"[The Fathers of Confederation Memorial Building] is a tribute to those famous men who founded our Confederation. But it is also dedicated to the fostering of those things that enrich the mind and delight the heart, those intangible but precious things that give meaning to a society and help create from it a civilization and a culture."
Prime Minister L.B. Pearson , Opening Ceremonies for Confederation Centre of the Arts, October 6, 1964
Canada's National Memorial to the Fathers of Confederation
Confederation Centre of the Arts was founded in 1964 as Canada's National Memorial to the Fathers of Confederation, who gathered at Province House in 1864 to discuss the creation of our country.
The Charlottetown Festival - "a Festival of Music and Laughter" - was created in the spirit of the 1864 meetings of the Fathers whose deliberations were highlighted by numerous gala balls, social events and one of the few circuses to visit the Island in that era.
Held each summer since 1965, the Festival is anchored by the international sensation Anne of Green Gables-The Musical™, which has played every summer since for millions of visitors from around the world. Additionally, the Festival has launched more than 80 original productions, touring many across Canada and beyond.
Every Canadian played a part in the establishment of the Centre: each province and the federal government committed 15 cents per capita for a total of $5.6-million to construct the huge building. In other words, each Canadian contributed 30 cents each. This was the first time that all provinces agreed to give money for an institution outside their boundaries.
Covering an entire city block, the Centre stands on what was the site of the old Charlottetown marketplace. It houses several theatres, an art gallery, restaurant, and a gift shop. Open year-round, it showcases the best in Canadian visual and performing arts.
The Dream Unfolds
In his book Honour the Founders! Enjoy the Arts!, Dr. Frank MacKinnon, who led the movement to create the Memorial, wrote: "Confederation Centre commemorates all Canadian achievements and potential featuring the cultural frontier and those engaged in pushing it back. ... The building stands as an architectural work of art and showcase honouring Canada's traditions."
Confederation Centre is the result of a dream shared by all Canadians - to create a place where our country's history and multicultural character is celebrated, and where the talents of its people are nurtured and showcased.