Learn all the fun facts about PEI. Prince Edward Island is Canada’s smallest province, located off the east coast of the country. It’s known for its sandy beaches, and a rich history dating back to the 1600s. From potato farms, and lobsters to the land of the Canadian Confederation, these are the must-know Prince Edward Island facts.
Fun facts about PEI: Prince Edward Island facts
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Where is Prince Edward Island located?
PEI or Prince Edward Island is situated off the eastern coast of Canada. It forms part of a group of provinces known as the Maritimes – comprising PEI, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia.
It is one among many provinces in Atlantic Canada including Newfoundland and Labrador that rounds up this ensemble.
Why is it called Prince Edward Island?
The province is named after Prince Edward, Duke of Kent. He was the fourth son of King George III and the father of Queen Victoria. The name of the province was adopted in 1799.
…and the residents call themselves Prince Edward Islanders
Official symbols of PEI
These are the official symbols of Prince Edward Island,
- Motto: Parva sub ingenti (The small under the protection of the great)
- Coat of arms: Prince Edward Island’s coat of arms is based on the first provincial seal (dated back to 1769). The top section of the shield has the English heraldic lion, and the lower part has a green island with a large oak tree on the right with three young oaks on the left. These represent the Oak of England, and the saplings signify the province’s three counties — Kings, Queens and Prince
- Emblem: Lady’s slipper – Cypripedium acaule (adopted in 1947)
- Tree: Red oak -Quercus rubra (1905)
- Bird: Blue jay – Cyanocitta cristata (adopted in 1977)
- Tartan: This tartan depicts the redness of the soil of the land with green representing the grass and trees; white for the caps on the waves; along with yellow for the sun. It was designed by Mrs. Jean Reid of Covehead through a provincial contest (adopted in 1960)
It is the smallest Canadian province | An island province
Canada has 10 provinces and 3 territories. And PEI is the smallest of them all.
Prince Edward Island joined Canada in 1873 and it became the seventh province of the country.
Capital city of PEI
Charlottetown is the capital city of Prince Edward Island. It is also the largest urban metropolis on the island.
The name – Charlottetown, was named in honor of Queen Charlotte, wife of George III of England.
Charlottetown is the cradle of the Canadian Confederation
Charlottetown in Prince Edward Island is known as the “Cradle of Canadian Confederation” due to its role in the formation of Canada.
It was here in 1864 that the Fathers of Confederation met and discussed the union of British colonies in what would become Canada.
In 1864, delegates from the three Maritime colonies met in Charlottetown to discuss the Maritime union, and at the same time delegates from Ontario and Quebec — came as observers.
The Charlottetown Conference ultimately led to a series of other meetings in Quebec, London, and Ottawa before the idea of Confederation was solidified.
Today, Charlottetown is still a major center of Canadian government and culture, with many provincial and federal buildings located in its downtown core.
It remains an important part of Canadian history as well as an attractive destination for visitors interested in learning more about the nation’s earliest days.
History of Prince Edward Island
For centuries, the Mi’kmaq First Nations have called Prince Edward Island home as part of their region of Mi’kma’ki.
Europeans first explored the island in the 16th century and the French colonists subsequently arrived in 1720.
Ultimately, the British claimed all lands including PEI by conquest in 1763, making it St John Island for six years prior to joining Canada’s Confederation.
During the time when Prince Edward Island was a part of the British Empire, it was divided into three counties – Queens, Kings, and Princes.
Over the next two centuries, the island went through many changes, becoming home to a thriving fishing and farming industry. In 1873, the island joined Canada as its seventh province.
How to get to Prince Edward Island?
Being an island, one of the ways to get to PEI is by flying. Budget airlines like Swoop have flight deals from various Canadian cities to Charlottetown (Charlottetown Airport).
From the airport, you can pick up a car rental to explore the island or take a cab to the city’s downtown area.
It is also possible to drive (or take a bus ride) to PEI from the nearby province of New Brunswick.
The 13 kilometre (8-mile) Confederation Bridge connects both provinces. The trip takes only 10 minutes to cross the longest bridge over ice-covered waters in the world.
Buses and private transfers can also be booked from Nova Scotia.
Another option is to take the ferry that operates seasonally. Ferries run from Cap-aux-Meules, Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Quebec to Souris, Prince Edward Island, or you can hop on one of the Northumberland Ferries from Nova Scotia year-round.
