Confederation, Farms and Fishing

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After our long drive down through New Brunswick (where, incidentally, we also moved into a new timezone as we travelled east), we finally arrived at Confederation Bridge, the modern gateway to Prince Edward Island. PEI lies off the eastern coast of New Brunswick, and along with Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, form the group of provinces known as The Maritimes. PEI is the smallest of Canada’s provinces, and is a very friendly, laid back place to visit. The island is mainly agricultural, with rolling hills covered in fields and farmland, green pines trees and a coastline surrounded in beaches, cliffs, and more than its fair share of lighthouses. (The island is also surrounded by dozens and dozens of shipwrecks, so obviously a few more lighthouses wouldn’t go astray.)

The island has a high concentration of iron in the soil, giving it the same sort of red dirt look as found in Central Australia. The combination of very red soil, very green hills and very blue skies gives it a really unique look. Cap it all off with inhabitants who are very friendly, and it really is a very beautiful island.

PEI is famous for quite a few things, and apart from being a relaxed, friendly place made up of farms and fishing villages, it’s other main claims to fame are its seafood - especially lobster, the fact that it played host to the confederation of Canada as a nation back in 1867, and finally its role as the real-life location to a story of a little red-haired girl called Anne of Green Gables. There is certainly a major Cult of Anne driving tourism here, but Donna has covered that in a separate post.

The island is connected to New Brunswick via the Confederation Bridge, quite a marvel of engineering as it connects the two provinces across the 13 kilometres of the waters of Northumberland Strait. It is the longest bridge in the world across ice covered waters, and at over 13km long is a pretty impressive sight, and even more impressive to drive across.

We spent some time exploring the island, visiting places like Georgetown, Charlottetown, Point Prim, North Rustico, and of course Cavendish (Anne Country). It’s a pretty confusing place to drive around, as the numerous roads are mostly fringed in farmland so its hard to get a grip on any memorable landmarks. Thank goodness for the GPS, it was a real lifesaver in getting around the island and its rather labyrinth road system.

We were also fortunate to have received an invitation to visit a couple we knew from Oakville, Steve and Fran and their kids Courtney, Cameron and Christian and Fran’s mum Florence. Fran’s family own a cottage on the western shore of the island, not far from the Confederation Bridge, and they were staying on PEI for most of the summer. We were invited to dinner and had a lovely night together.

Our last few days on the island were plagued with wet weather and unfortunately it rained for most of the time we were here. Still, we managed to to get out and see things, we visited Charlottetown, saw the Anne of Green Gables musical, did a bit of sightseeing, and even went deep sea fishing.

Tomorrow we say goodbye to Prince Edward Island and take the barge across to Nova Scotia for more adventures in the Maritimes.

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