the chance to indulge in a buffet-style BBQ that includes 7 different food stations. Taking centre stage will be a 300lb Bluefin Tuna served up in various styles (sashimi, tartare and seared over a couscous salad), but there will loads of other Island fare to enjoy, including lobster poutine, mussel chowder, Island beef sliders with gouda cheese, and grilled striploin. With Chef Mark McEwan heading up this feast, it’s most certainly going to be a night to remember for all that attend!


Great Big BBQ


After an evening of BBQing, you’ll be all tuckered out. No need to set the alarm clocks Sunday morning should be reserved for an unhurried awakening and lounging around.  Once you feel ready for the day, you’ll want to head to lower Queen Street for the 8th Annual Farm Day in the City, the Island’s largest outdoor farmers’ market of the year. With over 130 farmers, food producers, artisans, crafters and exhibitors, as well as  live music on two stages, a petting zoo,  and plenty of other family-friendly entertainment, you’ll want to allocate a good two or three hours to meandering along Queen Street (from Grafton to Dorchester), Victoria Row and the Confederation Centre’s plaza. The market runs from 11am to 5pm and is free to attend.


Farm Day is a great place to pick up fresh farm food as well as lunch from one of the vendors or the many restaurants that line the streets and offer Farm Day specials. Make sure you save room for dinner though, because the Certified Organic Producers Cooperative will be capping off the Fall Flavours Finale Weekend with their Annual Organic Harvest Meal, which you don’t want to miss! You’ll be amazed at the dishes created exclusively using fresh, organic foods grown by members of the co-operative.  Sit back and enjoy your organic meal while listening to tunes by the Amanda Jackson Band. And if you feel the urge to ask the farmer sitting at your table for some gardening tips, I’m pretty sure they’ll be happy to oblige.

And that, my foodie friends, is how you make it through a food-centric weekend in Charlottetown with your taste buds satisfied and your tummy intact. I hope you find yourself inspired by the Island’s bountiful harvest and our many talented farmers, food producers and chefs.

Shannon Courtney is a  avid foodie and local food advocate. While she doesn’t really have a Masters in Food Festival Pacing, Shannon did write her Masters thesis on the role of local food systems with regards to community development.  Shannon is currently employed with Discover Charlottetown as the Communications & Marketing Manager. 


How to ‘Art in the Open’

By Pan Wendt, Co-curator, Art in the Open

For the fifth year running, this August 29th from 4pm till midnight, downtown Charlottetown’s streets and parks will be enlivened by a one-day free visual art festival, Art in the Open. Featuring over 30 temporary sculptures and installations, performances, projections, and other ephemeral art projects, this event has become a popular fixture in the city, attracting thousands of viewers. This year’s theme is Signals, and many of the pieces are focused on the variety of ways we communicate and mediums we employ to send messages.

'Creativity' - Art in the Open 2014

The Creativity Project – Art in the Open 2014

As one of the event’s organizers, I receive plenty of messages from the public, usually positive feedback about the festival. But I also hear some constructive criticism, and very often it focuses on viewers missing out on work, particularly scheduled performances, because they struggle to navigate and be in the right place at the right time. Some works are only present at night, some only during the day. Some performances only happen a few times, and so on.

In response to this, I usually mention that part of the point of Art in the Open is to enjoy the city in a different way, and come across some pieces unexpectedly. This is why we don’t use a lot of signage, but instead provide a small guidebook with a map, available this year the week of the festival at City Hall, Confederation Centre Art Gallery and Receiver Coffee Co.

That said, I’m glad to offer a suggested route that makes it possible to see almost all of the pieces (all of them if you are really ambitious and don’t mind walking approximately 5 kilometres!), and gives you a little bit of a preview of this year’s festival.  So without further ado, here’s my suggestions on how to ‘Art in the Open’ in 2015:

4 pm – Start off downtown at 4 pm on Victoria Row, with the performance of Montreal artist Coral Short and Sarah Wendt’s Laughter Choir. After this it’s an ideal time to explore some of the downtown projects, including the family-oriented Creativity Project on Victoria Row and Paul Griffin’s Sarcophagus sculpture, a giant tree ornamented with a skin of galvanized nails, on the Confederation Centre Plaza in front of the Art Gallery entrance. And check out Coral Short’s mobile performance, Plush, as it walks about the Confederation Centre Plaza and Victoria Row any time between 6 and 7 pm. Another event is happening downtown that you might want to check out, the Fine Art and Craft market (Market on the Plaza, noon to 10pm) on the Confederation Centre Plaza, a great opportunity to meet some of the inspiring artists who call PEI home.

Circus - Art in the Open 2014

Circus – Art in the Open 2014

From downtown, head to Rochford Square, which includes several installations, including works by the Architects’ Association of P.E.I. And from there visit the area around Government Pond and Beaconsfield, where you can visit a mobile museum by Manitoba artist Andrew Milne, and experience the making of a tintype (a 19th century photographic medium) with Karen Stentaford, and an ongoing performance/installation by P.E.I. artist Nancy Cole. The Beaconsfield Assembly Dancers provide a demonstration from 7-8 pm. Or you can head along the path to Victoria Park, see Ahmon Katz’s sculpture and catch the final 7pm performance of Time Travel Theatre by Faye Pund and Leonard MacPherson, who present a historical reenactment with a comic twist, focused on surveyor Samuel Holland, who famously surveyed the Island in 1765 and produced a groundbreaking map that is currently on display at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery.

Note: an alternative route would be to stay downtown and join the March of the Crows (a raucous parade of black-clad “crows”) that leaves the Grafton Street side of Province House at 7:30 pm and travels through the festival sites to arrive at Victoria Park at 8 pm. This means you miss some of the performances, but do get to experience the brilliance of traveling with the crows.

March of the Crows - Art in the Open 2014

March of the Crows – Art in the Open 2014

Check out the numerous installations around the front fields of Victoria Park, including Jerry Ropson’s flagpole works at Ford Edward Battery. At around 7:45 the park comes alive, with Mi’kmaq drumming and singing by the Lone Cry Singers, and the arrival of the cacophonous March of the Crows. As dusk falls, the 21 fires of Vancouver-based artist Scott Saunders (Field of Fire) will be lit, and Mi’kmaq Legends can be seen from bleachers behind the Victoria Park floral sign, starting at 8:15 (when the little crows settle down for a story).

Walking the woods of Victoria Park at night is always a highlight of Art in the Open. Explore the major sculptural pieces by Kent Senecal (look for a car hanging from a crane in the tennis courts’ parking lot) and Gerald Beaulieu (a 20-foot tall surprise we won’t spoil, hidden in a clearing in the woods), as well as new media installations and more sculpture. For a break from the hubbub, visit Monica Lacey’s interactive Cocoon. At 9:45 in the park (the bleachers behind the park sign), Coral Short and Sarah Wendt present another performance, Scream Choir.

