Meaghan Blanchard performs at a news conference announcing details of 1864 anniversary week events. Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee and Tourism Minister Robert Henderson look on.
More free concerts are coming to Charlottetown this summer after the city announced its plans for a six-day festival to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown Conference.
Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee said the festival will replace the city’s usual Natal Day activities and gives an opportunity to showcase the province’s musical talent.
“What that’s going to do it’s going to give these artists, local artists, the ability to showcase their talents to Charlottetownians and to Islanders,” he said.
The festival will run from June 9-15 and feature daily concerts in Victoria Park with 32 acts, all of which will be free.
There will also be other events spread throughout the week, such as fireworks, bike and skateboarding competitions, tours of historic homes and a special cultural market.
On June 14, the city will celebrate Quebec Day in recognition of the roles that Charlottetown and Quebec City played in Confederation through their respective conferences held in 1864.
Quebec City will hold its own Charlottetown Day in the fall, including the opening of a garden named after P.E.I.’s capital.
The City of Charlottetown is paying $35,000 for the festival, which Lee said was about $10,000 more than what the city usually spends on Natal Day.
He defended the spending, saying Charlottetown isn’t like any other city in the country because it is the birthplace of Confederation.
“If we’re not going to celebrate that uniqueness then we’re going to have a difficult time convincing Canadians about the uniqueness of it, why they should come to Charlottetown as the birthplace of Confederation.”
Part of the festivities will be the unveiling of the new Hillsborough Historic Commons Gateway Project, which will feature a new sign at the entrance to the city near the Hillsborough Bridge.
Once the commons is finished, flags for every province and territory will line the back of the Charlottetown Event Grounds, a fence will separate the commons from the site and there will be interpretive panels for pedestrians.
The total cost for the project is $642,000, which will be shared between several groups, including the city, Heritage Canada, P.E.I. 2014, Downtown Charlottetown Inc., the Charlottetown Harbour Authority and the Charlottetown Area Development Corporation.
Lee said the commons is an effort to improve the entrance to the city and recognizes that the event grounds needed to be finished with some type of fencing.
“It’s going to be a lot more attractive, welcoming entrance to the city of Charlottetown.”
A schedule of festival events is available on the city’s website at www.charlottetown.ca.