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Celebrate Canada Day in Charlottetown, Where it all Began

The coming long weekend promises to be filled with lots of red, white, maple leafs and national pride, as we celebrate the birth of Canada on July 1st. As the Birthplace of Confederation, Charlottetown is the perfect place to get your fill of fireworks, patio drinks, BBQs, live music and other celebratory indulgences.   Here are just a few colourful and Canadian-inspired ways to fill up your weekend:

Take in The Young Company’s Free Musical

Canada Day marks the debut of  The Young Company’s 2016 showThe Voices of Canada, a 50-minute exploration of Canada’s rich cultural mosaic and heritage. Head to the Confederation Centre of the Arts open-air amphitheatre for this free musical and prepare to be mesmerized as some of the brightest emerging performers from across Canada present this high-energy celebration, weaving song, dance and legend into a stunning kaleidoscope of movement and colour. Show starts at noon and runs daily from Monday through Saturday (July 1st to August 20th, 2016)

 

Young Company

 

Check Out the Canada Day Activities at Victoria Park

Victoria Park will be buzzing all day and well into the evening on July 1st, as the City of Charlottetown hosts a slew of free and family-friendly Canada Day activities starting at 11.30am and ending with the always much-anticipated fireworks display at 10pm. A 10-hour concert starting at noon will keep audiences of all ages entertained, while face painting, horse & wagon rides, a petting zoo and plenty more are will ensure the kids are kept busy! Food vendors will also be on-site, so bring your appetite.

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Canada Day

Join the Brakish! Canada Day Keg Party

For many Canadians, celebrating the nation’s birth goes hand-in-hand with enjoying a nice, cold beer or two.  This year, the waterfront eatery Brakish will be hosting a Canada Day Keg Party, complete with live music, BBQ food and the chance to sample 14 craft beers. Best of all, you’ll be able to enjoy your bevies while lounging in their new Brak’Yard, an outdoor grassy area alongside their patio – perfect for wiling away the hours people-watching and spending time with good friends.

Brakish!

Immerse Yourself in The Story of Confederation

The Story of Confederation offers visitors the opportunity to experience Province House in Prince Edward Island National Historic Site and the Charlottetown Conference while Province House is closed for conservation work. The Upper Foyer of the Confederation Centre of the Arts has been transformed into a stunning replica of the historic Confederation Chamber where the Fathers of Confederation met during the Charlottetown Conference. Check out the film ‘Building a Destiny’ and learn more about the role Charlottetown played in Confederation.

Free Admission. Open Mon – Sat (9am to 5pm) and Sundays (12pm to 5pm)

 Confederation Centre of the Arts

Have a Canada Day Picnic

If you’re looking to get away from it all for a couple of hours, why not pack a picnic basket full of goodies and head to one of the City squares or to a nearby beach.  Pick up delicious lunch fare at the Charlottetown Farmers’ Market, Leonhard’s Cafe Riverview Market, Receiver Coffee Co. or another food purveyor. And don’t forget to bring along a sweet treat – Cows Chips are a favourite amongst locals, though they melt quickly so you may need to eat them before the rest of your lunch!

Picnic

Take a Walking Tour 

Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie or simply want to learn a bit more about Charlottetown by traveling on foot, there’s a walking tour  just for you.  Join up with the Confederation Players, a troupe of bilingual costumed Canadians trained as the Fathers and Ladies of Confederation, for an entertaining and informative stroll through historic downtown Charlottetown. If you’re a foodie at heart, you may want to treat your tastebuds to a culinary walking tour of Charlottetown with Experience PEI  - you’ll get a taste of history amidst the seafood, beer and other samples too!

Confed Players

And no matter how you spend the upcoming Canada Day long weekend, be sure you take time to visit Sir John A. MacDonald’s statue on the corner of Queen St and Richmond and bid him a good day. After all, he’s the most famous Father of Confederation and Canada’s first Prime Minister.

Sir John A

Happy Canada Day!

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An Ethereal Garden Wedding in Charlottetown and Its Surrounds

By Stacey Leunes

Some might say we waited a long time to tie the knot, but Craig and I just seemed too busy travelling the world and living in cities across Canada to set things in motion. Ten years after we met, having finally found our way back to the Island where we’d both grown up and met, Craig decided it was time to make his move. In true Craig style, he planned an elaborate proposal while we were on holiday in Peru, popping the question at the top of Machu Picchu (I know, right?!).   It was the easiest ‘yes’ I’ve ever said.

