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Revision as of 19:15, 7 April 2011
Prince Edward Island (or PEI)  is one of the Atlantic Provinces of Canada. It is Canada's only island province. It is the smallest province by both area and population, but is also the most densely populated province.
"The Island", as locals call it, is well known for its beautiful sandy beaches and dunes. It is also the home of the gregarious Anne Shirley from Lucy Maud Montgomery's classic Anne of Green Gables. It became the "Cradle of Confederation" after the Fathers of Confederation met there in 1864 to discuss the possible union of five British North American colonies. Canada was formed three years later in 1867.
PEI is recognized for it’s red soil and sand that emerges from the break down of red sandstone. The high iron content of the sand gives it it’s rusty coloring and prominence. As the islanders say, “There are no white dogs in PEI.”
Red clay beaches of Prince Edward Island
Gateway Village, located just off the Confederation Bridge, is a 30 acre development of food and retail shops aimed at tourists. The Visitor Information Centre provides free maps and tourist information.
Being an island, PEI has limited access by car.
- The monumental Confederation Bridge , almost a visitor attraction in and of itself (viewing stations on the New Brunswick side offer good photo opportunities), crosses the Northumberland Strait between New Brunswick and PEI. It's reached from the mainland on TCH Route 16 near Aulac, and stretches 13 kilometers across open water to the island. The CND $42.50 toll (2 axle vehicle) is collected on the PEI side when returning to the mainland.
- PEI Express Shuttle, +1-877- 877-1771,  offers van service between PEI and Halifax. 3 days advance reservation is recommended.
- There are a number of car ferries into PEI.
Prince Edward Island is served by a single airport located in Charlottetown (IATA: YYG) . The following airlines operate passenger flights into the airport:
Throughout the summer months, cruise liners stop in Charlottetown for one day visits.
Non-metered taxi service is available within the city limits of Charlottetown and Summerside, as well as in most large communities. Most taxi companies are willing to provide transportation to rural areas of the island as well but be prepared to pay a higher rate for this service.
In 2005, the city of Charlottetown introduced a new public transit system  that provides bus transporation at a cost of $2 to various locations around the city. Although the service does not extend very far beyond city limits it does provide fast, reliable transportation to most locations within them.
In the summer cycling is popular. Although most roads do not have wide shoulders or designated bike lanes, drivers tend to be quite courteous to cyclists. The landscape consists mostly of rolling hills; there are few steep hills to climb. Additionally, the Confederation Trail stretches from one end of the island to the other. Built on a disused rail bed, the trail has low grades and is reserved for cyclists and pedestrians. Cycling maps, sample itineraries and other cycling resources are available from Tourism PEI, MacQueen's Island Tours (based in Charlottetown), and Atlantic Canada Cycling.
Greenwich dunes and the Gulf of Saint Lawrence.
Tourism in PEI often focuses on beach, seafood, music and the Anne of Green Gables House which seems especially to appeal to visitors from Japan, for whom this is the third or fourth most popular destination in North America (after the Grand Canyon and Banff, Alberta and often ahead even of Niagara Falls).
PEI features many scenic fishing villages.
Malpeque Harbor is a bay located in Prince County. It is the source of not just the famous oysters but many postcards and posters of the picturesque fishing boats, colorful barn-shaped boat houses, and neatly stacked lobster traps. Arrive in late afternoon or early morning for the best light on the water.
St. Peter's Bay is bordered by the 900 acre Greenwich Dunes  on one side, and is full of row upon row of buoys used for mussel farming.
High Bank is located in Kings County in Eastern PEI. The cliffs surrounding High Bank provide sweeping views along the Northumberland Straight of Nova Scotia and Pictou Island.
Cape Bear is formed from high cliffs that offer a good location for photography and viewing seals. During World War II, the lighthouse at Cape Bear was utilized to spot German U-Boats. Cape Bear was also the land first station in Canada to receive an SOS from the Titanic in 1912.
