Charlottetown is the capital city of Prince Edward Island in Atlantic Canada. Charlottetown is a great place to spend a few days. It's a quaint and pretty town, small enough to be able to walk around, and has lots of good restaurants and bars. It's also within easy reach of the PEI National Park.
It was named after Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, queen consort of King George III of the United Kingdom. Charlottetown was incorporated as a city in 1855.
It was the site of the famous Charlottetown Conference in 1864, the first gathering of Canadian and Maritime statesmen to discuss the proposed Maritime Union. This conference led, instead, to the union of British North American colonies in 1867, which was the beginning of the Canadian confederation. PEI, however, did not join Confederation until 1873. From this, the city adopted as its motto Cunabula Foederis, "Birthplace of Confederation".
As the provincial capital, the local economy is dominated by the public sector. Other significant economic activities include technology, and light manufacturing, such as chemicals, bio-technology, and machining. In 2016, it was home to about 36,000 people, and 77,000 in the metropolitan area.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
- 1 Charlottetown Airport (YYG IATA), 250 Maple Hills Ave. Has nonstop flights to Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, and New York (JFK). Prices are usually expensive between $500-1400 depending your origin. Charlottetown Airport is one of the most user-friendly airports. Clearly, some of this is due to infrequent flights and small aircraft. Check-ins usually take five minutes or less. The airport is small, accessible, and friendly -- just like the city itself!
- Air Canada/Air Canada Express (Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto)
- WestJet (Toronto)
- Sunwing Vacations (Puerto Plata)
Maritimebus is the only company for the area.
- from Moncton (NB), 2/day, $33.75, 3 hr 5 min
- from Bathurst (NB), 1/day, $68.50, 8 hr 35 min
- from Halifax (NS), 2/day (7:05PM, noon), $58.25 (+tax 15% + bridge $2.40 + fuel ~$70), 5 hr 20 min with change at Amherst (depending on how full the bus is, you will usually switch to smaller bus from Amherst).
A few shuttle services are also available for similar prices.
Drive across the Confederation Bridge or take a ferry from Caribou (Nova Scotia), ~11 hr along the Trans-Canada Hwy from Montreal (Rivière-du-Loup, Edmundston, Fredericton, Moncton) or 3hr30min from Halifax.
Taxis are cheap. $10 gets you from the airport to downtown. $6-10 will get you anywhere around town. All taxis are flat rate by zone. None has any specific licensing information in them; not to worry though, taxi drivers are typically friendly, enjoy meeting tourists, and are honest above all else. Charlottetown is a small, very accessible city: you can walk almost anywhere downtown.
Most of downtown is also easy to walk through, a bit less in winter.
If you need a local bus, check T3 services.
- 1 St. Dunstan's Basilica, 45 Great George St, ☏ . Tourists welcomed between services.
- 2 Province House, 165 Richmond St, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. This National Historic Site and has functioned as the provincial legislature since 1847, but is closed for renovations until 2020.
- 3 Confederation Centre of the Arts, 145 Richmond Street. Art gallery hours Oct 10-May 21: W-Sa 11AM-5PM, Su 1-5PM; May 22-Oct 9: daily 9AM-5PM. The Confederation Centre is open year-round and showcases the best in the Canadian visual and performing arts. It houses several theaters, an art gallery, Mavor's Bistro and a gift shop.
- Beaconsfield Historic House, 2 Kent Street, ☏ . Nov-Apr: M Tu Th F noon-4PM; May Sep Oct: M-F noon-4PM; June: M-F noon-4PM, Su 10AM-4PM - hours may vary, call to confirm. Jul Aug: M-Sa 10AM-4:30PM, Su noon-4:30PM. The Beaconsfield Historic House Museum is open year-round for tours. One of the Island's finest residences, built in 1877, the site offers a program of house tours and lectures, and special events in the Carriage House. Adult $5.00, student $4.00, senior $4.50.
- 4 Ardgowan, Mt Edward Road (near bus station). 8:40AM-4:30PM. Only outside can be visited. The Ardgowan estate contains the country cottage of William Henry Pope, one of the Fathers of Confederation. Pope hosted delegates and observers of the Charlottetown Conference of 1864 at his house. The building and grounds are restored to an 1860s appearance. The grounds are open to the public, while the building houses Parks Canada staff.
- Charlottetown Islanders, Eastlink Centre, 46 Kensington Road. A major junior hockey team. They have had a few players play in the NHL or AHL. Adult $18.50, senior $16.50, student $13.50, youth $11.50, taxes included.
