Prince Edward Island: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Prince Edward Island
Flag Coat of arms
Motto: Latin: Parva sub ingenti
(The small protected by the great)
Capital Charlottetown
Largest city Charlottetown
Largest metro Charlottetown
Official languages English (de facto)
Demonym Prince Edward Islander, Islander
Lieutenant-Governor Barbara Oliver Hagerman
Premier Robert Ghiz (Liberal)
Federal representation in Canadian Parliament
House seats 4
Senate seats 4
Confederation July 1, 1873 (7th)
Area  Ranked 13th
Total 5,683.91 km2 (2,194.57 sq mi)
Land 5,683.56 km2 (2,194.43 sq mi)
Water (%) 0 km2 (0 sq mi) (0%)
Population  Ranked 10th
Total (2009) 140,402 (est.)[1]
Density 23.9 /km2 (62 /sq mi)
GDP  Ranked 10th
Total (2006) C$4.32 billion[2]
Per capita C$31,278 (13th)
Postal PE
ISO 3166-2 CA-PE
Time zone UTC-4
Postal code prefix C
Flower Pink Lady's Slipper
Tree Red Oak
Bird Blue Jay
Rankings include all provinces and territories
Prince Edward Island map 1874

Prince Edward Island (PEI or P.E.I.; French: Île-du-Prince-Édouard, Scottish Gaelic: Eilean a' Phrionnsa) is a Canadian province consisting of an island of the same name, as well as other islands. The maritime province is the smallest in the nation in both land area and population (excluding the territories). The island has a few other names: "Garden of the Gulf" referring to the pastoral scenery and lush agricultural lands throughout the province; and "Birthplace of Confederation", referring to the Charlottetown Conference in 1864.

According to the 2009 estimates, Prince Edward Island has 141,000 residents. It is located in a rectangle defined roughly by 46°47°N, and 62°–64°30′W and at 5,683.91 km2 (2,194.57 sq mi) in size,[3] it is the 104th largest island in the world, and Canada's 23rd largest island. The island was named for Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn (1767–1820), the fourth son of King George III and the father of Queen Victoria.



Sandstone cliffs at North Cape enshrouded in fog

Prince Edward Island is located in the Gulf of St. Lawrence west of Cape Breton Island, north of the Nova Scotia peninsula, and east of New Brunswick. Its southern shore bounds the Northumberland Strait. The island has two urban areas. The largest surrounds Charlottetown Harbour, situated centrally on the island's southern shore, and consists of the capital city Charlottetown, and suburban towns Cornwall and Stratford and a developing urban fringe. A much smaller urban area surrounds Summerside Harbour, situated on the southern shore 40 km (25 mi) west of Charlottetown Harbour, and consists primarily of the city of Summerside. As with all natural harbours on the island, Charlottetown and Summerside harbours are created by rias.

The island's landscape is pastoral: rolling hills, woods, reddish white sand beaches, ocean coves and the famous red soil have given Prince Edward Island a reputation as a province of outstanding natural beauty. The provincial government has enacted laws that attempt to preserve the landscape through regulation, although the lack of consistent enforcement and absence of province-wide zoning and land-use planning has resulted in some aesthetically displeasing development in recent years.

The island's lush landscape has had a strong bearing on its economy and its culture. Author Lucy Maud Montgomery drew inspiration from the land during the late Victorian Era for the setting of her classic novel Anne of Green Gables. Today, many of the same qualities that Montgomery and others found in the island are enjoyed by tourists who visit during all seasons. They enjoy a variety of leisure activities, including beaches, various golf courses, eco-tourism adventures, and simply touring the countryside and enjoying cultural events in local communities around the island.

Rolling hills characterise a significant portion of the island's landscape.

The smaller rural communities as well as the towns and villages throughout the province proudly retain a slower-paced, old-world flavour, something that factors heavily into Prince Edward Island's popularity as a destination for relaxation. The economy of most rural communities on the island is based on small-scale agriculture, given that the size of farm properties is small when compared with other areas in Canada. There is an increasing amount of industrial farming as older farm properties are consolidated and modernised.

The coast of Prince Edward Island around Cavendish

The coastline consists of a combination of long beaches, dunes, red sandstone cliffs, salt water marshes and numerous bays and harbours. The beaches, dunes and sandstone cliffs consist of sedimentary rock and other material with a high iron concentration which oxidises upon exposure to the air. The geological properties of a white silica sand found at Basin Head are unique in the province; the sand grains cause a scrubbing noise as they rub against each other when walked on, aptly named the singing sands. Large dune fields on the north shore can be found on barrier islands at the entrances to various bays and harbours. The magnificent sand dunes at Greenwich are of particular significance. The shifting, parabolic dune system is home to a variety of birds and rare plants and is also a site of significant archeological interest.



Winters are moderately cold, with clashes of cold Arctic air and milder Atlantic air causing frequent temperature swings. From December to April, P.E.I. typically has many storms (which may produce rain as well as snow) and blizzards. Springtime temperatures typically remain cool until the sea ice has melted, usually in late April or early May. Summers are moderately warm, but rarely uncomfortable, with the daily maximum temperature only occasionally reaching as high as 30 °C (86 °F). Autumn is a rather pleasant season, as the moderating Gulf waters delay the onset of frost, although storm activity does increase over that of summer. There is ample precipitation throughout the year, although it is heaviest in the late autumn and early winter and mid spring.


Prince Edward Island was originally inhabited by the Mi'kmaq people. They named the Island "Epekwitk", the pronunciation of which was changed to "Abegweit" by the Europeans, meaning Land Cradled on the Waves.[4] They believed that the island was formed by the Great Spirit placing on the Blue Waters some dark red crescent-shaped clay.

