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Charlottetown City Guide

Updated: December 9th, 2022

Known as the administrative center of Queens County and the capital of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown has loads to offer with its friendly people, spectacular beauty, and affordable living places.

In this article, we uncover what sets Charlottetown aside from the rest by looking into the city's life and culture and how you can immigrate to this unique city through suitable immigration programs.

Here's why Charlottetown is a treasure trove if you know where to look!

About Charlottetown

Charlottetown City Guide

Dating back to the 1720s, Port la Joie, situated across the harbor of Charlottetown, was established by the French and was renamed after Queen Charlotte when the island was passed to Britain in 1763.

The city is well-renowned for its exceptional deepwater harbour and airport. It is the centre of economic activities, driving tourism, governmental matters, fisheries, and agriculture - mainly in the dairy, meat packing, and potato growing industries.

When visiting this city, you can expect to see plenty of historic buildings, such as the Government House and the Province House, the legislative body that usually hosts talks and plans around Canada's unification. Additionally, you will discover churches such as St. Paul's Anglican Church, St. Peter's (Anglican) Cathedral, and St. Duncan's Basilica church. The city is also home to Holland College, a provincial community college for the province of Prince Edward Island and the University of Prince Edward Island.

If you're into arts, you'd be pleased to know that Charlottetown houses the Confederation Centre of the Arts, which includes an art gallery, theatre, and library museum. At the same time, you can enjoy the summer festival.

Where is Charlottetown on the Map?

Located on Prince Edward Island on the South shore and in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the city stretches across a land area of 44.33 square, according to the City of Charlottetown. Furthermore, the latitude of Charlottetown is 46.238888, and the longitude is -63.129166, as per the data on LatLong.net.

As the capital of Prince Edward Island, the city is a hub of transportation, commerce, public services, and a vibrant social life. When visiting the city, you can become engrossed in its architecture, culture, and people.

Climate or Weather in Charlottetown

Charlottetown weather

Because of the ocean surrounding the province, residents enjoy summers that are warm with plenty cool air. You can expect an average temperature to be as low as 6°C (about 42.8°F), with precipitation of approximately 40 inches (1,000 mm), as per the data on Britannica.

In July, you can expect to experience a maximum temperature, which is a daily low of around 23°C (74°F), while February calls for about −12°C (about 11°F) with snow falls during the long Winter season from November to April.

Work and Jobs in Charlottetown

If you're looking to live and work in Charlottetown, you need to understand the economy's driving force and the labour force needs of the province. Industries such as agriculture are booming in potato production, and manufacturing various goods such as packaging materials and wood products is the economy's lifeblood.

While the labour market needs are constantly evolving, below we list some of the current active in-demand jobs in Charlottetown as per the information on Canada Job Bank:

General Labourer - Manufacturing

Salary: $5.00 to $18.00 hourly for 40 hours per week

Legal Assistant

Salary: $33,000 to $45,000 annually for 37.5 hours per week

Food Service Counter Attendant

Salary: $13.70 hourly for 10 to 15 hours per week

Screen Printing Machine Operator - Printing

$14.00 to $18.00 hourly for 40 hours per week

Security Officer

$16.00 to $18.00 hourly for 32 to 40 hours per week

Bookkeeper

$25.00 to $30.00 hourly for 40 hours per week

Kindly note that these jobs may no longer be available when you apply; however, you can explore the Canada Job Bank site for the latest in-demand jobs in Charlottetown.

Prince Edward Island In Demand Occupations

Furthermore, our Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) are always up to date with the latest job trends. While our immigration experts cannot guarantee you a job, they can assist in curating your resume according to Canadian standards, maximizing your chances of landing a job.

Cost of Living in Charlottetown

If you're looking to immigrate to Charlottetown, you need an idea of the expenses to maintain a certain standard of living, which will enable your finances accordingly. Below we break down the cost of living in Charlottetown by considering the basic factors influencing your living expense.

According to Numbeo, the table below represents the cost of living in Charlottetown:

Category Average Monthly Costs
Average Monthly Net Salary (After Tax) $2,300.00
Mortgage Interest Rate Yearly, for 20 years fixed-rate: 4.14%
Apartment (one bedroom) in City Centre $1,248.75
Childcare - Preschool (or Kindergarten), full day, private, monthly for one child $925.00
International Primary School, Yearly for one Child $30,000.00
Basic utilities (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 Apartment $202.16

As a result, Charlottetown is one of the cheapest cities in Canada to start your life.

