Categories: Arts & Culture, Beyond Charlottetown, Culinary, Festivals/Events, Free, Kid-Friendly, Outdoor Activities, See & Do
Experience the Best of Winter In Charlottetown
If a treasure trove of new ways to experience Charlottetown intrigues you, plan to visit during the winter months. Decked out in bright, sparkling white, PEI's capital city is a sight to behold and offers plenty by way of snow-filled activities and events that will have the whole family trumpeting the wonders of a winter getaway.
Discover the best of winter with our roundup of the season's top 9 activities and events then start planning your winter getaway! Pssst....did we mention the great room rates you'll find with our accommodation providers?!
1.Take the Kids to Jack Frost WinterFest (Feb 15 - 18, 2019)
Jack Frost Winter Fest is fun for the whole family!
Atlantic Canada’s biggest winter celebration, Jack Frost Winterfest, takes place February 15th – 18th, 2019. Expanding to four days, the Festival will bring back perennial favourites and include exciting, new features for families.
The always-popular Outdoor Snow Kingdom will return with an abundance of snow and ice-inspired fun, food vendors, and more. The Eastlink Centre will play host to a line-up of highly-anticipated children’s entertainers and an Indoor Playland filled with bouncies and inflatables.
Be sure to visit Jack Frost for a photo memory!
New in 2019, the Outdoor Kingdom will remain open on Monday, February 18th for PEI's provincial holiday, Family Day, so folks can take an extra day to experience the joy and wonder of ice slides, ice sculpting, skating and much more.
All Inclusive 3 day, 2 night and all NEW 4 day, 3 night Jack Frost Hotel Packages offer festival-goers family-friendly accommodation options at different price points. They are also the ONLY way to access VIP tickets to the event!
2. Feast on Culinary Delights During WinterDine
Several restaurants in Downtown Charlottetown take part in Winter Dine each year.
Discover why PEI is known as Canada’s Food Island and explore Downtown Charlottetown’s diverse restaurant scene during Winter Dine (Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from Jan 24 to Feb 9). Treat yourself to a carefully-curated 3-course feast inspired by local ingredients and created by talented chefs at one of the many participating restaurants.
Round out your foodie getaway with a visit to the Charlottetown Farmers’ Market on Saturday morning, afternoon tea or coffee at one of the city’s many cafes and a sampling of craft brews at one (or more!) of Charlottetown’s breweries.
3. Explore the City and Beyond by Snowshoe
Enjoy complimentary loaner snowshoes with Snowshoes in the City!
Charlottetown’s accommodation providers and Discover Charlottetown want you to enjoy a unique winter experience with their Snowshoes in the City initiative!
Book your stay with a participating hotel or inn and you can take advantage of complimentary loaner snowshoes during your visit. Trek around the city after a fresh snowfall or venture into the countryside and discover the vast beauty of PEI under a blanket of white. You’ll even get a curated trail guide to help you navigate your snowshoeing adventure!
4. Ring in the New Year with The East Pointers, Joel Plaskett and Hillsburn at the Delta!
The East Coast Music Association is teaming up with Delta Hotels by Marriott Prince Edward to host an unforgettable New Year’s Eve Bash at the waterfront hotel. The lineup will feature Joel Plaskett, The East Pointers and Hillsburn. General admission and VIP tickets are available, plus the Delta is offering special hotel packages for 2- and 3-night stays.
The NYE bash is a precursor to the 5-day kitchen party (aka The East Coast Music Awards!) that Charlottetown will host from May 1 - 5, 2019. That’s right, now you have good reason to visit Charlottetown again in the spring!
5. Take Part in a New Year’s Day Island Tradition - Levees
Not to be confused with the ‘embankment built to prevent the overflow from a river’, a New Year’s Day levee on PEI is a social affair that may, in some cases, involve an overflow of good cheer. A time-honoured tradition amongst Islanders of welcoming in the new year, levees refer to receptions and open houses hosted by dignitaries, institutions, community organizations and businesses as means of connecting with old friends and making new ones.
