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150 reasons to celebrate: 2014-2017

PEI 2014 Team

2013-01-21

In 2014, Canadians will mark the 150th anniversary of the historic Charlottetown Conference, which paved the way for Canadian Confederation in 1867—the sesquicentennial of which will be celebrated in 2017. Together, these mark the beginning of one of the world's most respected democracies and give all Canadians a reason to reflect, to celebrate, and to envision the future.

In Prince Edward Island, 2014 will be a year of celebration and commemoration. This important chapter in our history deserves a fitting tribute that incorporates festivities and excitement, and that leaves a Legacy that Canadians can take pride in for generations. Legacy need not necessarily be bricks and mortar—it could be the Big New Idea that changes the country. A great idea emerged in Prince Edward Island at the Charlottetown Conference. It is not unrealistic to think that we can enhance and rebuild our reputation as a national incubator for creativity, energy, and celebration.

Historic milestones like the 2014 and 2017 sesquicentennials should be celebrated for both their intangible and their tangible value. They can inspire local pride and confidence, honour uniqueness, build goodwill, and increase appreciation for the arts, culture, and heritage. On a tangible level, there can be significant tourism impacts and economic spinoff effects. This will be achieved in 2014 through programming and activities that educate, inspire, celebrate culture and the arts, attract media attention, welcome visitors, and leave a positive legacy for future generations.

The celebration: a year of festivities

The Vision: To create an unforgettable 150th Anniversary Year in 2014 that is a catalyst for the sesquicentennial of Confederation in 2017, unifying and inspiring, and that serves as a source of pride and identity for Prince Edward Island and Canada.

The Guiding Principles: Honour the past. Celebrate the present. Plan a bold tomorrow.

The programming for 2014 will be developed around five key activity pillars: Celebration, Commemoration, Hosting, Marketing, and Legacy.

PEI 2014 will be a year‑long celebration, with the majority of festivities taking place in the summer tourism season and reaching a high point in the first week of September, which marks the 150th anniversary week of the original Charlottetown Conference.

The concept is to present major events that educate, inspire, celebrate the Island's culture, heritage and the arts, draw media attention, attract visitors, and leave a legacy for the inspiration of future generations.

2014 offers an exceptional opportunity to engage Islanders in a conversation about our future, and to extend this conversation to all Canadians as we move toward 2017. This celebration has the potential to be a spectacular kickoff to a spectacular national celebration in 2017.

The Quebec connection

After leaving the Charlottetown Conference in September 1864, the delegates proceeded to a Quebec Conference, which began on October 10 of that year, and where the discussion of Confederation continued.

A key player in the discussion of Confederation was Quebec's George‑Étienne Cartier, whose bicentennial birth date will also be marked in 2014, on September 6.

These historical facts offer a unique opportunity for collaboration between Prince Edward Island and Quebec in 2014, and should be explored further. Potential co‑celebrations could include a voyage of the Tall Ships from Charlottetown to Quebec City in September of 2014, collaboration around historical re‑enactments by the Confederation Players, simulcast broadcast opportunities (such as the Canada Day 2014 national broadcast), and student exchange trips.

The shared history of PEI and Quebec in the beginnings of this country should be further explored, discussed, and marked in 2014.