Jacques Cartier discovered the island in 1534.[4] As part of the French colony of Acadia, the island was called "Île Saint-Jean". Roughly one thousand Acadians lived on the island. However, many fled to the island from mainland Nova Scotia during the British-ordered expulsion in 1755. Many more were forcibly deported in 1758 when British soldiers—under the command of Colonel Andrew Rollo -- were ordered by General Jeffery Amherst to capture the island.

Great Britain obtained the island from France under the terms of the Treaty of Paris in 1763 which settled the Seven Years' War, calling the colony St. John's Island (also the Island of St. John's).

The first British governor of St. John's Island, Walter Patterson, was appointed in 1769. Assuming office in 1770, he had a controversial career during which the initial attempts to populate and develop the island under a feudal system were slowed by land title disputes and factional conflict. In an attempt to attract settlers from Ireland, in one of his first acts (1770) Patterson led the island's colonial assembly to rename the island "New Ireland," but the British Government promptly vetoed this as exceeding the authority vested in the colonial government; only the Privy Council in London could change the name of a colony.[5]

Charlottetown was raided in 1775 by a pair of American-employed privateers during the American Revolutionary War.[6] During and after the American Revolutionary War from 1776–1783, the colony's efforts to attract exiled Loyalist refugees from the rebellious American colonies met with some success. Walter Patterson's brother, John Patterson, one of the original grantees of land on the island, was a temporarily exiled Loyalist and led efforts to persuade others to come.

The 1787 dismissal of Governor Patterson and his recall to London in 1789 dampened his brother's efforts, leading John to focus on his interests in the United States (one of John's sons, Commodore Daniel Patterson, became a noted United States Navy hero, and John's grandsons, Rear Admiral Thomas H. Patterson and Lt. Carlile Pollock Patterson USN, achieved success).

Edmund Fanning, also a Loyalist exiled by the Revolution, took over as the second governor, serving until about 1806. His tenure was more successful than Walter Patterson's.

On November 29, 1798, during Fanning's administration, Great Britain granted approval to change the colony's name from St. John's Island to Prince Edward Island to distinguish it from similar names in the Atlantic, such as the cities of Saint John and St. John's. The colony's new name honoured the fourth son of King George III, Prince Edward Augustus, the Duke of Kent (1767–1820), who was in charge of all British military forces on the continent as Commander-in-Chief, North America and was headquartered in Halifax. Prince Edward was also the father of Queen Victoria.

During the 19th century, the colony of Prince Edward Island began to attract "adventurous Victorian families looking for elegance on the sea. Prince Edward Island became a fashionable retreat in the nineteenth century for British nobility".[7]

The island is known in Scottish Gaelic as Eilean a' Phrionnsa (lit. "the Island of the Prince", the local form of the longer 'Eilean a' Phrionnsa Iomhair/Eideard') or Eilean Eòin for some Gaelic speakers in Nova Scotia though not on PEI (lit. "John's Island" in reference to the island's former name of St. John's Island: the English translation of Île Saint Jean); in Míkmaq as Abegweit or Epikwetk roughly translated "land cradled in the waves".

Joining Canada

In September 1864, Prince Edward Island hosted the Charlottetown Conference, which was the first meeting in the process leading to the Articles of Confederation and the creation of Canada in 1867. Prince Edward Island did not find the terms of union favourable and balked at joining in 1867, choosing to remain a colony of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. In the late 1860s, the colony examined various options, including the possibility of becoming a discrete dominion unto itself, as well as entertaining delegations from the United States, who were interested in Prince Edward Island joining the United States of America.[citation needed]

In 1871, the colony began construction of a railway and, frustrated by Great Britain's Colonial Office, began negotiations with the United States.[citation needed]

In 1873, Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald, anxious to thwart American expansionism and facing the distraction of the Pacific Scandal, negotiated for Prince Edward Island to join Canada. The Federal Government of Canada assumed the colony's extensive railway debts and agreed to finance a buy-out of the last of the colony's absentee landlords to free the island of leasehold tenure and from any new migrants entering the island. Prince Edward Island entered Confederation on 1 July 1873.[8]

Confederation Bridge, PEI and NB

As a result of having hosted the inaugural meeting of Confederation, the Charlottetown Conference, Prince Edward Island presents itself as the "Birthplace of Confederation" with several buildings, a ferry vessel, and the Confederation Bridge using the term "confederation" in many ways. The most prominent building in the province with this name is the Confederation Centre of the Arts, presented as a gift to Prince Edward Islanders by the 10 provincial governments and the Federal Government upon the centenary of the Charlottetown Conference, where it stands in Charlottetown as a national monument to the "Fathers of Confederation".[citation needed]


According to the 2001 Canadian Census,[9] the largest ethnic group consists of people of Scottish descent (38.0%), followed by English (28.7%), Irish (27.9%), French (21.3%), German (4.0%), and Dutch (3.1%) descent. In recent times the island has also received an influx of immigrants from Asia and Africa. Almost half of all respondents also identified their ethnicity as "Canadian."

Population of Prince Edward Island since 1851
Year Population Mean annual 5-year 10-year Rank*
  Percentage change
1851 62,678 5
1861 80,857 2.6 29.0
1871 94,021 1.5 16.3
1881 108,891 1.5 15.8
1891 109,078 0.017 0.2 6
1901 103,259 −0.55 −5.3 7
1911 93,728 −0.96 −9.2 9
1921 88,615 −0.56 −5.4
1931 88,038 −0.065 −0.7
1941 95,047 0.77 8.0
1951 98,429 0.35 3.6 10
1956 99,285 0.17 0.9
1961 104,629 1.1 5.4 6.3
1966 108,535 0.74 3.7 9.3
1971 111,635 0.56 2.9 6.7
1976 118,225 1.2 5.9 8.9
1981 122,506 0.7 3.6 9.7
1986 126,640 0.67 3.4 7.1
1991 129,765 0.49 2.5 5.9
1996 134,557 0.73 3.7 6.3
2001 135,294 0.11 0.5 4.2
2006 135,851 NA 0.4 NA

* among provinces.
† Preliminary 2006 census estimate.

