P.E.I.

PATCH­WORK PER­FECT

2017 Travel Guide to Canada - - Table Of Contents - BY SAN­DRA PHIN­NEY

Not only is Canada’s small­est and green­est prov­ince known for its patch­work colours, gen­tle rolling land­scapes and miles of pink sandy beaches, punc­tu­ated by iconic red cliffs—it is also the birth­place of Canada! It will come as no sur­prise then, that when Canada takes the world stage cel­e­brat­ing the coun­try’s 150th year of Con­fed­er­a­tion this year, Prince Ed­ward Is­land will oc­cupy a front row seat and ev­ery­one is in­vited to tag along.

2017 ON THE IS­LAND

Cel­e­bra­tions kick off with the City of Char­lot­te­town’s New Year’s out­door party and will con­tinue through­out the fol­low­ing 12 months. Parks Canada will be of­fer­ing free ad­mis­sion to all its parks and his­toric sites for the en­tire year. Dur­ing the sum­mer, the Con­fed­er­a­tion Cen­tre of the Arts will show­case “The Story of Con­fed­er­a­tion,” in­clud­ing a va­ri­ety of ex­pe­ri­ences de­pict­ing the birth of the na­tion such as: “The Con­fed­er­a­tion Cham­ber Ex­pe­ri­ence” in the cen­tre’s up­per foyer; guided tours and his­toric vi­gnettes pre­sented in in­no­va­tive ways by the Con­fed­er­a­tion Play­ers; and Parks Canada’s stun­ning new 20-minute film A Build­ing of Des­tiny. But that’s a mere taste of what’s in store.

A FOOD LOVER’S PAR­ADISE

Hardly a month goes by with­out new restau­rants, food tours, and culi­nary ex­pe­ri­ences sprout­ing on the scene. To wit: HopYard in Char­lot­te­town is one of the new­est kids on the block and fea­tures craft brews from all over North Amer­ica. With a menu that changes ev­ery two weeks, you are apt to find imag­i­na­tive dishes like Bahn Mi Belly Tacos and Bul­gogi Burg­ers. Bonus: se­lect a song from over 500 vinyl records for the bar­tender to play (www.hopyard.ca).

There are sev­eral places to learn how to cook like a pro, in­clud­ing The Ta­ble in New Lon­don, a pop­u­lar culi­nary stu­dio with hands-on cook­ing classes. Culi­nary Boot Camps—in­clud­ing classes for kids—are a big hit at Hol­land Col­lege, re­garded by many as Canada’s pre­mier culi­nary in­sti­tute.

Food is so im­por­tant on the Is­land that the en­tire month of Septem­ber is de­voted to a food fes­ti­val ti­tled “Fall Flavours.” With­out a doubt, the Is­land has be­come an in­ter­na­tional culi­nary mecca (www.fallflavours.ca).

SERENE TO SEN­SA­TIONAL

The beauty about P.E.I. is that you can be as laid-back as you please or as busy as you want. Look­ing for a se­cluded beach? Check. Or maybe you’d like to chat with some­one who knows how to make cheese or choco­lates. Check and check. If danc­ing the night away or shop­ping till you drop are on your wish list, no prob­lem. Love theater and mu­si­cal pro­duc­tions? You’ll be spoiled for choice. If you play your cards right, you can even learn how to place great bets at the race­way. It’s all here. Just ask the lo­cals.

WHAT’S NEW?

Sleep in the trees at Tree­top Haven in Mount Tryon! Five tree pods are fully equipped with a kitchen, bath­room, BBQ and per­sonal hot tub; only 15 min­utes from the Con­fed­er­a­tion Bridge (www.tree­tophaven.ca).

As craft beer is made on-site, Moth Lane Brew­ing in Eller­slie on the North Cape Coastal Drive of­fers a wa­ter view—and oys­ters (www.pei­flavours.ca/culi­nary-trail/ en­try/moth-lane-brew­ing).

Chef Dun­can Smith and his wife Coreen Pick­er­ing pro­vide unique food items and events un­der one roof at their gas­tro-pub, Broad­way 45, in Kens­ing­ton (www.pei flavours.ca/culi­nary-trail/en­try/broad­way-45).

LOT 45 Pub & Eatery in Souris, over­look­ing the beau­ti­ful Colville Bay in the Northum­ber­land Strait, has cre­ated a lot of ex­cite­ment with homestyle meals in a ca­sual at­mos­phere (www.lot45.ca).

CITY LIGHTS

This year, The Char­lot­te­town Fes­ti­val fea­tures the 53rd sea­son of the Guin­ness record-set­ting pro­duc­tion of Anne of Green Gables—The Mu­si­cal as well as the sen­sa­tional mu­si­cal, Mil­lion Dol­lar Quar­tet in the 1000seat theatre, and Bit­ter­girl: the Mu­si­cal in the cabaret (www.con­fed­er­a­tioncen­tre.com).

