Prince Edward Island is one of Canada’s three Maritime Provinces, and is by far the smallest province in the federation. PEI is roughly the size of Delaware, is located in the southern reaches of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and is connected to the mainland by a 9 mile bridge across the Northumberland Strait to the neighbouring province of New Brunswick. PEI is pastoral, with about 50% of the land area given over to agriculture. Mixed farming predominates but PEI is renowned for it’s potatos. Being an island, the fishing industry is also very important, especially for crustaceans and shellfish (lobsters, mussels and oysters). The population of PEI is 142,000.
Charlottetown is also correspondingly the smallest capital city in Canada. The city proper has a population of 32,000 and the census agglomeration population is about 58,000. Aside from being the provincial capital and the island’s chief town, the city is known for being the site of the first confederation conference in 1864, where Britains North American colonies, frightened by Yankee militarism in the Civil War, met to discuss the possibility of a union to create a new nation within the British Empire. The Dominion of Canada was created three years later in 1867. In many ways, Charlottetown is as important to the history of Canada as Philadelphia is to the United States – just a lot smaller!
Charlottetown has maintained a large inventory of historical buildings. This has been quite easy to do as the vast majority of Canada’s growth since confederation has been in central Canada and the west. Being on an island, the city was isolated even from it’s Maritime neighbours until a bridge was constructed in the 1990’s, connecting the island to the mainland. The Confederation Bridge is one of the largest bridges in North America.
I present to you the city I was born in – Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, the “Cradle of Confederation”