Culture and history
Province House National Historic Site was built between 1843 and 1847. It is both the historic birthplace of Confederation and the seat of Prince Edward Island’s Provincial Legislature.
The first session of the Prince Edward Island Legislature was held in the building in January 1847. It is Canada’s second oldest active legislative building, after Nova Scotia’s “Province House,” which opened in 1819. Province House is owned by the Province of Prince Edward Island and is operated as a national historic site by Parks Canada, thanks to an agreement signed with the Province in 1974.
A major restoration project was undertaken by Parks Canada between 1979 and 1983 to restore a portion of the building to the 1864 period. Between 2011 and 2013, additional renovations were done in advance of celebrations in 2014 to mark the 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown Conference.
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.
National historic sites represent thousands of years of human history and hundreds of years of nation building. Moving forward, Parks Canada is committed to sharing the diverse stories of people and groups whose voices were missing from the table during the historic events at Province House.
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.
Province House has long been regarded as the Birthplace of Confederation. Here, in September 1864, 23 political leaders from the British colonies of Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Canada (now Ontario and Quebec) began the discussions that led to the creation of the Dominion of Canada 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.