Islanders share warm memories of dining at Dundee Arms: Your Comments

The Dundee Arms Inn is going through a transformation, as its pub and dining area shut down and the long-standing Charlottetown institution becomes a bed and breakfast. The decision to switch was sad news for many who loved this place.

'I will always cherish those memories of our time in this wonderful place'

The Dundee Arms Inn on Pownal Street in Charlottetown has decided to close its pub and dining room while continuing to operate as a bed and breakfast. (Shane Ross/CBC)

The Dundee Arms Inn is going through a transformation, its Griffon Dining Room and Hearth and Cricket Pub shutting down as the long-standing Charlottetown institution becomes a bed and breakfast.

Closed since last fall due to the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, the inn will open in its new incarnation May 1, with managers hoping to offer a beverage service in a lounge and on a deck this summer.

The inn's "new direction" was announced this week, to the sadness of many, from past workers to dedicated diners over the decades. The food and atmosphere at the Pownal Street establishment were truly treasured, you have told us. 

Following the news, we asked for peoples' fondest memories of the restaurant and people have been reaching out to share their thoughts on CBC Prince Edward Island's Facebook page.

Here is just some of the many moments you shared.

(Please note that usernames are not necessarily the names of commenters. Some comments have been altered to correct spelling and to conform to CBC style.)

Fond memories, wonderful friends

"Aww. Many memories there," said Ellen Forbes. "One of my mum and late dad's favourite spots. We had our rehearsal dinner there before my wedding. It's also where we held my mum's retirement dinner, and where we told my parents they were going to be grandparents for the first time. Many treasured memories."

Tammy Paynter-MacLeod said she and her husband spent their wedding night there. "Such a beautiful place," she said. "As well, my girlfriends and I would celebrate birthdays either in the restaurant or on their beautiful outdoor patio."

Sarah MacDonald had a celebrity encounter at the Dundee Arms. "I interviewed members of Glass Tiger with my husband [at] the Dundee Arms back in 2018 — the night they performed in Charlottetown opening for Johnny Reid!"

'I interviewed members of Glass Tiger with my husband [at] the Dundee Arms back in 2018,' says Sarah MacDonald. (Submitted by Sarah MacDonald)

Jenny MacKenzie said she used to work there and the Dundee Arms "treated all staff with respect [and] made it a place where you want to work everyday."

Louise Ducharne said that when she relocated to P.E.I., "The Dundee Arms was our weekend treat. We would go there, enjoy a good breakfast and that is where we began to feel our new beginnings. We made a great choice. Always our 'feel good place.' Thank you, Dundee Arms."

Lisa Compton Colson said it was the best gathering place to be "with wonderful friends. Whether it was a quiet dinner to catch up or a gathering for a special occasion, The Dundee Arms always treated you like family and welcomed you with open arms!"

'Thank you for the memories'

Kathy Walsh said the restaurant was her favourite place to go with family and friends to break bread. "Great staff and food service. Thank you, Pat and company — sorry to see hear you are not reopening, was awaiting our upcoming dining experiences."

Many commenters said they spent their wedding night at the inn, or had their first date there, and thanked the Dundee Arms for the hospitality. Others shared similar milestones: first meetings with in-laws, Valentine's dinners, proposals and more. 

And others were thankful for other touching moments.

'Thank you, Dundee Arms,' many commenters said. (Sarah Keaveny-Vos/CBC)

Fily Ad said they enjoyed a lovely dinner and evening with their mom, "our last 'dinner date' in Charlottetown, when I was down home before she passed. Thank you for the memory, Dundee Arms!"

N.R. Ruth wrote: "Every summer my sister and I would enjoy lunch on the patio a couple of times. She has passed now, but the memories will live with me forever."

Cathy Binette had a similar story to share. She said her fondest memories were going to lunch with her mom, who has passed as well. "Always felt so fancy going with her, then my own daughter joined us. She, too, felt very special going with us! We dressed up and had our times of fun and feeling great there! Thank you for the memories!"

Kathleen Descarie Chmait said her grandfather, Jack Whelan, used to "absolutely love coming to visit us from Ottawa in the mid-late 1980s." During these visits, she said, he insisted on taking them out to a classy, elegant place: "The Dundee Arms was that!"

She added: "I will never forget him telling the servers witty little stories and requesting to have a word with the chef, so he could compliment him on his excellent food. I will always cherish those memories of our time in this wonderful place with our best guy. Thank you, Dundee Arms."

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