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Charlottetown Conference


Charlottetown Conference

Delegates of the Charlottetown Conference on the steps of Government House.

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.[1] 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 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.


  • Conference 1
  • Delegates 2
    • New Brunswick 2.1
    • Nova Scotia 2.2
    • Prince Edward Island 2.3
    • Province of Canada 2.4
  • See also 3
  • References 4
    • Bibliography 4.1
  • External links 5


Province House, Charlottetown

The majority of the conference took place at the colony's legislative building, Province House, although some social functions were held at Government House, the home of the colony's Lieutenant Governor.

The conference began on Thursday September 1 with a banquet for the delegates. Parties and banquets were held each night after the day's discussions had ended, except for Sunday September 4, when they did not meet. The representatives from the Province of Canada dominated the conference, overshadowing the concerns of the Maritimes, and laying out foundations for the union that benefited them the most. Four of the first five days were spent outlining the Canadian position, and the Maritime representatives did not discuss their own plans until September 6 and 7. One Canadian delegate, British Empire.

Most of the Maritimes were convinced that a wider union including the Province of Canada would also be beneficial to them; Prince Edward Island was unsure, however, and very much against confederation. The delegates also believed that union could be achieved within a few years, rather than in an undefined period in the future as they had originally planned.

The conference concluded on Wednesday September 7, but the representatives agreed to meet again the next month in Quebec City (see Quebec Conference). A ball was also held on September 8, after which the delegates returned home.


Hewitt Bernard was the recording secretary at the conference, at the request of John A. Macdonald.

See also


  1. ^ Brown, George. "George Brown describes the Charlottetown Conference, 1864". Retrieved Tuesday, November 22. 


  • Creighton, Donald (2012). The Road to Confederation: The Emergence of Canada, 1863-1867. Toronto: Oxford University Press.  
  • Moore, Christopher (1997). 1867: How the Fathers Made a Deal. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart.  
  • Morton, William Lewis (1964). The Critical Years: the Union of British North America, 1857-1873. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart.  
  • Waite, Peter Busby (2001). The Life and Times of Confederation, 1864–1867: Politics, Newspapers, and the Union of British North America (3rd ed.). Toronto: Robin Brass Studio.  

External links

  • Charlottetown Conference of 1864
  • Canadian Confederation, a virtual museum exhibition at Library and Archives Canada
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