The Ghost Ship of the Northumberland Straight is a legendary ghost ship believed to sail the Northumberland Straight by nightfall engulfed in flames. Many ships ventured out on rescue missions to this burning ship. Reportedly, the ship always receded from view. Witnesses across the island will testify to sightings of this phantom ship.
Murray Harbour is a harbour located in Southern Kings County. In the 1700’s the harbour became an important Canadian port for the fishing trade. Today, Murray Harbour is still a fishing community. Local fishermen cast around the harbour for lobsters and scallops. Murray Harbour is home to local celebrity, Brad Richards, Canadian Professional Hockey Player of the Dallas Stars.
- The Confederation Centre of the Arts  in Charlottetown hosts a variety of theatrical and musical acts throughout the year in addition to the long running Anne of Green Gables musical which plays every summer. The centre also houses a small art gallery and a public library.
- The Victoria Playhouse  in picturesque Victoria by the Sea presents up to 85 live theatre and performance events each season. The playbill includes a mix of established classics and new plays by young playwrights.
- Prince Edward Island bike tours  The tour starts in Cape North and winds its way through Malpeque Bay, along the Bay of St. Lawrence, to the most easterly point of the island, passing through many lovely villages, including Cavendish, North Rustico, Brackley Beach,and Stanhope.
- Basin Head is a popular beach which also has a bridge that you can go and have some fun jumping off of.
- Victoria Park is in the heart of Charlottetown's west end. It contains within its boundaries many recreational and historic sites. The baseball fields, tennis courts, skateboard park and swimming pool should give you lots to do on a hot summer day or evening. The play ground is great for the kids. Two historically relevant sites should spark your interest, Fort Edward was an old British fort set up to protect Charlottetown harbour and on the east end of the park stands the majestic residence of the Lieutenant Governor of PEI, Fanningbank.
- The Dunes Gallery & Cafe, RR#9 Brackley Beach, ☎ 902.672.2586, . 11:30AM-10:00PM. Cafe and gallery that features a number of local artists, as well as furniture and some imported crafts. There are also water gardens on the grounds.
- PEI Scenic Drives, Covers the Island, . Anytime!. One of the best ways to experience Island life is to meander along the various back roads and highways, adding your own diversions here and there. Tourism PEI promotes three scenic drives - North Cape Coastal Drive, Blue Heron, and Points East Coastal Drive. All are unique and shed a glimpse of different aspects of Island life. Cycling is also a great way to see PEI and the areas covered by the Scenic Drives. A good first stop for cycling information and resources is Tourism PEI.
- Experience PEI, 274 Salutation Cove Road, ☎ 9028873222, . 8am-5pm Monday-Sunday. Experience PEI provides exciting and unique experiential tourist activities for visitors to the Island. They take you and your group on these activities so you can get a real sense of what it's like to be an Islander and a taste of the Island culture! $30-$200.
The PEI Rocket are a major junior hockey team. They have had a few players play in the NHL or AHL. Former Rocket Maxime Lapierre plays full time for the Vancouver Canucks.
Churchill Arms FC is an amateur men’s soccer club out of Charlottetown. They stand-ins for PEI at the BMO Canadian National Soccer Championships in 2008, 2009, and 2010.
The University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) have teams in both the Atlantic University Sport division, and the Canadian Interuniversity Sport division. Teams involved in UPEI include Men and Women’s soccer, Women’s Rugby, Field Hockey, Men and Women’s Basketball, Men and Women’s Hockey, and Swimming.
During the Winter and early spring (January-May) most stores remain closed on Sundays although all essential services are available. Between the end of May and December, stores are open on Sunday. Given the island's large tourism industry, there are many, varied souvenir shops all over. Some of the more impressive are Prince Edwards Island Preserves in New Glasgow, Vessy's Seeds in York and The Dunes in Brackley. These shops carry locally produced art work, food and clothing items.
