It may be Canada’s smallest province, but, historically and culturally, Prince Edward Island more than makes up for its size. No matter where you are on the island, you’ll discover a rich past, amazing food, a hip music scene and beautiful beaches.
Where to stay
For the music lover: Trailside Music Café and Inn
Stay at the unique Trailside Music Café and Inn in Mount Stewart, where each of the four rooms with ensuites are decorated with kitschy, vintage finds—including a record player and a curated selection of vinyl. Visiting or local troubadours play every night (through October) at the inn’s café.
For the food fan: Charlotte’s Rose Inn
The aroma of home-baked goodies welcomes you at Charlotte’s Rose Inn, a Victorian B&B with four luxurious rooms and a loft suite, located in the heart of Charlottetown. Owner Dee Enright cooks up a locally sourced feast every morning and leaves tasty baked goods out for guests all day long.
For the history buff: Sydney Boutique Inn and Suites
Charlottetown’s Sydney Boutique Inn and Suites is housed in what used to be the Notre Dame Convent. The conversion of the 1857 building into 18 luxury suites is gorgeous, and the historical architecture and designer touches make for a posh stay. Delicious gourmet breakfasts are included.
For the beach lover: Dalvay by the Sea
Dalvay by the Sea—where royals Will and Kate spent part of their honeymoon—is located just beyond the dunes in Prince Edward Island National Park. Each of this historic property’s 25 rooms and eight cottages are filled with antique furniture and the restaurant offers fine dining and afternoon tea
What to do
For the music lover: Tap your foot at Ceilidh in the City
P.E.I.’s finest musicians and storytellers gather at Ceilidh in the City, a concert series held Wednesday nights through mid-November at the Jack Blanchard Family Centre in Charlottetown. This foot-tapping, high-energy sing-along is a traditional music-lover’s dream and a true slice of musical life on the island.
For the food fan: Learn to shuck oysters with Tong and Shuck
Meet an oyster fisherman and slurp down as many fat island oysters as you can during a Tong and Shuck experience near Cardigan, along the Boughton River. You’ll see how oysters are farmed, pull them out of the water and learn to properly shuck them so you can eat your freshly caught feast right on the dock.
For the history buff: Catch a historical reenactment
Catch a walking tour or a historical reenactment with Confederation Centre of the Arts. On The Historic Queen Square Tour, costumed actors explore the origins of this square, while the Daily Historic Vignettes offer an animated understanding of the Charlottetown Conference, which paved the way for Confederation.
For the beach lover: Spend a day exploring Brackley Beach
Located along the north shore, Brackley Beach offers miles of pristine sand to walk along and surprisingly mild waters to play in—all set amongst stunning white dunes. While there, stop at The Dunes Studio Gallery & Café for a locavore lunch or stay late to take in a double-bill at the Brackley Drive-In Theatre.
Where to eat
For the music lover: Hopyard Beer Bar
Chow down on a burger or Asian-influenced grub at Charlottetown’s Hopyard Beer Bar, which has an impressive range of draft and bottled craft beer from across the Maritimes. Racks of vinyl take centre stage here, and staff will gladly play your favourite albums (or sell them to you) while you enjoy your meal.
For the food fan: Blue Mussel Café
The Blue Mussel Café in North Rustico Harbour serves up the best chowder around, packed full of salmon, haddock or halibut, scallops and mussels. After the chowder, try the spicy crusted halibut with mango salsa. You won’t have room for one of the café’s decadent desserts, but you should order one anyway.
For the history buff: Sims Corner Steakhouse and Oyster Bar
A century ago, the brick building that houses Sims Corner Steakhouse and Oyster Bar in Charlottetown was a brothel and illegal drinking den. Today, the restaurant’s leather seats and red-velvet curtains pay homage to its history, and make for an atmospheric place to indulge in succulent steaks and seafood.
For the beach lover: Lennox Island
Head to the shores of Lennox Island for a delicious and authentic dining experience. Local Mi’kmaq community elders will build a fire and show you the traditional way of baking bannock under the embers. You will also cook freshly picked shellfish for a feast on the beach.
[This story appears in the August 2018 issue of WestJet Magazine]
Things to Do Outdoors In and Around Charlottetown
As the birthplace of Canada, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, is rich in history and must-see cultural attractions. Take a Sea-Doo into the Northumberland Strait, hike the coastline, paddle along the Hillsborough River or cycle to Green Gables in Cavendish.
The Best Places in Canada to See the Northern Lights
Canada is a prime destination for northern lights viewing, best experienced between October and March. Watch them dance in the night sky above Lake Superior near Thunder Bay, in Whitehorse, on Prince Edward Island, in Yellowknife or near Edmonton.