There are many fun activities in Charlottetown which are very special to this Capital. Art in the Dark I already mentioned, there are also many cultural nights organized by groups, music and art etc. Many venues are small and can accommodate maybe 50 people so they have an intimate flavour, others like the Art Gallery are larger and last Saturday over 200 people came to the opening of the Winter Show at the Confederation Centre.
Tonight we went to see the play The Dining Room by A.R. Gurney at the Elmwood Heritage Inn. The Inn is on the tony neighbourhood of Brighton on North River Road. The house is set well back from the road, at least 200 meters and at an angle, so you can see it when passing by but you need to enter the property proper to have a real good look. All the land around the house now occupied by a few other house use to be the estate. At night it is difficult to see how big the house is, but once inside you realize this is truly a gigantic mansion built in 1888 as a wedding present. I was intrigue by the house and I asked our host who owned and built this place. It turns out it was the grandson of Samuel Cunard who got it when he married. The house is as it was then except for modern touches like electricity, a modern kitchen and bathrooms. Beautiful woodwork, many fireplaces, intricate ceilings and chandeliers, all the rooms are big and imposing. Today this is a premier B&B in Charlottetown. www.elmwoodinn.pe.ca
The Cunard family are Canadians and Samuel Cunard was born in Halifax, in the Canadian Province of Nova Scotia. His shipping empire is well known today for its Ocean Liners but he started in business by owning the contracts to move mail from the mainland all around the Maritime Provinces and down to Quebec City and Montreal, before he extended himself to England.
The 1972 play the dining room is about dining rooms in homes of wealthy New England families who have servants and cooks and adhere to a bizarre ritual of strict etiquette at meal time en famille. The meal cannot go ahead if father is not present, everyone must behave and be well groomed to come to table, conversation is always polite and centres on Social Club activities, business circles, dinner parties with fine china, silverware, linens and well prepared food and impeccable service. But there is also an underline plot of hypocrisy, adultery, divorce, inheritance, family feuds, pettiness, lonely housewives, absent husbands, unhappy kids and long suffering servants who are silent observers.
It was great fun to see this play in the formal dining room of the house, we sitting in the salon and on the side, the actors moving around us. At the intermission, the owners served bubbly and canapés, we saw friends and had a great evening.