Island of St. John by the English, Prince Edward Island (its present name since 1799) came under British rule after the Treaty of Paris in 1763. A top priority of the British was to have their new acquisitions surveyed. In 1764, Captain Samuel Holland was appointed the Surveyor-General and given the task of surveying British holdings in the New World. He recommended what is the current site of Charlottetown and suggested this be one of the primary Island towns and be named Charlotte Town in honour of Queen Charlotte, wife of George III of England.
1765 saw Charlotte Town being designated the capital city of the province. In 1768 and in accordance with Captain Holland’s wishes, Charles Morris of Nova Scotia began laying out the streets of Charlotte Town. Thomas Wright, a surveyor, expanding upon Mr. Morris’s plan, created a layout of the town with 500 lots (84’ x 120’ each), streets 100’ wide stretching from the water and streets 80’ wide crossing at right angles, a central square for public buildings and four large green “squares”. Later alterations allowed an encroachment of 40 feet on the east-west streets, creating lots 84’ x 160’, the elimination of some streets, and a few lot consolidations. On the non-water sides of the town, there was a 565-acre buffer of land called a common reserved for future expansion of the town. Adjacent to the common was included another 12, one-acre fields of pastureland. Many changes have occurred over the years, but the basic 500 lots can still be defined and the 4 green squares are still in existence.
Formal government in Charlottetown began with the arrival of Governor Walter Patterson in 1770. In addition to being the administrative center of the Island, Charlottetown was also the headquarters for the military, the militia being housed at Fort George. Charlottetown became a City by act of the General Assembly of Prince Edward Island under the City of Charlottetown Act in April 1855. One hundred and thirty-nine years later in 1994, the Charlottetown Areas Municipalities Act was proclaimed (effective for April 1, 1995) to create the new City of Charlottetown by amalgamating the six communities of Hillsborough Park, East Royalty, West Royalty, Winsloe, Sherwood, Parkdale, and the City of Charlottetown.
The Fathers of Confederation originally met to discuss the uniting of Upper and Lower Canada in the Provincial Legislature of Charlottetown. This meeting resulted in the capital City being known as the “Birthplace of Confederation”.
Sources for the above information include the following:
Mayoral Chain of Office
Charlottetown The Life in Its Buildings, Irene L. Rogers, The Prince Edward Island Museum and Heritage Foundation, Charlottetown, 1983.
Charlottetown Centennial 1855 – 1955, Official Souvenir Booklet, The Charlottetown Centennial Committee; The Tribune Press Ltd., Halifax, NS, 1955.
The wearing of mayoral regalia is an English tradition dating back to at least the 14th century.
By the reign of Edward III, livery companies (previously called guilds) which were heads of civic districts, assumed a distinctive uniform type of dress. Livery companies and in turn the municipal corporation arose out of the merchant and craft industries of the towns, as these possessed both wealth and property in addition to having organizational and administrative ability and potential. It is this connection and the dominance of livery members in local affairs and administration to which the familiar robes owe their origin. The Chain of Office was generally custom-made.
The Charlottetown Mayoral Chain of Office badge was designed and presented to the City of Charlottetown in 1919 by Mayor G. D. Wright who served in this office from 1919-1920. The Mayor customarily wears this chain for ceremonial occasions, such as receiving visiting dignitaries (Royalty, Governor General, foreign ambassadors, etc).
The chain and pendants are made of sterling silver plated with gold. The chain is comprised of seventeen laurels of maple leaves which alternately contain a maple leaf (8 in total) and a C (9 in total); from this is suspended a pendant of the Prince Edward Island crest topped by a beaver to symbolize Canada. Hung below the Prince Edward Island pendant is another (diamond-shaped) pendant on which a sunburst surrounds the City of Charlottetown seal.
The Acadian Museum
The Island Register - Genealogy Resource
Charlottetown's Coat of Arms
Dates of Interest