70 Sydney Street / 63 Pownal Street
Charlottetown Health and Wellness Centre
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
70 Sydney Street is a Georgian influenced former home located on the corner of Pownal and Sydney Streets. Built in 1844, it is a large, wood framed, former home that served in many roles throughout its history including a clothing store, a corner store and a flower shop. What the building is most noted for however, is the fact that the first council meeting of the City of Charlottetown took place in the building. The designation encompasses the building’s exterior and parcel; it does not include the building’s interior.
The heritage value of 70 Sydney Street lies in its association with the first meeting of the Charlottetown City Council, its use by several commercial establishments, and its importance in supporting the streetscapes of Pownal and Sydney Streets.
Robert Hutchinson (1802-1866) built 70 Sydney Street in 1844. He was very close to retirement from his position as Keeper of the Gaol in Pownal Square when he built his home. Interestingly, he built his home across from the jail where he worked. When he retired, he ran a store from the home where he stocked clothing from the East and West Indies as well as Britain.
The home has played an important role in the history of the City of Charlottetown. The home’s second floor parlour was the location of the first Charlottetown City council meeting in August 1855. When the Island was made a separate colony from Nova Scotia in 1769, the population of the entire Island was approximately 300 people and Charlottetown was only a name on a map. By 1855, the population of Charlottetown had grown to approximately 6500. Although incorporation was not very popular due to the cost of municipal institutions, the town’s population had grown significantly and required a corporate body to attend to general civic affairs, police services, and fire protection.
On 17 April 1855, an act was passed to incorporate the City of Charlotte Town. Interestingly, others in the Legislature wanted the name of the city to be "Charlotteton" but the name was rejected. A municipal election was held in August of the same year where Robert Hutchinson, who had a great deal of previous experience in the town’s municipal affairs, was the unopposed choice for Mayor. The following prominent individuals were elected councilmen: Ward 1, Benjamin Davies and Robert Longworth; Ward 2, John C. McDonald and Donald McIsaac; Ward 3, Silas Bernard and Artemas G. Sims; Ward 4, Daniel Stewart and Thomas W. Dodd; Ward 5, Thomas Pethick and Richard Heartz.
Many years later, the home passed into the hands of the Ghiz family. When George Ghiz first immigrated to the Island, he worked as a peddler selling his goods throughout the countryside. In 1953, he opened a very successful corner grocery store and lunch counter from the building. The store was in operation for forty years.
The well-kept building has continued its tradition of housing shops. Currently, it houses a popular flower shop, called Elizabeth’s Garden, as well as the Charlottetown Health and Wellness Centre. Extremely important to the history of Charlottetown, 70 Sydney Street is a monument to the creation of the City. When the city amalgamated with surrounding areas in 1995, the city held a ceremony on the second floor of the building where the first City Council meeting took place.
As part of Pownal and Sydney streets for many years and because of its association with the early municipal history of the City of Charlottetown, the building contributes to the Pownal and Sydney Street streetscapes.
Sources: Heritage Office, City of Charlottetown Planning Department, PO Box 98, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7K2
The following character-defining elements illustrate the Georgian influenced heritage value of 70 Sydney Street:
- The simplicity of the design
- The gable roof with its eave returns
- The placement and size of the large windows including the large square windows
- The placement and style of the doors including the door of the storefront of the Pownal Street side and the door of the Sydney Street side with their transom lights
- The simple, contrasting trim around the windows, the roof and the doorways
- The porch of the south side
- The placement and style of the chimneys
Other character-defining elements of 70 Sydney Street include:
- The small addition to the west side of the building
- The location of the building on the corner of Pownal and Sydney Streets
Prince Edward Island
City of Charlottetown
City of Charlottetown Zoning and Development Bylaw
Theme - Category and Type
- Developing Economies
- Trade and Commerce
- Governing Canada
- Politics and Political Processes
Function - Category and Type
- Commerce / Commercial Services
- Shop or Wholesale Establishment
- Single Dwelling
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Heritage Office, City of Charlottetown Planning Department, PO Box 98, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7K2
Cross-Reference to Collection