Well, we’ve reached that magical of time year once again in Prince Edward Island. If you happened to notice a bit of a change in the weather over the past few days, it’s because another Old Home Week is upon us, and as many people like to say, that signals the winding down of summer here despite the fact that, calendrically, it continues for another month. Is there anything to that claim? I don’t know, but I certainly digress.
Commonly referred to as “the Exhibition” – like “the Island”, because apparently there is no other, anywhere – Old Home Week is an Island tradition with roots stretching back to 1888. Of course, it has significantly evolved over the years, but since its inception it has engrained itself in the province’s psyche and reigns as the undisputed highlight of the summer season. Hosted at what is now the Eastlink Centre and Red Shores Racetrack & Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park (46 Kensington Road), it draws in people from far and wide, and close to home, for a 10-day bonanza of agricultural exhibitions, midway rides and amusements, a variety of performances musical and otherwise, as well as the famed Gold Cup & Saucer Parade (since the 1960s), and of course the continuous betting of money on which horses will be driven fastest in a counter-clockwise manner around a gravel track (many people would more eloquently refer to that as harness racing), culminating in the running of the coveted Gold Cup & Saucer.
And that brings us to the subject of today’s post.
The film you’re about to watch comes to you courtesy of Thelma Phillips. It was taken by her father, Harold Phillips, over the course of two Old Home Weeks in 1963 and 1964 with an 8mm camera. At just over eleven minutes in length, you’ll see many shots of harness racing, the midway, and the parade – basically the component pieces of Old Home Week as we know and love it, minus the agricultural aspect. I wasn’t able to embed the film here this time around (thanks, technology), but follow the link below to be magically and nostalgically transported. And as always, enjoy the show!
PEI History Guy