Published Sep 04, 2014In our annual Hangout Handbook, Exclaim! asks some of our favourite artists to discuss the hidden gems in their hometowns. Here, Tim Chaisson outlines his picks for Charlottetown, PEI.
What's your favourite breakfast/brunch spot?
There's a brand new café in Charlottetown called Receiver Coffee Company (128 Richmond St.) A few young fellas from Charlottetown who are really into good coffee and good quality food went for it and it's awesome. Also, I have to mention Leonhard's Café and Restaurant (42 University Ave.). Unreal food.
Where's the best dive bar?
I'd say Sportman's Club (75 University Ave.) — you have to go there to experience it. A few bands around town have recently started putting on shows there too — the regular clientele mixed with the young music-going crowd is an interesting mix! A fun spot for sure.
What's your favourite diner?
Phinley's Diner in Stratford (6 Kinlock Rd.) — they won Best Burger in the Island-wide "Burger Love" competition last year too.
Where do you go for a fancy dinner?
There's a few really great spots. Sirenella Ristorante (83 Water St.) is a great Italian place with amazing pasta and a very authentic Italian atmosphere. The Old Mill (5592 Route 13) is a brand new fine dining restaurant in New Glasgow. Amazing view and delicious locally sourced food. Best mussels I've ever had, hands down.
What's your favourite park?
If you're in Charlottetown, definitely hit up Victoria Park — right on the water and lots of room to play Frisbee, fetch with your dog or just lounge and look at the view of the Charlottetown harbour. Also, I grew up near Souris and the Red Point Park is a pretty beautiful spot to camp and be a beach bum.
What's the best place to take a date?
An evening picnic on the beach is pretty much the way to go here. The beaches on PEI are some of the best in the world (I'm not the only one who thinks that) so taking advantage of the peace and quiet with some wine and food is pretty romantic.
Where's your favourite place to have indoor activities/sports?
Bowling at Murphy's Community Centre (200 Richmond) — can't go wrong.
Where's your favourite spot for outdoor activities?
Biking on the Confederation Trail is pretty awesome in the summer time. The railway was abandoned about 25 years ago so a few Islanders turned it into a walking/biking/snowmobiling trail that runs from tip to tip.
Where's the best movie theatre?
At the Brackley Drive-In Theatre (Brackley Point Rd.), you get to watch two movies in a row on the silver screen in the middle of the woods at night time. Enough said.
What's the signature annual event/festival/community gathering in your city?
There is so much music on PEI. This year marked 150 years since the Charlottetown Conference so there has been some massive celebrating going on all summer. But, since I have the opportunity here I'll mention the Rollo Bay Fiddle Festival which was started by my grandfather 38 years ago — it's an all weekend camp out with tons of great music, celiedhs, square dances and late night jamming on an amazing property in the countryside. Third weekend of July every year!
Where's your favourite stage?
For the whole live music experience, I think the Trailside Café in Mt. Stewart (109 Main St.) is the most intimate spot to take in a show and also a pretty amazing meal. My friends, Pat and Meghann Deighan run the venue and do an amazing job bringing in up-and-coming acts or on the other hand, selling out a million nights in a row with some of the more established acts.
What's your favourite record store?
The one and only Back Alley Music (69 University Ave.) Again, Pat Deighan keeps this place rocking with live music appearances from touring artists, cool vinyl and of course, all the compact disks.
What's your favourite underground/out of the way bar/drinking establishment?
In Charlottetown there aren't many underground bars so I'd have to say one of my favourite drinking establishments would be The Old Triangle (89 University Ave.). There's always a good session or trad tunes almost every night of the week.
Where's your favourite outdoor space?
Probably the brand new rooftop patio at Fishbones (136 Richmond St.). It over looks the city, which is pretty beautiful on a summer night.
What favourite hometown activity of yours would surprise people if they heard about it?
Hmm, it may not be a huge surprise but I'd say snowshoeing through the woods in the wintertime — take a few snacks and some beers and you can got lost in the forest all day.
Singer-songwriter Tim Chaisson is a Prince Edward Islander, born and raised. He's currently putting the finishing touches on his next record, a follow-up to 2012's The Other Side.