Discover the decorative arts


35th Annual Symposium & Annual General Meeting

The CSDA/CCAD is pleased to present the 35th Annual Symposium - Hats Off! to Canada's 150th, taking place in Charlottetown, PEI. We have an excellent roster of tours, lectures and events that celebrate Canada's Sesquicentennial, and we look forward to seeing you there!


$400 for Members, and $475 for Non-members. Register today in order to receive the best rates:

By July 15, 2017: registration includes the Banquet and theatre ticket to Anne and Gilbert (save $135)

By July 31, 2017: registration includes the Banquet (save $70)

After August 1, 2017: theatre tickets and Banquet an additional cost


If you would like to pay your registration by cheque, please download the registration form below:



The Rodd Charlottetown Hotel is located in the heart of Charlottetown, just two blocks from Beaconsfield Historic House and three blocks from the Confederation Centre of the Arts. Built in 1931 as a CNR hotel, this elegant property has 115 guest rooms and suites, restaurant, and pool.

The CSDA/CCAD special rate is $169/ night plus tax, available to book until August 28th, 2017 (for three nights, Sept 28 – Oct 1). Call 1-800-565-RODD. PLEASE make your reservations EARLY so as not to be disappointed, as this is high tourist/convention season and Canada’s Sesquicentennial.


The organizing committee acknowledges the support of several public and private organizations. Their financial support has helped defray the costs of the symposium fees. A full list of sponsors will be on display in the Beaconsfield Carriage House.




 2:00 pm

Check-in available at Rodd Charlottetown Hotel
5 minute walk to Beaconsfield Historic House located at 2 Kent Street

 3:00 - 5:00 pm
 Registration in the Carriage House
Located behind Beaconsfield Historic House
- Mi’kmaq Basket Weaving Demonstration by Nora Richard with baskets for sale
- Mi’kmaq Weaving Workshop by Nora Richard, with space limited to 6 pre-registered participants

 5:00 pm
 Welcome Events
-  Smudge Ceremony at Beaconsfield Carriage House by Mathilda Knockwood-Snache
- Drumming by ‘Hey Cuzzins’, led by Gilbert Sark
- Welcome Remarks by The Honourable Wade MacLauchlan, Premier of Prince Edward Island

 6:00 - 7:30 pm
 Opening Reception at Beaconsfield Carriage House with ‘PEI Light Lunch’

 7:30 pm
 Dinner on your own…if you’re still hungry


 8:30 am
 Southern Kings Road Trip
Bus departs promptly from Rodd Charlottetown Hotel. Continental breakfast and coffee break on the bus, before departure and at stops. Special guest Dr. Ed MacDonald providing historical commentary en route.

 9:00 am
 Studio Tours with Artisans
Flat River Studio - potter Robert Wilby and batik artist Roslynn Wilby. Gairlock Road Studio - potter Hedwig Kolezar

 10:30 am
 Belfast Mini-Mills
Tucked away in the PEI countryside, Belfast Mini-Mills is an unlikely and unique Canadian exporter.  Linda Noble will host us at her family business which creates mills for cottage industries from Mongolia to Peru, processing raw animal fibre from alpacas, llamas, muskoxen and angora rabbits to dogs, sheep and goats.  Their shop carries gorgeous samples of their fibre products and their fields are home to many fibre-producing animals.  A sylvan paradise!

 12:30 pm
 Lunch at The MacPhail Homestead

 1:30 pm
 Tour of The MacPhail Homestead and Orwell Corner Historic Village
The two locations are within walking distance of each other.  Walk or take a ride behind Urban and Tartan, the beautiful purebred Canadian horses that are hitched to an easily accessible and very comfortable cart.

