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    Exterior view of an imposing stone building with four large columns at its centre.
    The birthplace of Confederation, Province House is also the seat of the Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island, since 1847. A curious feature of this historic Charlottetown building is that the front and back facades are virtually identical.

    Province House, the birthplace of Canadian Confederation

    Day 54 of my solo bike trip across Canada.

    What a beautiful day to explore Old Charlottetown! Leaving the pleasant little marina, I pedalled along, not really knowing where to go until I spotted an imposing mansion at the end of Great Georges Street. The four-column facade brings back memories of a document on display in the living room of my journalist friend Éric Clément. 

    During a visit to Prince Edward Island, he brought back a page from The Illustrated London News dated November 12, 1864. This rare historical document recounts a meeting held two months earlier in Charlottetown to discuss a possible political union of the British North American provinces of Lower and Upper Canada (roughly today’s Quebec and Ontario), New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island. The article explains that representatives from each of these provinces had discussed whether this political union could be called “Canada” or “Acadia”. The decision was not yet made! Three years later, on July 1, 1867, Canada was officially born.

    And a century and a half later, I can see that the birthplace of Confederation hasn’t changed much… in appearance only! In reality, Province House National Historic Site was eaten away from the inside out, and required major conservation work over several years. Catherine Hennessey, born in Charlottetown and a lifelong history lover, is dedicated to the task of preserving old buildings.

    Texts written by Éric Clément and Bertrand Lemeunier.

    Commemorative plaque featuring the year 1867 and the maple leaf logo.
    This is the 100th anniversary of Confederation logo, with its 11 equilateral triangles forming a maple leaf. In 1967, Canada consisted of ten provinces and the Far North; today, the world’s second-largest country includes 10 provinces and three territories.

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