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.