Field of Fire - Art in the Open 2014

Field of Fire – Art in the Open 2014

Head back downtown to see some of the works that animate the city at night, including a projection-based installation by Carmen Belanger and Andy Reddin in Rochford Square, Damien Worth’s piece in the window of Receiver Coffee on Victoria Row, and Sandi Hartling’s piece in the non-fiction section of the Public Library at the Confederation Centre. Halifax artist Michael McCormack is presenting Beacon in the Grafton St. entrance of the Confederation Centre Art Gallery, a work that receives and sends signals via ham radio. Signals sent by this piece will animate the city with sound and light at various locations downtown. And finally wander into the gallery to see the exhibitions and catch the 11pm surreal multimedia/dance performance by the Montreal-based Inflatable Deities.

Art in the Open 2014

Wagon Blues – Art in the Open 2014

This tour doesn’t capture everything in Art in the Open and I know you will discover other works along the way. Myself and the rest of the Art in the Open team hope you enjoy the amazing creativity on display, and the wonderful parks and public spaces of downtown Charlottetown!


Feature Image Photo Credit: Back to the Future by Gerald Beaulieu 2014, photo by Michael Wasnidge


Exploring Charlottetown by Water

By Aaron Hansen

Charlottetown has many elements that contribute to it being one of the best places to visit and enjoy during the summer. Many would argue that one of Charlottetown’s greatest assets is its proximity to the water. Nestled between two rivers, there is no shortage of stunning views, shorelines to explore, and activities to take part in that are water-centric. As a seafaring kind of guy, who spends many, many hours every summer enjoying Charlottetown’s waterscapes, I’m here to give you the insider’s scoop on some of the city’s best water-based outing. Whether you’re visiting on holiday, a seasonal resident, or simply looking for something fresh and fun to try, Historic Hillsborough River has got you covered.

Go On An Amphibious Adventure

Take an exciting ride on the very large amphibious vehicle called the Harbour Hippo! Discover Charlottetown from the water on this guided tour that travels both in the water and through the streets of downtown Charlottetown. You and your family will love crashing into the water as the Hippo drives from the street straight into the water. Not only will you enjoy unique views of the City from the water, you’ll also be privy to great insights and stories from the friendly tour guides!

Get out on the red boat, the Harbour Hippo!

Get out on the red boat, the Harbour Hippo!

Fun For The Whole Gang

If you happen to be part of a larger group and are looking for something unique and guaranteed to be good fun, I recommend checking out Peake’s Wharf Boat Tours. These guys will accommodate pretty much any request when it comes to experiences like hauling in a lobster trap, cooking mussels or checking out some seals. If you  are playing host to a family reunion or your team just won a big game, the 45ft Fairview can handle the whole group and provide some fantastic summer memories.

Get a gang together and check out Peake's Wharf Boat Tours

Get a gang together and check out Peake’s Wharf Boat Tours.

Another great option for those who are especially keen on trying their hand at lobster fishing and lobster feasting is Top Notch Lobster Tours. Captain Mark Jenkins offers morning, afternoon and evening tours for up to 12 people on his genuine lobster boat. You’ll get to haul trap, band a claw, take your turn at the wheel and, of course, sit down to a lobster meal at the end of it all. Truly, it doesn’t get much more PEI than heading out on a lobster boat!

mmerse yourself in a lobster fishing experience with Top Notch Lobster Tours.

Immerse yourself in a lobster fishing experience with Top Notch Lobster Tours.

Charter A Sailing Boat

If you’re looking for something a little more hands-on to fill a beautiful summer day, you may want to consider chartering a sailboat for you and up to 12 of your closest friends. Saga Sailing Adventures offers a beautiful 36’ Canadian designed fiberglass sail boat that will take your group out on the water, where you can enjoy all sorts of activities, from snorkelling and swimming to exploring isolated beaches or catching a tan on deck. With Captain Kurt Martel at the helm you can rest at ease as he puts his 20+ year of sailing experience to work and provides you with an enjoyable and memorable outing that is sure to be on your summer highlight reel.

Get Really Close To The Water

If being a bit closer to the action is your preference, there are all sorts of paddle activities that you can try your hand at in Charlottetown. Your starting point will be the Charlottetown Yacht Club, where  there is a beautiful public boat launch for kayaks, canoes and stand up paddleboards. Feel free to take your own boat down and launch from this facility or, if you’re visiting, Paddles PEI is conveniently located right next to the boat launch. Their friendly staff will get you on your way in a single or double kayak or you can try your hand at stand up paddleboarding! Once on the water you can explore the various marinas, cruse along Victoria Park or take a longer paddle up the North River. Again, this is one of those activities that will, undoubtedly, be etched in your memories of summer for a long time to come.

Try your hand at stand-up paddleboarding

Try your hand at stand-up paddleboarding

Sit Back And Enjoy The View

Perhaps sitting back and enjoying some food and drink is on your ‘must do’ list, or maybe you’re just really hungry after kayaking the river!  No problem, Charlottetown’s waterfront has many spectacular patio restaurants with the mesmerizing views of the water. Feel free to pull up a chair, order some grub and watch the sailboats, cruise ships, and stunning vistas of the Historic Hillsborough River. There are many options to choose from including of Steamers, Lobster on the Wharf, Peake’s Quay, and Brakish. Wile away the evening hours on one of these patios or enjoy the Island tradition known as ‘patio-hopping’.

Enjoy waterfront views while you dine on delicious, local foods.

Enjoy waterfront views while you dine on delicious, local foods.

There’s plenty more to do on and along Charlottetown’s waterways, but part of the joy is in discovering those hidden gems, so I’ll leave a few for you to find on your own.  And remember, when visiting Charlottetown, you’re on island time, where everything is close by and you’re never more than 30 min from an amazing beach!

Happy adventuring!

Aaron Hansen is a lifelong Islander who grew up in Stratford and works in Charlottetown. He spends the majority of his time on the Charlottetown waterfront and operates Paddles Kayak and Paddleboard Rentals at the Charlottetown Yacht Club.


A Summer’s Day in Charlottetown

By Jennifer MacPhail

First, I’m here to tell you a secret. Like any good secret, it’s a well-known one, but in the event you haven’t been told – this city is pretty great in the summer.

Summer starts on Sunday, June 21st. To kick off the season and celebrate the longest day of the year, Discover Charlottetown has created Summer Solstice Weekend, which will feature three days jam-packed with summer-inspired things to see, do, taste, and hear in Charlottetown, running from June 19th to June 21st.

With so much to enjoy in the City, where does one begin? I’ve been asked to share my tips on how to make the most of a sun-filled day in Charlottetown – whether it be during Summer Solstice Weekend or any other time during the season.

Fueling Your Day

The sun is shining and you’ve just woken up. What are you going to do today? Well, first you need to grab a bicycle. The Confederation Trail runs through Charlottetown and links downtown to the rest of the Island, offering a safe route for cyclists, dog walkers, joggers, and everyone else you find on the trail. If you’re visiting and don’t have a bike, we’ve got you covered with numerous rental spots in Charlottetown.  If it’s Saturday or Wednesday, you’ll want to head to the Charlottetown Farmers’ Market first thing in the morning. It’s conveniently located on the Confederation Trail and full of delicious local foods and beautiful artisan items. As part of the Summer Solstice Weekend, on June 20th, the Market is hosting a special chef demo. Be sure to sign up ahead of time for this tasty experience!

