Today is the Third Sunday in Advent, 11 December 2016, a beautiful Sunny morning again in Charlottetown on the banks of the Hillsborough river. What I like most about our home is the light coming through our East, South and West windows not to mention the Northern windows (facade) which give the late afternoon glow at Sunset. The view is panoramic which is a bonus for me. The peace and quiet, the friendly people, the lack of stress and the slower pace of life on the Island is very attractive.
PEI seen from the sky
In January 2016 at the beginning of this old year change was afoot, we knew that we had to make a decision, our landlord had indicated his willingness to sell the condo and he was willing to amend our lease so we could exit easily, would we stay in Ottawa were we had lived since 1976 or would we move away.
We had been in August 2015 to Charlottetown, seen the city in the bustle of Summer, cruise ships and all. We had made plans to return in Winter at the suggestion of our friend J.W.D. to see what it was like when the city is quiet and tourist businesses were closed. Metro Charlottetown has a population of about 45,000. still the smallest Provincial Capital of our Dominion. https://www.tourismpei.com/charlottetown-pei
Our biggest concern was if there was anything to do in the low Season. We did return to Charlottetown in February and were here during the Island Statutory Holiday called Islander Day, which is the third Monday of February, we flew from Ottawa to Moncton and then drove the short distance over the Sea Bridge to PEI. Weather wise it was Winter but much milder than what we had in Ottawa, though this was not our primary concern, our concern was to find enough activity so that we could busy ourselves. We did find a trove of things to do, easily accessible and welcoming to anyone interested immediately.
My first contact was with the Art Gallery at Confederation Centre this giant Memorial theatre, library and Art Gallery dedicated to the Fathers of Confederation who in 1864 had gathered in Charlottetown to map out how Canada would be united into one country.I was hired on the spot based on my previous experience in Ottawa at the National Gallery.
We then proceeded to look actively for a property to rent, many tried to get us to buy a house but frankly we were not interested. We wanted to live in the old 500 block area of original Charlottetown of 1765, close to the quays and surrounded by homes dating from 1820’s, we looked and looked and could not find what we wanted on our shopping list. Then our friend D.S. suggested some properties he knew the owners were looking to rent. We also learned that on PEI homes for rent or for sale do not come on the market, it is all by word of mouth. Someone will rent or sell to you because you fit the portrait of someone they would want to have commerce with. We were recommended by an Islander and so the doors opened. That is not to say that Islanders are not welcoming, no, simply that they guard what they have. PEI is a lot like a small Principality in a way.
Now back in Ottawa we had to make arrangements for our move over 1000 Km from Ontario to PEI. The expense in any move is the truck rental from a reputable firm, we also wanted to use containers to save money on this move. Myself and our friend B.P. did two trips, one to sign the lease and look around the property again, we had only seen it once in February at night. It was fine then and perfect now. The second trip was a few days ahead of the truck itself and carrying our two hounds. We arrived in May, the truck followed with 4 tons of belongings, it all went pretty smoothly and I then had the apartment totally repainted in colours we liked by a painter who is well known for his work on the Island’s Lighthouses.
When Will arrive in July all was in order. We had changed our licence plates on the car and got our PEI Driver’s licence which was pretty quick, under 30 minutes. We also had to change our Provincial Health Coverage and that was achieved in about 2 minutes, so fast in fact that I was left a little surprised. The Health Ministry then phoned me a week later to tell us Welcome and not to worry all was in order.
Will also found something of interest to him, joining the Board of the PEI Symphony Orchestra. peisymphony.com
Of course 2016 was also the year of the big trip, marking my 60th Birthday, Will’s 70th and our 39 years together as a couple. We returned to Ireland who in 2016 is celebrating the Easter Upraising of 1916 which led to Independence. We travelled all around the Republic and visited Belfast where Will’s family come from, a big tourist mecca these days. I can now say I have seen all of Ireland and crossed the Atlantic from Southhampton to NYC. on a liner. It was a memorable trip, like many of our trips together. http://www.belmond.com/grand-hibernian-train/
Now we are about to celebrate our first Christmas on the Island and the New Year in Charlottetown, already the Festivities for the 150th Anniversary of Confederation has been announced, 2017 will be a very busy year. It all starts with a $100K display of fireworks in front of Province House on Great George Street a few steps away from our home. http://www.city.charlottetown.pe.ca
It has been a whirlwind year and a happy year for us, a new chapter. We have made lots of new friends, socially it has been a very active busy year.
Peake’s Quay, Confederation Landing and Marina