• Aerial view of Charlottetown

    Aerial view of Charlottetown (Photo: Martin Cathrae)

It was originally a Maritimers-only event.

The provinces now known as Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick were holding a conference to decide whether to create a Maritime Union. But when the Province of Canada (now Ontario and Quebec) crashed the party, Canadian history changed forever.

In 1864, 23 delegates met and debated whether the provinces should unite. After eight days, the Charlottetown Conference ended with the Fathers of Confederation approving the concept. It wasn’t all work though – the Fathers of Confederation hosted a number of social events, including dinners and a ball.

This year, Canadians will celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation with festivities happening throughout Prince Edward Island. If you want to party like it’s 1864, here are some events and activities you won’t want to miss.

Tall ships galore

Kick off the celebrations in the province’s capital for Founder’s Week. Visitors can tour the tall ships in the harbour docks, watch a concert and enjoy a fireworks display. Be sure to catch the Parade of Sails, when the ships leave the harbour.

Charlottetown, Aug. 28 to Sept. 8.
www.pei2014.ca/foundersweek

The play’s the thing

While the Fathers of Confederation were out building a new country, what were the Mothers doing? Did women have any say in how the nation was built? A new play looks at the women behind the men in What to Wear to the Birth of a Nation. As the women get dressed and discuss that day’s ensemble, they reveal more than fashion is on their minds.

North Rustico, part of the summer theatre festival that runs from June 3 to Aug. 30.
www.watermarktheatre.com

Sir John’s tweets

He was a Prime Minister and a Confederation Father. But will he be a Twitter wiz? This summer, Sir John A. MacDonald will send out messages on the Charlottetown Confederation using different communication mediums to reach Islanders and visitors. He’ll be tweeting, posting photos and sending helium-filled balloons with brief messages into the air.

Charlottetown, Aug. 25 to Sept. 9.
www.downtowncharlottetown.com

Lighting the way

The Seacow Head Lighthouse will also celebrate its 150th anniversary this year with descendants of lighthouse keepers and community members having a reunion. Visitors can enjoy heritage presentations, an art exhibit and a lighthouse tour.

Fernwood community, July 26 to Aug. 3.
www.lighthousefriends.com

Historic harbour

Picturesque Summerside should be on every visitor’s list. Explore the harbour on your own or with a historical tour that gives you an insider’s view of waterfront life over the years. There will also be musical performances, concerts and children’s entertainment. 

Summerside, April 24 to Nov. 30.
Website: www.culturesummerside.ca

Canada Day celebrations

What better place to celebrate our country’s birthday than where it all began? Top Canadian artists will perform concerts and the day will be capped off with a spectacular fireworks display.

Charlottetown, July 1.
Website: www.pei2014.ca