Prince Edward Island rings in historic new year

Mitch MacDonald
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It’s a celebration that will last all year in Prince Edward Island.

Explosive fireworks lit up Great George Street and Province House Tuesday as thousands gathered in Charlottetown to ring in a historic new year for the province, with 2014 being the 150th anniversary of the 1864 Conference that led to the creation of Canada.

The capital city hosted undoubtedly the biggest New Year’s Eve celebration in the province.

The city’s usual celebration in Victoria Park was moved to the historic Great George Street, where the Fathers of Confederation first marched up to Province House.

A number of activities hosted by the city and P.E.I. 2014 drew both the young and old along the street and inside Murphy’s Community Centre.

Karen Morrissey, of Charlottetown, took part in the celebrations with her three children Emma, Cohen and Griffin.

With the family usually celebrating the new year at Victoria Park, the four were glad to have the comfort of the many children’s activities, including inflatable funhouses and a concert by the music Man Mike Pendergast, inside the community centre.

“It’s great and really fun. It’s nice there is stuff inside so people can keep warm,” said Morrissey.

While wind chill created temperatures below -20 C, many still took time to stroll the street to see fire breathers and other street performers, as well as ice sculptures and live music by Meaghan Blanchard and Rawlins Cross.

Speeches from officials, including Lt.-Gov. Frank Lewis, Premier Robert Ghiz, MP Gail Shea, city mayor Clifford Lee and Abegweit First Nation Chief Brian Francis also paid tribute to the historic conference and looked forward to celebrations throughout the upcoming year.

“If 2014 is to be the best party we have ever hosted, which it will be, then it is up to you and up to me and up to all of us together to be the world’s finest party hosts,” said Lewis. “Friendly, warm and welcoming. Always keeping our great Island looking as it should, bright and blessed. Blessed with natural beauty, a unique history and the best people that can be found anywhere.”

While it was still a few hours before midnight, 2014 was officially declared by the City and P.E.I. 2014 during a performance of the theme song “Forever Strong/Ile au Tresor” by Mike Ross, Cynthia MacLeod and Rawlins Cross.

The events were all free to the public.

The evening also saw a ticketed concert event at the P.E.I. Convention Centre featuring Lennie Gallant, More Soul and Johnny Reid.

At EastLink Centre, the Island Storm hosted the Halifax Rainmen, while the Charlottetown Driving Park had a full harness racing card.

However, the highlight for many were a booming fireworks display visible from Great George Street.

Celebrations to ring in 2014 will continue with levees being held across the province Wednesday.

Click here to see a list of levee locations.

Organizations: Province House, P.E.I. Convention Centre, EastLink Centre

Geographic location: Great George Street, Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown Victoria Park Canada Charlottetown Driving Park

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Comments

Comments

Recent comments

  • J
    January 02, 2014 - 08:33

    Boblol, sorry to disappoint you, I was there with family, beautiful evening but not a spectacular kick off event after so much planning and hype, no great WOW factor. This 2014 celebration is a PEI event, not something people from other parts of the world might be excited about, I hope I'm wrong.

  • bob Lol
    January 01, 2014 - 21:28

    Sorry J, but I just don't believe you. If you feel so strongly against the whole thing why would you brave minus 23 C temperatures to participate in something you are really opposed to? I think you oppose almost everything just for the sake of opposing it.

  • J
    January 01, 2014 - 17:01

    BobLOL, Sorry Bob I was there last night.

  • Bill MacIntosh
    January 01, 2014 - 16:37

    The loser brigade is in full swing over this story.

  • Bob LOL
    January 01, 2014 - 16:34

    I get a real kick out of people like J, Observer and others who criticize an event and pretend to know about, but were never there.

  • Piet Hein
    January 01, 2014 - 16:31

    I see a lot of you are living by the Homer Simpson credo - don't ever try.

  • Bill Brunsey
    January 01, 2014 - 16:28

    For all you people who are mocking the celebrations and even the horse racing - I guess you would be happier if everyone had stayed at home drinking and feeling sorry for themselves like you did. I bet you didn't feel any better this morning. It must be so sad to be sitting at your computer, hung over and posting such negative comments

  • J
    January 01, 2014 - 12:18

    Nothing special,small town celebration despite all the hype and budget, can't imagine drawing many tourists for this year long celebration. The only people talking it up is government and related committees, outside PEI who cares?

    • hmm
      January 01, 2014 - 12:55

      So...ultimately the moral of your post is: Don't even try. Is that how you live your life?

  • Romeo
    January 01, 2014 - 12:17

    So what are we going to celebrate in 9 years.

  • The Observer from Stratford
    January 01, 2014 - 10:29

    So how many people attended this "big" evening on Great George? Surely the Guardian could at least give us an estimate. I'll wager it wasn't very big. Only the most brave and foolhardy would have been out in last night's cold for any reason especially with their children. I'm also stunned to read that the harness racing went on as scheduled. Forcing the horses to run was clearly cruelty to animals. Where was the SPCA to protect the horses from the cold?

    • huh
      January 01, 2014 - 11:05

      You sound like you would gain some measure of satisfaction if indeed attendance was poor. Why? I continue to be puzzled at posters whose primary mission is to go to great lengths to complain about something. It empowers them I guess.

    • Josh
      January 01, 2014 - 15:34

      Couldn't get a grasp on that one myself. Never agreed with making horses run in extreme cold and why would they pick last night to have a card of harness racing. Was it really that necessary?

    • horse
      January 01, 2014 - 16:33

      @Josh. Well, first off the date was picked long in advance. There was no idea of the weather forecast at the time. Second, horses are hardy animals and they were not really at risk. The racetrack's track record has proven that they are not afraid to cancel a program if conditions warrant.