 

"© Kandise Brown | http://www.kandisebrown.com"

Within a breath, our time became consumed with wedding planning and, surprisingly, it was fun, with venue visits, menu tastings, and décor making becoming everyday occurrences!  The first and, arguably, biggest decision was where we would have the wedding and fortunately it was an easy one. We simply asked ourselves “Where is the most beautiful place we’ve ever been to?” and the answer was, of course, ‘PEI’.

Our love of Charlottetown, the Island’s rolling countryside and the ocean solidified our decision to include two venues in our big day. We arranged to have the ceremony at the PEI Preserve Company in New Glasgow and our reception in Charlottetown at the Confederation Centre of the Arts.  We wanted our guests, many of whom would be visiting from the US, Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick, to be able to experience the beauty of PEI while enjoying the conveniences of staying in downtown Charlottetown, where they could easily walk back to their accommodations after the reception.

"© Kandise Brown | http://www.kandisebrown.com"

 As soon as we started discussing our vision for the wedding I knew it had to be one thing: BEAUTIFUL!  Being a jewellery designer and goldsmith, I’m very particular about details, so let’s just say I obsessed for a very long time about the ambience and special touches that would make our day one-of-a-kind and unforgettable. Luckily, Craig is very organized and helped reel in all my ideas to create a clear vision.

My key words were: Garden, Ethereal, Gold and Green.   With the help of my mother and my Maid of Honour, we spent months collecting vintage brass candlesticks and vintage lace. My Pinterest addiction had me thinking it would be easy to cut out thousands of little paper flowers and string them off of birch branches. It took forever, but it was my favourite special touch.

"© Kandise Brown | http://www.kandisebrown.com"

"© Kandise Brown | http://www.kandisebrown.com"

As the months passed and the big day grew closer, we finalized all the big and little details for our wedding – my dress (by Lazaro), the guest list (about 80), our photographer (the amazing Kandise Brown), the homemade dessert wish list, our bridal party, the dinner menu,  the flowers and a million other things one doesn’t even consider until one is in wedding planning mode. By the time the eve of our wedding was upon us, we were exhausted from a week of visiting with out-of-province family and friends that had made the journey to PEI for our wedding and working on the final details of our wedding, but we were also over the moon to have so many loved ones to celebrate with and excited to see how the day would unfold.

The night before the wedding I stayed at the Delta in Charlottetown with my bridesmaids. We enjoyed a relaxing evening together and a meal at  Terre Rouge, before turning in for a good night’s sleep . The next morning, we woke up early and walked to Blue Note Hair Studio to get our hair and make-up done, then headed back to the hotel to get dressed. Next, I returned to our downtown home to meet Craig for our “first look.” I highly recommend doing a first look, it definitely helps with those wedding day jitters!  Next, we were off to New Glasgow for the ceremony.

 "© Kandise Brown | http://www.kandisebrown.com"

"© Kandise Brown | http://www.kandisebrown.com"

It was a perfect day in early summer – clear skies, a slight breeze and warm temperatures. The ceremony took place in the PEI Preserve Company’s Gardens of Hope, which sits along the River Clyde.  I walked down the grassy aisle, which was lined with gold buckets brimming over with baby’s breath, and met Craig  under a trellis draped in the lace I had collected. Our dog, Willow, was off to the side in her flower collar. The ceremony was short and super sweet. I’ll be honest, I don’t remember a whole lot of it, because I was nervous. Craig says he wasn’t nervous, but I don’t believe him!

"© Kandise Brown | http://www.kandisebrown.com"

 

PEI Wedding Photography

"© Kandise Brown | http://www.kandisebrown.com"

After the nuptials, we were able to relax and enjoy a cocktail hour under the trees with sangria and hors d’oeuvres prepared by the PEI Preserve Company.  The natural setting lent itself to mingling and was the perfect place for the younger  guests to play in the sun and the older ones to soak up some rays. It was then time to head out with the wedding party for some photography at the beach! We threw off our shoes and walked along Rustico beach, the red cliffs and blue ocean offering a striking backdrop for the pictures. Re-energized by the salty air and sand between our feet, we were ready to make the short 20-minute drive back to Charlottetown for our evening reception.