Enjoy locally produced food at the market!

Enjoy locally produced food at the market!

If your trip to the market didn’t fill your belly (hard to imagine!) and you find yourself a bit peckish, you’ll want to head to Receiver Coffee Co. on Victoria Row. You will arrive, look at the menu, and think, “So many delicious options, however will I decide?!” You will order the breakfast bake. Yes, other things will tempt you, but don’t second guess yourself (If you choose to ignore my advice you’ll be fine, as everything on the menu is excellent!).

Shopping & Wandering

So far I have advised you to eat a lot of food. It’s important to maintain balance in life, so now you might want to take a stroll. Make your way to Peake’s Wharf Historic Waterfront and visit the shops that open their doors for the summer season. Enjoy live music at the outdoor stage and check out the sales taking place during Summer Solstice Weekend. On your wander down to the waterfront, you’ll also discover plenty of other unique shops and beautiful storefronts, particularly on Queen Street, Great George Street, Water Street, and Victoria Row.

Peake's Wharf Historic Waterfront

Peake’s Wharf Historic Waterfront

Peake’s Wharf Historic Waterfront is handily located next to Confederation Landing Park, which will play host to many Summer Solstice Weekend activities. Stop in and visit Parks Canada’s Discovery Dome, stroll through Artisan Alley and stop to marvel at the artisan demonstrations, enjoy a sneak peek of snippets from the Island Fringe Festival, take in National Aboriginal Day Celebrations, and get your face painted (or, you know, maybe your kid’s face).

Fun Times Outside

Charlottetown is blessed with great swaths of green space, the most popular being, arguably, Victoria Park. There is a boardwalk that stretches along the waterfront, trails in the woods, a children’s play area, tennis courts, a pool, and lots of space to toss around a frisbee. During the summer, one of the driving lanes is shut down to traffic and turned over to cyclists, skateboarders, and in-line skaters.

Enjoy a stroll along the boardwalk

Enjoy a stroll along the boardwalk

Frisbee at Victoria Park

Frisbee at Victoria Park

If your golf clubs are begging to be used, you are in the right place. Although there are many golf courses in the Greater Charlottetown Area, Fox Meadow Golf & Country Club gets a special mention for their Summer Solstice promotion. On June 20th or 21st, you can enjoy unlimited golf for the entire day at a special rate of $50.

Perhaps swinging a club at a tiny, white, unpredictable ball (sigh) doesn’t appeal to you, but you feel like reaching new heights. Cornwall’s Rise and Climb Adventure Course gives you the chance to channel your inner monkey as you clip on for an exciting ropes course. On Friday, June 19th, they are hosting their first-ever Solstice night climb starting at 8:30pm, which will allow participants to complete the course in a new, challenging way.

I’m Hungry Again!

For entertainment of a different sort, Red Shores Racetrack & Casino offers a choice of two restaurants and front row seats to live harness racing while you enjoy your meal. You can even place bets on the races from your table!

Enjoy front row seats to the races while enjoying dinner at Top of the Park

Enjoy front row seats to the races while enjoying dinner at Top of the Park

Watch live harness racing up close.

Watch live harness racing up close.

Stomach still rumbling? Perfect, now it’s time for ice cream. COWS was selected by Reader’s Digest as Canada’s best ice cream, a well deserved designation. Ice cream is also available at numerous other downtown locations, including Billy Timber Ice Cream & Candy Co. at Peake’s Wharf, Downtown Convenience, Cy’s, Kiwanis Dairy Bar at Victoria Park, and others. I feel pretty confident in saying Charlottetown is an ice cream friendly destination.

This COWS statue gets almost as much love as their ice cream!

This COWS statue gets almost as much love as their ice cream!

Sometimes it happens that you’ve already had ice cream for, oh, eight days in a row. For something different head to Anne of Green Gables Chocolates. Smile politely and act surprised when the store’s friendly staff offer you a sample. There are lots of goodies here fighting for your attention, but the show stealer is the chocolate covered potato chips.

Night Time Fun

You’re full now, right? Good, because we need to talk about fun evening activities. One particular Charlottetown cultural activity you might not read about in your guide is pub trivia. On almost any night of the week there is a pub somewhere in Charlottetown hosting trivia. Hunter’s Ale House leads the pack by having trivia three or four nights a week. I will warn you, trivia can be busy. You shouldn’t expect to get a table if you wait until start time to arrive. Also, schedules do change and you may find some places on hiatus during the summer months (surely reason enough to return to PEI during the fall or winter!).

Oh My, It’s Raining

Anytime I imagine a particular day or event, I always envision sunny skies. It is a fact, however, that PEI’s weather can be unpredictable by times and the reason our grass is so green is because it rains on occasion. No bother, grab your wellies and rain coat and head downtown. Do you like musicals starring red-headed heroines? Me too! Catch Anne of Green Gables – The Musical on stage at the Confederation Centre of the Arts or cross the street to The Guild and enjoy Anne all grown up and in love in Anne & Gilbert: The Musical. Both venues also house art galleries, so be sure to arrive early and take some time to wander around. The Confederation Centre is also the temporary home of an impressive recreation of Province House’s legislature, which is currently closed for refurbishment, and a fascinating video that will give you insight into the role Charlottetown played in Confederation.

The Confederation Centre of the Arts

The Confederation Centre of the Arts

If you prefer stage productions that don’t star enthusiastic orphans, you’ll be pleased to know that there are numerous live theatre performances and musical revues at the Confederation Centre, the Mack, The Guild, and the PEI Brewing Company on select nights to suit all ages and tastes.

Sometimes it’s nice to incorporate a bit of education into your day. Pop up your umbrella and head to Founders’ Hall. This attraction tells the story of Canada’s birth and how the country evolved geographically to get to where it is today. The venue also has a shop, restaurant, and Visitor Information Centre should you be stuck for fun activities, need a map, or wish to pick up some souvenirs.

Many people are willing to golf in the rain, but if you prefer to stay dry go upstairs in the Confederation Court Mall and go to All About Golf, an indoor golf simulator.

City Cinema is a single-screen cinema showing movies that are not typically screened at major theatres. On the weekend there are two showings per night, which still gives you plenty of time to pop into a pub later for a beverage and live music.

Well That Was a Busy Day

That was a pretty full day, wasn’t it? And one of the best parts is that there is still lots left to do throughout the rest of the summer! Be sure to return to Discover Charlottetown’s website frequently, give them a like on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter to learn about the latest Summer Solstice events and other festivals happening throughout the summer.

Happy exploring!

Jennifer MacPhail is a long-time blogger, avid cyclist, former Disney World Cast member, and cat lover. She lives in downtown Charlottetown and is excited every time there is a cruise ship in town.


