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History of the Centre

All Canadian Effort

Opened in 1964 to commemorate the centennial anniversary of the Charlottetown Conference, Confederation Centre of the Arts was built as Canada’s national memorial to the founders of Canadian Confederation. Every Canadian contributed to the establishment of the Centre. The provinces each committed 15 cents per capita which was matched by the federal government for a total of $5.6 million to construct the Centre.

Confederation Centre of the Arts has a rich history in visual and performing arts, arts education, and heritage programming. It hosts The Charlottetown Festival, Atlantic Canada’s longest running musical theatre Festival, and is the home of Anne of Green Gables—The Musical™.

Confederation Centre Art Gallery holds a significant contemporary collection of over 17,000 works of art and documents in its permanent collection. The Centre also hosts the annual Symons Medal Presentation and Lecture and the Charlottetown Forum, two national events that bring the public together with leaders in the arts, business, and public policy for discussion on issues important to Canada and the state of the nation. 


The Centre is opened by Queen Elizabeth II and PM Lester B. Pearson in Charlottetown, PEI, commemorating the historic Charlottetown Conference 100 years prior in 1864


Oscar Peterson performs the concert premiere of his Canadiana Suite as part of the centennial celebrations at the Centre


John Wayne and Frank Shuster star in the opening season of The Charlottetown Festival


Karen Kain stars with the National Ballet of Canada in Giselle, her first of many appearances at the Centre


The Rowdyman premieres at the Charlottetown Festival featuring Gordon Pinsent


The Centre Art Gallery commissions Jane Ash Poitras to create the mural Those Who Share Together, Stay Together, challenging Canadian roots, history and heritage


The Centre establishes the Symons Medal


The Centre’s Youth Chorus performs for the official dedication of the newly restored Canadian National Monument at Vimy, France


The Confederation Centre of the Arts Foundation is established for endowments


Atlantic Canada House curated by the Centre for the Vancouver Olympics


Anne of Green Gables—The MusicalTM is recognized by Guinness World Records as the longest running annual musical theatre production in the world.


The 1,100-seat Homburg Theatre (now Sobey Family Theatre) is substantially restored and modernized


The Story of Confederation exhibition opens


Contemporary artist Kent Monkman’s Shame and Prejudice: A Story of Resilience is exhibited at the Centre’s Gallery and acclaimed for its unorthodox approach to Confederation and its sobering perspective of 150 years of Indigenous experience in Canada


The Culture Development Fund is established for long-term investment in the creation of new Canadian works for theatre, visual arts and cultural learning programs

Confederation Centre of the Arts…is dedicated to the fostering
of those things that enrich the mind and delight the heart, those
intangible but precious things that give meaning to a society
and help create from it a civilization and a culture.

Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson | Opening Ceremonies, 1964

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