July 28 – Charlottetown – Province House of Prince Edward Island

Our accommodations were in a small boutique hotel in the downtown area of Charlottetown. We had a short walk from our hotel to the legislative building where here the building is known as Province House. The building was constructed in the 1840’s and the Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island has met here since 1847.

We had to have our photo with the Canada Flag taken outside of the grounds for Province House. The building has been undergoing major renovations since January 1, 2015, and the Province House National Historic Site will be closed for 3-5 years while this extensive restoration and conservation work takes place.

Since Charlottetown, and this building, is considered the birthplace of Confederation, we had really been looking forward to seeing this National Historic Site. Needless to say we were disappointed, but on the other hand, we were pleased that the work is taking place to ensure that the building will remain safe, accessible and functional for a long time to come.

The Confederation Chamber, the actual room where the Charlottetown Conference took place in 1864,  had been restored several years ago to its original splendor.

During the construction period the temporary Legislative Assembly Chamber is hosed in the Honourable George Coles Building, just a few blocks away.

In the downtown area period actors are walking about playing the roles of folks that may have been in the city 150 years ago. Their conversations stayed in character and they never once had a smile. I guess these presumable university students really loved their job.

The water front on the Hillsborough Heritage River is the site for the 

This nice young lady was conducting walking tours of downtown Charlottetown, including of some of the secrets of the city and the lesser well-known, or less talked about, areas.

Other folks were dressed in period costumes for the tourists (us).

Anne of Green Gables happened to be walking so we just had to have a photo with her. She told us that she was on her way to market to buy wool to knit socks and beeswax to make candles.


Now for a little history.

Up until 1867, the United Kingdom had a British colony in North America with several provinces; Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.  A proclamation by Queen Victoria signed on March 29, 1867 established that the three provinces shall form and be one Dominion under the name of Canada. The proclamation is known as the British North America Act, 1867. The existing province of Canada was divided into the provinces of Ontario and Quebec, so on Confederation there were now four provinces in the new Dominion of Canada. 

The Dominion of Canada wasn’t born out of revolution, or a sweeping outburst of nationalism. Rather, it was created in a series of conferences and orderly negotiations, culminating in the terms of Confederation on 1 July 1867. Perhaps this is where Canadians established their national politeness. 

Earlier this same year, the United States purchased Alaska from Russia. Negotiations between the United States and Russia for the purchase of Alaska had been taking place for several years, prior to the American Civil War (1861-1865). After the war ended negotiations resumed and culminated with the agreement for purchase signed on March 30, 1867, for a price of $7.2 million dollars.

One can only imagine how North America might have developed had the United Kingdom been interested in purchasing Alaska.

History lesson over (there may be a test).