Backstage with the May Run Music Festival Family

Hello there! My name is Carolyn Chaisson and I am the assistant to Music PEI’s ED, Rob Oakie. Along with Kate Gracey-Stewart, I am overseeing the marketing and communications of the first-ever Credit Union May Run Music Festival, taking place May 14th – May 17th, as well as the Bell Aliant Canadian Song Conference, May 13th and 14th.

May Run Music Festival Logo FINAL

When I was first asked to be a guest blogger and write about the Festival, I was nervous. I was unsure of how to best share what we’re doing here at Music PEI to bring this new Festival to life, then  realized I was surround by all the inspiration I needed in the form of my May Run family. Who better to share the behind-the-scenes story of the May Run Music Festival, than my co-workers at MusicPEI? Despite their heavy workloads in the lead-up to the Festival, they were all willing to lend me their time (Mike, however, did need assurance there was no need for lawyer accompaniment).

Tian Wigmore, as usual, was efficient and quick to the task – one of his best qualities, which he applies to his position as Special Projects Coordinator and Technical Director for the Festival. Responsible for recruiting many of the cross-Canadian and Island acts, Tian shared his thoughts on the Festival and friendships he’s formed over his years in music.

CAROLYN: How much effort goes into creating a new festival?

TIAN: A ton! Everyone involved needs to wear a closet full of hats to pull it off properly.

C: What act were you most excited to book?

T: From out of town, I was most excited to book The Novaks, who will be playing at the PEI Brewing Company’s House of Rock on Friday, May 15th. They have been my favorite rock band in North America forever. The best part of this job is getting to book local acts for awesome shows, it feels good to see local talent get work.

C: You are close friends with Island favorite Tim Chaisson, true?

T: Very true – he is one of the groomsmen at my wedding. I would say at first we became friends was just because we were young musicians who could play our instruments. But, after touring for 11 years, you get to know each other really well. Sometimes I actually think Tim hangs out with me for the publicity!

Tim Chaisson from PEI

Tim Chaisson, playing at the Closing Songwriters Circle (Delta Prince Edward, May 17th)

Mike Mooney, class clown, was next up on my tour of the office. Along with the rest of the boys, Mike is a musician who spends his time performing alongside his band or his own solo work. Mike is also the Volunteer Coordinator for the May Run Music Festival.

CAROLYN: How important is recruiting volunteers for the May Run Music Festival?

MIKE: The festival can’t happen without the volunteers. Plus, it’s great for my career, which is good for my fans.

C: Throughout this experience, what have you found the most difficult?

M: Knowing how all the tiny pieces fit together.

STARS from Vancouver

STARS, performing at the Closing Pop Show, May 17th at the Delta Prince Edward. 

Dylan Menzie is a regular on several PEI stages and the Ticketing Coordinator of Music PEI. Dylan, though reluctant, took the time to meet with me, proving that persistence pays off!

CAROLYN: Describe the importance of Music PEI in your musical career.

DYLAN: As an artist I’ve always felt like Music PEI was in my corner.  I think I’ve played almost every showcase they’ve had at different conferences in the past 2 years.  They’ve helped me countless times when I’ve needed advice, I’ve gotten funding in the past, and they’re always there when things get tough and I need a shoulder to cry on. Honestly I feel like the music community on PEI is like that as a whole – helpful, friendly, supportive – but Music PEI feels like the whirlpool that pulls new people into the scene and keeps us unified in the process.

C: You’ve worked for East Coast Music Week (ECMW) 2014 as a ticketing coordinator as well. Are you a ticketing master?

D: I did work for the ECMA last year, but I’m far from a ticketing expert. It’s been over a year since I’ve done an event like this, so it’s a bit like being a kid coming back from summer vacation.  You may have felt like an expert on Pythagoras’s theorem in June, but coming back in September it’s a whole other ballgame.

C: That’s quite the analogy. Who are you most excited to see perform?

D: In terms of an artist from away I’m definitely most excited about Plants and Animals, who are in the line-up for the Closing Pop Show on May 17th at the Delta Prince Edward. I distinctly remember being on a school trip to Quebec and our tour guide put on music from Montreal to give us an idea of the culture of the city. It’s not that the music he put on wasn’t good, it just wasn’t the music from Montreal I was familiar with. The music he put on was more francophone. Which made sense because he was French and we were in a French city, but I wanted to show everyone the Montreal I knew – Arcade Fire, Plants and Animals, Sam Roberts – the list goes on, so I just bugged him until he let up and let me put my music on.

Plants and Animals from Montreal

Plants and Animals, performing at the Closing Pop Show, May 17th at the Delta Prince Edward.

Next I checked in with Nathan Gill, a local singer-songwriter and current North Lakes frontman. As conference coordinator, he is responsible for developing the Bell Aliant Canadian Song Conference taking place at the beginning of the week, May 11th-13th. One element of the Conference is the Canadian Songwriter Challenge, which will pair one artist from each of the 5 provinces of Ontario, BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba with 5 artists from PEI. The 5 pairs will collaborate together for 2 days to co-write and record demos of one song each day.

CAROLYN: Which of the five pairs of artists are you most excited to see collaborate?

NATHAN: I think Dan Mangan and Coyote will be very interesting. Both seem to have the ability to take a simple, memorable song into new sonic territory. I think they’ll come out with something very unique. They’re also both performing at the Closing Pop Show on May 17th.

C: Who would you want to collaborate with most and why?

N: Death Valley Driver on a record more obtuse than “Lulu” by Lou Reed and Metallica.

C: Which panel, in your opinion, should draw the biggest crowd at the conference?

N: “Sound and Vision: A Film & TV Masterclass” should be very cool. Island artists will try to place their songs into popular films and TV shows and our panel will discuss what works and what doesn’t.

Coyote from PEI

Coyote, performing at the Closing Pop Show on May 17th at the Delta Prince Edward.

It was time for a visit with Kate Gracey-Stewart, the mother/wife/sister of Music PEI. Kate is arguably one of the most powerful women in the biz.

CAROLYN: Why have you chosen to work for the festival?

KATE: I used to work full time for Music PEI before owning my own business. When the opportunity came up to work with Music PEI again, I knew it wasn’t one I could turn down. The members of Music PEI have, and always will, hold a special place in my heart. I look forward to seeing them shine during Credit Union May Run Music Festival!

C: Which artist are you most excited to see perform and why?

K: I am not as much focused on seeing one particular artist, although The Novaks are definitely one of my favorites. What I am looking forward to most is witnessing the magic and collaboration that will take place on stage when you put all of these talented artists together

The Small Glories

The Small Glories, performing at the Olde Dublin Pub on Saturday, May 16th.

Last but not least, I sit down with the one and only, the brains behind it all, Rob Oakie.

CAROLYN: What act were you most excited to book?