Do you want to learn more about how to budget for your life in Canada? Here is a guide on how to plan your move to Canada.

Neighborhoods in Charlottetown

If you are looking to immigrate to Charlottetown, then you’d be pleased to know that there are several neighborhoods to explore in this city. We have listed some interesting neighborhoods below:

Sherwood

Located in Queens County, you can find this neighborhood in the heart of Charlottetown. The town was first known as Sherwood station, later renamed Sherwood in 1938. As an agricultural area, housing in this town can be fairly affordable, with single detached homes constructed throughout the town.

Brighton

If you're into Victorian homes with breathtaking views, this neighborhood, with its beautiful streetscapes, may be ideal. Not only can you enjoy its unique architecture and waterfront beach lighthouse, but this neighborhood also boasts friendly people and families.

Spring Park

Spring Park is a vibrant town that houses the popular Spring Park School, with the Spring Park Road stretching towards the rural farming area. Just outside the city, Spring Square is home to outdoor events such as circuses from the 1920s to the 1950s. This area may be ideal if you're looking for smaller, cozier homes central to cafes, schools, and malls.

Parkdale

This neighborhood is also situated near a wide range of hotel or resort options, allowing you more flexibility when it comes to a comfortable stay. In addition, you can enjoy Victorian looking homes with a mix of mansions while walking within walking distance of the waterparks in Toronto.

Transportation in Charlottetown

There may be a limited variety of transportation to get around in Charlottetown, but public transportation is available across Charlottetown, Cornwall, Stratford, Summerside, and Eastern Prince Edward Island. Below are some of the most popular transportation in Charlottetown:

  • T3 Transit
  • County Line Express
  • Maritime Bus
  • Eastern PEI transit

You can learn more about the routes and locations at the Government of Prince Edward Island here.

Things to do in Charlottetown

Things to do in Charlottetown

Discover all the ins and outs of this little gem as we go down our list of the top five things to do in Charlottetown:

Visit the Iconic St. Dunstan's Basilica in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island (PEI)

This breathtaking structure was designed as a French Gothic church until it tragically burnt down. But the cathedral was raised from the ashes and rebuilt by Charlottetown, and today its iconic spires can be seen in the town's skyline.

Inside the St. Dunstan Basilica is a towering pipe organ that carries the beautiful cathedral hymns across the grounds. The Basilica also features fascinating stained glass reliefs that give the building character. Along with a lovely, detailed ceiling, it makes the St. Dunstan Basilica a great place to visit in Charlottetown.

Browse Through the Streets of Charlottetown in Victoria Row.

Victoria Row is a great place to visit in Charlottetown. This quaint and historical street has a variety of things to keep you happily occupied for hours, whether you are browsing the local shops, pursuing the indigenous art collections, or sampling the tasty local treats on offer.

Many of the restaurants in the area offer live music performances, and children can even cool down in the summer with tasty ice cream or by jumping into the splashing water fountains. So if you drop by to visit Canada, don't forget to visit the charming street of Victoria Row!

Drop By and Visit the Confederation Centre of the Arts.

The Confederation Centre of the Arts should be just one of the reasons to visit Charlottetown. The centre is dedicated to showcasing visual and performing arts that are both contemporary and historical. Stretching over a block, the local art gallery has more than 150 exhibitions of traditional art forms, paints, sketches, prints, and more.

The Confederation Centre of the Art entrance is also free to visitors, although the centre welcomes donations to help support and grow its gallery.

Enjoy the Sea Breeze at Peake's Wharf.

Things to do in Charlottetown

Peakes Wharf is a historic waterfront key part of Charlottetown's founding. It was where the confederation's first fathers landed in 1864. Today Peake's Wharf has over 20 shops along the waterfront, from clothing at the Misty Lighthouse Fashion to tasty lobster meals at MacKinnon's Lobster Pound.

Peake's Wharf offers a little bit of something to everyone who visits, whether you want handcrafted jewelry, tasty seafood, live musical performances, or to take to the seas on one of the many boat tours offered at Peake's Wharf. So if you want a day out in the sun and the surf, Peake's Wharf should be one of the top reasons to visit Charlottetown, Canada.

The Beaconsfield Historic House.

The iconic Beaconsfield Historic House is a must-see landmark in the small town of Charlottetown. Built-in 1877 by W.C Harris Beaconsfield, it was one of the most elegant and affluent buildings of its time and featured some fantastic craftsmanship.