 2:30 pm  
 Special Decorative Arts Demonstrations and Exhibitions
Community Hall - Bobbin Lace by Cheryl Wolthuis; Felting by Lorna McMaster; Rug-Hooking by Shirlee Hogan; Silversmithing by Jim Aquilani; and more. Clarke House - Weaving by Linda Wallbank

 4:00 pm
 Bus departs promptly for the hotel

 4:30 pm
 Bus arrives at the Rodd Charlottetown Hotel
Free time and dinner on your own

 7:30 pm  
 ‘Anne & Gilbert’
A musical theatre performance at The Guild, 2 blocks from Rodd Charlottetown Hotel. The sequel to ‘Anne of Green Gables’, this wonderful love story has won rave reviews from Variety, Toronto Star and Ottawa Citizen, to name but a few.



 8:30 am
 Continental Breakfast and coffee/tea at Beaconsfield Carriage House

 9:00 am
 Charlottetown Buildings
Lecture by Dr. Ed MacDonald at Beaconsfield Carriage House. This talk will feature buildings in Charlottetown in preparation for the afternoon walking tours. 5 minute walk to Government House (Fanningbank).

 10:30 am
 Government House Photo Opportunity
The Fathers of Confederation gathered on the steps of Government House during the Charlottetown Conference in 1864.  To recreate this photo, our delegates can choose their character as part of their registration package. Register early to reserve the same spot as your favourite Father of Confederation! Top hats provided.

 11:00 am
 Tour of Fanningbank Gardens
Government House, known as Fanningbank, was constructed from 1832 to 1834 as a vice regal residence for the Lieutenant Governor.  It sits on 10 acres on Charlottetown’s fabulous waterfront beside the 100-acre Victoria Park.  Members of the Royal Family, including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2011, have stayed here while in Charlottetown.

 12:15 pm
 Lunch in the Provinces Room at the Rodd Charlottetown Hotel
10 minute walk to Confederation Centre Art Gallery – use the Grafton Street Plaza entrance opposite the Holman Grand Hotel.

 1:30 pm
 Introduction to Current Exhibitions by Kevin Rice, Art Gallery Director

 2:00 – 5:00 pm

 Walking Tours of Charlottetown
Registration kit contains special maps and Top Hat Pin, which is your passport at all venues.
Architecture – Self-guided with map. Stroll past properties from this morning’s lecture.
Churches – Guides in churches – see map provided. St. Dunstan’s Cathedral; Trinity United with historic stained glass windows; St. Paul’s Anglican; Zion Presbyterian; The Kirk of St. JamesAll Souls Chapel at St. Peter’s Cathedral
Home of Maurice Roy – Enjoy a personal tour of the Regency style home built for merchant and MLA George. R. Goodman around 1858 and Roy’s latest restoration project. Space limited to 10 pre-registered participants at 2:30 and 3:30 pm.
Galleries – Self-guided with map. Confederation Centre Art Gallery and Showcase Gift Shop; Lorimer; Details Past and Present; St. Paul’s Anglican Church and Hall with 100+ Quilt and Hooked Rug Show.
Wm. C. Harris Buildings and their Stories – Tour by entertaining historian Joan Cumming beginning at Grafton St. Plaza entrance of Confederation Centre Art Gallery. Space limited to 15 pre-registered participants at 2:00 and 4:00 pm.

 6:30 pm

 Banquet in the Georgian Room of the Rodd Charlottetown Hotel
This evening we will honour Catherine Hennessey, C.M. for her outstanding contributions to PEI’s heritage in general, and to its decorative arts in particular.