ROB: Being the ED of Music PEI it would probably be unseemly for me to put one PEI artist over another so let’s just stick to the off-Island artists. I am super proud of the line-up we have been able to pull together. I will be giving my age away here, but I can remember when Murray McLauchlan first broke and listening to him on AM radio! I’ve always been a fan. Getting Dan Mangan was a coup for me, I can’t wait to see Jay Semko of the Northern Pikes, but I think I’m most looking forward to seeing The Small Glories from Winnipeg, performing at the Olde Dublin Pub on Saturday, May 16th. The duo is made up of Cara Luft from the Wailin Jennys and JD Edwards. Together with a guitar and banjo they create this huge sound. They will be working with Ashley Condon to co-write as part of the Canadian Song Challenge. She’ll also be performing at The Guild on Saturday, May 16th alongside Jay Semko and Liam Corcoran.

C: Why rebrand PEI Music Week?

R: We had great success with it in January, but we knew it wouldn’t grow much bigger than it was and we really wanted an event that would attract audiences from beyond PEI so we could shine a brighter light on our artists. Moving the date was the first step so it would be at a time of year when, shall we say PEI is more inviting! Bringing in artists and significant names from across Canada will also attract a wider audience, all with the goal of exposing our artists to as many ears as we can.

C: What will you find most rewarding from your May Run experience?

R: Seeing the smiles from the audience when they see a killer show. Some of these lineups for individual showcases and concerts are amazing in their own right, so putting them all together in a 4 day festival is a huge, but rewarding task. I know I will take great joy in seeing that closing number, putting a nice cap on what will be a great and unique event

C: And finally, who is your favorite staff member?

R: Oh… there’s only one safe answer to this one… I love everyone for what they have brought to Music PEI. I can honestly say this is easily one of the best teams I have worked with in my ten plus years of producing Music PEI Weeks. Tian has worked with me for a while now on various events and he is a rock star! Always able to make the best of any situation. Mike is funny, honest, and easy to get along with and has great experience in many areas. Dylan is young, energetic, has great ideas and really efficient. Nathan just seems to put his head down a get things done. His experience in the music industry has been a huge asset putting together the Canadian Song Conference. Kate… well I really don’t know where we would be without Kate. She is my rock. And, of course, I have a deep affection for quirky (meant in the nicest of ways) Carolyn. I am always curious to see what colour the hair will be each morning. She brightens up the place and is way more talented than she gives herself credit for!!

Murray McLauchlan

Murray McLauchlan, performing Friday, May 15th at Harmony House.

And then there is me, Carolyn Chaisson. Though I have no musical credit to my name other than a third grade recorder solo, working in the music industry is one of the most rewarding jobs. I recently tried to explain to someone, I believe my mother (bless her heart), the feeling I get when I fall in love with a song, or a band, or this apple pie crust right here in front of me. I look forward to each and every day I work alongside my May Run Music family and am excited to be a part of what will, no doubt, be an amazing weekend of music in PEI.


Credit Union May Run Music Festival



How I Came To Transform A Vintage Home In Charlottetown, PEI

By Steven Fudge

As a west coast Canuck who relocated to Toronto over two decades ago, it wasn’t until 2005 that I first passed through Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island en-route to a wedding in Cape Breton. Charlottetown was on my itinerary because my dear friend and musician, James Ormston, was playing in the Charlottetown Festival. On that first visit, I instantly became smitten with the east coast charm of PEI’s capital city. Of course, during that initial rendezvous with Charlottetown, I had no idea that just three years later James and I would co-purchase a dilapidated vintage triplex on Upper Hillsborough that was in dire need of TLC and take on the task of renovating it remotely from Toronto.

7 - Black_House


Our original plan was simple enough. We’d buy a triplex and once the mortgage was paid off in 25 years, we’d each have a unit and the third could cover our operating expenses. Our income property proposal was a simple (or so we thought), strategic way to secure ‘free housing’ in our retirement years. As someone who has cultivated his passion for housing into a career, we sleuthed out the right opportunity in a transitioning location . We wanted to find a place where we could act as an anchor to a neighbourhood’s rejuvenation, while also capitalizing on a more economical acquisition price.  It all seemed reasonable enough. Along with our $153,000 purchase price and $4000 in closing costs, the home inspection revealed some significant repair needs totalling around $54,000. We figured we’d systematically tackle these projects during the summer months over the next five years, however, it wasn’t ultimately that simple (when is it?).



When James arrived to take occupancy of the top floor apartment during our first summer of ownership, he discovered it sufficiently ruined. A wall soaked with water and mould from an on-going roof leak meant that the suite had to be gutted, reconfigured, and refreshed into what would become James’ contemporary Attic Atelier.

Attic Atelier Kitchen Transformation




It was during this time we also had to acknowledge most of the major building components were beyond repair – the roof was shot, there was no insulation in the walls, the windows leaked like sieves and the heating system was almost kaput. Furthermore, James really craved an outdoor terrace for the attic suite, which basically meant we had to build a 3-storey ‘deck tower’ and I realized that the house had to have at least one 3-bedroom suite for our parade of friends and family.  James never did live in the house that summer, but we reconciled that this sad, forlorn 1880’s shell of a manse truly deserved our commitment to comprehensively ’do it right’. What began as a $200,000 long-term investment quickly ballooned into a $600,000 capital injection over a six-year period. While our slow and steady good intentions were quickly shattered, we embraced transforming the property into both our ‘home away from home’ and a luxury vacation rental guest home we ultimately called The Black House.

After - Attic Atelier Living Room


After - Attic Atelier Dining


Just as the Attic Suite was complete, our second floor tenant vacated, which prompted a cosmetic refurbishment including installing a new ‘vintage inspired’ washroom with ensuite laundry. When it quickly rented, we gained the confidence to rebuild the triplex as a low-maintenance, high-yield investment and summer residence. Tackling the ground floor Garden Suite reconfiguration was our next endeavour and it took an entire year to complete. A bland 1980s former bedroom addition was expanded an additional 180 square feet to create the Garden Suite Great Room (complete with reclaimed barn plank floors and beams) on which we stacked a ‘Sleeping Porch’ for the second floor apartment and a Sky Tree Terrace on top of it for the Attic Suite. While the additions were being built, we gutted the entire main floor to the studs, where we discovered the house was full of knob and tube wiring (which had been missed in the home inspection), and the hot water radiators were in need of all new plumbing lines.

After - Attic Atelier Terrace


As it progressed we turned our attention to redesigning the exterior, where we rebuilt the poorly enclosed front porch into a proper Centre Hall entrance serving  the second floor suite while a newly constructed well-proportioned Side Porch was  built as elegant entrances to both the Garden and Attic Suites. And as it neared  completion we ponied up a tidy sum to landscape the front with a Black Garden  using our landscape designer Dan Nuttall and resurfaced the asphalt driveway.