Today, the Beaconsfield House still stands, a testament to Victorian architecture. This house has year-round tours and lectures for when you truly want to immerse yourself in the 18th-century lifestyle of the old Charlottetown residents.

Education in Charlottetown

In Canada, public schools are governed by school boards. There are two public school board offices in Prince Edward Island:

  • Public Schools Branch (English Language School Board)
  • French Language School Board (La Commission scolaire de langue française)

There are also private schools in PEI. However, they are not governed by public school boards or funded by public funds. Some parents choose to 'home school' their children - children stay at home, and their parents (both or one of them) act as teachers. If this is their choice, parents must indicate their intention and submit their education plan to the Department of Education.

PEI Public Education School Levels

The Colonel Gray High School and Charlottetown Rural High School have offered the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program. This program provides an internationally accepted curriculum recognized by many universities worldwide.

If your child is doing well in school, above average, consider enrolling him or her into the IB program, as it may provide for more and better education and career opportunities in the future.

  • Kindergarten (mandatory preschool education; children who are at least five years of age or will turn five by December 31st of the school year can be enrolled)
  • Elementary school (grades 1 - 6)
  • The intermediate school (also called 'junior high school,' grades 7 - 9)
  • High school (grades 10 - 12)

Public education is free for all permanent residents in PEI, from Kindergarten to grade 12. Colleges and universities receive some public funds, but they are not free. It is important to remember that because of the time it takes to learn a new language, some newcomer students may not be able to graduate by the age of seventeen or eighteen like some of their Canadian-born peers. Much depends on each student's English or grade level at the time of arrival in Canada.

Note that the marking system in PEI schools may be different from the one in your country of origin. Usually, in elementary grades, students get descriptive marks, and further on, they are marked by percentages and marks from A (the best mark) to F (the worst, failing mark). Talk to your child's teacher to learn more about the marking system in his or her school and grade level.

Initial Intake with the Immigrant Student Services (ISS)

legislative in Charlottetown

The first step in enrolling an immigrant student into the school system is to provide important documents and information to the ISS team. Photocopies of these documents will be taken and kept on file so that the ISS team can further help with school registration and advocate for immigrant students in the school system.

The following is required at initial intake:

  • Proof of child's age - a birth certificate or passport
  • Proof of address - apartment lease or rental agreement with your name and address
  • Proof of child's immigration status - Record of Landing document or confirmation of permanent residence
  • Immunization record - proof that your child has been immunized in the country of origin
  • Records of previous education or past transcripts - to help place your child in the appropriate grade level.

Language Assessment

Every new immigrant student must have a meeting at the EAL / FAL Reception Centre, Department of Education (EAL = English as an Additional Language, FAL = French as an Additional Language). After the intake process, with the parent's or guardian's permission, an assessment specialist will administer a language assessment with the child. 

This is to determine how much additional English or French language support the child will need once he or she enters the school system. The ISS team at the PEI ANC will assist by making an appointment for the assessment and, if requested, arranging an interpreter.

Based on the language assessment results, the assessment specialist will make recommendations for language support. It may be recommended for the student to work with an EAL or FAL Itinerant Teacher in the school in coordination with regular classes. If the student already has strong language skills in English or French, he or she will be recommended for regular content classes with no additional language support.

Education in the French Language

The majority of school programs in PEI are in English. If French is the language of preference for your child, there are several options:

  • Core French starting in Grade 4
  • French Immersion Program starting in Kindergarten
  • French Immersion Program starting in grade 7 (also called "late immersion")
  • French First Language Program for children who have at least one francophone parent.

Many parents enroll their children in a French Immersion program even if they are not francophone. As French is also an official language in Canada, knowing it can mean more education and employment opportunities in the future.

Note that not all schools offer the French programs mentioned above.

Registration and Grade Placement

The School Board and the school will determine the grade placement of the new student. When students register for school, their grade placement is determined by age and the grade they completed in their country of origin.

Once the school, grade level, and EAL or FAL support needs are determined, a registration appointment will be set up for the child and the parent or legal guardian at the school. An interpreter (if needed), a representative from the Department of Education's EAL / FAL Reception Centre, and a school administrator will all be present. They will give the student and the parent or legal guardian a school tour and important information about the school.

High School Education in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

The following schools offer accreditation for the successful completion of high school courses.

