When you live on the Island you quickly realize that you are never far from any destination. At most the next big town Summerside, pop: 14,000, is 50 minutes from Charlottetown. Most other points are about 20 to 30 minutes which in terms of commuting is minimal. How many times in any large city you need one hour in traffic just to get to a destination within the city. In some cases you may need more time and anyone living in a large city knows this.
Here it is the opposite, I am 8 minutes from the Airport, 5 minutes from any major retail outlet, I can walk to everything else. People go to their cottage which is 20 minutes away, might as well say I live in another part of the city. What is funny though is that Islanders will say that such and such destination is too far if it is more than 10 minutes away by car.
On one afternoon this past week I decided to go to Point Prim, which is a finger of land jutting out into the Strait of Northumberland and on which stands the oldest lighthouse still in use of the Island. It is also the only round lighthouse in Canada built in 1845. It welcomes ships entering the mouth of the Hillsborough River and the port of Charlottetown. The Island has many lighthouses due to the very rough and dangerous coastline. I left Charlottetown by crossing the Causeway Bridge over the Hillsborough River into Stratford and down the Highway to road 209 which is a dead end, since it ends at the lighthouse. I was there in 25 minutes, little to no traffic on a quiet road with great vista.
The Point Prim Lighthouse, it is automated since 1969 and maintained by the Canadian Coast Guard. The architect of the Lighthouse Isaac Smith will go on to build more famous buildings in Charlottetown, namely Province House which is the Legislative building of the Province built in 1847 in Georgian style and Fanningbank, the Official Residence of the Lieutenant Governor of PEI in Palladian Style in 1834.
Point Prim Chowder House restaurant only open from June to end of September. Open daily from Noon to 8pm.
Marguerites on the road side.
There is no sand beaches here, it is all red sandstone. The land in the distance is Charlottetown and Rocky Point.
The men responsible for building this lighthouse were George Coles and Edward Palmer, they were shareholders in an outfit called the Prince Edward Island Steam Navigation Company, the land was given by Lord Selkirk, who had developed a scheme to resettled Scotsmen and their families, since they were being pushed off (clearing) the land in Scotland. The idea of building this lighthouse was to protect Mail Ships coming into Charlottetown Harbour from the mainland, the ships were privately owned and the contract was very lucrative. The Mail Ship was an important and vital link between the Island and the mainland, without the guidance at night of this lighthouse the approach to the Island is dangerous and many ships sank on the rocks prior to its erection. When the Steam Ship carrying the delegates to the Charlottetown Conference in 1864 approached the Island, the beam of the Point Prim Light house guided them safely.
On HWY 209 I came upon this tree decorated with boat buoys in various colours, looks like a Xmas tree
A few days ago I also went to Mount Stewart, travel time 20 minutes, to have dinner at the Trailside Music Café & Inn and to listen to Andrew Hunter and the band Royal North perform. Now on the Island we have a lot of areas named Mount Edward, Mount Stewart, Mount Mellick, Mount Herbert, etc. however do not look for a mountain, there is none, it designated at one point a community, some have disappeared but the local name stays on the maps.
Mount Stewart had a train station, which is a bakery nowadays and it is still a functioning community. The Trailside Music Café & Inn is owned by a young couple Meghann and Patrick. trailside.ca
The building was originally built by community residents in 1937 to house the first cooperative store on Prince Edward Island. Known by local residents as “The Coop”, it operated as a general store, saw mill and potato warehouse until the 1970s. In 1996, Doug Deacon and his family took over the place and made the badly needed repairs. The Deacon family successfully restored the place into an Inn, café, and bicycling rental shop until 2011. It is now an important music venue, twice nominated in the last few years as the best music venue in Canada. The food is also very good with a nice affordable wine list and great cocktails.
Next to the Inn is the Confederation Trail which runs on what use to be the rail road tracks. It is now used by pedestrians and bicyclist to tour the Island from one end to the other. Meaning that you go through communities as you walk or bicycle, like the train did. Many old train stations have been turned into shops, bars, restaurants featuring local food and goods, it’s low key and not commercial in a touristy way, which is refreshing.
Nearby is the Hillsborough River, designated a Canadian Heritage River in 1997. This river was a very important resource for the Mi’kmaw people and was the main transportation route for transportation route for the Europeans who came to settle the Island.
Royal North Band in concert at the Trailside Music Café & Inn
Featured coming musical attractions, the regulars know these artists who perform in the Maritimes.
The United Church across the street
On a quiet morning, as I was walking up Great George Street, I came upon the lady who drives this old fashion bus with her horses who each weigh 1900 lbs. or just under a ton. One is named Cookie, am not sure of the name of the other. She also has a team of black horses.