- bestofpei Store (Authentic Island Excellence), 156 Richmond St., Charlottetown (on Historic Victoria Row), ☎ +1 (902) 368-8835 ([email protected]), . 9AM-9PM, seven days a week, open year round. Carries a host of works by more than 250 of PEI's finest artisans. Continues to seek out talented Island artists, musicians, craftspeople, and specialty chefs who offer authentic Island excellence in their work.
- Cows, ☎ +1 (800) 565-2697, . Canada’s most popular spot for ice cream! A trip to Cows is unlike any other ice cream experience. The smell of fresh made waffle cones will lure you in through the door, but you will stay for the apparel! Cows not only offers a bounty of creatively named (and delicious) ice cream flavors like “Gooey Mooey” or “Wowie Cowie”, but the store sells t-shirts for women, men, and children that are humorous parodies of pop culture, such as “Cowy Potter and the Udder of the Phoenix.”
- The Magik Dragon, 9389 N. Murray River, ☎ +1 (902) 962-2839, . Vends an abundance of unique and colorful gifts including shark tooth necklaces, crystals, stones, and wooden carvings. The Magik Dragon is a one of a kind store with gifts for the curious and mystical person.
In recent years, Prince Edward Island has seen a tremendous improvement in the quality of its restaurants. The traditional tourist restaurants serving boiled lobsters with all-you-can-eat coleslaw still exist, and can be a lot of fun, but those looking for a more refined or exotic meal now have several options.
- Formosa Tea Room, 186 Prince St, Charlottetown, ☎ +1 (902) 566-4991. Provides shockingly inexpensive vegetarian meals. Serving a selection of fine Asian teas, dim sum treats like dumplings, and large bowls of noodles, vegetables and vegetarian "ham", you won't go hungry. The menu is small but every item on it is delicious and very reasonably priced.
- The Water Prince Corner Shop and Lobster Pound, 141 Water St., Charlottetown (corner of Water and Prince Streets), ☎ +1 (902) 368-3212, . Offers simple but well prepared seafood meals at exceptional prices. Start with an order of fresh Malpeque oysters, and then have a lobster roll, some lightly battered fish and chips, or even a 2 lb. steamed lobster.
- The Noodle House, 31 Summer St, Charlottetown, ☎ +1 (902) 628-6633. Serves authentic Chinese cuisine; well-known for their Kung Pao Gar Ding, Hot & Sour soup, and friendly service.
- Cedar's Eatery, 81 University Ave., Charlottetown, ☎ +1 (902) 892-7377. Has a more upscale take on Lebanese food than you might be used to. Shish Taouk, Falafel and other traditional dishes are prepared much more thoughtfully and are far tastier than the normal hole-in-the-wall Mediterranean joints in most cities. This restaurant has the best Shwarma in both chicken and beef.
- Malpeque oysters are known around the world for their large size, soft flesh and sweet, mild flavour. Eat the freshest possible Malpeque oysters at the Malpeque Oyster Barn, Malpeque Harbor, +1 902 836-3999. Oysters are a bargain at $18/dozen. They also serve chowder, mussles, beer and sodas. Open until 8PM.
- Brehauts Restaurant, Murray Harbour, ☎ +1 (902) 962-3141. A modest family owned restaurant since 1976. A must visit location in Murray Harbour well-known for their fresh and local sea food. A restaurant for all ages, customers can dine inside or outside on picnic tables.
- The Café on the Clyde, (located in the Prince Edward Island Preserve Company [http://www.preservecompany.com/] store, in New Glasgow at the junction of routes 224 and 258), ☎ +1 800 565-5267. Has a selection of breakfast items served until 11AM, and lunch and dinner items served after that. The potato and bacon pie is excellent, as is the lobster croissant. The fish cakes are made the traditional way with salt cod and potatos; an authentic Maritime experience, but most customers don't order them twice. A wide selection of black and herbal teas are available either hot or iced. The dining room has a beautiful view over the idyllic Clyde River. It's a great place to stop for breakfast, lunch, a light dinner, or just a cup of tea and a piece of home-made cake.