Colonel Gray High School, Charlottetown

Founded in 1966, Colonel Gray High School has approximately 1100 students and offers International Baccalaureate and French Immersion programs. There are a variety of sports and extra-curricular clubs and activities, including basketball, volleyball, soccer, rugby, softball, track, and many more. Clubs include Chess, Dance, Debating, Drama, and Environmental / Waste Watch.

Charlottetown Rural High School, Charlottetown

Charlottetown Rural High School, or 'The Rural," is located in the city of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island – the birthplace of Canada! As the province's largest high school, it offers French and English language programs, International Baccalaureate, and Enriched /Advanced (University Preparatory) courses. Like many other high schools.

The Rural gives students many options for sports and physical education programs, including golf, field hockey, soccer, volleyball, cross-country, basketball, curling, badminton, track and field, softball, and rugby. In addition, an intramural sports program is offered to students each day during the lunch hour in the gym.

Extra-curricular activities include Art Club, Drama Club, Debating, Model Parliament, Yearbook, school newspaper, SADD (Students Against Drunk Drivers), Reach for the Top, Dance, Hip hop, Cheerleading, Choir, Safe Grad Committee, Sociology Club, Peer Mentoring, School Musical production, and Computer Club.

Montague Regional High School, Hampshire

Montague Regional High School is a comprehensive school with academic, general, practical, and vocational programs. The school complex boasts many student areas, traditional classrooms, vocational shops, a gymnasium, science labs, administrative offices, and a cafeteria. Sports include basketball, cross country, and soccer. Clubs include Outdoor Adventure, Yearbook Committee, Photography, and much more.

Bluefield High School, Hampshire

Bluefield High School offers academic programs in both French and English languages. All programs have benefited from the latest technologies, including 'smart boards' throughout the school. The popular 'Basics of the Trades' training program is taught in large, well-equipped spaces for carpentry, welding, motor vehicle repair, and applied technology. The school auditorium features a large stage, prop area, and sound and lighting room.

Extra-curricular activities include Youth Parliament, Drama Club, Outdoor Adventure Club, Yearbook, and much more. There is also a spacious band and music room for the musically inclined. Two gymnasiums accommodate many sports, including basketball, wrestling, and badminton. In addition, various playing fields are available for soccer, softball, football, and more.

Colleges and Universities

There are only two degree-granting institutions on Prince Edward Island. This includes the University of Prince Edward Island and the Maritime Christian College. The province only has one university, two colleges, and the Collège Acadie l’Île-du-Prince-Édouard that offers French post-secondary education. However, there are about 20 private training schools for individuals who opt for post-secondary vocational training to prepare them for future employment. These schools are provincially regulated and registered under the Private Training School Act.

Students of PEI who cannot attend college or university may also enroll in distance or open learning format programs that Holland College and UPEI offer. Moreover, Eastern College has expanded its PEI programs and built an extension in Charlottetown. Finally, some offshore colleges and universities offer online programs for potential students in PEI.

University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI)

The University of Prince Edward Island was founded in 1969 in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada. This is the only university in the province that was established after Prince of Wales College and St. Dunstan's University merged. However, UPEI still stands in the former St. Dunstan's Campus while Holland College occupies the home of Prince of Wales. The UPEI has undergone many changes in its programs and structure over the past decade. At present, the university is adding many buildings to the campus.

At the UPEI, English is the primary language of instruction used. Baccalaureate, master's, and doctoral-level programs are available at the school.

The following are the faculties and departments at UPEI:

  • School of Business
  • School of Nursing
  • Faculty of Arts
  • Faculty of Science
  • Faculty of Education
  • Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
  • Office of Graduate Studies
  • Centre for Lifelong Learning

The Faculty of Veterinary Medicine is one of the newest UPEI departments. It offers courses and programs for biomedical science, health management, companion animals and pathology, and microbiology. Master's and doctoral degree programs can be obtained through the Atlantic Veterinary College. The schools of business and nursing are also among the recently opened programs.

Some programs and courses of study at UPEI include Global Issues, International Development Studies, Island Studies, Kinesiology, Modern Languages, Radiography, Religious Studies, Theater Studies, Wildlife Conservation, Women's Studies, and Writing Intensive.

Holland College

Holland College was founded in 1969. There are about 3,300 students enrolled at Holland College in PEI and programs in China. In addition, students are continuing education and adult education courses at the college. However, about 30 of them are from off-island. Eligible students may take advantage of the scholarships and bursaries available.

