a VirtualTourist member from Toronto
I may have a chance to work in Charlottetown with the Nutrisciences Institute, but I'd like to know more about what it's like to live in Charlottetown. I'd especially love to hear from other people who have moved to Charlottetown from other cities -- do you feel isolated, or do you enjoy the island life? I know many locals love it there, but is it different if you haven't grown up in the area?
For background: I'm from Ontario, mostly lived in cities not much larger than Charlottetown, but they're in southern Ontario, so they're all pretty close to lots of other places.. right now I live in Kingston, which is a city of 130,000 or so, and about 1.5 hours from Ottawa or the next big city. Is this pretty comparable to what life might be like in Charlottetown? Kingston's also got a big tourist industry in the summer, university town culture with lots of government jobs, and surrounded by farmland, etc. Would I feel just at home in Charlottetown?
I'm not a big fan of sunbathing or Anne G.G. but I do like the idea of living in another part of Canada and/or being near the ocean...
I live in Charlottetown and grew up here, so I can't really give a tourist perspective, but I can give a few tips. Summer is the best season here, because that's when the city comes alive. Since there is a lot of tourism here in summer, a lot of businesses are seasonal and are open in summer. There are also a lot of festivals and events on PEI in summer. In winter the province in general is dead. Christmas is usually lively, but from January to April, it can get boring. In summer, you'll see LOTS of Anne-themed stuff, but you'll probably get used to it after a while. As for being near the ocean, Charlottetown is on the south shore, so there's the Hillsborough river and the waterfront in downtown Charlottetown. You can't swim in it, but it's a beautiful area.
The people in general are friendly, and you'll likely see many of the same people again unlike in big cities. Many people also know each other or each others' friends, but I personally find as a first-generation "Islander" (I was born here but both my parents are from away) that it can get cliquey at times - sometimes the "true islanders" (I think you must be at least fourth-generation) who grew up together tend to stick together and unintentionally reject outsiders.
Travelling outside of the Island can get costly, since the bridge toll is quite high, and sometimes you might feel isolated if you can't travel often to the mainland (especially in winter when the province is dead), but overall it's not too bad. I've known a few international students and immigrants, and a few people from bigger Canadian cities, and they love it here. They especially like the friendliness of the locals and the sense of community.