Photo by Barb Morgan PEI PARO Acc3466/HF78.72.27 PEI PARO Acc2301/89
DESIGNATED - MUNICIPAL
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Rochford square was planted with 110 trees during Charlottetown's first celebration of Arbor Day on May 24, 1884. This celebration of the day dedicated to the planting of trees came a mere twelve years after its inception in the United States. Today, this square is the most beautiful of all of the squares and with the support of the neighbours, it is a true showplace.
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Prince Edward Island was first surveyed by Samuel Holland in 1765. It was he who divided the Island into a series of lots, established three counties and a principal community to be named Charlotte Town. While Holland identified the site for Charlottetown, he did not lay out a plan for its development. The need for a plan was at least partially met in 1768 by Charles Morris, surveyor of Nova Scotia. Morris's "Plan of Charlotte Town on the Island of St. John" laid out an ordered grid pattern of blocks, but made no provision for public squares.
Arriving in 1770, Governor Patterson set about making a number of alterations to the original Morris town plan. In a report written in 1771, he detailed those changes. "I have taken the liberty to alter the plan of this town, and have the honour to send that which I have adopted for your lordship's approbation...I have enlarged the town lots by adding twenty four feet front and twenty feet in depth each, as they were too small to admit all of the conveniences necessary for a man in business..." Patterson ordered that a new town plan incorporating his revisions be created, and this task fell to surveyor Thomas Wright. The second plan was the inclusion of four squares, creating public spaces for the developing community. 
The spelling of the name of this square has changed over time. The Lake Map of 1863 shows "Rochfort Square". The Newbery Map of 1869 changed the spelling to "Rochford Square" and it is this that is used today. No paths or walkways are evident on any of these early maps. However, as early as 1869, reports on efforts to improve various public squares in the city were discussed in the local press. 
The Charlottetown Arbour Society planted a number of trees in Rochford Square on May 24, 1884 to celebrate Charlottetown's first Arbour Day.  Please see above for a historic image taken in about 1880 before the trees were planted on the square.
Just one year after the trees had been planted a notice in the Charlottetown Herald stated, "Rochford Square needs attention sadly. A year ago it was planted with a number of choice trees, around which guards were carefully placed. During the winter, some of the trees died, but nothing has so far been done towards replacing them. This is not the only evidence of neglect, we regret to say. Cows and horses and pigs are allowed to roam there at their own sweet will... and the trees are assuming a sort of weeping willow bent, which is not at all natural. Before it is too late let those interested apply the remedy."
At some point, these issues must have been addressed; Rochford Square has since been described as the most beautiful square in the city.
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OTHER LANDSCAPE FEATURE
|1||AB Warburton, A History of Prince Edward Island, pp. 163-165|
|2||Islander, May 7, 1869|
|3||Catherine Hennessey and Edward MacDonald, Arthur Newberry and the Greening of Queens Square, Island Magazine #28|