Source: Statistics Canada[10][11]


The 2006 Canadian census showed a population of 135,851. Of the 133,570 singular responses to the census question concerning 'mother tongue' the most commonly reported languages were:

Rank Language Number Percent
1. English 125,260 93.8%
2. French 5,345 4.0%
3. Dutch 865 0.6%
4. German 275 0.2%
5. Spanish 220 0.2%
6. Chinese 190 0.1%
7. Arabic 150 0.1%
8. Hungarian 120 0.1%
9. Mi'kmaq 90 0.1%
10. Japanese 80 0.1%
11. Polish 70 0.1%
12. Korean 65

In addition, there were also 105 responses of both English and a 'non-official language'; 25 of both French and a 'non-official language'; 495 of both English and French; 10 of English, French, and a 'non-official language'; and about 1,640 people who either did not respond to the question, or reported multiple non-official languages, or else gave some other unenumerated response. (Figures shown are for the number of single language responses and the percentage of total single-language responses.)[12]


The largest denominations by number of adherents according to the 2001 census were the Roman Catholic Church with 63,240 (47 %); the United Church of Canada with 26,570 (20 %); the Presbyterian Church with 7,885 (6 %) and the Anglican Church of Canada with 6,525 (5 %).[13]


Fisheries form one of the major industries of Prince Edward Island.

The provincial economy is dominated by the seasonal industries of agriculture, tourism, and the fishery. The province is limited in terms of heavy industry and manufacturing. Although commercial deposits of minerals have not been found, exploration for natural gas beneath the eastern end of the province has resulted in the discovery of an undisclosed quantity of gas.

Agriculture remains the dominant industry in the provincial economy, as it has since colonial times. During the twentieth century, potatoes replaced mixed farming as the leading cash crop, accounting for one-third of provincial farm income. The province currently accounts for a third of Canada's total potato production, producing approximately 1.3 billion kilograms annually.[14] Comparatively, the state of Idaho produces approximately 6.2 billion kilograms annually, with a population approximately 9.5 times greater.[15] The province is a major producer of seed potatoes, exporting to more than twenty countries around the world.[14]

As a legacy of the island's colonial history, the provincial government enforces extremely strict rules for non-resident land ownership. Residents and corporations are limited to maximum holdings of 400 and 1,200 hectares respectively. There are also restrictions on non-resident ownership of shorelines.

Many of the province's coastal communities rely upon shellfish harvesting, particularly lobster fishing[16] as well as oyster fishing and mussel farming.

The provincial government provides consumer protection in the form of regulation for certain items, ranging from apartment rent increases to petroleum products including gas, diesel, propane and heating oil. These are all regulated through the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission (IRAC).[17] IRAC is authorised to limit the number of companies who are permitted to sell petroleum products.

The sale of carbonated beverages such as beer and soft drinks in non-refillable containers, such as aluminum cans or plastic bottles, was banned in 1976 as an environmental measure in response to public concerns over litter. Beer and soft drink companies opted to use refillable glass bottles for their products which were redeemable at stores and bottle depots. The introduction of recycling programs for cans and plastic bottles in neighbouring provinces in recent years (also using a redemption system) has seen the provincial government introduce legislation to reverse this ban with the restriction lifted on May 3, 2008.[18][19][20]

Prince Edward Island has Canada's highest provincial retail sales tax rate, currently (2008) established at 10%. The tax is applied to almost all goods and services except some clothing, food and home heating fuel. The tax is also applied to the Federal Goods and Services Tax.

At present, approximately fifteen percent of all electricity consumed on the island is generated from renewable energy (largely wind turbines); the provincial government has set renewable energy targets as high as 30-50% for electricity consumed by 2015. Until wind generation, the province relied entirely on electricity imports on a submarine cable from New Brunswick. A thermal oil-fired generating station in Charlottetown is also available.

Persons employed on Prince Edward Island earn a minimum wage of $8.50/hour as of October 1, 2009.[21]


Prince Edward Island's transportation network has traditionally revolved around its seaports of Charlottetown, Summerside, Borden, Georgetown, and Souris — all linked to its railway system, and airports (Charlottetown and Summerside) for communication with mainland North America. The railway system was abandoned by CN in 1989 in favour of an agreement with the federal government to improve major highways. Until 1997, the province was linked by two passenger-vehicle ferry services to the mainland: one, provided by Marine Atlantic, operated year-round between Borden and Cape Tormentine, New Brunswick; the other, provided by Northumberland Ferries Limited, operates seasonally between Wood Islands and Caribou, Nova Scotia. A third ferry service provided by CTMA operates seasonally between Souris and Cap-aux-Meules, Quebec, in the Magdalen Islands.

On June 1, 1997, the Confederation Bridge opened, connecting Borden-Carleton to Cape Jourimain, New Brunswick. The longest bridge over ice covered waters in the world,[22] it replaced the Marine Atlantic ferry service. Since then, the Confederation Bridge's assured transportation link to the mainland has altered the province's tourism and agricultural and fisheries export economies.

The province has very strict laws regarding use of road-side signs. Billboards and the use of portable signs are banned. There are standard direction information signs on all roads in the province for various businesses and attractions in the immediate area. Some municipalities' by-laws also restrict the types of permanent signs that may be installed on private property...


