Charlottetown: more than just the home of Anne

Known as the birthplace of Canada, Charlottetown offers so much more.

Charlottetown: more than just the home of Anne

Wandering the historic streets of Charlottetown feels a bit like stepping into the pages of a storybook. Under clear blue skies and glorious sunshine, I stroll the historic trail from the grand Government House mansion, built in the 1830s as the official residence of the Lieutenant Governor of Prince Edward Island, and on to Beaconsfield Historic House, considered one of the city’s most elegant homes. Continuing on I pass countless gabled Victorian-style houses, complete with pretty picture windows and shingles, as I make my way to the waterfront.

charlottetown

Image: Tourism PEI / John Sylvester

There’s a reason, perhaps, why Charlottetown seems so familiar. The capital of Prince Edward Island, in Canada’s east, is around a half an hour’s drive from Cavendish, where Anne of Green Gables author Lucy Maud Montgomery lived and set many of her beloved books. Montgomery attended university in Charlottetown, as did the fictional heroine who made her world-famous.

beaconsfield

Image: Tourism PEI / Brian Simpson

It’s hard to escape Anne on Prince Edward Island, known as PEI, in Canada’s east. As well as visiting the house that inspired the novels at Cavendish, two musicals about the red haired orphan play in Charlottetown during summer. The acclaimed Anne of Green Gables: The Musical, at the Confederation Centre of the Arts, has been recognised by Guinness World Records as the longest-running annual musical theatre production in the world after 50 years of playing. At the small The Guild theatre nearby, Anne & Gilbert: The Musical tells the story of a grown-up Anne and her longtime love interest.

charlottetown

Image: Tourism PEI / Paul Baglole

Charlottetown, which can be reached via Vancouver with Air Canada, is known as the birthplace of Canada. In 1864, a small group of elected officials gathered here to discuss the possibility of uniting three maritime jurisdictions, sowing the seed of a concept to establish a larger union and create a country.

girl with lobsters

Image: Tourism PEI / Heather Ogg

As well as its fascinating history, the island is heaven for seafood lovers such as myself. Lobster, oysters, crabs, clams and mussels are abundant. While a bit touristy, Lobster on the Wharf is in an ideal location, with a large deck overlooking the Hillsborough River. Nearby Steamers Boat House is a small floating restaurant selling a range of seafood, including oysters and lobster rolls, where you can sit and watch vessels going back and forth. Row House Lobster Co., in Richmond Street, has a range of lobster offerings, including tempura lobster tail, lobster tacos and lobster risotto cakes.

lobster party

Image: Tourism PEI

Locals head to the eclectic Water Prince Corner Shop and Lobster Pound, on the corner of Water Street and Prince Street, where the walls are decorated number plates, photos of Canadian celebrities who have dined there and newspaper articles.

seafood in charlottetown

Image: Tourism PEI 

oyster bar

Image: Tourism PEI / John Sylvester

Terre Rouge Bistro Marche, in Queen Street, has a strong focus on island produce with a continually changing menu that could include blue fin tuna carpaccio, macaroni with goat cheese or pan seared halibut with farm vegetables. Just down the road, Sims Corner Steakhouse and Oyster Bar serves island beef aged in-house for 45 days. You can choose your steak to be cooked with a range of delicious crusts, including blue cheese. Cows, which has two outlets in Charlottetown, is widely regarded as having the best ice-cream in Canada, with offerings including the Wowie Cowie, Messie Bessie and Gooey Mooey. If you’re a beer lover, there are also three breweries in Charlottetown, including PEI Brewery, where you can get refreshing blueberry ale and pumpkin beer.

cycling in charlottetown

Image: Tourism PEI / John Sylvester

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The writer was a guest of Destination Canada and Tourism Prince Edward Island

Angela Saurine is a freelance travel writer based in Sydney, Australia. She was named Best Travel Writer in the 2012 AFTA National Travel Industry Awards, was a finalist for Best Responsible Tourism Story in the 2013 Australian Society of Travel Writers Awards and a finalist for Travel Photographer of the Year in the 2014 awards.





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