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article imageThe 'Gentle Island' and the 'Birthplace of Confederation' Special

By Igor I. Solar     Oct 12, 2011 in Travel
Charlottetown - Recognized as a prime vacation destination among residents of eastern Canada and the United States, the province of Prince Edward Island and its capital Charlottetown provide interesting history and natural attractions.
Prince Edward Island is the smallest province (0.1% of the total land area of Canadian provinces) and Charlottetown is the least populated provincial capital of Canada (about 46.000 inhabitants, including the neighbouring suburbs of Stratford and Cornwall), however, the "Gentle Island" has plenty of charming attractions to offer visitors in such a compact territory.
The Confederation Bridge  inaugurated in 1997  spans almost 13 kilometres connecting Prince Edward I...
The Confederation Bridge, inaugurated in 1997, spans almost 13 kilometres connecting Prince Edward Island with mainland New Brunswick.
Waterfronf walkway in the town of Summerside  PEI.
Waterfronf walkway in the town of Summerside, PEI.
The small island in the Gulf of St. Lawrence has a crescent shape. Its length is about 170 miles from end to end, between the North Cape and the East Point Lighthouses and about 60 kilometers at its widest part, across the eastern Kings County. Its compact size makes possible to visit virtually the entire island by car in about three days.
Two main themes are prevalent on the Island: Canadian Confederation and Anne of Green Gables. Also important, although at smaller scale, other PEI claims to fame, particularly for food lovers are the PEI lobsters, PEI shellfish (cultured mussels and Malpeque Bay oysters) and, of course, the famous PEI potatoes.
Typical Prince Edward Island rural scenery.
Typical Prince Edward Island rural scenery.
Confederation Landing Park and Peake s Quay. The spires of St. Dunstan s Basilica on Great George St...
Confederation Landing Park and Peake's Quay. The spires of St. Dunstan's Basilica on Great George Street can be seen in the background.
Confederation
It was in Charlottetown, where representatives of the Maritime Provinces (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and PEI), plus the Province of Canada (modern Ontario and Quebec) met in early September, 1864 to lay the basis for establishing the British North America Confederation which a few years later, on July 1, 1867, would be named the Dominion of Canada. At the time, the leaders of PEI did not agree with the terms of the union and delayed joining the new Dominion for seven years (until July 1, 1873). Still, because the first meetings of the Confederation Conference took place in Charlottetown, PEI has named the PEI Legislative Building, where the meeting took place, as the “Birthplace of Canadian Confederation” and adopted the theme for many other circumstances. This is shown by the naming of the Confederation Bridge, the Confederation Centre of the Arts, Confederation Landing Park (Peake’s Wharf), Confederation Court Shopping Center and the ubiquitous Confederation Players (Charlottetown’s historical interpreters and tourist guides).
Province House - Prince Edward Island s provincial legislature and National Historic Site. Known as ...
Province House - Prince Edward Island's provincial legislature and National Historic Site. Known as the "Birthplace of Canadian Confederation".
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Peake s Quay at Charlottetown s waterfront.
Peake's Quay at Charlottetown's waterfront.
Great George Street, spanning from Peake’s Wharf to the corner of Richmond Street, where the Island's provincial legislature and National Historic Site is located, has been dubbed by Yukon-born historian Pierre Berton (1920-2004) as “the most important Street in Canada”.
Great George Street, now lined by beautiful Victorian houses and other heritage buildings, was the road the fathers of confederation walked from the wharf to the Province House to the meeting which resulted in Canadian Confederation. This street is also the location of St. Dunstan’s Basilica, a beautiful stone French Gothic church built in 1913. The current building is the fourth church on the site. Its two spires are the most visible landmark in Charlottetown.
St. Dunstan s Basilica  a landmark in the Charlottetown skyline  is considered one of the most beaut...
St. Dunstan's Basilica, a landmark in the Charlottetown skyline, is considered one of the most beautiful churches in the Maritimes.
Heritage houses along Great George Street  Charlottetown  PEI.
Heritage houses along Great George Street, Charlottetown, PEI.
The Great George Hotel on Great George Street   the most important street in Canada .
The Great George Hotel on Great George Street, "the most important street in Canada".
The Stratford Connector bus service between the suburban area of Stratford and downtown Charlottetow...
The Stratford Connector bus service between the suburban area of Stratford and downtown Charlottetown.
Anne of Green Gables
The Confederation Centre of the Arts is home to the award winning "Anne of Green Gables – The Musical".
Picture of the poster about  Anne of Green Gables - The Musical   the longest-running musical play i...
Picture of the poster about "Anne of Green Gables - The Musical", the longest-running musical play in Canada, performed every summer since 1965 at the Confederation Center of the Arts, Charlottetown.
The show has been running every summer for 46 seasons (since 1965) and it is considered the longest-running musical in Canada and possibly in the world.
The play, based on the novel by PEI writer Lucy Maud Montgomery, musically tells the story of Anne Shirley, the little freckled-faced, red-headed orphan who came by mistake to Green Gables, the farm at the fictional locality of Avonlea, wins the hearts of Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, the brother and sister team that adopted her, goes to Queen's Academy to obtain a teaching license, becomes a top student in English, wins the Avery Scholarship which would allow her to attend Redmond College in Nova Scotia, and then gives that up to assist aging Marilla after Matthew’s death.
Royal visit
PEI’s scenery is outstanding; additionally, there are several other attractions such as interesting architecture, several national historic sites, literature, performing arts, and a magnificent PEI maritime National Park. Small wonder PEI was one of the chosen destinations for Prince William and Kate on their 11-day tour of Canada in July, 2011.
On July 3-4, the couple visited Confederation Landing, went on a carriage up Great George Street to the Province House, visited Dalvay-by-the-Sea Resort and the town of Summerside, before flying to Yellowknife.
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