Government of Canada announces additional funding for Province House conservation project
From: Parks Canada
November 15, 2023
Parks Canada is responsible for protecting nationally significant examples of natural and cultural heritage and sharing the stories of these treasured places.
Today, Sean Casey, Member of Parliament for Charlottetown, announced an investment of an additional $46 million for the final two phases of the Province House conservation project. The funding for this initiative was announced on behalf of the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada. As part of the announcement, stakeholders, community members and local media were invited inside the historic building to view the intricate masonry work, the stories hidden inside the walls (signatures, unique markings), and the magnitude of work that has gone into restoring this national historic site before this next phase once again hides these treasures from view.
Province House is a place where visitors can immerse themselves in Canadian history, neoclassical architecture, and Prince Edward Island (PEI) politics. The Government of Canada recognizes the historical and cultural significance of Province House and is taking important steps, working closely with many key stakeholders, to ensure this building can be enjoyed by future generations. The seat of the PEI Legislative Assembly and owned by the Province of Prince Edward Island, the building is interpreted and maintained as a national historic site by Parks Canada.
A contract is now in place to complete the remaining work in Phase 3 of the project, which involves fit-up work focused on establishing universal accessibility, fire code compliance, building systems including electrical, mechanical and HVAC as well as interior finishes, such as painting and flooring. As part of the work, Province House will be made fully accessible for the first time in its history, and the new geothermal heating and cooling system will increase its energy efficiency, saving about $10,000 annually.
The final portion of the project, Phase 4, involves the design, development and installation of the new visitor experience offer at Province House. Under the guidance of Parks Canada’s Framework for History and Commemoration, national and local Indigenous and cultural communities have been engaged to ensure that many voices are included in the exhibits. The exhibits project team is currently working on content development and exhibit design.
With today’s funding announcement, the total investment for the long-term preservation of Province House is $138 million. Due to its size and complexity, funding has been allocated incrementally and the work has been completed in phases. This project began in 2015, following an investigation that showed the foundation, stone walls, windows, and roof needed significant work. In February 2020, the Government of Canada announced what was expected to be the final budget allotment for the project with a summer 2022 project completion date. However, the COVID-19 pandemic created workforce and supply chain challenges, material cost increases, and project delays that could not have been anticipated when the project began. The new timeline for completion of the remaining work and reopening to the public is expected to be in 2025.
“Province House has been an active legislative building since before Confederation. When Province House National Historic Site reopens, it will be a fine example of built heritage conservation and a place for visitors to learn about our nation’s shared history, including the difficult periods of our past. The Government of Canada is proudly investing in the long-term preservation of Province House National Historic Site, ensuring this building continues to be a place of national historic significance for many generations to come.”
Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada
“As a building of national significance and the seat of Prince Edward Island’s provincial legislature, Province House National Historic Site is one of Charlottetown’s most prominent buildings and part of our identity as Islanders. By investing in this landmark project, the Government of Canada is generating local employment and supporting the development of skilled tradespeople. When reopened, Province House will be accessible for the first time in its history, offering visitors an inclusive space that presents our nation’s history from multiple perspectives.”
Member of Parliament for Charlottetown
“The rehabilitation of Province House National Historic Site has been a collaborative effort. We owe our gratitude to conservation professionals, diligent tradespeople, and the students of heritage carpentry who not only completed the intricate restoration but also refined their craft. We proudly anticipate the enduring benefits this landmark will bring to our economy and tourism industry.”
Minister of Public Services and Procurement
“Province House National Historic Site is a building that holds many stories. The First Nations Advisory Circle was established to review the concepts, designs and content for the new interpretive exhibits. I look forward to seeing Mi’kmaw voices and Mi’kmaw culture represented in this exhibit alongside Western approaches to governance and democracy as it will give visitors the opportunity to explore new ways of understanding our shared history.”
Senator Brian Francis
- Province House National Historic Site was built between 1843 and 1847.
- The first session of the Prince Edward Island Legislature was held in the building in January 1847. It is Canada’s second oldest active legislative building, after Nova Scotia’s “Province House,” which opened in 1819.
- Province House is owned by the Province of Prince Edward Island and is operated as a national historic site by Parks Canada, through an agreement signed with the province in 1974.
- This important project is being managed by Public Services and Procurement Canada, on behalf of Parks Canada.
- Parks Canada and Public Services and Procurement Canada continue to approach this current project with due diligence and careful consideration of the best and most appropriate methods to preserve the building’s iconic heritage character-defining elements so this building can continue to be a prominent structure in the heart of Charlottetown.
- Visitors who are interested in learning more about Province House can explore “The Story of Confederation” exhibit at the Confederation Centre of the Arts, which includes an impressive replica of the Confederation Chamber, complete with reproduction table and chairs, and some original artefacts from the building. More information and a unique video series on the many facets of the conservation work is available on the Parks Canada website: parkscanada.gc.ca/provincehouse.
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
Public Relations and Communications Officer