PEI Time zone
Prince Edward Island is situated in the Atlantic Time Zone, four hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).
Prince Edward Island weather
The balmy atmosphere of Prince Edward Island is a result of the cozy temperatures in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and when you’re surrounded by water like that, it’s bound to be breezy!
The province experiences mild temperatures where summers are warm, and winters are not too cold.
At times winds can become quite intense here – making for an adventure-filled experience!
February is the coldest month in PEI, December is the wettest month, and June through August are perfect for a visit there with warmer temperatures all throughout.
Home to the longest bridge in Canada
Spanning 13 km (8 miles), the Confederation Bridge is a dream come true for residents of both Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick.
Ever since its debut in 1997, it has been the longest bridge over icy waters across the globe – allowing drivers to travel between destinations without taking boats or ferries!
The journey is only 10 minutes long and can be enjoyed with stunning views of Northumberland Strait.
Although ferry rides are still an option if you’re looking for something more relaxed, there’s no doubt that this landmark adds convenience to all travelers from or to PEI.
You will need a car or ride the shuttle bus to cross the Confederation Bridge. Cyclists and pedestrians are not permitted on the bridge due to safety reasons. Shuttles operate daily.
Without a ride, you can take in the views of the Bridge from the Port Borden Front Range Lighthouse in Borden-Carleton, or from the Cape Jourimain nature center (for a fee).
Number of national and provincial parks | PEI National Park
There is only one national park in PEI, and it is called the Prince Edward Island National Park.
The park is home to a myriad of landscapes – from sand dunes, salt marshes, remnants of an Acadian forest, coastal headlands, sandstone cliffs, and beaches.
There are 3 sections of the park, namely Cavendish, Brackley-Dalvay Beach, and Greenwich.
There are 23 provincial parks in PEI with both campgrounds and day-use sites.
Of Lucy Maud Montgomery and Anne of Green Gables
Lucy Maud Montgomery is one of the best-known literary personalities from Canada. She was born in Clifton, PEI. As an accomplished author, she published 20 novels, along with 530 short stories, 500 poems, and 30 essays.
She is most well known for her classic novel Anne of Green Gables, which was published in 1908. It tells the story of an orphaned red-haired girl growing up on Prince Edward Island.
The book has been translated into more than thirty languages and has sold millions of copies worldwide. It’s inspired several films, television shows, and even a musical.
Montgomery also wrote several other works of fiction and poetry set on Prince Edward Island. Her work has become an integral part of Canada’s cultural heritage and she is often called the mother of Canadian literature.
She was born on the island in 1874 and later moved to Ontario, where she lived until her death in 1942.
Anne of Green Gables Museum & related sightseeing
LM Montgomery’s legacy is celebrated through the Anne of Green Gables heritage place, located at her former home in Cavendish. Visitors can explore her life and work and get a glimpse into what made Montgomery such an important part of Canada’s literary history.
You will find trails, a cafe, various literary and biographical exhibitions of the author herself, and a souvenir shop. There is ample parking on-site as well.
Green Gables museum is a delightful place to be – the entire place will transfer you into a fairytale of sorts!
Did you know? You can catch the Anne of Green Gables musical show at the Confederation Centre of the Arts, during The Charlottetown Festival held in the summer months.
PEI and lighthouses go together
Prince Edward Island is home to over 61+ lighthouses and range lights giving it the title of the highest concentration of lighthouses in North America!
Golf courses on Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island is home to many world-renowned golf courses and beaches. In fact, it’s been dubbed the “Golf Capital of Canada”.
The island has hosted several prestigious golf tournaments and is a great destination for any golf enthusiast.
Beaches on Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island boasts over 800 kilometers of coastline, making it an ideal beach getaway.
Along the coast, visitors can find plenty of beaches perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and surfers alike.
And with the mild temperatures, visitors are sure to enjoy the island’s many beaches year-round!
The cool Confederation Trail
The Confederation Trail is a 449 km (279 miles) system of recreational trails which traverse Prince Edward Island from tip to tip.
The trail offers cyclists, hikers, and outdoor enthusiasts the opportunity to explore the island’s rural landscape in its entirety.
From rolling hills to dense forests and coastal vistas, this multi-use trail offers something for everyone. Along the way, you can explore many of the island’s historic towns and attractions.
