On my journey to Prince Edward Island, it’s fair to say the weather was miserable. It was so foggy that when crossing the Confederation Bridge I was unable to see either shorelinefor the majority of the crossing, just the coach on an ever continuing road into grey nothingness. The scenery didn’t seem that much more appealing when we reached the otherside either, but eventually I arrived in Charlottetown.
Luckily the hostel was alot more inviting, and the proprietor was one of those select few people, either side of the Atlantic, to recognise my Cyberdyne Systems hoodie, and combined with the rack of VHS that were still available to watch in the common room, knew that I would at least be staying in my kind of environment.
I was also sharing my dorm with a lovely German couple who were both travelling on working tourist visas who reminded me that for some reason nationalities other than the UK can apply for them up until the age of 35, but like the weather I guess you can’t have everything. I attempted a brief look around when it had stopped raining, but the fact it was still wet and foggy meant that I soon turned round and my only meaningful stop was at the convenience store/laundrette/take away.
The next morning however, the sun was out and I was able to experience the small city in all it’s glory. Similar in size to somewhere like Cairns, everything is within walking distance, and it really is a pleasure to just stroll through and take it all in. Although I was surprised at first, it’s easy to see why such a renowned company as Electronic Arts would keep an office here.
Of all it’s attractions though, Anne of Green Gables aside, it is the fact that it is often referred to as the birthplace of Canadian Confederation which garners the most attention, with everything from the bridge to the Art Centre named in honour of this. It is also something I felt I learn more about considering I’m spending 4 months here, and also after watching Charley Boorman’s Extreme Frontiers series (also a roadtrip from coast to coast but, as the name somewhat suggests, with a lot more in between) and being likewise impresssed with the tour guides referring to themselves as “heritage activists”.
Naturally a building with national importance after it played host to the first conference, Province House is currently being well looked after under the scaffolding in which it is now encased. Unable to get a decent view of the exterior in addition to obviously not being allowed inside, the aforementioned Confederation Centre of the Arts next door is playing temporary host to a recreation of the Confederation Chamber where the first steps towards a united nation of Canada were undertaken. The chandeliers are the originals which have been moved however, safely out of reach while visitors are able to fully interact with the rest of the display.
Luckily this is not all the town has to offer, as it also home to St. Dunstan’s Basillica, a cathedral which was granted the title due to the community’s efforts in restoring it after significant fire damage. There are also a number of other historic buildings which are still used in official capacities in the province’s capital, as well as a small boardwalk along the western side of the town.
I only spent one full day in Charlottetown which would still have been enough time for me to see and do everything even if Province House was open, but I could easily have spent more time just enjoying the charm of the place. I was soon on my way however, but this time the more clement weather gave me a much better experience of travelling over the Confederation bridge. All eight miles of it, which took us over ten minutes from shore to shore.