 8:30 am
 Continental Breakfast and Coffee/Tea
All activities on Sunday are at Beaconsfield Carriage House except as noted

 9:00 am Executive Committee of Canadian Society of Decorative Meeting
Provinces Terrace, Rodd Charlottetown Hotel

 9:00 am
 Mary Allison Doull, 'PEI’s Emily Carr?'
Exhibit of Pottery and Paintings with commentary by Leanne Gaudet, Inaugural Recipient of the CSDA/CCAD Symposium Bursary

 9:00 and 9:30 am
 Tours of Beaconsfield Historic House

 10:00 am
 Welcome by David Keenlyside
Executive Director, Prince Edward Island Museum and Heritage Foundation

 10:15 am
 Annual General Meeting of the Canadian Society of Decorative Arts
Including Announcement of 2018 Symposium venue

 11:00 am
 The Hats behind ‘Hats Off!’  Lecture by Linda Berko and Paula Kenny

 12:00 pm
 Lunch catered by Beanz

 1:00 pm
  'Acadian Furniture', Lecture by Maurice Roy

 2:00 pm
 'The Stained Glass of Trinity United Church', Lecture by Reg Porter

 4:00 pm
 Closing Reception and Farewell at the home of Martha Deacon
69 Upper Prince Street


Linda Berko is Curator of Collections and Conservator at the PEI Museum & Heritage Foundation. With a background in art history and objects conservation, she joined the PEI Museum to establish a Conservation Services Division offering treatment and public education, before taking on her current role focusing on the development and preservation of the Museum’s historic artifact collection. Canadian contemporary ceramics hold a particular interest for her.

Joan Cumming is a retired educator who has immersed herself in the history of her adopted home. After developing the public history programs of the Capital Commission of PEI, she continues to research and deliver tours.

Leanne Gaudet completed her MA in Art History in 2015, Since then she has worked at Library and Archives Canada and as a Curatorial Assistant at the National Gallery of Canada.

‘Hey Cuzzins’ is a Mi’kmaq drumming group from the Lennox Island First Nation led by Gilbert Sark. The group has performed since 1992 at events throughout the region.

Paula Kenny joined the PEI Museum in 2003 and received her post-graduate Diploma in Cultural Resource Management from UVic. She retired as Site Director of Eptek Centre earlier this year after curating for dozens of exhibitions mainly focused on local art and fine craft. Her personal interests lie in textile arts and architectural preservation.

Edward MacDonald, PhD, is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Prince Edward Island, specializing in the social and cultural history of his native province.  Ed has been on the Editorial Board of The Island Magazine, since 1984 and spent 12 years as its editor. He is a prolific author. His most recent book, co-edited with Joshua MacFadyen and Irene Novaczek is Time and Place: An Environmental History of Prince Edward Island, published in 2016.  Prior to joining the faculty of UPEI, Ed was the Curator of History and Collections at the PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation.

Reg Porter is a specialist on Island Heritage, but his early education focused on classical studies at Mount Allison University and the American School of Classical Studies (Athens). Following an additional degree in education, he taught secondary school and was on the faculty of Mt. Allison University, later teaching art history at the University of PEI.  After a time as Curator of Exhibits and Public Programs at the PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation, Reg worked as a Heritage Consultant focused on museum planning, archaeological surveys and historic building restoration. He continues to lecture, research, and write on Island architectural heritage, most recently authoring, Government House and the Fanningbank Estate: a Guidebook, and a publication documenting his new research about the stained glass windows of Trinity United Church.

Kevin Rice is the Executive Director of the Confederation Centre Art Gallery. He moved into this position in 2009 after more than 20 years with the institution including duties as Registrar of the extensive collection of art and artefacts.

Nora Richard is an Aboriginal artisan who has been making traditional baskets for several years. Her baskets have been presented to  British royalty.

Maurice Roy is an avid collector of historic Island furniture with a particular interest in early Acadian and Mi’kmaq cultural material. Recently retired from Parks Canada, he has a keen interest in early architecture and has been restoring early Island homes for a number of years. He played a significant role in the restoration at the Farmer’s Bank, and the Doucet House, an important example of early Acadian vernacular architecture.

Upcoming events

The Canadian Society of Decorative Arts/ Cercle canadien des arts décoratifs was formed, with the generous support
of the Macdonald Stewart Foundation, to provide a forum for all those interested in the decorative arts.
© 2016 Canadian Society of Decorative Arts / Cercle canadien des arts décoratifs

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