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Each year, Canadian municipalities compete to receive a designation under the Cultural Capitals of Canada Program, presented by the Department of Canadian Heritage. Up to three communities can receive this designation annually, which includes a financial contribution to support special activities that celebrate the arts and culture and build a cultural legacy for the community by integrating arts and culture into overall community planning.

The City of Charlottetown received the prestigious designation in 2011 in recognition of its ongoing commitment to arts, heritage and culture, and thriving cultural scene and community. In its application for the award, the city presented a series of initiatives and events that would unfold in 2011 to celebrate the designation, in line with the objectives and funding guidelines of the program. Under the theme "Perspectives 2011: Celebrating Sense of Place" -- 2011 will be filled with opportunities to celebrate and learn more about the artists, events and venues that make Charlottetown what it is today: a vibrant, talented and creative community, proud if its heritage -- and of the leading place it occupies in the Canadian cultural landscape.