One of the coolest things to do in PEI is to bike on the Confederation Trail, as it offers a peaceful and scenic journey through the province. This route is open three seasons of the year.
With well-maintained roads and welcoming locals, biking along the trail is an unforgettable experience that allows you to truly appreciate all that Prince Edward Island has to offer.
Cities and towns of Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island is home to many charming cities and towns. The provincial capital, Charlottetown, is the largest city on the island and a popular destination for tourists.
Summerside is another notable city located in the centre of the province, renowned for its beautiful beaches and picturesque waterfront.
Other notable towns include Souris, Kensington, Montague, and North Rustico. The island is also home to many small fishing villages such as Indian River, Victoria-By-the-Sea, Georgetown, and Morell.
Each of these towns has its own unique charm and attractions that make Prince Edward Island a great place to visit.
PEI consists of one main island and over 230 smaller islands.
Lastly, the province is an important agricultural centre with many small farms located throughout the island.
Geography of Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island is located in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in eastern Canada, near Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. It is part of the Appalachian region and is known for its reddish brown soil.
The province covers an area of 5,683.91 square kilometers (2,194 sq mi). Its highest point is Springton Peak and its highest elevation is 140 m (460 ft).
The island is divided by hills and valleys that form a distinctive landscape of gently rolling hills, red sandstone cliffs, and sandy beaches. The coastline is dotted with many bays and small islands.
Prince Edward Island is also home to one of the world’s most productive fisheries, with a wide variety of fish species found in its waters.
It is the largest potato producer in Canada
Prince Edward Island is the largest potato producer in Canada, producing over 25% of all potatoes grown in the country.
PEI has a long history of growing potatoes that can be traced back to the early 1800s when it began to export them to other parts of Canada and the United States.
Today, PEI’s potato industry supports thousands of jobs and contributes significantly to the island’s economy. PEI potatoes are known for their high quality and are used in a variety of products including chips, fries, mashed potatoes, salads, soups, and much more.
The province is also home to many unique varieties of potatoes that have developed over time due to the special climate and soil conditions found on the island.
Lobster season on Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island is widely known as Canada’s Lobster Capital. The island’s cold waters produce some of the finest and sweetest lobster in the world.
The island also hosts one of the biggest lobster festivals in Canada every summer, with thousands of people coming out to celebrate the seafood delicacy.
Lobster fishing is a major industry on the island and is important to the local economy. For more than a century, lobster fishing has been an essential tradition for the 1200 Island lobster fishers who dock in PEI’s 45 ports. It is a unique heritage that continues to be passed down through generations.
Each year, local fishermen harvest over 41 million pounds of lobster from PEI’s shores, with much of it being exported to countries around the world.
There are countless restaurants around PEI that serve up fresh lobster dishes, from classic steamed lobster to more innovative recipes like Lobster Mac ‘n Cheese and Lobster Roll.
Visitors to the island won’t be able to resist trying some of PEI’s famous lobster dishes!
Have you heard of the song: “I’m Lester the Lobster from PEI”?
Top industries in PEI
Agriculture is a major industry on the island, with potatoes being one of its primary crops. The fisheries are also important to the economy and have been for centuries.
Prince Edward Island is home to many wonderful attractions and activities, from golfing and deep-sea fishing to beaches and national parks, which means tourism is also popular.
PEI is also an active arts community, with a variety of theatrical productions, concerts, and art galleries.
Additionally, visitors can enjoy whale watching and touring the island’s many lighthouses and museums. Prince Edward Island truly has something for everyone!
Prince Edward Island also has a vibrant local cuisine that reflects its cultural heritage. Seafood such as lobster, mussels, and oysters are popular staples of the island’s cuisine, while other dishes such as potatoes and rutabagas are also popular.
Minimum wage in PEI
The minimum wage of PEI is $14.50 CAD as of January 2023, and it will increase to $15 CAD by the end of the year.
Population of PEI
As of July 1, 2022, Prince Edward Island’s population is 170,688.
Prince Edward Island is a stunningly beautiful province with plenty of opportunities for exploration and adventure. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful escape or an exciting getaway, there’s something for everyone on this picturesque island.
It’s an ideal destination for nature lovers, history buffs, beachgoers, and foodies alike.
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