- Lobster suppers are a highly popular dining experience and ubiquitous on the island. These meals are built around a main course of locally-caught lobster and usually include appetizers, soups, salads and desserts. Look for a large, red lobster claw on the front lawn of a church or social club, or a handpainted sign at a crossroad.
- New Glasgow Lobster Suppers, Route 258 (off highway 13), . One of the most widely advertised restaurants for the lobster dining experience. Located in the village of New Glasgow near the heart of Anne of Green Gables country. You can choose from 1, 1.5 and 2 lb lobsters. Prices, though high for the island, are very reasonable compared to elsewhere.
- St. Ann's Parish, off Route 224 in New Hope, ☎ +1 (902) 621-0635, . Offers a huge amount of food — all home cooked — for a reasonable price. The traditional lobster dinner includes soup, a heaping bowl of local mussels, salad, cole slaw, au gratin potatoes, vegetables, lobster, and homemade dessert. They also serve other entrees, as well as wine and beer. Children's menu available. Be sure to arrive hungry.
- Widely recognized as the best dining on PEI is the Inn at Bay Fortune, Bay Fortune, +1 902 687-3745 (winter +1 860 563-6090), . The menu was originally developed by chef Michael Smith, and his Food Network series The Inn Chef was filmed at the Inn. Smith has since left to focus on his television programme, but the quality of the food has not decreased. Chef Warren Barr offers a daily tasting menu. The restaurant has been awarded three stars (the maximum) by the Where to Eat in Canada dining guide.
- The Lucy Maud Montgomery Dining Room at the Culinary Institute of Canada, a well respected school for chefs. 4 Sydney St, Charlottetown, +1 902 894-6868, . The students prepare and serve meals under the tuttelage of their professors. The food is classically and competently prepared. The dining room has an excellent view over Charlottetown Harbour, though the institute's building itself is hopelessly municipal in appearance. Begins service at 6PM, reservations requested.
It is a really nice place to eat, and the food is really fancy.
If you choose to cook your own meals at a rental cottage or a camp site there are a number of large grocery stores located around the island. Atlantic Superstore  (locations in Charlottetown, Summerside, and Montague) and Sobeys  (locations in Charlottetown, Summerside, Montague, Stratford, and West Royalty) are the largest grocery stores in the province, and both carry a wide selection of staples as well as international imports. Sunday shopping is currently in effect for the summer season, and will be in place until further notice. If you also want to have some fun getting a photo of your family, go to Grampas Photo studio and get a old picture and get dressed up and have some fun with that.
The legal drinking age in Prince Edward Island is 19. Bars, clubs and liquor stores will typically ask for a government-issued ID from anyone who looks under 25. Retail alcohol sale on the island is restricted to the government controlled PEI Liquor Commission . Their stores carry a reasonable selection of wine, beer and liquor.
- Briarcliffe Inn, 274 Salutation Cove Road, ☎ 9028872333, . The Briarcliffe Inn is a bed and breakfast located in Salutation Cove with a beautiful view overlooking the Confederation Bridge. This is the perfect place to relax, enjoy the beaches, and let the innkeepers prepare your meals while you sit back and relax with a glass of complimentary wine. $115-$175.
- Northumberland Provincial Park Campground, 12547 Shore Rd, Rt 4, ☎ +1 (902) 962-7418. Open from May 27th to September 17th. 3 km from the Wood Islands Ferry. The Northumberland Provincial Campground provides a gentle camping experience. The park has a lovely view of a family friendly island beach with lifeguards on duty through the summer. A perfect location to start or end your island vacation! $25-$45.
- The ferries to the Îles-de-la-Madeleine and Nova Scotia are fairly infrequent. However, Confederation Bridge remains open year round and is the fastest, cheapest and most convenient way back to the mainland.
- There are daily flights between Charlottetown and Montreal, Toronto, and Halifax.