Windows to the past
Heritage Day in Charlottetown will have images from 1771 to 1980s.
Heritage Day in Charlottetown this year will feature merchants along a portion of Great George Street displaying images of the street from 1771 to the 1980s
Whether it’s buying an ice cream at Garden City or the hottest record at Sam The Record Man, the renamed portion of Great George Street in Charlottetown has many stories to tell.
Natalie Munn, heritage researcher for the City of Charlottetown, is putting together an outdoor exhibit called A Walk Through the Past: Great George Street to University Avenue and Back.
The street, from the cenotaph to Euston Street, was known as Great George Street from the day Charlottetown was laid out in the Wright-Patterson Plan of 1771. The name was changed to University Avenue on Jan. 1, 1971, in honour of the newly created University of Prince Edward Island.
Spurred by an initiative of Downtown Charlottetown Inc., city council agreed to return that section of the street back to its original name last May.
Munn says they thought Heritage Day would be an ideal time to explore and celebrate the history of those three city blocks.
“We decided on an outdoor exhibit due to the fact that we want to reach more people,’’ Munn said.
The exhibit will be unveiled at the annual heritage awards ceremony at noon in the Parkdale Room at City Hall on Feb. 16 and run until Feb. 29 in the storefront windows of participating Great George Street merchants.
The pictures people will see truly depict just how much that part of the city has changed in the past 200 years.
For example, The Guardian office used to be located on that
stretch before it was destroyed by fire in 1923. At the time, the newspaper was running ads like the Pure Milk Company Ltd.’s Molly the Milkmaid telling readers that the smart way to take care of your health was to drink a quart of milk a day.
The building which houses the Old Triangle was once home to the Playhouse nightclub, JR’s and the Garden City ice cream parlour. The Large family sold used furniture and appliances right next door. It’s all visible in a picture taken in 1983.
The Jenkins family ran a pharmacy at the corner of Kent and Great George streets. That part of Charlottetown is almost unrecognizable. The picture was likely taken around 1950. Since then, the background has changed drastically thanks to the Shops of Confederation Court Mall.
Then there is the photograph showing the building across the street, which has served as the home of numerous businesses over the years. It was known once upon a time as the WE Dawson building and has since been home to Lord’s Pharmacy, Sam The Record Man, New Way Furniture and CFCY/Q93/Magic 93 radio stations.
That building has been resurrected by developer Chris Tweel and will re-open soon as the new home of McInnes Cooper.
Tweel’s Gift Shop operated for 50 years directly across from that, closing in 2003.
Coun. Greg Rivard, chairman of the city’s heritage committee, says he can still remember that it was the only store in town that sold his favourite sports magazine, Every Edge.
“I think it is super exciting to be doing an exhibit like this,’’ Rivard said. “When we get busy with the day-to-day, it can be easy to take for granted our heritage. These events are a great reminder to all of us.’’
Mayor Clifford Lee said it takes a collective effort to protect and restore the city’s history.
“Which means we all have a role to play in recognizing our rich history and celebrating it together,’’ Lee said.
Dawn Alan, executive director of DCI, said they were happy to partner on the heritage project.
“It’s wonderful to peek into the past now and then, see what once was and how we have been able, over the years, to update and upgrade our built-heritage while being so respectful of the past,’’ Alan said. “We do hope that people will come out and take a look at these photos, reminisce about the past and celebrate our present with us.’’
Natalie Munn, heritage researcher for the City of Charlottetown, has been helping to assemble historic pictures for an exhibit next month on the history of Great George Street in Charlottetown, from Province House to Euston Street. She’s holding a picture taken in 1983 showing the Garden City ice cream parlour at the corner of Great George and Fitzroy streets. The building is now home to the Old Triangle, seen behind her.
In many ways, Great George Street, shown from the cenotaph north, c. 1930, is still recognizable compared to the picture taken this past week. The historic scene is one of the many images depicting scenes of Great George Street that will be featured in the City of Charlottetown’s outdoor exhibit, A Walk Through the Past: Great George Street to University Avenue and Back. The exhibit will be unveiled Heritage Day, Feb. 16.
This Pure Milk Company Ltd. advertisement ran in The Guardian newspaper on Feb. 13, 1950. It will be part of A Walk Through The Past: Great George Street to University Avenue and Back, that features historic photos, ads and interpretation.
This picture, believed to have been taken around 1950, shows the Jenkins Pharmacy at the corner of Kent Street and Great George Street in Charlottetown. It will be one of the historic photos displayed in the windows of participating merchants between Feb. 16-29. The exhibit celebrates the history of a section of the street that was named Great George Street from 1771-1971 and again in 2015.
The Tweel building on the corner of Kent Street and Great George Street, shown here in 1927, has been home to Tweel’s Gift Shop and is currently a Starbucks. It will be one of the historic photos displayed as part of an outdoor exhibit Feb. 16-29 in the windows of participating merchants along Great George Street, from Province House to Euston Street.
This picture of the WE Dawson building was taken in 1882 and will be featured in A Walk Through The Past: Great George Street to University and Back. The Dawson building has been home to many tenants over the years, including Lord’s Pharmacy, radio stations CFCY/Q-93/Magic 93, and will soon be home to McInnes Cooper (top three floors).
Long before The Guardian opened at its current location on Prince Street in Charlottetown, it operated out an office on Great George Street. That location was gutted by fire in 1923. This will be one of the many historic photos, ads and interpretations on display in the windows of participating merchants on Great George Street next month.
The view of the Great George Street streetscape from Province House in Charlottetown, looking down toward Euston Street, has changed drastically since this picture was taken in 1901. It will be one of the images features in an exhibit participating merchants will be taking part in Feb. 16-29.