45 Park Roadway / Prince Edward Battery
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Prince Edward Battery consists of a stone magazine and a brace of guns located on the south side of historic Victoria Park in Charlottetown. A high profile landmark, the site overlooks the mouth of the Charlottetown Harbour and is located next to a popular boardwalk. The site has recently been restored after being neglected for many years. The designation encompasses the building's exterior and parcel; it does not include the building's interior.
The heritage value of the Prince Edward Battery lies in its role in the province's military history and its role as a landmark in Charlottetown.
In 1805, during the Napoleonic Wars (1799-1815), the land for the Battery was appropriated when Prince Edward's Battery was transferred from the foot of Great George Street to a western vantage point on the bank of Victoria Park, just south of the Lieutenant Governor's residence. At a time when the Island was vulnerable to threats from potential invaders, the Battery was a necessary component to the defense of the colony.
Although the guns were never used in action, the local militia used them often for ceremonial purposes and drills. As was common, the guns were changed from time to time. Ordinance maps of 1831 and 1847 show six guns at the site but it is likely that these guns were lighter than those located there now. Three long thirty-two pound smooth bore, muzzle-loading guns that currently exist on the site were installed in 1866 and three other rifled, muzzle loading guns were installed in 1901. Until 1882, the guns were fired through embrasures but it was decided to reconstruct the area and use the more efficient sunken barbette style of earthworks where the guns could be fired over a parapet. Robert Palmer did the reconstruction work under the supervision of Major Irving, to plans approved by the Department of Militia and Defence. It is not clear when the magazine was constructed but it is apparent that local mason, Paul Towan built it before 1868.
British Regular Forces had manned the Battery since its construction, however after 1864 the Charlottetown Volunteer Militia Artillery took over. After Prince Edward Island joined Confederation in 1873, the group was governed by the Militia Act and became the Active Militia Artillery. They would staff the Battery until the early part of the 20th Century. Interestingly, the Battery's artillery units were some of the most successful in the country during the later Victorian and Edwardian eras. In 1897, they were awarded the Governor General's Prize and in 1907, they won the Prince of Wales Prize.
For many years, the Prince Edward Battery was neglected, but in 2001 work began to restore the site. In November 2005, the Governor General, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, was present to unveil the newly restored Prince Edward Battery in honour of the City of Charlottetown's 150th anniversary of incorporation. Now into its second century, it serves as a tangible reminder of Prince Edward Island's military history; the site is a landmark in Charlottetown and the Province.
Sources: Heritage Office, City of Charlottetown Planning Department, PO Box 98, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7K2
The following character-defining elements contribute to the heritage value of the Prince Edward Battery:
- The overall massing of the magazine
- The size and shape of the stone walls
- The size and placement of the doors
- The size and placement of the paired small windows on the north and south walls of the building
- The gable roof of the magazine
- The guns and their wooden platforms
- The sunken barbette earthworks
- The fence surrounding the area
- The wooden flagpole
Prince Edward Island
City of Charlottetown
City of Charlottetown Zoning and Development Bylaw
Theme - Category and Type
- Governing Canada
- Military and Defence
Function - Category and Type
- Historic or Interpretive Site
- Military Defence Installation
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Heritage Office, City of Charlottetown Planning Department, PO Box 98, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7K2
Cross-Reference to Collection