Culture and history
Province House National Historic Site
National historic sites represent thousands of years of human history. The many stories of Province House prompt us to think about who has – and who has not - been invited to participate in shaping and governing this country. Moving forward, Parks Canada is committed to sharing the diverse stories of people and groups whose voices were missing.
Province House National Historic Site is currently undergoing an extensive conservation project. Built over 170 years ago, Province House is a complex building and presents the unique challenge of rehabilitating the structure, while respecting its heritage character-defining elements.
Parks Canada is committed to providing updates on the important conservation project at Province House National Historic Site. For more information: Conservation Project.
Completed in 1847, Province House was built in neo-classical style by local architect Isaac Smith to accommodate the provincial legislature and administrative offices. It also housed the Island’s Supreme Court until 1872.
The first session of the Prince Edward Island Legislature, held in the new Colonial Building in January 1847, marked the official opening of the structure. The small Island community had designed, built and furnished a major public building comparable to those in other British colonies in North America. The Colonial Building represented the epitome of Island craftsmanship during the mid-19th century, a time of unprecedented prosperity and optimism.
Today, Province House retains its central role in Island public life, with the Assembly holding sessions here until the building closed for conservation work in 2015.
In September 1864, Province House was the scene of the first conference on colonial union. Delegates from the colonies of Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Canada met in the legislative council chamber to begin discussions, which led to confederation in 1867.
An agreement was signed in 1974 between Parks Canada and the Province of Prince Edward Island. Under the terms of the agreement, Parks Canada and the Province agreed to operate the site cooperatively for a period of 99 years. Parks Canada's primary role is to protect and interpret this important site to Canadians. Also, as part of the agreement, a major restoration project was undertaken by Parks Canada to restore a portion of the building to the 1864 period.
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