Taste the Town is a leisurely three-hour culi­nary walk­ing tour of Char­lot­te­town es­tab­lish­ments. Sam­ple some of the Is­land’s unique food and bev­er­ages along the way. Through­out the cap­i­tal city, you’ll also find a net­work of walk­ing trails and wa­ter­side board­walks, craft and spe­cialty shops.

Look for nu­mer­ous minia­ture dream catch­ers that have been in­te­grated into one gi­gan­tic dream catcher that is on dis­play in Char­lot­te­town as part of the 150th an­niver­sary.

At­lantic Canada’s longest-run­ning din­ner theatre is hugely pop­u­lar and con­tin­ues to com­bine good food with funky per­for­mances at the Rodd Char­lot­te­town Ho­tel and the Brothers 2 Res­tau­rant in Summerside, where they orig­i­nated (www.rod­dva­ca­tions.com/feast).

Al­though the city of Summerside is smaller than Char­lot­te­town, it also has a bustling wa­ter­front re­plete with in­door and out­door the­atres, in­ter­est­ing bou­tiques and places to eat. The mu­si­cal pro­duc­tion High­land Storm con­tin­ues to get ex­cel­lent re­views. Held at the Col­lege of Pip­ing and Celtic Per­form­ing Arts of Canada, the show fea­tures High­land bag­pip­ing, step-danc­ing, fid­dling and snare drum­ming (www. col­le­ge­of­pip­ing.com).

THE GREAT OUT­DOORS

Be pre­pared to be mes­mer­ized by the rare par­a­bolic dune sys­tem in the Green­wich Dunes area of PEI Na­tional Park, which also acts as a stun­ning back­drop to an ex­ten­sive trail sys­tem that in­cludes a float­ing board­walk. Re­mem­ber that en­trance to the park is free!

Cy­clists can ped­dle from one end of the Is­land to the other, and Gran Fondo PEI, spon­sored by Cy­cling PEI, is fast be­com­ing a pre­mier event (www.gran­fondo-pei.ca).

The P.E.I. por­tion of The Great Trail— the Con­fed­er­a­tion Trail—stretches 444 km (276 mi.) from Tig­nish in the west to Elmira in the east, and con­nects to the Is­land’s two en­try points (www.tourism­pei.com/ pei-cy­cling).

Golf en­thu­si­asts agree that P.E.I.’s cour­ses are spec­tac­u­lar and they are all within an hour’s drive of each other (www. golf­pei.ca ). Aside from golf, the Is­land is known for its authen­tic ex­pe­ri­ences—many out­doors, in­clud­ing fun with fal­cons, go­ing

clam dig­ging or out on a lob­ster boat, help­ing with farm chores, do­ing a GPS ad­ven­ture, or own­ing a race­horse for an evening (www.ex­pe­ri­en­cepei.ca ).

Through­out the Is­land there are end­less op­por­tu­ni­ties to get up close and per­sonal with na­ture. Kayak­ing, pad­dle board­ing, bik­ing, and bird­watch­ing—to name just a few out­door ac­tiv­i­ties—are of­fered in many re­gions. No equip­ment? No prob­lem; the Is­land has sev­eral out­fit­ters (www. tourism­pei.com).

HER­ITAGE AND CUL­TURE

The Arts & Her­itage Trail is an Is­land-wide guide for authen­tic Prince Ed­ward Is­land cul­tural ex­pe­ri­ences with el­e­ments such as mu­se­ums and his­toric sites, per­form­ing arts venues, fes­ti­vals, spe­cial events, theatre, gal­leries, craft shops and ar­ti­san stu­dios (www.art­sand­her­itagepei.ca).

To get a taste of Aca­dian cul­ture, visit Abrams Vil­lage or Roma at Three Rivers for fes­ti­vals, ex­hibits and tours ga­lore. A trip to The Aca­dian Mu­seum in Mis­couche will also in­tro­duce you to the fas­ci­nat­ing his­tory of the French pi­o­neers. Mu­sic and dance have long been em­bed­ded in the cul­ture as ev­i­denced at soirées and con­certs all around the Is­land.

Be sure to visit the Len­nox Is­land Mi’kmaq Cul­tural Cen­tre, as well as the an­nual Abeg­weit Pow Wow in Au­gust, to learn more about the Is­land’s Abo­rig­i­nal her­itage.

Art in the Open high­lights Char­lot­te­town’s vis­ual arts scene and the Is­land’s di­verse cul­tural tra­di­tions. It also en­gages vis­i­tors and the com­mu­nity in the cre­ation and ap­pre­ci­a­tion of art in its var­i­ous forms (www.artintheopen­pei.com).