6C - Black_House_Siding_


The Garden Suite was an opportunity to engage and celebrate all the wonderful tradespeople who make Charlottetown their home. We enlisted the best of the best, including contractor Paul Coles, who is brilliant in his sensitive approach to elevating vintage properties, to create a bespoke suite that offers all the contemporary comforts we seek in a home today with a nod to the past. We used reclaimed plank floors and beams, incorporated bead board, custom parquetry, and had marble mosaic tiles laid as ‘carpets’ in classic patterns. The washrooms are indulgent, the sleeping spaces are discreetly tucked away from the Great Room, and the cedar wrapped terrace with barbecue off the kitchen is situated under the canopy of an enchanting 100-year old Ash Tree. Our sublime ’pinch me perfect’ Garden Suite, which we furnished with a mix of eclectic designer pieces, is ideal for family fetes.

Garden Suite Kitchen Transformation




Garden Suite Rear Deck


Finally, when our second floor apartment became vacant again, we made the decision to fully restore, furnish and elevate this space into the Captain’s Quarters to complement the other two fully-equipped suites. While James had always gravitated to the Attic and I love being able to walk into a garden, when we finally flew in to furnish the second floor newly renovated suite last year, we both instantly felt the power of this space. It has that insouciant, compelling charm that comes with the patina of original rooms that have been happily occupied for over 125 years. Committed to reclaiming its original pedigree, we restored the stair banisters, added crown mouldings and bead board in our Centre Hall Makeover, built a dining bench in the cozy entertainment space and installed a breathtaking custom kitchen that included a built-in pantry with antique-leaded glass doors.

Captains Quarters Kitchen / Dining


Captains Quarters First BedroomCaptains Quarters WashroomThis year will be the first year since our purchase in 2008 where we don’t have a massive ‘To-Do’ list – and all 15 rooms are furnished. With the exterior complete in Black (here’s why), and two of the three suites being quickly booked for weekly summer stays), we finally get to fully enjoy ‘The Gentle Island’. While this labour of love will never be finished (yes, we’re obsessed with design), we’re looking forward to engaging more with the community, which has fostered several dear friendships. No matter what time of year we’re visiting The Black House, we feel like we’re home.

The Black House

Steven Fudge is co-owner of The Black House and divides his time between Charlottetown and Toronto.

For more about Steven and James’ Charlottetown dream-come-true vacation retreat visit 

Learn more about Steven’s Toronto enterprise at
Follow them on twitter @urbaneer 


5 Ways to Get Active in Charlottetown This Winter

Charlottetown Parks and Rec team lays down their top tips for staying energized all season long

By Christopher Drummond

Despite what the weather dramatics out there have been reporting lately,  Charlottetown is indeed alive and well—even after the copious amounts of snow that has been dumped on us this winter. But the silver lining of all of this snow (once it’s been cleaned up and managed, of course), is that it opens the doors to a wide variety of winter activities in the capital city, many of which are the secret to maximizing your time in Charlottetown once the temperatures start to drop.


Jack-Frost-2014The Charlottetown Parks and Recreation Department maintains a number of walking trails within the city during the winter. Two very popular trails are the Confederation Trail and Victoria Park boardwalk. But remember: winter can be unpredictable, and although we try our best to clear the snow and ice on the trails, we encourage folks to use caution and take their time when being physically active in the winter. The last thing we would want is someone to fall and get hurt!


Outdoor Hockey In CharlottetownAnother popular activity in Charlottetown is ice skating. In ideal winter conditions (i.e., consistent temperatures of -10°C or below), the Parks and Recreation Department constructs and maintains about seven outdoor rinks each winter in a variety of locations throughout the city. Their sizes can vary and so can the number of users. For example, East Royalty offers an outdoor rink for hockey with boards, nets and a light for evening play. And if you drop by on Sunday afternoons, they have a designated free family skate time from 2-4pm. Meanwhile In the downtown core, Founder’s Hall outdoor rink at the bottom of Pownal Street appeals to all kinds of users—whether it’s a game of pick-up hockey or just a relaxing skate, everyone can enjoy this rink. But be sure to bundle up down there  because it gets a little chilly that close to the water. Other popular rinks include: J. Bomber Callaghan Park in Hillsborough (also good for pick-up hockey or recreational skating), Orlebar and Centennial rinks (recreational skating).

Current Outdoor Rink Conditions  |  Indoor Rinks Schedules


Charlottetown is also home to many great sporting events and activities in the winter. The University of Prince Edward Island and Holland College are great places to catch sporting events. The Charlottetown Islanders Quebec Major Junior team and the Island Storm of the National Basketball League draw huge crowds at the EastLink Centre as well. Of course, there are lots of other free sports to watch in our local arenas and gymnasiums in Charlottetown.


Yoga in Charlottetown PEIFor those more inclined to sweat things out at the gym, Charlottetown is full of many fitness classes and gyms that you could sign up with. And whether it’s a deep yoga stretch you’re looking for or a high intensity interval workout, there are many businesses that offer drop-in classes and discounted packages for new members. So throw those excuses to the curb and watch the difference regular physical activity can do for your overall energy levels.


Charlottetown-SnowshoeingAnd finally, just getting outside into the great outdoors will do wonders to fend off that cabin fever. Try reliving your childhood days by building a snow fort or challenge your neighbours to a snowball fight—that is when you’re done shovelling one another out, anyway. Snowshoeing, sledding and cross-country skiing are also great options. Whatever you choose to do, just be sure to dress for the elements and bring a hot drink to stay warm for longer lengths of time.

Most importantly, have fun!

For more information on City of Charlottetown activities, feel free to contact the Parks and Recreation Department at 902-368-1025 or check out our Program Brochure that lists all sorts of other activities for all ages.

Additional Links:  Brookvale Provincial Ski Park Cross Country Skiing Maps  |  Cross Country Ski Trail Conditions


Christopher Drummond is a graduate of the Recreation and Leisure Studies program at UNB and for the past ten years has worked as the Assistant Program Coordinator with the Charlottetown Parks and Recreation Department. As a parent with a young family (three children ages 1,3 & 6) Christopher has quite a bit of experience in “playing outside”.


An Insider’s Guide to Winter in Charlottetown

The best food, shopping, sightseeing, arts & culture, and activities in PEI’s quaint capital

By Ellen Egan

Sure, we all know island summer has been ranked as Mother Nature’s favourite season for the last 1,000 years running, but I’ve come to believe that winter on Prince Edward Island has been severely underrated for far too long—especially if you happen to be staying in our downtown core.

I’ll admit, however, that it took a couple of years living abroad to realize this and truly appreciate the quaint city I’m lucky enough to call home. But after spending the past two winters living in the heart of downtown Charlottetown, I’ve grown to appreciate how the peace and quiet of winter (spontaneous snow day, anyone?) balances off with the town’s arts, food and entertainment scene—keeping locals and visitors alike buzzing from morning ‘til night.

Now, to help you sort through all the action, I’ve compiled a handy-dandy guide to making the most out of your next visit to our beloved capital city.


