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5 Ways to Get Active in Charlottetown This Winter

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

By Christopher Drummond

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


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


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

Current Outdoor Rink Conditions  |  Indoor Rinks Schedules


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


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


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

Most importantly, have fun!

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

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


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


An Insider’s Guide to Winter in Charlottetown

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

By Ellen Egan

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

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

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


1. Indulge in local fare

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

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

2. Discover your favourite watering hole

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

3. Bring on the java

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

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

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


5. Embrace the great outdoors

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

6. Walk back in time

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

7. Get your sweat on!

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


8. Release your inner art enthusiast

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

9. When in doubt, catch a show

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


10. Find that special token

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

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

Have fun!


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


10 Best Places in Charlottetown to Photograph on Your Next Visit





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

10. Victoria Park Boardwalk

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

Victoria Park

9. Great George Street

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


8. Peake’s Quay

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

Peakes Quay

7. Confederation Centre of the Arts

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

Confederation Centre

6. Victoria Row

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

Sir John A

5. Queen Street

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

Queen St

4. Hillsborough Bridge Cormorants

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

Charlottetown Harbour

3. Province House

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

Charlottetown Province House

2. Red Shores Racetrack

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

Charlottetown Driving Park

1. The Little Things

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

Charlottetown Pictures


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


Heather Ogg


Chef Ilona’s Foodie Tour of Charlottetown

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

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

Holland College Culinary Bootcamps

Holland College Culinary Bootcamps

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

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

Farmers Market

Farmers Market

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

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

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

Sims Corner

Sims Corner

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

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


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


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.



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!



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


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!
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://


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?


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


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.



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!


Kinley Dowling, a sweetheart in the Maritime music scene, regularly tours with Hey Rosetta and currently calls Charlottetown home.


Twitter @KinleyDowling Instagram: KinleyDowling  Website:

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 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