"© Kandise Brown | http://www.kandisebrown.com"

"© Kandise Brown | http://www.kandisebrown.com"

Cavendish Beach Wedding Portraits

When we walked into the Confederation Centre’s  Memorial Hall, where we would eat and dance the night away, we were in complete awe of what greeted our eyes. The marble-walled hall with glass roof had been transformed into a beautiful, ethereal space filled with greens and golds. It was exactly what I had envisioned and I was glad I had hired Colour Your Event to arrange all of the handmade pieces I’d created and collected. The brass accents held the gorgeous flowers from Island Meadow Farms, the dessert table overflowed with special treats our families and friends had made, the paper flower backdrop behind the head table evoked the garden imagery I’d hoped for, while the white draping from the ceilings and the gold chairs helped bring the look together.  Dinner, catered by Mavor’s, was delicious, as were the wedding cake (created by Candi’s Cakes) and homemade treats.

Charlottetown PEI Wedding Photographer

 

PEI Wedding Photography

After the speeches and obligatory ‘shoe game’, our photographer ushered us outside just the sun was setting for photos along Charlottetown’s iconic Victoria Row, and in the alcoves of the historic Province House and the Confederation Centre of the Arts.

"© Kandise Brown | http://www.kandisebrown.com"

"© Kandise Brown | http://www.kandisebrown.com"

We capped off the night in true Island-style by dancing to the beats of the Love Junkies, a local band that is well-known for bringing its energy and unique style to every gig.  At the end of our spectacular, but exhausting day, we were thankful that our bed was mere steps away at The Holman Grand via the tunnel from the Confederation Centre.

When I look back on that day, all I remember are the good things. Sure a few things didn’t go according to plan, but we made a point to not dwell on those things.  Planning a wedding has its ups and downs, but adhering to a ‘go with the flow’ attitude really saved us a few times.  We tried to strike a balance between keeping our guests happy and entertained with what was best for us as a couple.  In the end, our wedding far surpassed our dreams.

 

"© Kandise Brown | http://www.kandisebrown.com"

"© Kandise Brown | http://www.kandisebrown.com"

First Look Wedding Photos

"© Kandise Brown | http://www.kandisebrown.com"

Destination PEI Wedding Photographer

 "© Kandise Brown | http://www.kandisebrown.com"

"© Kandise Brown | http://www.kandisebrown.com"

PEI Wedding Photography

 Destination PEI Wedding Photographer

"© Kandise Brown | http://www.kandisebrown.com"

Destination PEI Wedding Photographer

Stacey Leunes is a jewellery designer and goldsmith, who works from her open studio in downtown Charlottetown (Garnish Jewellery & Boutique, 89 Water St.), where she welcomes visitors to experience the collection. She lives in a beautiful yellow house in the city with her  husband, Craig,  their dog, Willow, and their 2 cats, Maui and Basil.

Photography: Kandise Brown.  |  Ceremony Venue: Gardens of Hope at PEI Preserve Company  | Reception Venue: Memorial Hall, Confederation Centre of the Arts  | Decor: Colour Your Event  | Florals: Island Meadow Farms  |  Catering: Mavors  |Cake Artist: Candi’s Cakes | Wedding Rings and Jewellery: Garnish Jewellery (Formerly Stacey Leunes Designs)

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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.

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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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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?).

2-Black_House_Archive_Photo

 

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

 

SBS_Attic_Bed1

 

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_Living_BeforeAfter

 

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 www.charlottetownaccommodations.com 

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

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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.

St.DunstainsBasillica

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.

Visit heatheroggphotography.com.

Heather Ogg

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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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The Art of Patioing

By Katie Smith

When I was asked to write a piece about “patioing”, I immediately thought I had to write about how to build a deck. I was a little hesitant, as deck building isn’t on my list of specialized skills. Upon further explanation, however, I learned that patioing has a whole different meaning and is a trend that continues to grow around Charlottetown each summer.

The art of patioing is socializing with friends and loved ones on the patio of a restaurant or pub. Yet it can be so much more. No matter where you walk in downtown Charlottetown, it seems there’s a patio filled with Islanders and visitors. And if you are right downtown, you will enter a live, upbeat sphere of music, conversation and great food and drinks called Victoria Row.

Located on Richmond Street, “the Row,” as it’s known to Islanders, is home to a variety of shops, restaurants with indoor/outdoor dining and most importantly, atmosphere. In the warm summer months, the street is bumping. Whether it’s live music you crave, delicious Island fare to taste or if you are simply looking for somewhere nice to sit outside and have a few pops with friends, look no further than Victoria Row.