1. Indulge in local fare

Dining in CharlottetownAs home to some of the finest natural bounty in the world and the celebrated Culinary Institute of Canada, Charlottetown is a foodie haven—no matter what time of the year it happens to be. In fact, many top notch restaurants stay open for lunch and dinner during the winter months. And not to worry, the Charlottetown Farmer’s Market is still the place to be on a Saturday morning.

Since I tend to stay within waddling distance of home when going out to eat, a few personal favourites within the downtown core are Terre Rouge Bistro Marche for its use of fresh, local products and savoury combinations, Sims Corner Steakhouse for its fabulous Island beef program, and Sirenella’s Ristorante definitely takes the cake for some seriously drool-inducing Italian fare. And before we know it, April will soon be here and you know what that means: Burger Love! Oh yes, the month-long campaign that promotes island beef and sees our many chefs competing for the role of reigning champion is just around the corner. My waistband feels tighter already.

2. Discover your favourite watering hole

Charlottetown-local-pubsLike a warm hug, you’ll inevitably want to tuck into the inviting atmosphere of many of our local pubs at various points during your stay. The authentically British pub, Churchill Arms, offers a variety of delicious curries and is where many locals can be found hollering trivia answers over pints of lager on Saturday afternoons. And for those who like a side of live music with their cold brew, you’ll find local musicians playing evening acoustic sets at popular spots like the Gahan House, Marc’s Studio (above The Brickhouse), The Old Triangle and Next Door (beside Merchantman).

3. Bring on the java

I’m especially fond of this next one, particularly on chilly days when I want a cozy place to meet friends, Charlottetown Caferead a book, or get some work done. The newest kid on the café scene happens to be my absolute favourite—Receiver Coffee Company (in the former Cafe Diem location on Victoria Row)—which, in my opinion, is doing a swell job of roasting Third Wave coffee and serving the most tempting breakfast and lunch options in town. For an extra dose of charm, I like to head to Leonard’s Café on University Ave. for a healthy and delicious lunch. Their baked goods are also to die for—just don’t say I didn’t warn you!

4. Learn the art of beer making (and drinking)

PEI-Brewing-Company-in-CharlottetownIf you’re looking to find out where a lot of the tasty craft beer comes from that’s served at many of our restaurants, look no further than the PEI Brewing Company at 96 Kensington Road. Here, you can actually tour the facility for yourself and find out how the raw ingredients eventually end up as the refreshing pint you’ll be dying to try after the tour. The brewery is also home to a large event space, which sees many events roll through, like Art Battle, a live, competitive painting competition taking place monthly and drawing huge crowds.


5. Embrace the great outdoors

Charlottetown-Outdoor-RinkWe’re really lucky that island winters still stay bright and sunny, seeing approximately 22 days of sunshine during the colder months, even in January and February. So outdoor activities are totally doable, and a simple walk does wonder for the mind and body. Just beyond the quaint streets of Charlottetown are two popular walking trails: the Confederation Trail and Victoria Park boardwalk. And for a little ice skating action, head south towards the harbour at lower Prince Street where you’ll find the Founder’s Hall rink—a favourite ice skating spot for locals and visitors alike. For those with the kiddies in tow, the annual Jack Frost Festival takes place February 27th to March 1st, and offers a selection of both indoor and outdoor activities for the whole family.

6. Walk back in time

John A Walk back in timeLiving just a couple of blocks from Great George Street, I find it’s easy to take the many historic sites (and sights) for granted. But one structure that continues to amaze me is Saint Dunstan’s Basilica—from steeples to steps, the 100+ year old building just reeks of history and old world glory. Closer to Victoria Park and overlooking Rochford Square is All Soul’s Chapel on All Soul’s Lane. Built in 1888 of Prince Edward Island sandstone in the High Victorian Gothic style of architecture, it was design by architect William Critchlow Harris and its interior walls feature paintings by his brother, Robert Harris. Not far from there on the corner of Kent and West street is Beaconsfield Historic House, which brings back plenty of nostalgia from my days spent visiting it as a child. It’s a fine example of Victorian architecture open year-round with many original features intact and a fascinating story to tell.

7. Get your sweat on!

Yoga in Charlottetown PEIFor those planning an extended trip, you may be interested in a bit of exercise at some point during your stay—especially after all of that eating and drinking you’ll have been doing, right? To cure what ails you, drop into a hot yoga class at Moksha Yoga near Founder’s Hall or hop on a spin bike at Dynamic Fitness on Queen Street. If exercise isn’t quite what you had in mind, you can get your sweat on via the dance floor at any one of our live music venues. I’m particularly fond of Hunter’s Ale House on Kent and Baba’s Lounge on University for their steady stream of talented East Coast musicians.


8. Release your inner art enthusiast

Confederation Centre Art Gallery in Charlottetown PEIBy the time you’ve finished hiking our trails and sampling our local fare, you might be ready to admire the handiwork of some of Canada’s prolific artists. I suggest checking out some of our art galleries in the downtown core. Home to the largest Robert Harris Collection in the world, the Confederation Centre Art Gallery proudly displays the work of Canadian historical, modern and contemporary artists. I especially look forward to PEI painter Heather Millar’s solo exhibition, Heather Millar: Second Chances, which opens on February 7th. And just across the street on the corner of Queen and Richmond, it’s worth popping into the Gallery at The Guild (lower level), which displays self-curated exhibitions by many talented artists from all disciplines.

9. When in doubt, catch a show

Confederation Centre of the Arts Charlottetown PEIAnother great option for when the weather is truly miserable is catching a flick at either one of our two theatre options. Appealing to your artistic side, City Cinema is right in the heart of downtown and offers a variety of independent films that don’t always hit the big screen. Cineplex Charlottetown is the larger cinema in town, just a five-minute drive from downtown, and features a handful of Hollywood blockbusters. For live entertainment, Confederation Centre of the Arts’ winter programming, Live at the Centre, offers live music, theatre, and comedy on PEI’s finest stages from October until May. The Guild, on the other hand, offers a more intimate experience and remains a hub of activity for various styles of performances.


10. Find that special token

Charlottetown's Green Eye DesignThere’s nothing I love more than finding a unique treasure from a new place to keep the memories fresh when I return back home. Added bonuses go to those with killer back stories—like an artisan I met in Santorini, Greece, who custom-made a beautiful bracelet for me in less than 20 minutes. Those are the sorts of memories that really stick with you. And Charlottetown happens to be full of charming boutiques—yes, even in the winter—that have the best characters waiting to welcome you and swap stories. A few shops I can’t resist include: Moonsnail (the best soaps and treasures), Cordelia’s Artisan Boutique (such beautiful pottery), Overman Jewellery & Art (crazy unique pieces…now moved to a new location at 54 University Avenue), and ColourBlind (Cutest. Dresses. Ever).

And if all else direction fails, don’t be shy to ask a local for assistance. Trust me, they’ll be more than willing to help. You never know, it could even be yours truly you run in to…

Have fun!