At the harbourfront you can get on a seal-watching tour boat, while from the airport's Skyplex you can go on an air tour.
- 1 Victoria Park. Walk around Victoria Park, one of Charlottetown's most beautiful and popular parks. The park has walking trails, a harbor-front boardwalk, three play structures and an outdoor pool and splash park.
- Peake's Wharf Harbour and Seal Watching Cruise. Book a Peake's Wharf Harbour and Seal Watching Cruise and relax while cruising Charlottetown's scenic and historic harbour.
- 2 Peake's Quay. Peake's Quay is a wonderful shopping and dining area located right on the marina and is a short walk from downtown. There are many souvenir shops, activities, and restaurants.
- Victoria Row. Walk down picturesque Victoria Row for great shopping, drinks and dining. Victoria Row and Queen Street have excellent art galleries.
- PEI Confederation Trail. Hiking and bicycling on rolled stone dust trail. From Ghiz Memorial Park at the corner of Grafton Street and Edward Street, the trail proceeds north out of the city and across the island for 470 km.
- Anne of Green Gables the Musical. Anne of Green Gables the Musical runs from the end of June to the end of August. The musical is based on the novel Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery. There are matinee and evening showings. From $20.
Charlottetown contains two major shopping centres: the Confederation Court Mall (downtown, across from Province House), and the Charlottetown Mall, which is outside of town in West Royalty, on University Avenue. They contain the usual anchor stores (Winners, SportsChek, etc.), and many smaller stores. West Royalty also has many stand-alone big-box stores, such as Wal-Mart, and Canadian Tire.
If you get off the beaten path, though, you'll find lots of great specialty shops just waiting for your business. Walks along Queen St. and University Ave. (among others) will yield wonderful surprises in terms of shopping selection.
Groceries are readily available from many major supermarkets within Charlottetown. Typical closing time is 10PM. Sunday store hours are generally noon to 5PM.
- Cedar's Eatery, 81 University Ave, ☏ . Great Lebanese food and reasonable prices. They have won many awards and have a great atmosphere. Shish Taouk, Falafel and other traditional dishes are prepared much more thoughtfully and are far tastier than the normal hole-in-the-wall Mediterranean joints in most cities.
- Brickhouse, 125 Sydney St, ☏ . Romantic meal, sophisticated atmosphere, and there is a well stocked bar upstairs called Marc's Studio.
- Gahan House, 126 Sydney St, ☏ . Home of Gahan Micro Brewery, with great fresh-brewed beer! A favourite is Iron Horse, but the others are all great. The nachos are a favourite with locals and the best value on the menu. Tourist dishes such as the fish and chips can be paltry and overpriced.
- The Merchantman Pub, 23 Queen St, ☏ .
- The Pilot House, 70 Grafton St, ☏ .
- Splendid Essence, 186 Prince St, ☏ . Provides shockingly inexpensive vegetarian meals. Serving a selection of fine Asian teas, dim sum treats like dumplings, and large bowls of noodles, vegetables and vegetarian "ham", you won't go hungry. The menu is small but every item on it is delicious and very reasonably priced.
- The Water Prince Corner Shop and Lobster Pound, 141 Water St (corner of Water and Prince St), ☏ . Offers simple but well prepared seafood meals at exceptional prices. Start with an order of fresh Malpeque oysters, and then have a lobster roll, some lightly battered fish and chips, or even a 2-lb steamed lobster.
- The Noodle House, 188 Great George St, ☏ . Serves authentic Chinese cuisine; well-known for their Kung Pao Gar Ding, Hot & Sour soup, and friendly service.
- Churchill Arms, 75 Queen St (right near the Delta Hotel), ☏ . A cozy British pub and restaurant. Well known for their curries, everything is tasty and affordable. Portions can be quite large.
- Brits Fish and Chips, 41 University Ave, ☏ . Famous for their fish and chips and their casual and friendly atmosphere.
- Chez Cora, 123 Queen St, ☏ . Casual restaurant serving breakfast and lunch. Extensive breakfast menu.
- Cows Ice Cream, 150 Queen St, ☏ . Canada's most popular spot for ice cream! A trip to Cows is unlike any other ice cream experience. The smell of fresh made waffle cones will lure you in through the door, but you will stay for the apparel! Cows not only offers a bounty of creatively named (and delicious) ice cream flavours like "Gooey Mooey" or "Wowie Cowie", but the store sells t-shirts for women, men, and children that are humorous parodies of pop culture, such as "Cowy Potter and the Udder of the Phoenix".