The Old Triangle Irish Alehouse

The Old Triangle Irish Alehouse

If you are looking for a pub to have a few pints but still want to enjoy the sunshine, The Old Triangle Irish Ale House has a large deck that fills up fairly quickly during the sunny weekend afternoons where you’re sure to have a laugh and take in some live traditional Irish tunes. Enjoy a thunder mug of beer on the patios at Hunter’s Ale House. This venue, both day and night, is filled with happy people having a great time. Often when I’ll walk by Hunter’s someone will yell my name and invite me in for a beer and conversation. Naturally, I oblige. I wouldn’t want to be rude, after all!

Perhaps what you’re looking for is somewhere to take a date, somewhere a little more fine dining, Sim’s Steakhouse has a nice patio and ambiance with comfortable seating and a top-of-the-line menu.

Sims Patio Queen Street Charlottetown PEISims Patio Queen Street Charlottetown PEI

Sim’s Steakhouse

One of the newest patios is Brakish! (it’s what water is called when fresh water meets ocean water-I looked it up). Brakish! is tucked away behind the Delta at Peake’s Wharf and offers yet another great place to take a breather and taste some local brew.

Brakish!

Brakish!

With more and more patios going up around Charlottetown, the art of “patioing” has become an increasingly popular way to socialize in the summer. Perhaps this is because we get through the cold winter months by looking forward to a warm breeze and sunny day. So once the snow melts and the patios are out in full swing, you will see many happy faces laughing and enjoying life.

Give patioing a try; it might just become your new favourite summer activity. I know it’s mine. Cheers!

 

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Katie Smith was born and raised in Charlottetown where she currently lives doing media sales and writing part-time. She loves driving around and taking all the beautiful sights and sounds. Facebook: Katie Smith

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A Weekend Stay-cation in Charlottetown, PEI

Summer on Prince Edward Island is definitely the most relaxing time of year for my husband and I. Don’t get me wrong – there are benefits to skiing, tobogganing and other outdoor activities throughout the winter months but winter is often just, so, very, long! So when the weather begins to warm up and we decide we want a break from work and school, a weekend stay-cation in Charlottetown is the perfect way to unwind.

Weekend accommodation is best spent at The Great George Hotel. Situated comfortably on a quiet street downtown, the hotel is a peaceful retreat appropriate for couples looking for a luxurious get-away. Its convenient location also places you close to Charlottetown’s historical sites, the beautiful waterfront, cafés, pubs, and many restaurants.

Receiver Coffee Co

Receiver Coffee Co

For a delicious cappuccino or espresso, you should check out Receiver Coffee on Victoria Row. The service is excellent and is one of the newest cafes in Charlottetown.

Another benefit is that the café is located a stone’s throw away from the Art Gallery at the Confederation Centre of the Arts. Historical and contemporary exhibits by Canadian artists are always pleasing at the Art Gallery. You can take in many different mediums including painting, sculptures, photography and more. In particular, be sure to check out the work of the iconic Islander Robert Harris.

In addition to admiring some of Charlottetown’s art collection, a stroll by the waterfront is a favourite activity for my husband and I. Peake’s Wharf is an exciting place to be on weekends. Often the area is buzzing with tourists, and there are a number of shops to explore. On really busy days you will find 1, 2, or even 3 large cruise ships docked nearby! You can grab an ice cream from the infamous COWS, check out some cool finds at the How Bazaar store, and then take in live music playing in the main square. Indeed there is a lot to see and do at Peake’s Wharf.

Peake's Wharf

Peake’s Wharf

Finally as your day is coming to an end, a quiet dinner at Sim’s Corner Steakhouse and Oysterbar is a must. Serving the best steak in Charlottetown with the most delicious red wine, you will not be disappointed by the restaurant’s signature menu and charming ambience. For larger groups there is even the option of booking out a private dining room for your enjoyment. In fact, last year my husband and I used Sims’ private dining room and bar area to tie-the-knot in front of a large group of family and friends.

Our Wedding at Sims

Our Wedding at Sims

Without a doubt Charlottetown has a lot to offer couples of any age, type, and background. This friendly city is guaranteed to make you feel welcome and accepted as you spend your time exploring. My husband and I invite you to come and see how wonderful our city is!
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Bobby Cameron is a policy analyst in Charlottetown. Him and his husband Lucas enjoy taking advantage of everything the city has to offer. Twitter: @btrcameron Blog: htp://bobbycameron.net

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