Province House, PEI

Prince Edward Island has a high level of political representation, with four Members of Parliament, four Senators, 27 Members of the Legislative Assembly and two cities, seven towns and sixty incorporated rural communities yielding over five hundred municipal councilors and mayors. This gives a total of 566 elected officials for a population (as of 2006) of 135,851.


Ten largest municipalities by population
Municipality 2001 1996
Charlottetown 32,245a 32,531
Summerside 14,654b 15,525
Stratford 6,314 5,869
Cornwall 4,412 4,291
Montague 1,945 1,995
Lot 1c 1,900 1,936
Lot 65 1,829 1,595
Lot 19 1,775 1,759
Lot 2d 1,720 1,766
aCensus agglomeration population: 58,358.
bCensus agglomeration population: 16,200.
c Tignish and surrounding area.
d St. Louis/Elmsdale area.


Prince Edward Island is home to one university, the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI), located in Charlottetown. The university was created by the Island legislature to replace Prince of Wales College and St. Dunstan's University. UPEI is also home to the Atlantic Veterinary College, which offers the region's only veterinary medicine program.

Holland College is the provincial community college, with campuses across the province, including specialised facilities such as the Atlantic Police Academy, Marine Training Centre, and the Culinary Institute of Canada.

Prince Edward Island's public school system has two Anglophone school districts, Eastern and Western, as well as a Francophone district, the Commission scolaire de langue française. The Anglophone districts have a total of 10 secondary schools and 54 intermediate and elementary schools while the Francophone district has 6 schools covering all grades.

Prince Edward Island, along with most rural regions in North America, is experiencing an accelerated rate of youth emigration. The provincial government has projected that public school enrollment will decline by 40% during the 2010s.

Health care

The province has seven hospitals:

The Hillsborough Hospital in Charlottetown is the province's only psychiatric hospital.

In recent decades, the province has shown statistically significant and abnormally high rates of diagnosed rare cancers. Health officials, ecologists and environmental activists point to the use of pesticides for industrial potato farming as a primary contaminant.[23]


The island's cultural traditions of art, music and creative writing are all supported through the public education system. There is an annual arts festival, the Charlottetown Festival, hosted at the Confederation Centre of the Arts.

Lucy Maud Montgomery, who was born in Clifton (now New London) in 1874, wrote some 20 novels. Her first Anne book was published in 1908. The musical play Anne of Green Gables has run every year at the Charlottetown festival for more than four decades. The sequel, Anne & Gilbert, premiered in the Playhouse in Victoria in 2005.

Elmer Blaney Harris founded an artists colony at Fortune Bridge and set his famous play Johnny Belinda on the island.

Prince Edward Island's documented music history begins in the 19th century with religious music, some written by local pump and block maker, and organ-importer, Watson Duchemin. Several big bands including the Sons of Temperance Band and the Charlottetown Brass Band, were active. Today, Acadian, Celtic and rock music prevail, with exponents including Gene MacLellan, his daughter Catherine MacLellan, Lennie Gallant and Two Hours Traffic. The celebrated singer-songwriter Stompin' Tom Connors spent his formative years in Skinners Pond. Robert Harris was a well-known artist.


  • In 2009, Prince Edward Island hosted the Jeux Du Canada Summer Games.
  • Prince Edward Island competes in the bi-annual Island Games.
  • Prince Edward Island Rocket play in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
  • In 2008, and 2009 Prince Edward Island Hosted the "Tour Du PEI" a province wide cycling race consisting of women from around the world (note this is a yearly event hopefully to continue in 2010)


See also


  1. ^ Statistics Canada. "Canada's population estimates 2009-26-03". Retrieved 2009-07-04. 
  2. ^ Gross domestic product, expenditure-based, by province and territory
  3. ^ Statistics Canada (March 2007). "2006 Census population and dwelling counts". Retrieved 2007-03-13. 
  4. ^ a b Info:PEI Quick Facts, 2008-07-14. Retrieved on 2009-03-18.
  5. ^ Brendan O'Grady, Exiles and Islanders: The Irish Settlers of Prince Edward Island, p. 15)
  6. ^ PEI Provincial Government. "Historical Milestones". Retrieved 2007-08-17. 
  7. ^ PEI history Government of Canada
  8. ^ Library and Archives Canada. "Canadian Confederation, Provinces and Territories, Prince Edward Island". Retrieved 2009-12-27. 
  9. ^ Statistics Canada (2002). "Population of Canada's Provinces". Retrieved 2007-04-03. 
  10. ^ PEI population trend (Statistics Canada).
  11. ^ Population urban and rural, by province and territory (Statistics Canada, 2005).
  12. ^ Detailed Mother Tongue (186), Knowledge of Official Languages (5), Age Groups (17A) and Sex (3) (2006 Census)
  13. ^ Religions in Canada
  14. ^ a b PEI Potato
  15. ^ Idaho Potato Production
  16. ^ Lobster Fishing (PEIonline)
  17. ^ Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission (PEI Government).
  18. ^ Government of PEI. "PEI Bans the Can". Archived from the original on 2007-05-28. Retrieved 2007-04-03. 
  19. ^ CBC. "End to can ban receives full support of legislature". Retrieved 2007-04-27. 
  20. ^ Government of PEI. "Government to lift "can-ban" May 3 beverage container management system encourages returns and recycling". Retrieved 2008-04-26. 
  21. ^ Government of PEI. "Minimum Wage Order". Archived from the original on 2007-05-05. Retrieved 2008-05-01. 
  22. ^ The Confederation Bridge (official website).
  23. ^ The Globe and Mail (December 06). "Pesticides are what's killing our kids". Retrieved 2007-04-03. 


