Communities in Bloom Symposium
Charlottetown, PEI
'The Birthplace of Confederation'
September 2004


This year the Garden Writers Symposium in Long Island finished up just as this one started so I was able to take advantage of both being at the same time and side of the country. I arrived into Charlottetown late Wednesday and was picked up by one of the owners of the bed and breakfast where I was to stay until Sunday.

Judy and Trevor Pye are the owners of this wonderful B & B called the Shipwright Inn, a lovely Victorian home built in 1865. There were many b & b's located in the area I was in, but this is one of the very few 5 star inns. They are also a member, Independent Innkeeper's Association and a Heritage Award Winner - Frommer's Favourite on PEI. They are a British couple and I have to say I was right at home here... of course they made you feel that way. I kept telling people each day what I had for breakfast and must say they were quite annoyed with me for having such wonderful breakfasts. My room was on the main floor and had its own bathroom plus a beautiful, very high four poster bed. In fact it also had a step stool to get up into it. Each evening when I got back there were treats and tea or coffee on the sideboard in the dining room... a very, very comfortable place to stay and I know you will love Trevor and Judy. Each of the nine bedrooms are unique and they are open year round... although be warned that they are extremely booked up during the summer months so get that reservation in soon. It was also nice to sit and chat with the other guests each morning during breakfast. Let them know you heard it from me!

Charlottetown - we have all heard of Anne of Green Gables, but this is also the birthplace of Confederation for us and Province House National Historic Site is indeed the place to visit to find out more about the Charlottetown Conference, where in 1864 the foundation was laid for Canadian nationhood. They have a 17 minute presentation there that puts the whole thing into perspective and it's wonderful to listen to. 'A Great Dream was dreamt in this house - Canada'! it was indeed quite moving to listen to. All the original coats of arms are there for you to see and you can take pictures inside the building as well... quite the building. It is the picture of the neo-classical stone building with the flowers in front.

I spent a lot of time just walking around the streets and discovering some beautiful old buildings, like St. Dunstan's Basilica, a beautiful Gothic style cathedral, built in the shape of a Gothic cross and 271 long and 90 feet wide.

Many wonderful old buildings and many newer larger estates all decked out in flowers as this was after all the Communities in Bloom Symposium.

We visited Fanningbank, the official residence of the Lieutenant Governor of Prince Edward Island. We were treated to refreshments as we got to wander around this home and garden. The garden is set to the west of the house and the committee of Government House continues to work towards restoring, preserving and enhancing the grounds. The garden is an English style ornamental garden with a rose garden and was a delightful place to wander with a glass of punch in hand. Fanningbank is the white Georgian style with the pillars and the red double decker buses in front that were used to ferry us around. The two ladies dressed up are in period costume in the house. There are also a couple of pictures of the gardens and note the view, it was absolutely incredible.

Founder's Hall, a modern interactive tribute was open one evening just for us and was again, an opportunity to become one with confederation... then we walked along the waterfront until it was time to taste some east coast flavours. Oysters, mussels and lobster. Now I have to tell you that I gave my tickets away for the oysters and mussels and just dined on my lobster with buns, coleslaw and drink. It was super! Afterwards they had local entertainment which was traditional music and song.

We also visited the Art Gallery of the renowned Confederation Centre of the Arts, where again, they had drinks and nibbles for us as we wandered the art centre. Afterwards we returned to the Delta Prince Edward for a delectable dessert bar with so many types of cheesecake - don't ask me which one I preferred.




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