Victoria Park is located in downtown Charlottetown at the mouth of the Charlottetown Harbour. The 40-acre historic property was vested to the City of Charlottetown by Queen Victoria. In June 1873, the Crown,
"hereby vested in the City of Charlottetown, to hold to the said City forever, to and for the use and benefit of all Her Majesty's subjects, for the purpose hereinafter declared.The said lands shall be used, appropriated and set apart by the said City, at the expense of the said City, for the sole purpose of a Park, Promenade and Pleasure Ground, for the use of the citizens, the inhabitants of this Island, and all Her Majesty's subjects." (Schedule "A", Victoria Park and Promenade Bylaw, amended June 15, 2009)
Victoria Park borders on residential areas, the mouth of the harbour, and is located adjacent to the Lieutenant Governor’s property. The Park is a 5-minute walk from downtown Charlottetown and it functions as a place for active and passive recreation, and enjoying the water views.
The park includes many active recreational facilities including eight lit tennis courts and a clubhouse, a spectacular lit baseball field nestled amongst a backdrop of mature trees, two other ball fields, a skateboard park, and an accessible playground. There is an outdoor swimming pool, recently renovated and now heated by solar energy, and a pool change room and a very popular splash park. The park boosts a 27 acre wooded area with mature trees, quiet places, and serene walking trails. The front field serves as gathering place for all kinds of informal play such as Frisbee, dog training, and picnicking as well as a place for many special events. The floral displays in the park including a fanciful perennial bed that looks like a salamander, the flowers in the light standards, the “edible” landscape and the planters at City Diamond all add to people’s enjoyment of the Park. The Kiwanis Dairy Bar looks out on the harbour and is a popular destination for people that walk and drive through the park, and bike along the cycling lane. The parkway is used extensively by horse and carriage tours, bus tours, and people that drive to enjoy the water views.
A wooden boardwalk follows the shoreline and is a destination walk for tourists that visit Charlottetown. They can see the views, the lighthouse, visit the cannons and powder house, and soak in the historical significance of the park.
In addition, the Park acts as a gathering place for many special events that range from the Canada Games, local tournaments for tennis and baseball, skateboard demonstrations, New Years in the Park, Canada Day, Natal Day and our newest event, Art in the Open.
The Park is a year-round destination, with winter activities encouraged such as cross country skiing, and snowshoeing. The spring brings hundreds of children into the park to learn about amphibians at Dead Man’s Pond. Summer and fall find the park very busy with many activities.
Victoria Park’s location makes it very accessible to all citizens of Charlottetown and tourists who visit. The Park is within a five-minute walk from downtown, is well served by the public transit and is home to ample parking in the provincial parking lot adjacent to the park. Victoria Park is also home to a cycling lane and encourages citizens to be healthier.
The park can be accessed by many people. Located in the Capital City of Prince Edward Island, Victoria park is in the center of the Island and is easily accessed by car, transit, cycling, carriage tour or walking. There is the opportunity for coastal viewing. It’s the optimal location to take in the harbor views, whether you are strolling the boardwalk, eating ice cream at the dairy bar, playing tennis, picnicking, cycling, sailing, swimming at the pool or simply exploring, the harbour view surrounds you. There are natural areas, including paved pathways, wooden pathways, wooded trails, arboretums, and more. This park has an abundance of natural areas with endless types of activities available. It’s a central gathering place. Victoria Park is a place for picnics, sports games, casual strolls, runners, swimmers, or events. This central park serves as a hub for all types of gatherings.
Victoria Park caretakers have been significant in maintaining the green space in the park. Memorial Field has been re-dedicated as a memorial of the war veterans of World War II and a flagpole has been erected by the City of Charlottetown. This was brought forward by a local resident .
Clubhouses were built throughout with the support of the residents of Charlottetown who enjoyed the sports (baseball and tennis), as well as the Kiwanis club, who has donated many facilities within the park (Kiwanis baseball field and the splash pad). They also run a dairy bar/canteen in Victoria Park.
Community support for the restoration of the cannons in Victoria Park has come from The Fort Edward Battery (PEI Military Sites). A Forest Restoration plan that has been in place since 2006 ensures that the 27-acre woodlot is maintained over the long term, and is responsible for planting new shrubs and trees, keeping paths trimmed and safe and removing invasive species. A cycling group supported the opening of a seasonal cycling lane.
In 1873, Victoria Park was identified by the City as a dedicated space. A City official plan recognized Victoria Park as an important place. A 1991 Master Plan for Victoria Park was done but was never adapted as an official plan. The Parks and Recreation Department for the City of Charlottetown have been referencing that plan as a guideline since its creation. Parks and Recreaation are proposing a new Master Plan for Victoria Park. Challenges to this park and its purposes continue, with old uses disappearing and new interests surfacing. It is the role of the planner or landscape architects and city staff to ensure that periodically they to look the existing state of the park and that time is taken to engage the public, ask their opinion, and make plans for the parks future. These experts help ensure that what has always been the mandate of the park is maintained, but at the same time, the park provides what is needed for the users of the day. It is always a balancing act. The Victoria Park of today is a culmination of actions that have been carefully planned and managed over the century.