It’s been one full day since we arrived in P.E.I, Canada’s smallest province. It’s been an interesting experience so far.
Strangely enough, having lived in Nova Scotia for 13 years, I had only been to P.E.I around 4 times. I think it was around 4 but am not sure. The only reason we went to the Island was to attend the big horse shows they would have here. I don’t even really remember much about those as we went to quite a few and they all sort of blurred together, especially when you have hay fever and spend most of your time stumbling around in a hazy, teary-eyed snot-nosed sneezy zombie-like state. The one memory I do have is seeing The Return of the Jedi from a balcony seat in the local cinema. That was definitely a highlight!
This trip, I get to see the Island in a much different light. First of all, we drove over the Confederation Bridge yesterday afternoon. It was fascinating driving over this vast bridge. Luckily, the van we have is tall enough that we could see over the railings (more about the van later). One of the common disappointments that people have driving over the bridge, is that the railings are so high that if you are in a car, you can’t see anything! We did not have that problem and could see the Island getting closer and closer.
Prince Edward Island is a beautiful island to drive around and it is very easy to get from one place to the other. Charlottetown came up very quickly. After we had spent some time sightseeing in the city (otherwise known as looking for the place we were going to be staying), we arrived at our hotel, a dorm room at the local college. While the room is very plainly furnished, the wifi is fantastic! (The kids have decided that our rooms will be rated by how good the wifi is. It does make traveling easier.)
Dumping our stuff in the room, we started our exploration of Charlottetown. It is a very easy town to walk around. most of the historic buildings are located very centrally and there is a great vibe that fills the streets around the area. We walked past some beautiful old houses, the basilica, and meandered along the main shopping street towards the waterfront. We also past Confederation Hall where the leaders of Canada all came together to unite the provinces and territories. Unfortunately, it was closed for renovations so we did not get a chance to go in. As we walked past, I was remembering how Dad, when he was premier, had had a meeting there with the other premiers. They had re-created the photo as one of their photo-ops, which Dad had quite enjoyed. You can see the pictures below.
Walking along the wharf, we stopped for ice cream at the COWS ice cream parlour. COWS is quite well known throughout Canada for their ice cream and their sassy shirts. It was very good ice cream and a welcome break from the walking.
The next day, we set out to meet up with a high school friend of Deanne’s who had offered to show us around the area where she lives. We had the opportunity to go to Orwell Corner Historical Village. It was a very hot day but a beautifully shaded site to wander around in. The village is the actual site of a village that had been the crossroads for traffic going towards Charlottetown. There were several original buildings still on the site and the costumed guides told us lots of great historical details. Liam has discovered an interest in the blacksmith’s shop, which was running that day, and enjoyed seeing the blacksmith creating a hook to hang on the wall.
While we had a couple of other plans for the day, our van decided that it had tired of driving us around. We had been enjoying this van as it was quite fancy. It was actually an upgrade as they didn’t have any other vehicles that would suit us available. It had lots of fancy doodads and the radio had stations like the Broadway Channel and music from the 1940’s! The other feature it had was a GPS map device. This device had been set by the previous owner to find their way back to the rental office in Halifax and had not turned it off. So for the first two days, the vehicle was constantly giving us directions, helpfully suggesting routes which would take us back to the rental office. We finally managed to turn it off but not before we got the feeling that the van didn’t actually like us and was trying to get rid of us so it could get back to the easy life at the rental office.
Well, our feelings were correct and the van finally got rid of us just past the Orwell Corner Historical Village. As we got back on the road, the warning light came on, the traction light came on and the engine started doing weird jerks and grinds. It was a little nerve-wracking. Luckily we got to a nearby gas station and were able to use a phone. Deanne’s friend kindly gave us a ride back to Charlottetown to pick up a new vehicle after the tow truck came by and we now have a new vehicle, thankfully. However, we were very fortunate there was as well as the rental place only had one vehicle that they would actually allow us to drive off the island.
Once we had settled back into our room for supper, we headed back out to see the Anne of Green Gables musical, something else I had never done. I have seen the movie a number of times and it is still one of my favorite Christmas movies to watch. The musical was delightful and adhered quite closely to the movie, though it did leave out quite a bit, understandably. We all enjoyed the crazy dance scene for the egg race, where the dancers were doing all these crazy jumps, spins, twirls and flips with spoons holding the eggs. Liam was pretty sure that they were glued on! It was a nice way to cap off a bit of a crazy, adventurous day.