P.E.I.'s Province House on track for Confederation celebration
Repairs to historic building total about $2M
Ottawa has committed $2 million to ensure water damage at Province House does not dampen next year's celebrations marking the 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown Conference.
The 1864 conference saw representatives from the colonies of British North America gather at P.E.I.'s legislative home to discuss the possibility of Canadian Confederation.
Now the 165-year-old building has been turned into a construction zone, as Parks Canada tries to find and repair damage wrought by water ahead of the anniversary celebrations.
Project Manager Greg Shaw said this is more than just a routine face-lift.
"The issues we found here were more related to water infiltration inside the walls," he said.
Parks Canada has ripped out some of the walls on the third floor, to examine the wood and stone that form the bones of the historic building.
"There's no real issues with the building collapsing or anything, it's just a matter of holding it together," said Shaw.
Moisture, seeping in from the outside, has decayed some of the wood and softened some of the stone deep inside the walls.
"We'll drill holes through and put anchors into the outside stone and clamp it to the inside stone just to hold it together," said Shaw.
The bulk of the work won't start until after the Spring session of the legislature ends but scaffolding and renovations are planned to continue through the summer.
Karen Jans, P.E.I. Superintendent for Parks Canada, said the tourist attraction will stay open to the public.
"I'm very confident in the team that we've had, as well as what the plans are for prioritizing the work to be done, and I think that it's going to be an appropriate star attraction," she said.
Work is going on throughout the historic building, much of it in a room in the Confederation Chamber, where the Fathers of Confederation discussed creating modern Canada.
"It's the anchor of the 150th celebrations for the Confederation and it's going to be anchoring the backdrop for the historic district here on George Street," said Jans.
Shaw said the repairs are on budget and on schedule to be completed by November.