Prince Edward Island, Canada
Value for Money:
Personality Types that Like it Best
Strongest ratings among Mid and Centric-Venturers and Mid-Authentics
Did You Know…?
- Prince Edward Island is Canada’s smallest province and most densely populated.
- Jacques Cartier discovered the island in 1534.
- The Island was named Prince Edward in honor of Queen Victoria’s father.
- Approximately 11% of the population speaks French.
- “Anne of Green Gables” was published in 1908.
Anne of Green Gables
Prince Edward Island appeals to travelers based on its scenic beauty, especially given its location surrounded by water. That setting lends itself to water-based holiday activities as well as fishing and, of course, eating lots of fresh seafood. Like all Canada’s maritime provinces, its appeal also includes a unique settlement history. Its culture was shaped by the English, Irish, Scottish and the Acadian French. But the island has something no other destination has: It is home to the fictional Anne of Green Gables.
When visitors describe Prince Edward Island, they tend to make it sound like a cool-weather version of Bermuda. Travelers find peaceful, rural, green farmland leading to white beaches, friendly residents in picturesque villages, enough history to add interest, plus plenty of golf and tennis. They also find a place they describe as clean and safe.
The native Micmac Indians called the island off New Brunswick Epekwitk, meaning Resting on the Waves. A small number of Indians live on provincial reservations.
As with other parts of eastern Canada, significant numbers of residents here have French ancestry, and as a result, French is still spoken in a few communities, especially in the western part of the province.
The Celtic connection reveals itself, too, at ceilidhs, or traditional gatherings for fiddling, dancing, singing and storytelling. These events may be found in numerous island communities and, in summer, at the Orwell Corner Historic Village.
Most Americans know about Prince Edward Island from Lucy Maud Montgomery’s classic “Anne of Green Gables” and delight in the charm of a place that appears unchanged from those Victorian times. The fictional Anne and her creator are connected to several tourist attractions on the island.
Most of the travelers who cite Prince Edward Island (usually abbreviated as PEI) as a favorite place are from the eastern U.S. and fall into the center or toward the less-venturesome side of the personality scale.
Generally, this is a summertime destination, thanks to pleasant midyear temperatures and warm water. As an added attraction, Charlottetown hosts an annual festival from May to September, showcasing musical theater. Many shops and attractions are open seasonally.
Things to do for Venturers
- Divert yourself with a game of paintball.
- Take your choice: Dig clams, catch lobsters, harvest oysters or dig potatoes at an autumn islandwide food festival called Fall Flavours that features more than 100 culinary events. Or, just learn a few things: how to pair wines and cheeses or how to pickle and preserve.
- Get the license and hunt for Canada goose or other waterfowl; you can hunt other small game, too.
- Choose a four- to seven-day cycling tour.
- Stay in the cottage on the grounds of the Pioneer Farm. The farm, which is powered solely by wind and solar energy, showcases renewable energy and offers activities such as wagon or sleigh rides.
- Kick up your heels, literally, at a ceilidh. Join in the hand clapping and step dancing to the music of fiddles or bagpipes.
Things to do for Centrics
- Come to PEI for bird-watching. The province counts about 333 bird species.
- Fish on rivers, lakes or ponds for salmon, trout or other fish. A license is required.
- Attend a hands-on chocolate workshop at the Island Chocolates Company.
- Plan an excursion among the island’s crimson trees between September and November. Combine that with some cycling or hiking.
- Tour a tobacco plantation, then buy cigars to take home.
- This is the place to see lighthouses, and planning around them on PEI should be easy. There were 54 at last count.
Things to do for Authentics
- At the Lennox Island Reserve, buy traditional native craft items, particularly baskets, figurines and pottery.
- Take a factory tour. You can see the making of cigars, figurines or wine. Or, sample gouda cheese and take an educational tour of Cheeselady’s Gouda factory. Buy samples to carry home.
- Eat your way through the PEI International Shellfish Festival in Charlottetown in September. The event also includes an oyster shucking contest, chowder cook-offs, a chef’s challenge and lots of seafood for the eating.
- For live entertainment, go to Avonlea, the storybook village of the book, “Anne of Green Gables,” for some drama as costumed actors play the parts of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s characters.
- Eat lots of seafood, especially lobster which is served up at lobster suppers in several establishments. Local oysters are highly praised, as well. Also, you’ll find Acadian cuisine in the French-influenced Acadian Shore.
- Choose one of nearly 20 scenic trails for a driving trip around PEI.
For more information, consult Tourism Prince Edward Island at www.tourismpei.com