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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.

 

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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.

 

Porktoberfest

 

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. 

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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

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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.

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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

 

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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!

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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

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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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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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