On October 11, 1882, Oscar Wilde who was then 28 years old came to Charlottetown and spoke in the Old Market Hall, which is now occupied by the Confederation Centre for the Arts. He was on a speaking tour of North America. The local press was present and on the look out, after all Oscar Wilde had a reputation and the press where waiting for him. He also spoke in Halifax and in St-John where he had to return by popular demand to deliver another lecture on Decorative Arts. Both the Daily Examiner and the Patriot sent reporters, both papers disappeared some years ago.
In Charlottetown, the local press showed clearly a strong prejudice against him in the article about his talk. The reporter wrote only about how effeminate he was, he manner and speech were unmanly, he dressed poorly if compared to a British gentleman, the press faulted him for not wearing evening dress. His hair was long though in a sleight to French Canadians, the reporter noted that some men in Quebec wore their hair longer. According to the reporter Wilde could pass for a mannish woman. Not one word about his lecture or the topic. In other words Wilde was dismissed as of no importance and what was all the fuss about this fellow.
Wilde was described as the Apostle of the Beautiful, you can imagine that on a poor agricultural island in the midst of a grave economic crisis with the steep decline of the wood ship building industry, he did not impress the locals. The audience was described as splendid and maybe too enthusiastic given that a similar welcome is never given to local Islanders. This prejudice against anyone not from PEI is still very much in evidence today.
The Charlottetown Central Market Hall 1823-1958 destroyed by fire.