A   V I E W   F R O M   C H A R L O T T E T O W N ,   P R I N C E   E D W A R D   I S L A N D


My main cause

Charlotte Town: As a Charlottetownian by birth and a deeply committed believer by study and research and an amateur urban planner in my heart this little capital city is of great concern to me. Being so blessed on this Island by natural attributes we are naturally a tourist destination of great interest and our weakness might be that we might overdo the playing to that audience and forget our year around citizens. Up until lately, as a prominent Charlottetownian once said, "we were so far behind we were ahead" and that somewhat explained our gentleness, I think. What I read is that you don't do things for tourists - you do it for yourself and the bonus is that friends that visit enjoy your place more. A great symposium held a few years ago in Calgary on Cultural Tourism had a keynote speaker that said it well. He was Robert McNulty, President of Partners for Livable Places in Washington, D.C.: "I don't see cultural tourism as a product. I don't see it as a separate item. I see it as the process of making your community more livable for yourself. If you like it, then someone is going to come as a visitor and find it enjoyable, too. Then your hardest problem is to manage it so that too many outsiders don't come. It could then become uncomfortable for both you and the visitors and no longer a pleasant experience for anyone" All this is something we've got to think about and talk about. In the meantime on the Charlotte Town study that I am doing, I have divided our city into 117 blocks of land and I am layering information on buildings, fires, industry and commerce, the arts, the residents - those kinds of things. In another place I am accumulating information on mayors and councillors, prominent citizens and characters, special visitors and alot of family trees. This is slow going. I spend a great deal of time reading old newspapers, land office records and wills. Recently I have been reading the 1940's, particularly about the post war development in our city - places like the Crestwood Drive development, the Birchwood area development and that temporary housing area at the airport called Maple Hills. Most of those Maple Hills buildings were bought and moved and we have to follow where they went. A few years ago you could identify them relatively easily, but it is getting more difficult. I need help here. I have really enjoyed reading this period, particularly since I remember alot of things about it. I'll be sharing some of them with you. Charlotte Town is such a very special place - except maybe in March and April - it is so important that we treat it with respect.

Written Friday, March 17, 2000 at 09:55 PM

(c) 2000 by Catherine Hennessey. Questions or comments? Email me@catherinehennessey.com

Website design and construction by Reinvented Inc.

ISSN 1496-3108