Boulder Park once again a gathering place in downtown Charlottetown

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Boulder Park once again a gathering place in downtown Charlottetown

In 1966, boulders from all 10 provinces were moved into a park in downtown Charlottetown to recognize the country's contribution to the Confederation Centre of the Arts.

It went mostly forgotten in recent years, but this summer it's become a hub of outdoor leisure again — and food trucks.

Peter Rukavina, who lives and works in the Queen Square area, says it's a combination of the closure of the Province House grounds for restoration work and new burger and ice cream trucks.

"The natural pedestrian lazing around traffic has migrated over here," he said. "I think people are starting to gather in this little park in a way that they haven't in a long time."

'10 big, heavy pieces of Canada'

There used to be a trail winding around the boulders, but it was straightened, Rukavina said, and foot traffic declined.

Rukavina is the son of a geologist, so the history of each boulder fascinates him. 

"It's not easy to move 10 big, heavy pieces of Canada into a square in Charlottetown."

The New Brunswick rock has fossilized bacteria that's millions of years old, he said, and there's also P.E.I. sandstone.

"Each of these boulders were chosen by their home province to somehow encapsulate the geographical essence of the province."

Brochures and a walking map

Rukavina has created a Wikipedia page for the boulder park and plans to make brochures available on site, along with a guided map.

With federal and provincial cooperation, 30 cents per Canadian was poured into the building of the Confederation Centre, Rukavina said.

Neally Currie is part of the team running the Street Eats food truck on Grafton Street for the last two months. 

"I'll be honest, as an Islander, for 30-plus years, I didn't really know exactly what this park was all about either until we got here and started looking around at all the rocks."

'Really nice vibe here in the park'

Food trucks add to the downtown ambience in bigger cities, she said, and now they're doing the same in P.E.I.'s capital.

"It's a nice way to provide an outdoor atmosphere for people to eat," she said. "There's a really nice vibe here in the park during the days. People sitting out on picnic blankets, eating food, going for some rolled ice cream."

Jalen MacLeod and his girlfriend Amanda Beaton serve up that ice cream in their food truck, called Truckin' Roll.

'Beautiful space in downtown'

They run the business out of a 1958 Citroen H van which originated in France and has now resurfaced on the Island.

The space encompassing Boulder Park is being used a lot more this year, MacLeod said.

"Before, it was a cut-through to Victoria Row, but no one sat here. Why not use this beautiful space in downtown Charlottetown?"

Neither of the owners have any business or culinary experience, but they adapted to the learning curve.

'Shake up the culinary scene in P.E.I.'

Rolled ice cream is raw ice cream with ingredients and liquid cream on a cold plate.

"We make the ice cream right in front of you. Each ice cream is hand-made and it takes about two minutes."

The truck has only been running since the last week of July, but they've sold out a few times.

"We kinda wanted to shake up the culinary scene in P.E.I., and we're trying to do just that." 

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