External links

Coordinates: 46°20′N 63°30′W / 46.333°N 63.5°W / 46.333; -63.5

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

North America : Canada : Atlantic Provinces : Prince Edward Island

Prince Edward Island (or PEI) [1] is one of the Atlantic Provinces of Canada. It is Canada's only island province. It is the smallest province by both area and population, but is also the most densely populated province.


"The Island", as locals call it, is well known for its beautiful sandy beaches and dunes. It is also the home of the gregarious Anne Shirley from Lucy Maud Montgomery's classic Anne of Green Gables. It became the "Cradle of Confederation" after the Fathers of Confederation met there in 1864 to discuss the possible union of five British North American colonies. Canada was formed three years later in 1867.

Gateway Village, located just off the Confederation Bridge, is a 30 acre development of food and retail shops aimed at tourists. The Visitor Information Centre provides free maps and tourist information.

Get in

By car

Being an island, PEI has limited access by car.

  • The monumental Confederation Bridge [3], almost a visitor attraction in and of itself (viewing stations on the New Brunswick side offer good photo opportunities), crosses the Northumberland Strait between New Brunswick and PEI. It's reached from the mainland on TCH Route 16 near Aulac, and stretches 13 kilometers across open water to the island. The CND $41.50 toll (2 axle vehicle) is collected on the PEI side when returning to the mainland.
  • PEI Express Shuttle, +1-877- 877-1771, [4] offers van service between PEI and Halifax. 3 days advance reservation is recommended.
  • There are a number of car ferries into PEI.
    • The Northumberland Ferries, +1 888- 249-7245, [5] cross from Caribou, Nova Scotia to Woods Islands about once every hour and a half, from 6:30AM to 7:00PM ($15 per passenger or $68 per car). The ferries do not operate during the winter months.
    • CTMA, +1 418 986-3278, [6] runs ferries from Cap-aux-Meules on Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Quebec to Souris about once a day ($40 per passenger or $75 per car).

By plane

Prince Edward Island is served by a single airport located in Charlottetown (IATA: YYG) [7]. The following airlines operate passenger flights into the airport:

By ship

Throughout the summer months, cruise liners stop in Charlottetown for one day visits.

Get around

Non-metered taxi service is available within the city limits of Charlottetown and Summerside, as well as in most large communities. Most taxi companies are willing to provide transportation to rural areas of the island as well but be prepared to pay a higher rate for this service.

In 2005, the city of Charlottetown introduced a new public transit system [8] that provides bus transporation at a cost of $2 to various locations around the city. Although the service does not extend very far beyond city limits it does provide fast, reliable transportation to most locations within them.

In the summer cycling is popular. Although most roads do not have wide shoulders or designated bike lanes, drivers tend to be quite courtous to cyclists. The landscape consists mostly of rolling hills; there are few steep hills to climb. Additionally, the Confederation Trail[9] stretches from one end of the island to the other. Built on a disused rail bed, the trail has low grades and is reserved for cyclists and pedestrians. Cycling maps, sample itineraries and other cycling resources are available from Tourism PEI[10], MacQueen's Island Tours[11] (based in Charlottetown), and Atlantic Canada Cycling[12].

Greenwich dunes and the Gulf of Saint Lawrence.
Greenwich dunes and the Gulf of Saint Lawrence.

Tourism in PEI often focuses on beach, seafood, music and the Anne of Green Gables House which seems especially to appeal to visitors from Japan, for whom this is the third or fourth most popular destination in North America (after the Grand Canyon and Banff, Alberta and often ahead even of Niagara Falls).

PEI features many scenic fishing villages.

Malpeque Harbor is the source of not just the famous oysters but many postcards and posters of the picturesque fishing boats, colorful barn-shaped boat houses, and neatly stacked lobster traps. Arrive in late afternoon or early morning for the best light on the water.

St. Peter's Bay is bordered by the 900 acre Greenwich Dunes [13] on one side, and is full of row upon row of buoys used for mussel farming.

  • The Confederation Centre of the Arts [14] in Charlottetown hosts a variety of theatrical and musical acts throughout the year in addition to the long running Anne of Green Gables musical which plays every summer. The centre also houses a small art gallery and a public library.
  • The Victoria Playhouse [15] in picturesque Victoria by the Sea presents up to 85 live theatre and performance events each season. The playbill includes a mix of established classics and new plays by young playwrights.
  • Prince Edward Island bike tours [16] The tour starts in Cape North and winds its way through Malpeque Bay, along the Bay of St. Lawrence, to the most easterly point of the island, passing through many lovely villages, including Cavendish, North Rustico, Brackley Beach,and Stanhope.
  • Basin Head is a popular beach which also has a bridge that you can go and have some fun jumping off of.
  • Victoria Park is in the heart of Charlottetown's west end. It contains within its boundaries many recreational and historic sites. The baseball fields, tennis courts, skateboard park and swimming pool should give you lots to do on a hot summer day or evening. The play ground is great for the kids. Two historically relevant sites should spark your interest, Fort Edward was an old British fort set up to protect Charlottetown harbour and on the east end of the park stands the majestic residence of the Lieutenant Governor of PEI, Fanningbank.
  • The Dunes Gallery & Cafe, RR#9 Brackley Beach, 902.672.2586, [17]. 11:30AM-10:00PM. Cafe and gallery that features a number of local artists, as well as furniture and some imported crafts. There are also water gardens on the grounds.  edit
  • PEI Scenic Drives, Covers the Island, [18]. Anytime!. One of the best ways to experience Island life is to meander along the various back roads and highways, adding your own diversions here and there. Tourism PEI promotes three scenic drives - North Cape Coastal Drive, Blue Heron, and Points East Coastal Drive. All are unique and shed a glimpse of different aspects of Island life. Cycling is also a great way to see PEI and the areas covered by the Scenic Drives. A good first stop for cycling information and resources is Tourism PEI[19].  edit


Most stores remain closed on Sundays although all essential services are available. Given the island's large tourism industry, there are many, varied souvenir shops all over. Some of the more impressive are Prince Edwards Island Preserves in New Glasgow, Vessy's Seeds in York and The Dunes in Brackley. These shops carry locally produced art work, food and clothing items.

