Delta Blues

It’s hard to write off the Delta Prince Edward, the Big Hotel on Charlottetown’s waterfront: over the 10 years we’ve lived on the Island we’ve attended countless concerts, dinners, and fundraisers there, eaten many good meals in their dining room, and even stayed a night or two (the most interesting time was one Christmas eve, pre-Oliver, when I swore to Catherine that it would be easy to go out and have dinner; it wasn’t, and we ended up checking in to the Delta — then the CP — and having dinner from the snack machines and watching cable TV). There’s no doubting that the Island needs a hotel of the size and stature of the Delta and that we’d be worse off without it.

But at the same time, there’s also no doubting that the Delta isn’t exactly an architectural or planning masterpiece: it stands at the foot of Queen St. like a big red monolith.

While I wouldn’t compare it to the Sydney Tar Ponds or the Dorchester Penitentiary like the author of the Lonely Planet Guide to the Maritimes has, I’ve no problem with a hotel being judged on its aesthetics, and on that ground the Delta is, in the end, a failure.

Fred Hyndman, for one, is on the record as agreeing with me on this point (follow the link to listen to a CBC radio interview with Fred about Catherine Hennessey in which he touches on the issue).


Alan's picture
Alan on June 29, 2002 - 01:48 Permalink

A big red monolithe”…I don’t know. A monolith often is an icon or a symbol of a greater thing — religious, historic event or, as in 2001: a Space Odyssey [that movie about last year] unknown. The red brick block is a tribute to a child’s vision of what bricks are for — making one great big brick-like thing. It symbolizes only the absence of architectural imagination while effecting the practical loss of the public waterfront. Come 2035, Neptune and the other ocean gods will have the last laugh as the rising tides will sweep the last of it away.

BTW: heck of a chicken with brown mushroom-ish sauce. Had it 14 of 15 lunch meetings. Maybe all that monolithic brickwork is needed to hold back the vat of chicken with brown mushroom-ish sauce.

Andrew's picture
Andrew on June 29, 2002 - 15:19 Permalink

I always thought the Delta looked alright. Besides the Delta our only other sky line is the Basilicas steeples and Maritimes Electric’s smoke pipes… It could use a little work though, maybe change the look to something more 2000ish.

Keep in mind, the Delta is 18 years old, and in it’s time the brick look was very popular.

Alan's picture
Alan on June 29, 2002 - 17:35 Permalink

I just finished looking at the back end of it — windowless and dumb — for 4.5 years and will not miss it now that I it won’t fill my horizon.

Lana's picture
Lana on June 30, 2002 - 04:04 Permalink

I look out my window and I see a fat man walk around his apartment without any shirt on. The exhaust from the Korean restaurnat next door spills onto my balcony. Sometimes a brick wall doesn’t seem like such a bad option.

Alan's picture
Alan on June 30, 2002 - 18:24 Permalink

Lana, that was Haiku!