MUST SEE, MUST DO

The Fire Works Feast at The Inn at Bay For­tune is a seven-course meal where ev­ery­thing is cooked in a 7.5 m-long (25-ft.) wood-burn­ing, fire-breath­ing stove that has an in­te­grated smoke­house, hearth, grill, plan­cha, ro­tis­serie and oven (www.in­nat­bay­for­tune.com). Jigs & Reels pro­vides an authen­tic P.E.I. ex­pe­ri­ence with a world-class mu­si­cian

(J.J. Chais­son—also known as “The Fid­dling Fish­er­man”) on his lob­ster boat. They’ve even had wed­dings on board! (www. fid­dling­fish­er­man.com).

Deep Roots Dis­tillery in War­ren Grove is the first in the prov­ince to pro­duce ab­sinthe, a po­tent green spirit made from care­fully se­lected herbs and pro­duced in small batches. It is shrouded with his­tory and mys­tery (www.deep­roots­dis­tillery.com).

The en­tire world seems to know about COWS ice cream. It’s avail­able at sev­eral lo­ca­tions in P.E.I., but the best place to visit is COWS Cream­ery on the out­skirts of Char­lot­te­town. Sign up for a tour which is ed­u­ca­tional, fun and de­li­cious (www.cows.ca).

SCENIC DRIVES

QUICK FACT

IN 1864, P.E.I. HOSTED THE CHAR­LOT­TE­TOWN CON­FER­ENCE, WHICH LED TO THE CRE­ATION OF CANADA IN 1867.

North Cape Coastal Drive is full of con­trasts. It’s quickly get­ting a rep­u­ta­tion as the Cana­dian Oys­ter Coast. There is ev­ery­thing here from Mi’kmaq and Aca­dian com­mu­ni­ties to se­cluded beaches and tow­er­ing wind tur­bines (www.north­capedrive.com).

Cen­tral Coastal Drive com­bines Green Gables Shore and Red Sands Shore. It is home to Vic­to­ria-by-the-Sea—a fish­ing vil­lage with great theatre, lots of charm and a gourmet choco­latier called Is­land Choco­lates (www.cen­tral­coastalpei.ca).

Points East Coastal Drive is more se­cluded—per­haps be­cause there are 34 beaches, 24 har­bours, 12 provin­cial parks and PEI Na­tional Park, Green­wich. Step back in time at Or­well Cor­ner His­toric Vil­lage (www.pointseast­coastaldrive.com).

FAM­ILY FUN

Kids of all ages love mak­ing sand­cas­tles, and Mau­rice Bernard is the ex­pert in res­i­dence at Cavendish Beach. Ask the staff there when Mau­rice is ex­pected to be around or sign up for Ex­pe­ri­ence PEI’s “Sen­sa­tional Sand­cas­tles.” Through­out the Is­land there are 22 provin­cial parks, and many have sec­tions geared for kids. Other pop­u­lar places in­clude Shin­ing Wa­ters Fam­ily Fun Park and Sand­spit Amuse­ment Park (www.tourism­pei.com/pei-hol­i­day-fun).

FRENCH RIVER • TOURISM PEI/YVONNE DUIVENVOORDEN

QUILT­ING • TOURISM PEI/JOHN SYLVESTER

148,600

Char­lot­te­town

www.gov.pe.ca

Char­lot­te­town Air­port, lo­cated within city lim­its

SPE­CIAL EVENTS JUNE

• FES­TI­VAL OF SMALL HALLS,

PROV­INCE-WIDE

• TD PEI JAZZ & BLUES FES­TI­VAL,

CHAR­LOT­TE­TOWN

JUNE – JULY

• DIVERSECITY FES­TI­VAL, IS­LAND-WIDE

JUNE – SEPTEM­BER

• IN­DIAN RIVER FES­TI­VAL

• THE CHAR­LOT­TE­TOWN FES­TI­VAL • VIC­TO­RIA PLAY­HOUSE FES­TI­VAL,

VIC­TO­RIA-BY-THE-SEA

JULY

• CAVENDISH BEACH MU­SIC FES­TI­VAL • “MER­MAID TEARS” SEA GLASS

FES­TI­VAL, SOURIS

• SUMMERSIDE LOB­STER FES­TI­VAL

JULY – AU­GUST

• HIGH­LAND STORM FES­TI­VAL,

SUMMERSIDE

AU­GUST

• IS­LAND FRINGE FES­TI­VAL,

CHAR­LOT­TE­TOWN

• OLD HOME WEEK, CHAR­LOT­TE­TOWN • TYNE VAL­LEY OYS­TER FES­TI­VAL

SEPTEM­BER

• BEEF N’ BLUES, SUMMERSIDE • FALL FLAVOURS, PROV­INCE-WIDE

OC­TO­BER

• FARM DAY IN THE CITY, CHAR­LOT­TE­TOWN

www.tourism­pei.com/ pei-fes­ti­vals-and-events

CHAR­LOT­TE­TOWN • TOURISM PEI/EMILY O`BRIEN

NEW GLAS­GOW • TOURISM PEI/PAUL BAGLOLE

DARN­LEY SHORE • TOURISM PEI/HEATHER OGG

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