Categories: Arts & Culture, Festivals/Events, Free, Kid-Friendly, Outdoor Activities
Make the Most of Your Canada Day in Charlottetown
Oh Canada! It’s that time of year again - time to celebrate the birth of The Great White North. And what better place to get your fill of maple leaf flags and fireworks than in Charlottetown, the Birthplace of Confederation?! Prince Edward Island's capital city pulls out all the stops to create an unforgettable, family-friendly birthday celebration that visitors and Islanders alike will love.
Want to make the most of your Canada Day in Charlottetown? Read on for our top tips and not-to-miss Canada Day activities in the city!
1. Take in FREE Family Fun at Victoria Park
Victoria Park, a 60+ acre green expanse in the West end of the city, takes centre stage in the City of Charlottetown’s Canada Day celebrations. Always popular amongst families, the Canada Day Family Fun Zone offers FREE activities all day long (noon - 7pm), including face painting, inflatables, and amusement-style rides. Make sure you don’t miss the cupcake giveaway, starting at 1.15PM!
Insider’s Tip: Lineups at the Family Fun Zone will be shortest during early evening/dinner time - plan accordingly!
2. Catch Coastal Vibes with Island Music Talents Featuring Paper Lions and Irish Mythen
If live music is your thing, find your way to the Victoria Park Cultural Pavilion, where an all-day musical celebration fittingly called Coastal Vibes, will kick off at 1.25PM and run until 10PM. The stellar line-up of musicians that will take the stage includes Brad Milligan, Sorrey, Tara MacLean (of Atlantic Blue), More Soul, Rachel Beck, and Andrew Waite & the Firm.
Headlining the evening are two of PEI’s favourite musical acts, Irish Mythen (7.40PM - 8.40PM) and the Paper Lions, who will take the stage at 9PM.
3. Scope Out A Prime Fireworks Viewing Location
Charlottetown’s fireworks are a not-to-be-missed spectacle and the largest display east of Ottawa. When choosing the perfect perch from which to view the show, consider the following: Are you walking or driving? Are you bringing young kids with you or going out with a group of friends? Are you planning to continue celebrating or head home immediately after the show?
Victoria Park is a favourite for families and those within easy walking distance of the park. With the fireworks being shot off of the Victoria Park Boardwalk, behind the cannons, it’s definitely the prime viewing location for most. Some folks enjoy watching the fireworks from other parts of the waterfront boardwalk that provide good vantage points, such as the stretch in front of the Culinary Institute of Canada and the Queen Charlotte Armoury.
4. Determine the Best Way to Get to Your Destination
Charlottetown’s walkability is one of its many charming qualities and especially handy during days when there are festivals or big events in town. So, if your accommodations are within walking or biking (or rollerblading!) distance, why not soak up some rays and get a little exercise en route to your Canada Day destinations? And if walking or biking isn’t an option, consider carpooling with friends.
The best place to park your car if you’re attending activities at Victoria Park is at the Provincial Government Building parking lot on Terry Fox Drive. There will be also an accessible parking lot off of Brighton Road by the Ball Field for anyone with mobility issues. While parking anywhere in the city is free on Canada Day (and every Sunday), bear in mind that after you’ve been dazzled by the fireworks show, the streets leading out of Charlottetown can get quite congested. Factor extra time into your return trip home!
5. Visit the Downtown Farmers’ Market
What better way to celebrate being Canadian than by supporting local farmers and artisans that contribute so much to the richness of their local communities? Every Sunday during the summer (July 1 - Sept 21), lower Queen St. is transformed into an outdoor farmers market, with farmers, food vendors, artisans and craftspeople lining the east side of the street.
Start your market visit at Grafton St. and stroll towards the waterfront, taking time to sample homemade preserves, chat with local farmers, and ogle at the marvelous art, woodwork and other wares created by talented Islanders. Don’t forget to wish the friendly vendors a Happy Canada Day!
6. Be Part of the Living Flag
Back by popular demand following 2017’s Canada 150 celebrations, Charlottetown’s Living Flag activity will begin at 12PM in front of the Victoria Park Cultural Pavilion. Participants are encouraged to demonstrate their Canadian pride by wearing red and white as the group comes together to form a massive Canadian flag.
7. Catch the Young Company’s First Performance of the Season
Head to the Confederation Centre of the Arts' outdoor amphitheatre for the premiere of the 2018 Young Company’s FREE noontime performance. Comprised of 13 talented young artists from across Canada, the Young Company puts on a high energy, inspiring musical show that explores Canadian themes and issues. This year’s show is entitled Aqsarniit (“awe-saw-nee” ), the Inuktitut word used to describe the northern lights, and will re-examine the stories of Canada’s past and explore what stories we hope to be told in the future.
8. Visit Charlottetown’s Favourite Music Hub for an Afternoon of Live Music
Photo Credit: Jared Doyle (@ivoryorphan) via IG
If you’re exploring the city’s downtown during the afternoon, be sure you pop into Back Alley Music, located at 257 Queen St., for live music sets from some of the Island’s best musicians.
This beloved record store serves as a hub for the Charlottetown’s music scene and often plays host to free, surprise shows by headlining musicians performing at other venues in the city. On Canada Day, they’ll showcase homegrown talents including Emilee Sorrey, Liam Corcoran, Brian Dunn, and Logan Richard (to name but a few!).
9. Prepare for the BIG Day!
A little preparation can go a long way to ensuring you and your family have an unforgettable Canada Day in Charlottetown. Here are a few suggestions to keep in mind:
- Parents should bring water and snacks to keep the kids going, but there will also be food vendors on-site.
- Scope out the washrooms at Victoria Park so you know where to go when you have to go! THere will be portable toilets on-site. If you’re in other parts of downtown, use our handy public washroom guide to find one nearest you!
- Wear sunscreen! The sun can get hot and you might not realize you’re getting burnt while you’re having so much fun. Stop by and visit the Canadian Cancer Society at their sunscreen-application tent in the Family Fun Zone.
- Bring cash with you for easy purchasing from vendors, but don’t worry if you forget because there will be an ATM on-site
10. Stay in the Loop and Get the Full Deets!
We sure hope our Canada Day Guide sets you on course to have an unforgettable July 1st! For more information about the activities at Victoria Park, visit the City of Charlottetown’s website or Facebook page.
Not able to visit during the Canada celebrations? No worries! Regardless of what time of year you visit PEI’s capital city, you can get your fill of history by visiting the Story of Confederation at the Confederation Centre of the Arts, taking a walking tour with the Confederation Players (summer only) or simply strolling the downtown core, where you’ll happen upon interpretive signage about the Charlottetown Conference and statues of the Fathers of Confederation. Oh Canada, Eh?!