  • bestofpei Store (Authentic Island Excellence), 156 Richmond St., Charlottetown (on Historic Victoria Row), +1 (902) 368-8835 (), [20]. 9AM-9PM, seven days a week, open year round. Carries a host of works by more than 250 of PEI's finest artisans. Continues to seek out talented Island artists, musicians, craftspeople, and specialty chefs who offer authentic Island excellence in their work.  edit


In recent years, Prince Edward Island has seen a tremendous improvement in the quality of its restaurants. The traditional tourist restaurants serving boiled lobsters with all-you-can-eat coleslaw still exist, and can be a lot of fun, but those looking for a more refined or exotic meal now have several options.

  • Formosa Tea Room, 186 Prince St, Charlottetown, +1 (902) 566-4991. Provides shockingly inexpensive vegetarian meals. Serving a selection of fine Asian teas, dim sum treats like dumplings, and large bowls of noodles, vegetables and vegetarian "ham", you won't go hungry. The menu is small but every item on it is delicious and very reasonably priced.  edit
  • The Water Prince Corner Shop and Lobster Pound, 141 Water St., Charlottetown (corner of Water and Prince Streets), +1 (902) 368-3212, [21]. Offers simple but well prepared seafood meals at exceptional prices. Start with an order of fresh Malpeque oysters, and then have a lobster roll, some lightly battered fish and chips, or even a 2 lb. steamed lobster.   edit
  • The Noodle House, 31 Summer St, Charlottetown, +1 (902) 628-6633. Serves authentic Chinese cuisine; well-known for their Kung Pao Gar Ding, Hot & Sour soup, and friendly service.  edit
  • Cedar's Eatery, 81 University Ave., Charlottetown, +1 (902) 892-7377. Has a more upscale take on Lebanese food than you might be used to. Shish Taouk, Falafel and other traditional dishes are prepared much more thoughtfully and are far tastier than the normal hole-in-the-wall Mediterranean joints in most cities. This restaurant has the best Shwarma in both chicken and beef.  edit
  • Malpeque oysters are known around the world for their large size, soft flesh and sweet, mild flavour. Eat the freshest possible Malpeque oysters at the Malpeque Oyster Barn, Malpeque Harbor, +1 902 836-3999. Oysters are a bargain at $18/dozen. They also serve chowder, mussles, beer and sodas. Open until 8PM.
  • The Café on the Clyde, (located in the Prince Edward Island Preserve Company [] store, in New Glasgow at the junction of routes 224 and 258), +1 800 565-5267. Has a selection of breakfast items served until 11AM, and lunch and dinner items served after that. The potato and bacon pie is excellent, as is the lobster croissant. The fish cakes are made the traditional way with salt cod and potatos; an authentic Maritime experience, but most customers don't order them twice. A wide selection of black and herbal teas are available either hot or iced. The dining room has a beautiful view over the idyllic Clyde River. It's a great place to stop for breakfast, lunch, a light dinner, or just a cup of tea and a piece of home-made cake.  edit
  • Lobster suppers are a highly popular dining experience and ubiquitous on the island. These meals are built around a main course of locally-caught lobster and usually include appetizers, soups, salads and desserts. Look for a large, red lobster claw on the front lawn of a church or social club, or a handpainted sign at a crossroad.
    • New Glasgow Lobster Suppers, Route 258 (off highway 13), [22]. One of the most widely advertised restaurants for the lobster dining experience. Located in the village of New Glasgow near the heart of Anne of Green Gables country. You can choose from 1, 1.5 and 2 lb lobsters. Prices, though high for the island, are very reasonable compared to elsewhere.  edit
    • St. Ann's Parish, off Route 224 in New Hope, +1 (902) 621-0635, [23]. Offers a huge amount of food — all home cooked — for a reasonable price. The traditional lobster dinner includes soup, a heaping bowl of local mussels, salad, cole slaw, au gratin potatoes, vegetables, lobster, and homemade dessert. They also serve other entrees, as well as wine and beer. Children's menu available. Be sure to arrive hungry.  edit
  • Widely recognized as the best dining on PEI is the Inn at Bay Fortune, Bay Fortune, +1 902 687-3745 (winter +1 860 563-6090), [24]. The menu was originally developed by chef Michael Smith, and his Food Network series The Inn Chef was filmed at the Inn. Smith has since left to focus on his television programme, but the quality of the food has not decreased. Chef Warren Barr offers a daily tasting menu. The restaurant has been awarded three stars (the maximum) by the Where to Eat in Canada dining guide.
  • The Lucy Maud Montgomery Dining Room at the Culinary Institute of Canada, a well respected school for chefs. 4 Sydney St, Charlottetown, +1 902 894-6868, [25]. The students prepare and serve meals under the tuttelage of their professors. The food is classically and competently prepared. The dining room has an excellent view over Charlottetown Harbour, though the institute's building itself is hopelessly municipal in appearance. Begins service at 6PM, reservations requested.

It is a really nice place to eat, and the food is really fancy. It is one of the highest class restruants in PEI, and it has really good looking chefs.


If you choose to cook your own meals at a rental cottage or a camp site there are a number of large grocery stores located around the island. Atlantic Superstore [26] (locations in Charlottetown, Summerside, and Montague) and Sobeys [27] (locations in Charlottetown, Summerside, Montague, Stratford, and West Royalty) are the largest grocery stores in the province, and both carry a wide selection of staples as well as international imports. Sunday shopping is currently in effect for the summer season, and will be in place until further notice. If you also want to have some fun getting a photo of your family, go to Grampas Photo studio and get a old picture and get dressed up and have some fun with that.