Many levees are child-friendly and all are guaranteed to be filled with warmth and laughter. Check the handy guide, 'How to Levee', created by local levee maven, Peter Rukavina. Peter also creates a levee schedule each year to help you plan your day (it is posted in mid-December here)!
6. Explore the City's Lively Arts and Music Scene
Photo Credit: @ConfedCentre via IG
Charlottetown’s live music and arts scene knows no rest. During the winter, venues across the city continue to host a myriad of events, from concerts to comedy to art battles and more. Live at the Centre! brings musicians and other performers to the Confederation Centre of the Arts all winter long, including Jenn Grant, Serena Ryder, Alan Doyle, Gadfly and more.
A visit to the Centre’s National Art Gallery is also a ‘must’, and showcases the works of accomplished Canadian artists throughout the year.
Photo Credit: @CCOAGallery via IG
Across the street at The Guild, you’ll discover exhibitions of local art as well as plenty of community-based theatre and music on offer at the black box theatre.
Live music is on tap at plenty of the city’s bars and pubs, including The Old Triangle, the Olde Dublin Pub, PEI Brewing Co., Water’s Edge, Baba’s Lounge, and Hunter’s Ale House. And if the idea of watching artists battle it out against each other and the clock, check out the PEI Brewing Company’s schedule of Art Battles and plan your trip accordingly!
7. Embrace This Special Season of Snow with WinterLove PEI!
WinterLove PEI is one part festival and one part philosophy. Created by a group of passionate Islanders, Winterlove PEI is a celebration of the magical season that brings us snow days, tobogganing, trees dusted in sparkling white, outdoor skating rinks, snowmen and snow angels, excuses to drink hot chocolate, snowshoeing, big wooly scarves, and a sense of renewal.
Throughout the month of February, Winterlove PEI hosts and promotes several events and activities pretty much guaranteed to have you falling in love with winter - from Speed Skating 101 to a tubing night at Brookvale Provincial Ski Park to an outdoor disco skate at Founders’ Hall to Curling for Beginners and more. Of course, your winter love need not be bound to the month of February - you’ll find plenty of winter activities to take part in all season long. Share your love on Instagram using #WinterLovePEI
8. Celebrate the Magical Holiday Season at Victorian Christmas Weekend
Immerse yourself in an old-fashioned, storybook Christmas setting filled with timeless holiday traditions during Victorian Christmas Weekend in historic downtown Charlottetown. The kick off to the holiday season, Victorian Christmas Weekend features three fun-filled days of celebration and activities for the whole family.
A highlight of the Weekend is the open-air Victorian Christmas Market. Reminiscent of European Christmas markets, it feature a treasure trove of artisan wares, local crafts, and delicious foods in a friendly, enjoyable shopping atmosphere complete with a Christmas-themed petting zoo, fire pits, carolers, and visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus!
The Weekend also feature plenty of other holiday-inspired activities including the Charlottetown Christmas Parade, classic Christmas movies, horse-drawn wagon rides, walking tours of the city, Christmas sing-a-longs and more.
9. Join the Polar Bear Swim in the Charlottetown Harbour on New Year’s Day
For those who want to ring in the new year by ticking off a bucket list goal, the Annual Polar Bear Swim offers brave folks a chance to do just that. Head to the Charlottetown Yacht Club for the official swim (ok, let’s be honest, for most it’s going to more of a ‘dip’ than a swim!) at 10am and get ready to run into the icy cold waters of the Charlottetown waters.
To officially be considered a successful polar bear dip, you must get wet up to your neck! Dress appropriately (water footwear is recommended) and bring a friend along to hold a big warm towel for you to run into after the dip!
The PEI Polar Bear Club is the official host of this exhilarating event, which doubles as a charity fundraiser for the food bank. Non-perishable food items and/or monetary donations for the Food Bank are welcomed.
Of course, there's plenty more to see and do in Charlottetown all winter long - come experience the magical season of white fluffy snow, outdoor skating rinks and toboganning hills in Prince Edward Island's seaside capital!