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60 Richmond Street / Connaught Square

60 Richmond Street, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, C1A, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1979/10/26

Showing view from the east; City of Charlottetown, Natalie Munn, 2007
Connaught Square
Engraving; Project Gutenberg (www.gutenberg.net)
Duke of Connaught and Strathearn
Showing jail and fenced yard on Pownal Square; Panoramic View of Charlottetown, 1878
Pownal Square

Other Name(s)

60 Richmond Street / Connaught Square
Pownal Square
Jail Square

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/05/15

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Connaught Square is a green space that includes a variety of large mature trees, playground equipment and asphalt paths. It is one of five public squares in the City of Charlottetown, four of which are public parks and the other, Queens Square, contains public buildings, memorials and monuments. The designation encompasses the entire parcel of land.

Heritage Value

The heritage value of the Connaught Square lies in its role as one of Charlottetown's five historic squares.

The Connaught Square was known originally as Pownal Square. It was one of four laid out in the 1771 Plan of Charlottetown by surveyor Thomas Wright and Governor Walter Patterson. The other three squares were the Hillsborough Square, Rochford Square and Kings Square. Each of the four was placed in one quarter of the original rectangular town plan. Charles Morris had already planned for Queens Square as a space for public and ecclesiastical buildings in the centre of the town, three years previous in the 1768 plan of Charlottetown.

For much of the 19th Century, a jail stood on the Pownal Square. It has been suggested that a military jail existed on the south east corner as early as 1805. In 1809, plans for a new facility were being made, however, it was 1810 before builder, John Plaw designed the new building. Unfortunately, no tenders were forthcoming and the jail commissioners had to take responsibility for constructing it. The new jail would serve for approximately twenty years until another correctional facility was built by Theophilus Chappell. The cornerstone was laid 23 August 1830. The first Mayor of Charlottetown, Robert Hutchinson, served as the Keeper of the Jail/Gaol from 1829. By, 1844, he was replaced by Nicholas Harvey, who was Hutchinson's father-in-law. By 1864, a Thomas Harvey, held the position. The Jail was then locally known as "Harvey's Brig".

Throughout the years, newspaper reports discussed the terrible conditions of the jail, but the only change in the structure came in approximately 1882 when the pitched gable roofline was changed to a flat gravel topped roof. The jail would serve until 1911 when a new one was constructed on Longworth Avenue.

Throughout the 19th Century, Pownal Square was not only home to various criminals, but it was also where public executions were held. The last public hanging in Prince Edward Island took place in the square in 1869. George Dowie, who was convicted of murdering John Cullen in a drunken dispute, was sentenced to die by hanging. Unfortunately, for Dowie, it took the executioner three attempts before the execution was successful.

By April 1912, the remnants of the jail were almost completely removed from the square. In July of that year, it was renamed in honour of the visit of the Duke of Connaught and Strathearn (1850-1942), the Governor General of Canada. The Duke was the third son of Queen Victoria and had visited Charlottetown previously in 1869 when he was known as the Prince Arthur. He would serve as governor general from 1911-1916. He was the first person to plant a tree in the City's experimental farm grounds near Ravenwood in what would become known as the "Royal Forest". Despite the new name and the pedigree of its owner, many residents continued to refer to it as Pownal Square.

Over the years, the City continued to make improvements to the green space. Trees were planted in 1913 and in approximately 1953; grass, soil, trees and asphalt paths enhanced its appearance. Further improvements were made in 1956, when playground equipment was installed.

Unfortunately in September 2003, the Square suffered the ravages of Hurricane Juan when many of its mature trees were uprooted and destroyed. The devastation was soon cleared away and it remains a popular green space in the City. Part of Charlottetown since its earliest days, Connaught Square has played an important role in the City's history.

Sources: Heritage Office, City of Charlottetown Planning Department, PO Box 98, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7K2

Character-Defining Elements

The following character-defining elements contribute to the heritage value of the Rochford Square:

- The property's park like landscape, with numerous mature trees, flower beds and paths
- The continued use of the square as a public space



Prince Edward Island

Recognition Authority

City of Charlottetown

Recognition Statute

City of Charlottetown Zoning and Development Bylaw

Recognition Type

Heritage Resource

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Governing Canada
Security and Law
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Sports and Leisure

Function - Category and Type




Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Heritage Office, City of Charlottetown Planning Department, PO Box 98, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7K2 #1734

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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