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Victoria Park is a waterfront park in the Canadianmarker city of Charlottetownmarker, Prince Edward Islandmarker. It is about 15 hectares (37 acres) in area. .

History

The property containing Victoria Park was established in 1789 by Governor Edmund Fanning as a parcel for the use of the colonial administrator for St. John's Island (renamed Prince Edward Island in 1799). This property located immediately west of the city's original 500-lots was roughly eight times larger than the thirty-six "estates" established in the northern part of the Queens Royalty. It was envisioned that the property would be used to provide farmland for the governor and a site for an official residence.

Prior to the War of 1812, the Prince Edward Battery established a fortification along the shore of the property facing the main shipping channel. Fort Edward was manned by the British Army and local militia until the mid-19th century.

The property known as the Governor's Bank (as in land bank) was nicknamed "Fanning's Bank" and eventually shortened to simply Fanning Bank. In 1826 a farm house and barns were built and in 1832 a tender was called for constructing Government Housemarker to house the colonial administrator which opened in December 1834.

Public pressure began to build for access to the property and in 1869 the colonial government of the day stated that of land was "quite sufficient for Government House" and that the remainder should be procured for the public "as a place of retreat from the heat, filth and dust of the city".

On June 14, 1873, only 16 days before the colony became a province of Canadamarker, Governor William Cleaver Francis Robinson vested responsibility of of the Fanning Bank farm to the City of Charlottetown "to and for the use of all her Majesty's subjects as a park, promenade and pleasure ground. On no condition may it be used for circuses, shows or exhibitions of any kind..."

Shortly after this proclamation, the name Victoria Park was assigned in honour of Her Majesty Queen Victoria.

Development pressures

The park has experienced tremendous development pressures during the 20th century:

  • A "caretaker's cottage" was built in the early part of the century to house a park warden, typically a military veteran.


  • The "Park Roadway" - a perimeter road along the shoreline of Charlottetown Harbour was built, along with a "Park Driveway" which bisected the park from Brighton Road to Fort Edward.


  • Tennis courts and a clubhouse were constructed on the waterfront west of Fort Edward.


  • In 1934 a portion of the adjoining Government House property along its northern boundary with Brighton Road was secured for the Prince Edward Island Hospital.


  • On September 20, 1947 a baseball field and running track named "Memorial Field" was dedicated in honour of Prince Edward Island athletes who sacrificed their lives in World War I and World War II. The "Park Driveway" was constructed at this time to access the baseball field.


  • A public swimming pool was built in the 1950s at the northwest corner of the park.


  • Two softball fields were built on the east side of the Park Driveway opposite Memorial Field during the 1970s-1980s.


  • A playground was established in the 1970s near the swimming pool.




  • A skate park was constructed between Memorial Field and the swimming pool/playground in the early 2000s.


  • A for-profit children's winter carnival was held in the park during the early 2000s before moving to Confederation Landing Park. This was moved after being found to be in violation of the park's founding charter.


  • Additional tennis courts were constructed in 2008 in preparation for Prince Edward Island to host the 2009 Canada Games. Memorial Field has undergone a complete rehabilitation.


References


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