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Posts from the ‘Winter Activities’ Category

5 Ways to Get Active in Charlottetown This Winter

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

By Christopher Drummond

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

1. TAKE A WINTERY ROMP

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

2. SHARPEN THOSE BLADES

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

Current Outdoor Rink Conditions  |  Indoor Rinks Schedules

3. CATCH A GAME

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

4. WORK IT OUT

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

5. WHEN IN DOUBT, PLAY

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

Most importantly, have fun!

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

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

 

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

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An Insider’s Guide to Winter in Charlottetown

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

By Ellen Egan

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

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

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

EATING & DRINKING

1. Indulge in local fare

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

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

2. Discover your favourite watering hole

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

3. Bring on the java

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

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

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

ATTRACTIONS & ACTIVITIES

5. Embrace the great outdoors

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

6. Walk back in time

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

7. Get your sweat on!

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

ARTS & CULTURE

8. Release your inner art enthusiast

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

9. When in doubt, catch a show

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

SHOPPING

10. Find that special token

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

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

Have fun!

 

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

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An Island Valentine

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

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

The Great George Hotel

Photo by The Great George Hotel

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

Photo by Kamal Hamid

Photo by Kamal Hamid

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

Photo by Daniel Newman

Photo by Daniel Newman

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

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

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

Photo via Moonsnail Soapworks

Photo via Moonsnail Soapworks

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

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

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

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

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

Photo by Rachel Peters Photography.

Photo by Rachel Peters Photography.

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

Photo by PEI 2014

Photo by PEI 2014

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

Blog cover photo by Jeff Cooke.

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Jack Frost Brings Family Winter Fun to Charlottetown

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

 

Ice skating in Charlottetown

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

winter activities in Charlottetown PEI

© Discover Charlottetown

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

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

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

Sesame Street Live at Jack Frost Festival PEI

Ice sculptures at Jack Frost Children's Winterfest PEI

© Discover Charlottetown

Jack Frost Children's Winterfest Charlottetown PEI

© Discover Charlottetown

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

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

Jack Frost Winterfest Sleigh Rides PEI

© Discover Charlottetown

Jack Frost WinterFest live entertainment

© Discover Charlottetown

Fireworks at Jack Frost Children's Winterfest PEI

© Discover Charlottetown

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

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