Ellen Egan is a freelance writer, editor and curator who was born and raised in Charlottetown, PEI, and is happy to have returned just in time to see it blossom and thrive before her very eyes. You can see more samples of her work at


10 Best Places in Charlottetown to Photograph on Your Next Visit





This city has so much character it’s inspiring. I remember walking around Charlottetown on my lunch hours when I first moved here and being so thrilled at the realization that I never had to leave. It’s an absolutely beautiful place with so much style and character, and it’s filled with awesome photo ops. Here are my top 10 best places in Charlottetown to photograph on your next visit:

10. Victoria Park Boardwalk

On summer evenings when the sun is setting and the light is beautiful and warm you can see the cruise ships sailing back to sea. It’s absolutely breathtaking and will stop you in your tracks. The boardwalk is lined with huge, red Island stones and is a favourite for picture taking. Take a walk along the water, stop at the cannons, and then head down to the lighthouse. It’s a great spot, relax on the benches and watch the world go by.

Victoria Park

9. Great George Street

Gorgeous Great George Street begins at the Historic Charlottetown Waterfront and ends at Province House and offers many photo ops in between. Saint Dunstan’s Basilica is a must. From steeples to steps, no matter where the sun is, it is fabulous to photograph. There are also 100+ year old buildings with so much character, and horse drawn carriages. It’s a very beautiful area that will almost take you back in time, it’s just beautiful.


8. Peake’s Quay

Peake’s Quay is another must on your list. In the summer, there’s always so much going on. You can see cruise ships from the Historic Charlottetown Seaport, visit Confederation Landing, check out the sailboats, take a fun photo next to the COWS statue, and more. There’s always something fun to photograph.

Peakes Quay

7. Confederation Centre of the Arts

There’s a whole lot of talent going on! The Confederation Centre of the Arts has great outdoor lunch time shows all summer, our awesome Island musicians fill the air with beautiful music, and you might even catch Anne.

Confederation Centre

6. Victoria Row

The Sir John A. Macdonald bench at the entrance to Victoria Row is a huge favourite for taking pictures. EVERYONE takes a photo of that bench. So have a seat and have some fun with it. Victoria Row is gorgeous, filled with terraces and beautiful old architecture. The street is closed to traffic in the summer so it’s a great spot to photograph. There’s live music and a street fountain, which makes for really great shots as well.

Sir John A

5. Queen Street

Queen Street is filled with storefronts, restaurants, signage, and street art that make fantastic photographs. One of my favourites is the fish outside the Dominion Building next to The Guild.

Queen St

4. Hillsborough Bridge Cormorants

I still remember my very first visit to Prince Edward Island. As we drove from the Charlottetown Airport to Stratford over the Hillsborough Bridge I remember seeing these crazy-funky birds basking in the sun on the old bridge posts. I thought those cormorants were so cool and I remember it so vividly. I still think their cool and love photographing them.

Charlottetown Harbour

3. Province House

Province House is a piece of history that can’t be missed. Both the front and back of the building are fabulous for photographing, there’s a fountain and our beautiful Cenotaph.

Charlottetown Province House

2. Red Shores Racetrack

Want to get some really great photos? The Red Shores Racetrack is a must. One of my absolute favourite places to photograph, harness racing is a huge part of Island culture. You can go during the day when they’re out jogging the horses. The drivers are so nice they will look at you with a friendly nod as they go by. Friendliness is also a huge part of Island culture. I think that’s a big part of why people love coming here.

Charlottetown Driving Park

1. The Little Things

My favourite way to photograph this beautiful city? Well honestly, it’s to put down the big camera and heavy gear, grab my iPhone and just go for a walk on my lunch hour. It’s the little things that I love most and this town is filled with them. It’s part of what makes this city so beautiful. I love this place. I hope you get out there and enjoy our beautiful city too. Rain or shine take a walk outside, enjoy the beauty and Discover Charlottetown.

Charlottetown Pictures


Heather Ogg is a commercial photographer specializing in food photography, portraiture, tourism and lifestyle photography.


Heather Ogg


Chef Ilona’s Foodie Tour of Charlottetown

Charlottetown is a foodie destination with a lively story. Spend a weekend savouring our historic capital and our from-the-heart hospitality!

To begin your weekend foodie getaway, make your way to the Culinary Institute of Canada, to participate in a Culinary Boot Camp. Learn the tricks of the trade with internationally renowned chefs, in state-of-the-art kitchens. Local oysters, honey, potatoes, beef, pork, beer, wine, and even moonshine are just some of the many premium Island ingredients you can expect to work with during your Culinary Boot Camp hands-on, or demo class experiences.

Holland College Culinary Bootcamps

Holland College Culinary Bootcamps

Make some room for a little snack by walking over to the Historic Charlottetown Waterfront; there you’ll find Steamers Boathouse. They offer simply prepared steamed mussels, and clams. It’s hard to beat the freshness of the shellfish, and combined with the al fresco seating overlooking the Hillsborough river makes for an authentic Maritime experience.

For your evening’s selection, check out one of Charlottetown’s newest dining hot spots, Piatto. Piatto specializes in traditional, and ultra-authentic Neopolitan pizza. The woodburning oven is maintained at a constant 900 degrees, and cooking a pizza from start to finish happens in a mindblowing 90 seconds. The décor is playful and makes some interesting decorative focal points using repurposed industrial pieces. The ambiance is relaxed, friendly, and casual, making a wonderful way to leisurely enjoy an evening.

Farmers Market

Farmers Market

Sunday is an optimal opportunity to experience a myriad of local eats all within the core of historic downtown Charlottetown. The open air Downtown Farmer’s Market kicks off at 11:00 am, and there are several food vendors offering an array of cultural eats for you to nosh on. You’ll also find local farmers, and artisans with their products available for purchase along with great stories and smiles all around.

Afterwards, make your way to the warmly contemporary Claddagh Oyster House on Sydney Street. The staff is well-versed on all things oyster and are happy to share their knowledge in pairing wines with our world famous oysters.

Any foodie adventure to Charlottetown would not be complete without a PEI Lobster Roll. Stroll down to Founder’s Hall, and tucked within its walls, you’ll find Dave’s Lobster. Dave’s is a come as you are, lobster shack decorated with punches of red and white, and additionally serves Prince Edward Island Brewing Company Beer on tap. A generously stuffed lobster roll, with a sudsy pint of local brew, and a relaxed patio is a spectacular way to enjoy the afternoon.

Sims Corner

Sims Corner

Round out your day, by finishing with a meal at the luxuriously appointed Sims Steakhouse and Oyster Bar. The lively, upscale casual atmosphere typifies the steakhouse experience, and to make certain you get the most variety of their offerings, allow your server to recommend the best dishes to share. The PEI Beef Steak Bread is not to be missed.

Charlottetown is picturesque, and pedestrian friendly; eat, stroll, and savour our city again, and again!


Chef Ilona Daniel, Executive Chef Holland College Culinary Boot Camps, Freelance Food Writer, Founder, Tribe Fresh Catering & Consulting, Foodie Writer G! Magazine Twitter: @chef_ilona Instagram:@poachedheaven