The legal drinking age in Prince Edward Island is 19. Bars, clubs and liquor stores will typically ask for a government-issued ID from anyone who looks under 25. Retail alcohol sale on the island is restricted to the government controlled PEI Liquor Commission [28]. Their stores carry a reasonable selection of wine, beer and liquor.

  • The ferries to the Îles-de-la-Madeleine and Nova Scotia are fairly infrequent. However, Confederation Bridge remains open year round and is the fastest, cheapest and most convenient way back to the mainland.
  • There are daily flights between Charlottetown and Montreal, Toronto, and Halifax.
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND, a province of the Dominion of Canada, lies between 45° 58' and 47° 7' N. and 62° and 64° 27' W. The underlying geological formation is Permian, though outliers of Triassic rock occur. The coal seams supposed to underlie the Permian formation are apparently too deep down to be of practical value. The rocks consist of soft red micaceous sandstone and shales, with interstratified but irregular beds of brownish-red conglomerates containing pebbles of white quartz and other rocks. There are also beds of hard dark-red sandstone with the shales. Bands of moderately hard reddish-brown conglomerate, the pebbles being of red shale and containing white calcite, are seen at many points; and then greenish-grey irregular patches occur in the red beds, due to the bleaching out of the red colours by the action of the organic matter of plants. Fossil plants are abundant at many places. Beds of peat, dunes of drifted sand, alluvial clays and mussel mud occur in and near the creeks and bays.

Table of contents

Physical Features

The island lies in a great semi-circular bay of the Gulf of St Lawrence, which extends from Point Miscou in New Brunswick to Cape North in Cape Breton. From the mainland it is separated by Northumberland Strait, which varies from g to 30 miles in width. It is extremely irregular in shape, and deep inlets and tidal streams almost divide it into three approximately equal parts; from the head of Hillsborough river on the south to Savage Harbour on the north is only one and a half miles, while at high tide the distance between the heads of the streams which fall into Bedeque and Richmond Bays is even less. North of Summerside the land nowhere rises more than 175 ft. above sea-level; but between Summerside and Charlottetown, especially near north Wiltshire, is a ridge of hills, running from north to south and rising to a height of nearly 500 ft. From Charlottetown eastwards the land is low and level. The north shore, facing the gulf, is a long series of beaches of fine sand, and is a favourite resort in summer. On the south, low cliffs of crumbling red sandstone face the strait. The climate is healthy, and though bracing, milder than that of the neighbouring mainland. Fogs are much less common than in either New Brunswick or Nova Scotia.

Area and Population

The greatest length of the island is 145 m., its greatest breadth 34 m., its total area 2184 sq. m.

The population in 1901 was 103,259, having sunk from 109,078 in 1891. It is thus much the most densely populated province in Canada, there being nearly fifty-two persons to the sq. m. Though very large families are not so common as in the province of Quebec, the agricultural character of the population makes the average number of persons to a family greater (5.51) than in any other province. As in all the maritime provinces, there is a steady immigration to the Canadian West and to the United States. The population is mainly of British descent, but also comprises descendants of the French Acadians and of the American loyalists. About 200 Indians of the Mic-Mac tribe remain, and have slightly increased in numbers since 1891. In 1901 the origin of the people was: Scots, 41,753; English, 24,043; Irish, 21,992; French, 13,867; all other nationalities, 1604. The principal religious denominations and the number of their adherents were as follows: Church of Rome, 45,796;45,796; Presbyterians, 30,750; Methodists, 13,402; Anglican, 5976; Baptists, 5905. The Irish and French are almost entirely Roman Catholic, the Scots about two-thirds Presbyterian and one third Roman Catholic. Jurisdiction over the Catholics is held by the bishop of Charlottetown, and over the Anglicans by the bishop of Nova Scotia. The Presbyterians form part of the synod of the Maritime Provinces.

Administration, &c. - Five members of the House of Commons and four senators are sent to the federal legislature. At its entry into federation in 1873, the number of members was six, and the reduction to five in 1901 was bitterly denounced. The local government now consists of a lieutenant-governor and of a legislative assembly. This conducts not only the general affairs of the province, but most of those of the towns and villages; legal provision has, however, been made for the establishment of a municipal system, and Charlottetown and Summerside are incorporated municipalities, though with powers of self-government much more limited than those of any other incorporated Canadian towns. The provincial revenues, which tend to prove inadequate, are largely made up of the subsidy paid by the federal government, though there are numerous taxes, which bear heavily on the small industrial population. But for the increase in 1907 of the federal subsidy, financial exigencies might have forced the adoption of direct taxation, in spite of its unpopularity among the farmers.


Primary education in the province has been given free since 1852. Since 1877 it has been under the control of a minister of education with a seat in the provincial cabinet. At Charlottetown is the Prince of Wales College, really a rather advanced secondary school, with which is affiliated the Normal School. St Dunstan's College, another advanced high school in Charlottetown, is under Roman Catholic control. Advanced university education is }lot given in the province. Attendance at the primary schools is by law compulsory, but the exigencies of a farming population and the lack of adequate means of enforcement render the law inoperative. The salaries of the teachers are, as a rule, low, and the school buildings cheerless and ill-maintained.


