Day 7 |
Sep 26, 2011

Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada

By Robin Aiello, Marine Biologist lecturer

Co-ordinates: 46º13’56.2”N, 063º07’02.2”W
Weather: bright sunlight, no clouds
Air Temperature: 15ºC

The morning started with the most beautiful rosy sunrise. Many of us were up on deck before breakfast to enjoy this spectacle as the ship sailed into the bay. Charlottetown is a quaint small city of approximately 141,000 residents nestled along the southern shore of Prince Edward Island. The island was named for Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn (1767–1820), the fourth son of King George III and the father of Queen Victoria.

The tour for the day was the Historic Charlottetown & Coastal Dunes Tour – a half-day of exploration of this beautiful island. It was a great tour – the beginning spent learning about the history of the island and the role it played in the formation of the union of Canada, and the second half explored the natural wonders of the sand dunes of Greenwich.

On the way to our first stop, the historic Province House National Historic Site, we drove through several sections of the town, including the Lieutenant Governor’s mansion, Victoria Park and the University of Prince Edward Island.

The Province House, which was built between 1843 and 1847, was the meeting place of the Fathers of Confederation for the Charlottetown Conference in September 1864. It was here that the idea of a union of the colonies, which would become known as Confederation, was discussed for the very first time.

The building has been restored and maintained in close to its original state, with many of the actual chairs, desks and other furniture from that era. Parks Canada guides brought the history of the place to life, then led us out of the building and on a short 10 minute walk around the historic buildings of the neighborhood, telling stories of the early days in Charlottetown. After a brief morning tea, served to us by actors in period costume, we re-boarded the coach for the next part of our tour – the sand dunes of Greenwich.

We drove northeast across the island to reach this 900-acre park. It is world-renowned for its complex parabolic sand dune structures. It was a beautiful sunny day with a pleasant breeze, which made the 5km walk through the forest, across the marshlands, over the sand dunes and to the beach very enjoyable. The scenery was magnificent – with the bright greens of the grass-covered dunes, the deep blue of the marsh water, the light blue of the sky. It was a truly beautiful place – one that I personally would love to return and spend more time exploring.

We arrived back at the ship for a late lunch, and then a bit of free time to explore the city centre of Charlottetown, before the ship sailed at 5pm, to start our passage across to the Magdalen Islands.