Potential students may choose from more than 65 full-time programs and short courses that include the following:

  • Applied Sciences and Engineering Technology
  • Bachelor of Education and Certificate in Adult Education
  • Business
  • Computer Studies
  • Culinary
  • Health and Community Studies
  • Marine Training
  • Media and Communications
  • Policing or Law Enforcement
  • School of Performing Arts
  • Sport and Leisure
  • Tourism Program
  • Trades and Industrial Technology

Holland College offers these programs in different centers, including their West Prince Campus, Aerospace Centre, Atlantic Police Academy, Prince of Wales Campus, Dalton Centre, Georgetown Centre, Marine Training Centre, Montague Centre, Motive Power Centre, Royalty Centre, Souris Centre, and Tourism and Culinary Centre.

Maritime Christian College

Maritime Christian College was established in 1960. Located in Charlottetown, it is one of the two institutions allowed to offer degrees in PEI as stipulated in the University Act. MCC is a coeducational, private, four-year undergraduate institution. MCC offers the following degrees and programs:

  • Bachelor of Arts with Bible specialization
  • Bachelor of Arts with Child and Youth specialization
  • Bachelor of Arts with General Studies specialization
  • Bachelor of Bible Ministry
  • Associate of Arts
  • Biblical Studies Certificate
  • Ministerial Diploma

Collège Acadie l’Île-du-Prince-Édouard

Collège Acadie l’Île-du-Prince-Édouard provides Prince Edward Island francophones with access to training programs and adult education. The college offers French training for professional development, leadership, literacy, and personal interest.

Eastern College

Eastern College was not originally established in Prince Edward Island. However, it has expanded its campus in Charlottetown with approval and registration from the Department of Innovation and Advanced Learning for Prince Edward. The Charlottetown College campus offers programs in business and accounting, health care, information technology, social science and criminal justice, art and design, medical, law, executive office administration, tourism, travel, and hospitality.

Online Colleges and Universities Accepting Students from PEI

Some off-island colleges and universities also offer programs for students in Prince Edward Island through online education. The following schools aim to provide more options for potential students who cannot attend on-campus programs from PEI colleges and universities:

  • South University
  • Baker College Online
  • Argosy University Online
  • Strayer University
  • Ashworth College – Canada
  • The Art Institute of Pittsburgh
  • Stratford Career Institute
  • The University of Liverpool

If you’re an international student who wants to study in Canada, you need to have a study permit in place. Find out more about the Student Direct Stream and how to apply here.

Unique Immigration Visas to Charlottetown

PEI PNP

If you're considering immigrating to Charlottetown, the capital of Prince Edward Island (PEI), you need to know about the possible suitable immigration programs you could explore. Below we briefly list the suitable programs.

The Prince Edward Island Provincial Nominee Program (PEI PNP)

This PEI PNP targets foreign nationals who can fill the labour shortages within the province and add value to the economy with their skill set. The program is divided into two relevant categories, which are as follows:

  • Business Impact: This category is aimed at those who wish to invest and start/manage a business in the province.
  • Labour Impact: This category is for individuals who wish to work and live in Prince Edward Island with the right skills, education, and experience that the labour market falls short of.

The above main categories are further divided into subcategories under Express Entry - a system designed to yield quick immigration results. However, candidates will receive a nomination by the province based on their skills and work experience. You can find out more about the PEI PNP here.

The Atlantic Immigration Pilot (AIP)

If you are looking to travel around one of Canada’s maritime provinces, then the AIP is for you. The program targets skilled foreign workers and international graduates who are pursuing their studies at a Canadian institution. You can find out more about the AIP here.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Cost of Living
  • Family-Friendly
  • Close to amenities

Cons

  • Low Employment Rate
  • Challenging Weather
  • Traffic and Lack of Transportation

We provided you with the culture, lifestyle, cost of living, and suitable immigration programs in Charlottetown. If you have your eye on this spectacular city and want to know more about your immigration options, simply contact our immigration experts to advise and guide you throughout the process.

FAQs

Is Charlottetown, Canada, a Good Place to Live?

Depending on what you are looking for, Charlottetown has loads of potential with plenty of officers. Whether you're looking for affordable housing, a family-orientated place, or scenic views to explore, Charlottetown should be on your bucket list.

What is Charlottetown, Canada, Known for?

Well-renowned for the Confederation Centre of the Arts, which houses an art gallery, theatre, and library museum, making it the focal point of the city's Summer festival.

Is the U.S. Cheaper than Canada?

Generally speaking, Canada is more affordable than its neighbour. However, it's tricky to compare the two countries as the prices of products fluctuate daily.

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