10 things to do in P.E.I.
P.E.I. may be our smallest province but this maritime island packs in a lot: lighthouses, rolling hills, fertile farmland, a bounty of seafood, picturesque sea coves, white and red sand beaches, and rich history and culture that draws visitors from across the country and around the world. Here are 10 things to check out in Canada’s “Birthplace of Confederation:”
Stompin’ grounds:Celebrate Canada Day in Skinners Pond, when the Stompin’ Tom Centre opens in honour of P.E.I.’s famous foot-stompin’ and folk-and-country-singin’ son. Stompin’ Tom Connors’ boyhood home and school are a museum and event space just off Stompin’ Tom Rd.
Fresh and local: The Summerside Farmers’ Market brings P.E.I. farm-fresh eggs, meat and produce, as well as cheese, preserves, seafood, baked goods and crafts from a raft of vendors in the historic (older than Confederation) Holman Centre year-round on Saturday mornings, including Wednesday evenings during the summer.
Simply put, the Summerside Farmer's Market is, "where community meets, experiencing incredible local food, talented local Artisans and great conversations", in one of P.E.I.'s most historic buildings. (Virginia Doyle)
Provincewide trail:Old railway beds make up most of the scenic 435-kilometre Confederation Trail, which hikers, cyclists, runners and people who use wheelchairs use in the summer and snowmobilers use in the winter. The trail spans P.E.I., with branches extending to various parts of the province.
The Confederation Trail stretches across 435 kilometres and branches out to various parts of P.E.I. (Doug Murr)
Dairy good: Since the first one opened in 1983, Cows Creamery has expanded to seven locations in P.E.I., five across Canada, and two in Beijing, featuring 32 flavours of ice cream. Cows cheese, butter, ice cream and chocolate are carried in grocery stores far and wide. Tour the Charlottetown factory, too.
Cows ice cream has been voted “Canada’s best ice cream” in a Reader’s Digest opinion poll and in 2008 ranked No. 1 in a “World’s Top Ten Places for Ice Cream” list by Tauck World Discovery. (Gav Martell)
Bottled sunshine:Retired carpenter, fisherman and lighthouse keeper Édouard Arsenault’s recycling project that began in 1980 has become a unique attraction in Cap-Egmont. The Bottle Houses village contains a six-gabled house, tavern, chapel and gift shop radiating a symphony of sunlight-powered colours in a tranquil garden setting.
This year marks the 37th season for The Bottle Houses, a family-owned attraction in Cap-Egmont that began as a recycling project.
Mi’kmaq island home:Nestled in Malpeque Bay on the northwest coast, linked by a bridge and causeway, more than 400 residents are proud to share their history and culture at the Lennox Island Mi’kmaq Cultural Centre, and through a variety of crafts, works of art and social events.
The Mi’kmaq residents of Lennox Island welcome visitors to experience their First Nations culture and history, as seen here during last summer’s Panmure Pow Wow. (John Sylvester)
Happy days:Lovingly restored to its 1950s glory when folks in cars drove to view the stars under the stars, the Brackley Drive-In Theatre in Brackley Beach is a return to the post-war boom era when jukebox music, fast food and double features were entertainment staples for couples, friends and families.
Big boardwalk:In the Greenwich section of Prince Edward Island National Park, where the endangered piping plover finds sanctuary, a near kilometre-long floating walkway meanders over a grassy pond until reaching towering parabolic sand dunes and a seemingly endless stretch of white sand beach.
The boardwalk in the Greenwich section of Prince Edward Island National Park takes visitors across a grassy pond to sand dunes and a white sand beach. (Carrie Gregory)
Beachside music fest:Billed as Atlantic Canada’s largest multi-day outdoor country music festival, the Cavendish Beach Music Festival draws more than 70,000 visitors, campers and concert goers, and some of the biggest country-music stars, to a pasture at the edge of the warmest waters north of the Carolinas.
What had once been a cow pasture is now the site of the Cavendish Beach Music Festival, which attracts more than 70,000 people to see and hear the biggest names in country music.
All revved up:The first P.E.I. Street Rod Association Car Show and Shine in 1979 had a dozen cars. Now this Canada Day-weekend event in Brudenell draws classic-auto lovers of all ages to the oldest and largest outdoor car show east of Montreal.
The P.E.I. Street Rod Association Car Show and Shine has been a classic car summer event for nearly 40 years.