A CITY FOR ALL SEA­SONS

The birth­place of Cana­dian Con­fed­er­a­tion has blos­somed into a year-round favourite.

Dreamscapes Travel & Lifestyle Magazine - - Table Of Contents - BY TALIA WOOLDRIDGE

The se­cret to vis­it­ing Charlottetown is pick­ing your travel dates to sync with one of the city’s many events. I vis­ited in Septem­ber—a busier month. Aside from fes­ti­vals, I en­joyed get­ting lost in Charlottetown’s his­tor­i­cal charm: walk­ing its famed Vic­to­ria Row while brows­ing eclec­tic art gal­leries and funky shops, sip­ping de­li­cious espresso on a café pa­tio, and snap­ping a photo of St. Dun­stan’s Basil­ica. In the af­ter­noon, I took in a Cana­dian his­tory les­son at the Con­fed­er­a­tion Cen­tre of the Arts be­fore strolling through Vic­to­ria Park. The pic­turesque wa­ter­front board­walk and the many wa­ter tours from Charlottetown Har­bour, which in­clude lob­ster fish­ing, Chi­nese Junk Boat Tour, kayak­ing, pad­dle­board­ing and sail­ing, were de­light­ful.

Af­ter a whirl­wind day of sight­see­ing, I par­tic­i­pated in the kid-friendly scav­enger hunt for bronze mice be­fore our 7 p.m. din­ner reser­va­tion at Hop­y­ard. Why not? While I didn’t ex­cel as quickly as my younger com­pan­ions, it was a good laugh and a great way to un­cover Charlottetown’s his­tor­i­cal land­marks and lo­cal lit­er­ary artists.

COOL FES­TIV­I­TIES

Dur­ing the long win­ter months, the bustling Vic­to­rian Christ­mas Week­end in Novem­ber and Jack Frost Win­ter­fest in Fe­bru­ary are must-attends for all ages. Win­ter­dine is a won­der­ful way to en­joy Charlottetown’s

scrump­tious restau­rant scene, which in­cludes two ve­gan restau­rants and a smat­ter­ing of veg­e­tar­ian op­tions. You can work off your din­ner all win­ter long with Snow­shoes in the City, an ini­tia­tive that of­fers free snow­shoes at par­tic­i­pat­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion prop­er­ties. There are also a num­ber of trails along which you can es­cape into the win­ter qui­etude if you so de­sire.

Mu­si­cally, Charlottetown is busy through­out the year. Whether it’s an Ir­ish ceilidh, jazz or an up­com­ing singer-song­writer, live mu­sic is eas­ily found in one of the city’s many bars and venues. For art and mu­sic lovers, The Guild fea­tures live theatre and mu­si­cal per­for­mances, along with stun­ning art ex­hi­bi­tions. Al­low ex­tra time to take in the art be­fore your show. We loved the charm­ing Anne of Green Gables: The Mu­si­cal at the Con­fed­er­a­tion Cen­tre of the Arts, which also dou­bles as a na­tional gallery.

WARM-WEATHER DE­LIGHTS

Charlottetown comes alive dur­ing the sum­mer months with nu­mer­ous fes­ti­vals. The pro­vin­cial event cal­en­dar pro­vides a quick over­view of which pro­duc­tions are run­ning in Charlottetown and across the prov­ince.

The Charlottetown Fes­ti­val fea­tures a spe­cial show on the main stage ev­ery year, or you can take in some­thing new at The Mack, sis­ter venue to the Con­fed­er­a­tion Cen­tre of the Arts. Sur­pris­ingly, the PEI Brew­ing Co. is an­other theatre venue.

If art is more your thing, Art in the Open in late Au­gust is a su­perb venue. For one day and night, his­toric down­town Charlottetown is trans­formed into an in­ter­ac­tive pub­lic art gallery, where peo­ple of all ages are en­cour­aged to take part in art in­stal­la­tions, art craft­ing projects, the­atri­cal pop-ups and cre­ative pa­rades. It sprawls into the Con­fed­er­a­tion Cen­tre of the Arts, Vic­to­ria Park and neigh­bour­ing squares.

The Di­ver­secity Mul­ti­cul­tural Fes­ti­val cel­e­brates mu­sic, dance, food and cul­tural tal­ents of over 50 new and estab­lished PEI com­mu­ni­ties through­out the prov­ince, in­clud­ing down­town Charlottetown. It fea­tures a num­ber of chil­dren’s ac­tiv­i­ties, as does Old Home Week, an agri­cul­tural fes­ti­val in Au­gust with live har­ness rac­ing, an Is­land tra­di­tion.

Dur­ing au­tumn, PEI’S Fall Flavours Fes­ti­val, a month-long culi­nary event across the prov­ince, is a must. It fea­tures ac­claimed guest chefs who host mouth­wa­ter­ing ex­pe­ri­ences that cel­e­brate PEI’S unique food tra­di­tions, along­side many ta­lented grad­u­ates from PEI’S Culi­nary In­sti­tute of Canada who are ded­i­cated farmto-ta­ble cook­ing lead­ers. Mid-septem­ber we en­joyed cham­pi­onship-win­ning Cae­sars and chow­der all to the back­drop of Mar­itime fid­dling and step danc­ing at the PEI In­ter­na­tional Shell­fish Fes­ti­val. From oys­ter-shuck­ing com­pe­ti­tions to culi­nary demon­stra­tions hosted by award-win­ning chefs, this four-day fes­ti­val has nu­mer­ous events, in­clud­ing in­ti­mate cook­book sign­ings and meet and greets with Food Net­work celebri­ties.

Veg It Up!, PEI’S new­est food fes­ti­val, is a cel­e­bra­tion of ve­gan food that will con­vert the most cyn­i­cal car­ni­vore. The PEI Beer Fes­ti­val is an­other high­light, show­cas­ing a se­lec­tion of tasty craft brews. And Burger Love and Farm Day in the City high­light Charlottetown’s strong con­nec­tion to ru­ral PEI.

If you can’t make these, be sure to at­tend one of the city’s ex­quis­ite farm­ers’ mar­kets fea­tur­ing lo­cally grown foods and ar­ti­san prod­ucts. We were for­tu­nate enough to stum­ble across one on Satur­day morn­ing— a per­fect source for our pic­nic lunch later that day.

Whether it’s a fam­ily va­ca­tion, a solo mis­sion or a ro­man­tic get­away, Charlottetown of­fers many sur­prises for the sea­soned trav­eller. It’s eas­ily a favourite Cana­dian city to visit at any time of year.

ABOVE: Kayak­ing through Charlottetown Har­bour is a pop­u­lar warm-weather ac­tiv­ity. OP­PO­SITE TOP: Fresh seafood and out­door pa­tios make for the per­fect Is­land culi­nary ex­pe­ri­ence in Charlottetown. OP­PO­SITE CEN­TRE: Fall is an es­pe­cially colour­ful time of the year to visit Charlottetown and take part in fes­ti­vals. Dis­cover Charlottetown

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