Charlottetown is going to be celebrating its birthday a little later this year.
Council gave the green light Monday to moving Natal Day celebrations from the first weekend in June to the first weekend in August.
The city will be turning 164 this year.
According to the city, there has never been any clear understanding internally of the decision behind holding Natal Day celebrations in June considering the city’s actual date of incorporation is April 17, 1855.
Through conversations with the city’s heritage researcher and collections co-ordinator, it has been discovered that a civic holiday for Natal Day was first proclaimed in 1957 and took place on Aug. 5 of that year.
- In 1956, 1957 and 1958 resolutions were passed that stated Charlottetown would have a civic holiday in August to celebrate Natal Day
- In 1958, it was moved to Aug. 13 to coincide with Old Home Week
- According to the city’s heritage department, Natal Day was being celebrated in June by the 1990s
- The act to incorporate the Town of Charlottetown was passed on April 17, 1855
- The first election was held on Aug. 7, 1855
- The first council meeting was held Aug. 11, 1855 in the upstairs parlour of 70 Sydney St.
In the 1990s, Natal Day was being celebrated for a time on the Father’s Day weekend. Council members wanted to get away from that date, so they made it a week earlier.
According to the city’s heritage department, it was in the 1990-early 2000 period under either Mayor Tex MacDonald or Mayor George MacDonald when the event was changed to the second weekend in June, away from Father’s Day weekend.
It was also taken into consideration that the weather is a bit more temperamental in early June than it is in August.
In addition, the past few years have seen the introduction of two big fundraising events on the old Natal Day weekend — the Ronald McDonald House PJ Walk for Kids in support of Ronald McDonald House Charities Atlantic and the annual Saints Peter & Paul Middle Eastern Festival in support of Saints Peter & Paul Orthodox Church.
The scheduling of these events, which include very similar programming to Natal Day activities (pancake breakfast, face painting, inflatables) have them going head to head, affecting crowd sizes.
Coun. Kevin Ramsay, chairman of the events management committee, said there’s even more reason to switch the dates.
“Eight to nine other provinces go at that time of the year,’’ Ramsay said of the first weekend in August. “(June) was a floating date all along.’’