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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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Top 10 Things to Do in Charlottetown on Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is just around the corner and we’ve put together a list of 10 great ways to celebrate the mom(s) in your life in Charlottetown!

1.     Spa It Up!

Make your mom feel like a million dollars with a visit to Grand Senses Spa, where she can try an aquatherapy bed, get a new hairstyle or make an appointment for the ultimate luxury, a fusion stone massage.

2.     Brunch on the Waterfront

Brunch is a quintessential part of any Mother’s Day celebration and Water’s Edge Resto Bar & Grill will be pulling out all the stops to make it an unforgettable meal for mom.  With a massive buffet offering that will feature everything from Belgian waffles to roast turkey to PEI mussels, there’ll be no worries about menu selection or waiting for your meal to arrive (translation: more time to eat!).

 3.     Show Your Love with Chocolate Treats

Chocolate is the best friend of moms everywhere! Sweeten her day with a gorgeous gift basket from Anne of Green Gables Chocolates, filled with irresistible delights including Cows chips (chocolate-covered potato chips!) and Chocolate Sweeties (brown sugar fudge covered in milk chocolate).

Moms

4.     Experience Historic Elegance on the North Shore

Take a leisurely drive out to picturesque Dalvay-By-The-Sea, just 15 minutes from town, and indulge in a delightful Mother’s Day brunch while soaking up the North Shore’s stunning vista. Their menu offers a wide selection of options including brunch classics like Eggs Benedict, sea-inspired dishes such as an Atlantic Lobster BLT, and twists on breakfast fare such as Banana Battered French Toast.

5.     Enjoy an Impromptu Photo Shoot at the Harbour

A morning walk along Charlottetown’s colourful waterfront is a must if your mom loves the outdoors. Bring a camera (or your phone!) to snap sweet and goofy pics of the family as meander your way from Founder’s Hall to the Delta and beyond.

Family on the Waterfront

6.    Celebrate the Arrival of Lobster Season

Here on PEI, no Mother’s Day is truly complete until a lobster dinner has been devoured. For a traditional lobster dinner and brilliant water views, make a reservation at Lobster on the Wharf - the children’s menu and expansive deck make it the perfect place for family dining . For more elaborate lobster dishes (think lobster poutine, lobster lollipops and lobster gnocchi to name a few) and fare from the land, the Row House Steak & Lobster Co. on Victoria Row is a must.

 7.     Give Her the Gift of Music & Live Theatre

If musicals are your mom’s thing, surprise her with tickets to see Mamma Mia!at the Confederation Centre of the Arts in June – tuck them in a bouquet of fresh spring flowers and, if the kids are game, channel your inner-ABBA and delight her with a preview show!

 8.     There’s No Such Thing as Too Much Brunch!

Eating is definitely a big part of Mother’s Day in Charlottetown, so it’s no surprise the restaurateurs have created amazing offerings for this special Sunday. One brunch-alicious option in downtown Charlottetown you’ll want to check out is The Brickhouse Kitchen & Bar. With a love for local, they’ll be serving up an all-day brunch bursting with options for the whole family. Importantly, there’s also a selection of brunch-friendly cocktails to keep Mom hydrated – mmmmm is for mimosas!

9.     Discover Your Artistic Talents Together

Fancy taking your mom to one of Charlottetown’s coolest new events? Piatto Pizzeria,well-known for their scrumptious Neopolitan-style pizza, will be hosting a special Mother’s Day edition of Art After Dark.  No need for any background in painting, as a seasoned artist will guide everyone in creating a gorgeous image while sipping drinks and having a grand time. Typically an evening affair, this Mother’s Day edition will start at 1PM.

 10.     Sit Back and Enjoy Mighty Fine Brews

Beer after brunch – perhaps it’s time to start a new tradition? If Mom appreciates a good craft brew, pop into Upstreet Craft Brewing or PEI Brewing Co. for a leisurely afternoon beverage. For moms that love sipping wine rather than beer, tickets to the upcoming Festival of Wines at the Eastlink Centre are sure to be a hit.

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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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How to ‘Art in the Open’

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

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

'Creativity' - Art in the Open 2014

The Creativity Project – Art in the Open 2014

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

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

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

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

Circus - Art in the Open 2014

Circus – Art in the Open 2014

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

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

March of the Crows - Art in the Open 2014

March of the Crows – Art in the Open 2014

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

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

Field of Fire - Art in the Open 2014

Field of Fire – Art in the Open 2014

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

Art in the Open 2014

Wagon Blues – Art in the Open 2014

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

 

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

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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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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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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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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!

******************************

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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