- Peake's Quay Restaurant, 11 Great George St, ☏ . Peake's Quay Restaurant is located a few feet from the Charlottetown Waterfront with a full lunch and dinner menu.
- Lucy Maud Montgomery Dining Room, 4 Sydney St, ☏ . At the Culinary Institute of Canada, a well respected school for chefs. The students prepare and serve meals under the tutelage of their instructors. The food is classically and competently prepared. The dining room has an excellent view over Charlottetown Harbour, though the institute's building is hopelessly municipal in appearance. Begins service at 6PM, reservations requested.
- Thai Food & Dimsum Place, 198 Kent St, ☏ . Pretty authentic Thai food. Hot! But they ask you how hot you want it. Very tasty, made fresh, affordable. The interior of the place is very simple (your date will not be impressed) but the food is perfect.
- Maid Marians Place, 7 Ellis Rd, PE C1A 7X1 (East of university), ☏ . Really the local place to eat. Cheap, old American cantina style but good food.
- Fishbones, 136 Richmond St. (Victoria Row), ☏ . A seasonal bar and restaurant, located on Charlottetown's historic Victoria Row. Great atmosphere and more than reasonable prices.
- Baba's Lounge, 81 University Ave., ☏ . A spot that many young locals go year-round. Generally the most reliable but is quite small.
- Olde Dublin Pub, 131 Sydney St., ☏ . An authentic Irish pub.
- Upstreet Brewing, 41 Allen Street, ☏ . Local independent craft brewery that serves beer, mixed drinks and food. Kid-friendly until the late evening.
- Upstreet Craft Beer Corner, 156 Great George Street, ☏ . Convenient downtown bar that serves Upstreet beers as well as beers and ciders from local PEI cideries and breweries. Serves Cornish pastries from The Handpie Company as light snacks as well as chips from Covered Bridge Chip Company.
There is no reason to stay at a chain hotel or motel in Charlottetown. The city is dotted with some of the cutest, and most comfortable, inns and B&Bs you can imagine. All offer fantastic service and most have locations that allow you to walk downtown. They will often be cheaper and offer much more comfortable accommodations than a hotel. These places live and die by their reputation, so most innkeepers are incredibly helpful. In winter, many places are closing for the season.
- 1 Charlottetown Backpackers Inn (HI-Charlottetown), 60 Hillsborough St, ☏ . Check-in: 4PM, check-out: 11AM. Only hostel in Charlottetown. Single-sex dorms, co-ed dorms, and private rooms available. Free wifi and internet terminals. Open April to October. $28 dorms, $71.10 private rooms.
- Elmwood Heritage Inn. The first 5-star Bed & Breakfast in Charlottetown, it is still one of the best. Innkeepers Jay and Carol are known to be some of the most helpful.
- The Great George. Charlottetown's historic boutique hotel. Probably the best location in all of Charlottetown. It is getting pricier over time, but it is probably still one of the best overall values in town. It is right in the middle of it all.
- Fitzroy Hall. Another well located bed & breakfast, it is typically well maintained.
- The Shipwright Inn. Highly rated.
- The Dundee Arms. An inn with an attached motel. The Dundee has a nice pub frequented by locals.
- Fairholm National Historic Inn, 230 Prince Street, toll-free: . Fairholm National Historic Inn is a designated National Historic Site and has large rooms with superb architectural detail, walking distance to theatre, restaurants, shopping and waterfront.
- 2 Heritage Harbour House, 9 Grafton St, toll-free: . Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 11AM. This hotel is in the most perfect spot in Charlottetown. Two blocks away from the city centre, and filled with staff members who are familiar with the city. $99-219.
- The Sonata Inn, 3 Grafton St., toll-free: . Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 11AM. Great location, close to the city centre. Highly rated, and updated with new furniture. This spot is perfect for families, as it has many rooms with multiple beds. Ask for the Standard Rooms with 2 double beds and a sofa bed for families of 5. Great breakfast too! 119-149.
- Founders' Hall, 178 Water St., ☏ , toll-free: . 9AM-5PM. PEI tourist information office.
- Head west on Route 2 for 60 km to Summerside
|Routes through Charlottetown|
|Aulac ← Confederation Bridge ← Borden-Carleton ←||W E||→ Wood Islands → ferry → New Glasgow|
|Summerside ← Kensington ←||W E||→ Souris → END|
|Cavendish via ← North Rustico ←||N S||→ END|
|Prince Edward Island National Park ← Brackley Beach ←||N S||→ END|