Description of Historic Place
King Square is a green space that includes a variety of large mature trees, asphalt paths and flowerbeds. It is one of five public squares in the City of Charlottetown, four of which are public parks and the other, Queen Square, contains public buildings, memorials and monuments. The designation encompasses the entire parcel of land.
The heritage value of King Square lies in its role as one of Charlottetown's five historic squares.
King Square was one of four squares laid out in the 1771 Plan of Charlottetown by surveyor Thomas Wright and Governor Walter Patterson. The other three squares were Rochford Square, Connaught Square and Hillsborough 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 previously in the 1768 plan of Charlottetown.
Newspaper reports reveal much of what is known about King Square. The 20 January 1825 edition of the Prince Edward Island Register called for sealed tenders for the fencing of King Square. It is not clear exactly when the fence was put up or if animals were pastured within the square as they were in at least two of the other town squares. It is also unknown when the fence was removed but it does appear in a circa 1880 engraving of the area.
The Daily Examiner reported on 2 May 1888 that an effort was made the previous year to improve King and Hillsborough Squares however; the writer did not feel that enough was being done. He lamented that both squares, which were formerly well kept, were no longer useful or ornamental. At some point, the square was improved however, as it is now an attractive green space complete with mature trees, flower beds and asphalt paths.
Throughout much of the 19th Century, King Square was surrounded by industrial and commercial activity. A number of Prince Edward Island's well-known furniture makers, such as Mark Butcher and Mark Wright, had their factories in the area. According to the Hutchinson's 1864 City Directory, other businesses such as Beer & Sons general store, George Munroe's grocery store and Thomas Doyle's blacksmith shop were located near the square. It is also known that a candy factory, a grocery store, a funeral business and livery stables were located nearby.
An engraving from Meacham's 1880 Illustrated Historical Atlas of Prince Edward Island depicts Beer and Sons' General Store and Custom Tailoring with King Square in the foreground. The square appears as a fenced green space complete with path, grass, trees and Victorian citizens enjoying a leisurely stroll. The area around the square is much less commercial now and largely residential. As a valued part of Charlottetown since its earliest days, King 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
The following character-defining elements contribute to the heritage value of the King Square:
- The property's park-like landscape, with numerous mature trees, flowerbeds and asphalt paths
- The continued use of the square as a public space