In advance of our visit to Prince Edward Island today via a 7-Day Canada and New England cruise, we found some fun facts about Canada’s smallest province.
33 Fun Facts About Prince Edward Island, Canada
1. Prince Edward Island is Canada’s smallest province both in population and in land size. The main island is 2,170 square miles (slightly larger than Delaware) with about 146,000 residents called “islanders.”
2. The province of Prince Edward Island (also referred to as PEI or P.E.I.) includes the main island of the same name, as well as 231 minor islands totaling 2.195 square miles.
3. PEI is Canada’s only province with no land boundary. The main island is Canada’s 23rd largest, and the world’s 104th largest island.
4. PEI is located 125 miles north of Halifax, Nova Scotia and 373 miles east of Quebec City.
5. The Mi’kmaq First Nations (Micmac) first inhabited Prince Edward Island, naming it Epekwitk meaning “cradled on the waves.”
6. The Mi’kmaq lived in wigwams and moved frequently. They hunted in the winter and fished in the summer.
7. French explorer Jacques Cartier discovered the island in 1534. As part of the French colony of Acadia, the island was called íŽle Saint-Jean.
8. In 1763, Great Britain obtained the island from France under the terms of the Treaty of Paris. The British called their new colony St. John’s Island.
9. On November 29, 1798, the colony’s name was changed from St. John’s Island to Prince Edward Island to distinguish it from Saint John, New Brunswick and St. John’s in Newfoundland.
10. Prince Edward Island was named after Prince Edward, who was the fourth son of King George III and the father of Queen Victoria.
11. Charlottetown, the capital of Prince Edward Island, was named after Queen Charlotte, the wife of King George III.
12. During the 19th century, Prince Edward Island became a fashionable retreat for British nobility, attracting “adventurous Victorian families looking for elegance on the sea.”
13. In September 1864, Prince Edward Island hosted the Charlottetown Conference, which was the first meeting in the process leading to the Quebec Resolutions and the creation of Canada in 1867.
14. By hosting this conference, PEI is labeled as the “Birthplace of Confederation“ although PEI did not join the Canada Confederation until six years later on July 1, 1873.
15. It was only after the Canadian government agreed to assume the colony’s extensive railway debts that Prince Edward Island became the seventh Canadian province,
16. Local author Lucy Maud Montgomery’s book, Anne of Green Gables, was published in 1908. The book’s setting is near Cavendish Beach, and the house that inspired the book is now a National Historic Site.
17. Charlottetown and Summerside are PEI’s only two cities. The island also has seven incorporated towns.
18. Agriculture is the PEI’s largest industry, with nearly half of the island’s land dedicated to farming.
19. PEI’s famous red soil gets its color from the high iron content which oxidizes when exposed to the air.
20. Potatoes have been produced on PEI since as early as 1771. Today PEI grows a third of Canada’s potatoes. The island’s seed potatoes are exported to more than 20 countries.
21. Most of the island consists of gently rolling hills. Springton, at 499 feet above sea level, is the highest point in PEI.
22. Developed from old railway beds, the 250 mile-long Confederation Trail across the island is open to walkers, cyclists, runners and wheelchairs in the summer and snowmobiles in the winter.
23. With people of Scottish descent making its largest ethnic group, Prince Edward Island has had its own Provincial Tartan, designed by Mrs. Jean Reed of Covehead. The plaid’s reddish-brown color signifies the red soil, the green represents the island’s grass and trees, while the white is for the whitecaps on the waves and the yellow for the sun.
24. PEI also recognizes an official dress tartan for evening wear. The Prince Edward Island Dress Tartan has a different design but it evokes a distinct PEI feel with its green and Island-red combination.
25. PEI has more than 33 golf courses that attract professional golfers such as Tom Watson, John Daly and Fred Couples.
26. Curling is a popular sport on Prince Edward Island. There are seven different curling clubs on the island.
27. Prince Edward Island offers more than 90 sandy beaches. Surrounded by the warm waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, PEI has a relatively mild but windy climate.
28. Tourism is PEI’s second largest industry, with fishing coming in third. Herring, tuna, cod, mackerel, lobsters, clams, scallops, mussels and oysters are all part of the seafood from Prince Edward Island.
30. The Confederation Bridge – opened in 1997 — joins New Brunswick and PEI. The 8-mile-long bridge takes 12 minutes to cross, and is the world’s longest bridge over ice-covered water.
31. Ferries connect travelers between Caribou, Nova Scotia and Wood Island, PEI eight months of the year. During summer months, a ferry operates a five hour crossing from Souris, PEI to the Magdalene Island in Quebec.
32. Wind power generates as much as 15% of electricity used on PEI.
33. Despite Prince Edward Island’s small size and rural nature, it is the most developed and densely populated province in Canada, since it lacks the vast amount of undeveloped wilderness found in most other Canadian provinces.
What fun fact can you add about Prince Edward Island? Please share in comments below.
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