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  • Prince Edward Island

    Prince Edward Island travel guide

    Overview

    Known as the birthplace of the Canadian Confederation and often referred to as the 'Garden of the Gulf', Prince Edward Island is situated on the east coast of Canada and is by far the country's smallest province.

    Next to agriculture, tourism is the province's largest industry and visitors flock to visit the home of , the beloved novel by Lucy Maude Montgomery which was inspired by the island's landscape and people. One of the world's longest continuous multi-span bridges, the Confederation Bridge, connects Prince Edward Island to the mainland at New Brunswick. Stretching over shimmering ocean, it is a spectacular point of arrival, although many still prefer to reach the island by ferry, which allows for a more leisurely approach.

    With its distinctive red soil and diverse landscape, Prince Edward Island is a beautiful and captivating place. Prince Edward Island's charming and compact capital city, Charlottetown, proudly lays claim to its heritage as the birthplace of the Confederation as well as other top attractions, which include Founders Hall, the Confederation Centre of the Arts, and Province House (the second oldest active Canadian legislature) with its fully restored Confederation Chamber. The city also has plenty of other activites and sights to explore; visitors can enjoy a stroll along the historic waterfront boardwalks, shop or dine at Peake's Wharf, or enjoy a walking tour with historic re-enactment group, the Confederation Players.

    There is plenty to do on the rest of the island, from deep-sea fishing and windsurfing to golf, skiing and cycling. The north shore has a number of beautiful unspoiled beaches, including Brackley Beach and Cavendish, which are both located in Prince Edward Island National Park. For those a little less active, there are scenic drives, intriguing museums to visit, and plenty of fine dining. A particular delicacy is the island's famous shellfish, celebrated at the International Shellfish Festival in the Charlottetown Waterfront each September.

    Rolling farmland contrasts with sand dunes and sandstone cliffs, while sandy beaches compete with evergreen forests and saltwater marshes - there is always something new to explore. Although locals refer to those not born and bred on Prince Edward Island as being 'from away', they are always happy to welcome visitors to their picturesque province with a smile.

    Green Gables House

    Nestled in the Prince Edward Island National Park in Cavendish is the charming and picturesque Green Gables House that, in the early 1900s, inspired author Lucy Maude Montgomery to create her much-loved story about precocious red-headed orphan Anne Shirley, entitled . Thousands of visitors flock here to enjoy a ramble around the famous house and its surrounds (originally owned by relatives of the author) that served as a setting for the treasured tale and also to drink in the sights and sounds of the beautiful park that houses Green Gables. The house itself is filled with displays (including audio-visual), a gift shop, the charming Butter Churn Café, a visitor's centre and restored rooms. There are trails to be explored (fans of the book will recognised Lovers Lane and the Haunted Wood), guided evening walks, children's activities, restored gardens and many other treasures to be enjoyed.

    Address: 2 Palmers Lane, Cavendish
    Green Gables House Green Gables House David Mertl
    Confederation Centre for the Arts

    Founded in 1964 as a National Memorial to the Fathers of the Confederation, the Confederation Centre of the Arts is more than a tribute to those who formed the notion of a united country; it is also a celebration of the diversity, talent and character of Canada and its history. Situated on the site of the old Charlottetown marketplace, the centre takes up a city block and is home to an art gallery, several theatres, a gift shop and restaurant. The annual Charlottetown Festival, begun in the mid-1960s, is a firm favourite hosted by the centre and runs from late May to mid-October. A celebration of musical theatre and comedy, the festival has spawned several highly successful musicals, including the immensely popular Canada's longest running musical, now in its 42nd year. The Confederation Centre Art Gallery has more than 15,000 pieces of contemporary, modern and historical Canadian art work, and is well worth a visit.

    Address: 145 Richmond Street, Charlottetown
    The Confederation Centre for the
Arts The Confederation Centre for the Arts Charles Hoffman
    Confederation Trail

    Perhaps one of the best ways to explore Prince Edward Island is via the Confederation Trail. Following what was once the railway line, the trail stretches from tip to tip of the island, through forests, wetlands, villages and waterways, for 173 miles (279km). The trail is almost entirely flat, and has a finely crushed gravel surface, making it easy going; perfect for walkers, cyclists and those in wheelchairs. In winter, the trail is a favourite with snowmobilers and provides a picturesque route through the province, from Tignish to Elmira. Visitors can enjoy the natural splendour of the island, including its lush flora and abundant fauna, and experience its peace and tranquillity at a pedestrian pace. Entry points to the trail are marked by distinctive plum coloured gates, and the less adventurous can choose to follow the trail for some of the way and stop off to rest and grab a bite in one of the many villages connected by the trail.

    Confederation Trail Confederation Trail Vanessa Danison
    Founder's Hall

    Founder's Hall is one of Prince Edward Island's highly popular attractions, located on the Historic Charlottetown Waterfront. Also known rather grandly as Canada's Birthplace Pavilion, the hall is a well-designed heritage attraction set in a restored 1906 building that previously housed a CN rail car repair shop. The hall incorporates state-of-the-art technology with history, allowing visitors to enjoy interactive exhibits, holovisuals, various exciting displays and an absorbing 'Time Travel Tunnel' that allows visitors to trace the development of Canada and its provinces. The aim of Founder's Hall is to celebrate the spirit of co-operation shown by the Fathers of the Confederation, and to educate the public about Canada's heritage. Far from boring, the exhibits and displays continue to delight visitors, and for those tired of all the culture and history, a boutique selling island crafts, memorabilia and souvenirs is also within its walls.

    Address: 6 Prince Street, Charlottetown
    Founder's Hall Founder's Hall Aconcagua

    Phrase Book

    English Pronounciation

    The Prince Edward Island climate is mild, tempered by the warm Gulf of St Lawrence waters. Summers, between June and August, tend to be warm, with very low humidity and average temperatures ranging between 70°F (21°C) and 79°F (26°C), sometimes reaching 90°F (32°C), with July and August being the warmest months. Winters can be cold and snow is common from November to April. Temperatures range from 26°F (-3°C) to 11°F (-11°C) and storms in winter can be severe. Spring and autumn are great times to travel to Prince Edward Island as both seasons bring a riot of colour to the island and temperatures are moderate.

    Prince Edward Island

    The main allure of Prince Edward Island for travellers is the fact that the little province inspired and formed the setting for the beloved Anne of Green Gables novels; as a result Green Gables House is usually touted as the most popular attraction of Charlottetown even though the homestead is actually situated in the Prince Edward National Park, in Cavendish, and is therefore an excursion for those holidaying in Charlottetown. The Confederation Centre for the Arts, within the city, also owes some of its popularity with visitors to L.M. Montgomery's novels, as a number of Anne-themed musicals and plays draw fans into the theatres of the complex.

    Other worthwhile tourist attractions in Charlottetown include St Dunstan's Basilica, a National Historic Site of Canada; Founder's Hall, which proudly traces the history of Prince Edward Island and the country as a whole; and Victoria Park, a lovely green lung. Charlottetown's appeal is its old-fashioned charm, and attractions like the Brackley Drive In, a 1950's-style drive-in theatre, thrill travellers.