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Published: June 11th 2016
It was here in Charlottetown in 1864 that representatives from Britain started talking about Canada's Independence. In 1867 the papers were signed and Canada became an independent nation.
Prince Edward Island (PEI) is famous for four things; potatoes, lobsters, golf courses, and Anne of Green Gables. Five things, if you include a giant bridge, but that is federal, and shared between two provinces.
PEI is also Canada's smallest province - nowhere on the island did we find dramatic landscapes, vast tracts of wilderness or spectacular wildlife - but that's what gives PEI its magic... It's a quiet little island with a gentle land that's easy on the eyes and quite soothing, and quite different from the rest of the country.
We spent a week at a nice B&B in the small town of Summerside. Aaron and Sarah were our wonderful hosts, and we were fed tasty and nutritious, breakfasts every morning with many homemade goodies. Summerside is fairly centrally located on the island, and that allowed us the freedom of doing several day trips... It was still fairly cool weather during our stay, we got some snowfall and a few frosty mornings, but we did get a kick at how many locals stood outside in the snowy streets, lining up to buy an ice-cream... Only a Canadian would stand in a line in the cold, waiting for
Chatting with John
John A. MacDonald. Canada's first Prime Minister
an ice cream! We just can't wait till summer...
The ice-cream was good, but potatoes and lobsters weren't in season, so we couldn't sample the primary culinary delights of the island, and we don't play golf either... And who is that Anne girl?
Anne of Green Gables is a story written by Lucy Maud Montgomery. Neither of us have read it, but it apparently is a beautiful story about a young, red-headed girl with braids called Anne Shirley. The Japanese education system uses this book as part of its curriculum, and as a result, fleets of Japanese tour buses flood to this small house in Cavendish, where the authoress lived. However, yet again, we rocked up in the quiet season and had the place to ourselves. It is a pretty house surrounded by fields and old buildings, and with a bit of imagination (a lot of imagination) you can take yourself back to the early 1900s. Actually, in most of PEI you can take yourself back to the mid '90s with very little imagination - it's quite charming in that regard!
The Cavendish area is near the western edge of Prince Edward Island National Park, so we
The Canadian National Flag flies higher than the flags of all 13 provinces and territories that make up this nation
donned our hiking gear and set of into the small tract of wilderness that sprawls along the central-north shore of the island. The boreal forest, empty red-sand beaches and grassy dunes awaited us, along with our furry little companions that chirped and chomped as we walked.
At Province House in 1867 in the heart of downtown Charlottetown, some papers were signed and The Dominion of Canada was formed. Not quite the Canada of today as only some of the eastern provinces joined the Dominion and a large part of the still-fairly-elusive arctic north was uncharted and unknown... Nevertheless, this is where it happened. Not far from Province House, on a small nondescript bench in the downtown heart of the province's small capital, a statue of John. A MacDonald sits and waits for the hoards of curious tourists. MacDonald was Canada's first Prime Minister - we chatted with him about some of the modern day issues that the world faces... We are sure he listened, but he didn't respond...
Lots of farms and fields, randomly placed little villages, and not many wild spaces - PEI is a pretty island and has a very special place
Prince Edward Island National Park
in this huge country. It is also proof that Canada is not just one overwhelmingly gigantic wilderness with nobody in it. We both really liked it.
Dave and Theresa...
"How far do you go out to sea?"
"We stays on top of it"
"Do you lose sight of land?"
"We only loses sight of the land when we can't sees it no more"
Conversation with local lobster fisherman...
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