Delegates at the Charlottetown Conference, 1864
Title: Delegates at the Charlottetown Conference, PEI – Sept 1864
Source: Library and Archives Canada
Source Link: Mikan#:3192471
Photographer: G.P. Roberts
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The Charlottetown Conference was held in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island for representatives from the colonies of British North America to discuss Canadian Confederation. The conference took place between September 1st through 9th 1864.
The conference was originally planned as a meeting of representatives from the Maritime colonies: Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. Newfoundland agreed with the movement, but was not notified in time to take part in the proceedings. Britain encouraged a Maritime Union between these colonies, hoping that they would then become less economically and politically dependent on the Crown, and provide for greater economic and military power for the region in light of the American Civil War. However, another colony, the Province of Canada, comprising present-day Ontario and Quebec, heard news of the planned conference and asked that the agenda be expanded to discuss a union that would also include them. In August 1864 Newfoundland also asked to be allowed to attend the conference, but by then it was too late to change the plans.
Coincidentally there was a circus in Charlottetown during the conference, and it was much more interesting to the majority of the population. There was no one working at the public wharf at the foot of Great George Street when the Canadian delegates arrived on the steamship SS Victoria, so Prince Edward Island representative William Henry Pope had to handle receptions by himself, including rowing out to greet the new arrivals. The Canadian delegates stayed each night on board the SS Queen Victoria, as circus-goers and the Maritime delegates had taken up the accommodations in town.