Prince Edward Island may be Canada’s smallest province but it has many hidden pockets of treasure scattered among its rolling hills and sweeping shoreline. Ironically, to get to this little island you need to cross a very large bridge. The Confederation Bridge holds the world record for being the longest bridge over ice-covered water, a serious obstacle of Canadian winters.
The Confederation Bridge links Prince Edward Island with mainland Canada and it takes about 15 minutes to drive across its 12.9 kilometer expanse. The bridge took four years and one billion dollars to build and was opened to the public on May 31 1997. Although originally there had been some concern about the effects that the bridge would have on the local way of life it has gone a long way to making the island more accessible to visitors. Despite this influx of tourists P.E.I. has not lost its quiet charm and remains a place of peaceful scenic beauty.
One of the island’s most popular destinations is Anne of Green Gables house. The story of this spirited young girl has enchanted readers around the world and if you haven’t read the book then you’re missing out. Lucy Montgomery was inspired by this idyllic country setting and it isn’t hard to see why.
The house is surrounded by a lush garden and gently sloping hills, beyond which there is a small forest. Inside the house, it’s as if time stands still and the family that lived there just put their things aside and went for a picnic. Anne’s dress with puffed sleeves is still on its hanger by the door, Marilla’s lace lies on the sewing table and the recipe book sits on the pantry counter. Outside, you can take a stroll down the well-trodden path of Lover’s Lane or head into the Haunted Woods where wildflowers grow between the pines.
After a lazy ramble through the woods you might leave Anne’s house to go explore P.E.I.’s magnificent coastline. Driving through the countryside, one of the first things you notice is the rich red soil that peeks through everywhere. This is a result of the earth’s iron oxide content and it makes for a spectacular sight at Cavendish Beach. Crossing the boardwalk, you can see the soft sand dunes give way to crumbling sandstone cliffs, passing from gold to red like a sunset. Whether you just want a place to rest and sunbathe or maybe jump around in the waves to cool off, there is more than enough to do.
Sometimes we just need to indulge our inner child and build sandcastles.
After a busy day of sightseeing and communing with nature you might want to shake the sand out of your shoes and get something to eat. For food and shopping its best to head into town. The population of P.E.I. is tiny, numbering just a little over 145 000, so the cities are understandably small but that doesn’t mean there is a shortage of things to do. The provincial capital Charlottetown has a picturesque downtown core with lots of interesting shops and restaurants. Historically important, Charlottetown led to the birth of Canada as a nation when it hosted the Canadian Confederation in 1864. Province House, the building in which it was held, is today a National Historic Site and a great place to visit and learn about Canada’s roots.
Prince Edward Island is a great summer destination for a sensual journey. The landscape is saturated in the colours of wildflowers and red sands. You can lay down on a beach to enjoy the fresh sea breeze and listen to the gulls, or sit back on a restaurant patio and taste test your way through the local cuisine, while listening to the music of a street busker.