History of Charlottetown

Charlottetown was formerly known as Abegweit, meaning "cradle on the waves", by the Mi'kmaq Indians, while the French called it Ile St. Jean. The English name for the island was Island of St. John and since 1799 the area bears the name of Prince Edward Island. After the treaty of Paris in 1763, the island became a new acquisition for the British. Surveying the area was the first priority and in 1764, Captain Samuel Holland was appointed the Surveyor-General for the area. He was appointed with this position while also being asked to overview surveying of all British lands in the New World. The site where Charlottetown is located today was chosen by captain Holland and he suggested that the name should be Charlotte Town, as an honor to Queen Charlotte the wife of George III of England.

Just a year afterwards, in 1765, Charlotte Town became the capital of the entire province and this was the initial step in the city's development. Starting in 1768 Charles Morris of Nova Scotia began laying out the streets of Charlotte Town, and the development of the area was starting to be remarkable. The city plans were later carried out by another surveyor, Thomas Wright, who created a layout of the town with 500 lots that were 84' x 120' each. He also decided that the streets should be 100' wide if they were stretching from the water and 80' wide at crosses. Squares and green areas were included in the original development of the town, a fact that can be still noticed today. Other lot sizes followed, such as the 84' x 160' ones and some of the streets were eliminated so as to be replaced by buildings. A 565-acre buffer of land, which surveyors called a common reserve, was saved for expansions of the town. Although today we don't get to see the pastureland fields originally set out by the surveyors and city builders, some of the lots and the main city squares are still in existence. The town was also part of the discussions between the Fathers of Confederation, who were discussing about unifying Upper and Lower Canada in the Provincial Legislature of Charlottetown.

Governor Walter Patterson was the first to bring formal government into Charlottetown in 1770. Fort George was also the main headquarter for the militia and other military groups from the area. However, Charlottetown was still the administrative headquarters, so an economical development of the area began flourishing. Charlottetown became a City by act of the General Assembly of Prince Edward Island under the City of Charlottetown Act in April 1855. In 1994, the Charlottetown Areas Municipalities Act was proclaimed (effective for April 1, 1995), which created the city of Charlottetown. Six neighboring communities were included within the city: Hillsborough Park, East Royalty, West Royalty, Winsloe, Sherwood and Parkdale.

Charlottetown Features

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