The soil, an open sandy loam, deep red in colour, which was slightly exhausted at the beginning of the century by repeated crops of cereals, has been renewed by the application of mussel mud dredged from the bays and tidal streams. All the staple crops are grown - especially oats, potatoes and turnips. Wheat is raised only for local consumption. Cattle and hogs flourish. In the last years of the 19th century the introduction of co-operation gave a great impetus to the manufacture of butter and cheese. The first cheese factory was opened in 1892, and the first creamery in 1894. Of over 15,000 farmers all, save about 900, own their own farms, and are in nearly all cases well-to-do. Large quantities of animal and vegetable food, amounting to about one-half of the total product, are exported, chiefly to Cape Breton, Newfoundland, and the New England states. Fruit is raised less extensively than in Nova Scotia, but enough is grown to supply the local market, and apples of good quality are exported.


Though smaller in value than those of any other sea-board province, the fisheries of Prince Edward Island are, in proportion to the total population, extremely productive. Of the catch of about X200,000, lobsters, most of which are canned, are worth about £90,000, and oysters X20,000, in the latter case about half the total value of the catch of the Dominion, which is compelled to import largely from the United States. There are signs of the approaching exhaustion of the oyster beds, but no adequate remedy or new source of supply has been found. Herring, cod, mackerel and smelts are also caught in large quantities in the coast waters.

Other Industries

About one-third of the province is covered with birch, beech, maple, pine, spruce, cedar and other woods, but though a little lumber is exported, the industry is declining. The building of wooden ships, a flourishing trade till about 1586, is now almost extinct. The packing of pork and of lobsters is actively pursued near Charlottetown, and small factories have been established for the manufacture of boots and shoes, tobacco, condensed milk, &c., but the great bulk of the manufactured goods used are imported from the other provinces.


The Prince Edward Island branch of the Intercolonial railway, owned and worked by the federal government, runs from Souris in the east to Tignish in the north-west, with branches to Georgetown, Murray Harbour, Charlottetown and Cape Traverse. Good wagon roads intersect each other everywhere, and nearly all the villages and country districts are connected by telephone. During spring, summer and autumn Charlottetown has daily communication with Pictou in Nova Scotia and Shediac in New Brunswick, and a frequent service to other ports in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Massachusetts. The harbour of Charlottetown and the Northumberland Straits are closed by ice from about the middle of December to the beginning of April, after which there is a service by specially constructed ice-breaking boats between Georgetown and Pictou. The ice is often too thick to make a regular service possible, and the island has long agitated for federal construction of a railway tunnel between Cape Traverse in Prince Edward Island and the neighbouring shore of New Brunswick, 9 m. distant.


Jacques Cartier sighted Prince Edward Island on his first voyage in June 1534, but mistook it for part of the mainland. Succeeding voyagers discovered his mistake, and toward the end of the 16th century it was called Isle St Jean, which name it retained till 1798, when it was given its present name out of compliment to the duke of Kent, at that time commanding the British forces in North America. In 1603 Champlain took possession of it for France, and in 1663 it was granted by the company of New France to Captain Doublet, an officer in the navy whose failure to make permanent settlements soon brought about the loss of his grant. Little attention was paid to the island until after the Peace of Utrecht, when the French made efforts to colonize it. In 1719 it was granted, en franc alleu noble, to the count of St Pierre, who tried to establish fisheries and a trading company. He spent large sums on his enterprise, but the scheme proved unsuccessful and his grant was revoked. In 1758, soon after the capture of Louisbourg, Isle St Jean was occupied by a British force under Lord Rollo (see Annual Register, 1758). Its population at this time numbered about 4000, under a military governor with his headquarters at Port la Joie (Charlottetown). After its final cession to Great Britain in 1763 it was placed under the administration of Nova Scotia, but later was made a separate government, its first parliament meeting in 1773.

In1764-1765it was surveyed, and most of the present names given; in 1767 it was divided into townships of about 20,000 acres each, grants of which were made to individuals with claims on the government. They were to pay a small sum as quit rents, and the conditions imposed provided for the establishment of churches and wharves and bona-fide settlement. On these terms practically the whole island was granted away in a single day. The grantees were in most cases mere speculators, and the lands fell into the hands of a large number of non-residents. A continual agitation against the absentees was kept up by the settlers, who rapidly increased in numbers. During the early 19th century many Scottish immigrants settled in the island. A commission appointed in 1860 advised the compulsory purchase of the lands, and their sale in smaller holdings to genuine settlers, but a bill passed with this intent was disallowed by the imperial authorities.

In 1864 a conference to consider the question of maritime union met at Charlottetown. The visit of delegates from Canada widened it into a general conference on federation, from which sprang the Dominion of Canada. Prince Edward Island's local patriotism forced its representatives to withdraw from the later conferences, but the abrogation in 1866 by the United States of the Reciprocity Treaty of 1854, financial difficulties connected with the building of an island railway, and the offer of better terms by the Dominion government, brought it into federation in 1873. A bill on the lines of that formerly disallowed was soon afterwards passed, and the land difficulty was finally settled. Since then the main political issues have been the quarrel with the federal government over the construction of a tunnel and the control of the liquor traffic, which has been prohibited but by no means suppressed.

Authorities.-Sir J. W. Dawson, Acadian Geology (1891); Report of Dr R. W. Ells, Geological Survey (1882-1884); Report of R. Chalmers, Geological Survey (1894); Rev. G. Sutherland, Manual of History of Prince Edward Island (1861); D. Campbell, History of Prince Edward Island (1875); Special Reports on Educational Subjects, vol. iv. (London, 1901); articles in J. C. Hopkins's Canada, an Encyclopaedia (Toronto, 1898-1900). (W. L. G.)

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

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Proper noun

Prince Edward Island


Prince Edward Island

  1. A province in eastern Canada which has Charlottetown as its capital.
  2. An island in eastern Canada, which forms the majority of the eponymous province


  • PEI
  • postal abbreviation: PE


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