Prince Edward Island, known as the Garden Province, is located in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence north of Nova Scotia and east of New Brunswick, separated from the mainland by the Northumberland Strait. Charlottetown is the capital and largest city situated in roughly the center of the island's southern shore. The second largest city is Summerside, located in Prince County, in the western part of the Island. PEI's total population is about 139,000, with more than a third of it in the capital region.
Both Charlottetown and Summerside are built around natural harbors.The Confederation Bridge was opened in 1997 connecting the west end of the island to New Brunswick. There are still two ferry services remaining: one from the east end of PEI to Nova Scotia and one from the town of Souris to the Magdalen Islands.An estimated half of the island is covered with woodlands, though very little of the original forest remain.
Almost all the island is dominated by agriculture, being blessed by a distinctive red sedimentary soil. Potatoes are a large cash crop, with PEI potatoes exported as far west as Ontario, south into the USA and some twenty countries around the world. There is a fishing industry, being dominated by shellfish harvesting - most notably lobster. As the province is surrounded by sea ice between December-April, the fishery is entirely seasonal.The island's coastline consists of a combination of long beaches, dunes, short sandstone cliffs, salt-water marshes and numerous small bays.
There is a high amount of iron oxide in the rock, which explains the distinctive reddish sand of the beaches and dunes. At Basin Head the grains of white silica sand cause a humming noise as they rub against each other when walked on. On the north shore large dune fields can be found on barrier islands at the entrances to various bays and harbors.
The shifting, parabolic dune system is home to a variety of birds and rare plants and is also a site of significant archeological interest.Prince Edward Island was originally inhabited by the Mi'Kmaq people. They named the island Abegweit meaning Cradle on the Waves. As part of the French colony of Acadia, the island was called Īle Saint-Jean.
Roughly one thousand Acadians on the island, many having already fled a British-ordered expulsion of Acadians in the mainland British colony of Nova Scotia in 1755, were subsequently deported in 1758 when the British seized Īle Saint-Jean during the Seven Years War. Many of the Acadians ended up in the Bayou country of Louisiana, today's Cajun country. In 1798, Great Britain changed the colony's name from St.
John's Island to Prince Edward Island to distinguish it from similar names in the Atlantic area, such as the cities of Saint John and St. John's.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 presents itself as the "Birthplace of Confederation" with several buildings, a ferry vessel and the Confederation Bridge using the term "confederation" in some way.Author Lucy Maud Montgomery looked to Island life during the late Victorian Era for the setting of her classic Anne of Green Gables. Born on the exact same day as Sir Winston Churchill, she wrote many novels, books of short stories and poetry.
The Japanese in particular are enthusiastic about Anne of Green Gables, using the book for both study of the English language and of English literature. As a result there is a booming tourist business in Japanese women visiting PEI and Green Gables.Today, many of the same qualities that Montgomery and others found in the Island are enjoyed by tourists who visit in 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..Michael Russell Your Independent guide to Canada Vacation.
By: Michael Russell