Charlottetown is a Canadian city. It is both the largest city on and the provincial capital of Prince Edward Island, and the county seat of Queens County. Named after Queen Charlotte, the wife of George III, Charlottetown was first incorporated as a town in 1855 and designated as a city in 1885. It was most famously the site of the Charlottetown Conference in 1864, the first gathering of Canadian statesmen to debate the proposed Canadian Confederation. From this, the city adopted as its motto "Cunabula Foederis" -- "Birthplace of Confederation".
Charlottetown's economy is dominated by the public sector. The provincial, federal, and municipal levels of government are significant employers in the central part of Queens County, as well as healthcare and secondary and post-secondary education. Technology companies have also been increasing their share of the city's workforce in the past decade, however the actual numbers are quite small once call-centres are excluded. Other significant economic activities include light manufacturing, such as chemicals, bio-technology, and machining. Prince Edward Air, a charter airline, has its headquarters in Charlottetown.
Charlottetown's central location in the province makes it a natural transportation hub. Historically it was the centre of the province's railway network. Highway development in the latter part of the 20th century has resulted in the city being the focal point of several important routes in the province. Route 1, the Trans-Canada Highway, partially bisects the northern suburbs, linking with Riverside Drive, the Hillsborough River Bridge and the North River Causeway/Bridge on a limited-access arterial highway linking the city with the Confederation Bridge in the west and the Northumberland Ferries terminal in the east. Route 2, the province's main east-west highway intersects with Route 1 in the city.
Charlottetown Airport is the province's only airport with scheduled passenger service, serving 280,000 passengers per year. Charlottetown Transit is the latest incarnation of several attempts since the 1970s to implement a public transit system. It has provided scheduled bus service throughout the municipality since 2005. The absence of public transit for many decades in Charlottetown resulted in a dependence on personal use of automobiles, with municipal governments constructing three large above-ground parking garages in the city's historic district to house vehicles of downtown workers.
The city also had a statistically higher proportion of taxis than the Canadian average as taxi service became a last-resort for many residents without access to a vehicle. Taxis in Charlottetown use a zone-based fare system as opposed to meters, and do not have a protective partition between the driver and passenger. The Charlottetown Harbour Authority operates the city's commercial port and is currently expanding a marine terminal which was formerly operated by the federal government. Importation of gravel for construction and petroleum products are the main port activities.