There are two bloggers on the Island who write about the history of PEI. It is very informative and a lot of it has to do with railroads and ferries to the mainland. The trains are gone now, the network was dismantled in the 1960’s the main reason was the astronomical cost of maintaining the tracks on the very soft soil of the Island. The ferries have also cut back service with new bridges connecting communities on the Island and the Sea Bridge (Confederation) built in 1997. The ferries still provide service but to specific points like New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and the fabled Iles de la Madeleine.
In one blog entry was a map of Charlottetown in 1880. Looking at it closely I could see that much has changed in the last 50 years when the Government of PEI and the City decided to clean up the waterfront of the City from industrial to park land.
Our street Prince from the corner of Water Street was a wharf and not a street as it is today, the wharf was used for passengers and merchandise for the ferry service to Stratford just across the Hillsborough river. Today at the end of the street stands a Seafood restaurant. The great water basins have been filled in and turned into parks called Confederation Landing and a gift of the City of Quebec, the Old Capital as it is known, because it was once the Royal Capital of New France and remains to this day the Summer Capital of the Governor General of Canada who resides at the Citadel on Cap Diamant.
In front of my window as I look out into a park and a small building once part of the Train Station, this building is now a Tourist information centre, next to it stood a round house for locomotives, next to it in what is called Founders Hall was a repair shop for train cars. The round house is gone and a nice park took its place. A bit further is the Causeway taking traffic to Stratford nowadays. The great Cruise ships now dock next to Prince Street. Looking at all these parks it is difficult to imagine that once this was the river and the streets were wharfs and ship building dominated the area coupled with train traffic and freight.
Just behind our house you could count 2 bassins for ships and 4 wharfs one being owned by the Duncan family whose home built in 1840 we now live in. The tall ship building industry disappeared around 1890 to be replaced by steel and steam engines. This is when Charlottetown went into a steep decline economically after being the tall ship building capital of North America. The Duncan house became a residence for seniors until a few years ago when it was gutted and renovated.
The greening of our neighbourhood has made a big difference in Charlottetown and I can appreciate the improvement.
These buildings prior to 1964 would have been on the water’s edge and all the trees in the background and other buildings would have been in the ship basins. Today it is a park along the river, thanks to landfill.
In this park stood the Round House for Locomotives. The stone building was part of the freight yard, now a tourist information centre.
Another view of the park where once stood the round house for locomotives.
Also today I went for a walk on the boardwalk in Victoria Park, it is an area that has always been reserved for the Army and for the Lieutenant Governor of the Province, his Residence is located here, it is a wonderful part of the city.
Note the reddish colour of the water of the River due to the soil. On the right side of the photo is Rocky Point which is cottage country some 15 minutes from the City.
Beyond is the Strait of Northumberland and the sea.
The boardwalk as it comes to West Street and Beaconsfield House which can be seen in the background (yellow house with lantern on the roof) It is a Museum to the Peakes Family who were and are still prominent in Charlottetown.
Masses of flowers in Queen’s Square, (Queen Charlotte) one of the numerous parks in the old City.
St-Peter’s Anglican Cathedral and the famous All Souls Chapel which is a must see. It is decorated in Pre-Raphaelite style with wall paintings by Robert Harris who used Dante’s Inferno as a theme.
Oh Look it’s our little Nicky having his sun filled morning snooze after his breakfast.
Province House c.1847, the Legislature of the Province of Prince Edward Island.
Great George Street named after George III and St-Dustan Irish R.C. Cathedral.
Other brick buildings on Great George Street dating from the early 19th century. It is all art galleries nowadays.
This old picture shows in the background on the right Province House. St-Dustan Cathedral is in its original state prior to being rebuilt into the great church it is today.
All the other buildings in the pictures are still there today which is pretty amazing. This was Peakes Wharf’s known today as Confederation Landings because this is were the Fathers of the Canadian Constitution landed in June 1864 walking up Great George Street.