Prince Edward Island

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Prince Edward Island
Image:Flag of Prince Edward Island.svg Image:Pei-coat-thb.jpg
Flag of Prince Edward Island Coat of arms of Prince Edward Island
Motto: Parva Sub Ingenti
The Small Protected By The Great)
Image:Prince Edward Island-map.png
Official languages English
Flower Pink Lady's Slipper
Tree Red Oak
Bird Blue Jay
Capital Charlottetown
Largest city Charlottetown
Lieutenant-Governor Barbara Oliver Hagerman
Premier Pat Binns (PC)
Parliamentary representation
 - House seats
 - Senate seats

 - Land
 - Water  (% of total) 
Ranked 13th
5,660 km²
5,660 km²
0 km² (0%)
 - Total (2006)
 - Density
Ranked 10th
GDP (2005)
 - Total
 - Per capita

$4.142 billion (10th)
$29,993 (13th)
Confederation July 1 1873 (7th)
Time zone UTC-4
 - Postal
 - ISO 3166-2
 - Postal Code Prefix

All rankings include the territories
This article is about the Canadian province. For the South African sub-Antarctic islands, see Prince Edward Islands.

Prince Edward Island (PEI or P.E.I.; French: Île-du-Prince-Édouard; Scottish Gaelic: Eilean a’ Phrionns or Eilean Eòin; Míkmaq: Apekweit) is a Canadian province coextensive with the island of the same name. It is part of the Maritimes and is one of the Atlantic Provinces. It is the nation's smallest province in terms of land area, and has a population of 138,519. People from Prince Edward Island are called Islanders.

It is located in a rectangle defined roughly by 46°–47° N, and 62°–64° 30′ W. At 5,660 km² in size, it is the 104th largest island in the world, and Canada's 23rd largest island.

The island's namesake is Prince Edward Augustus, Duke of Kent (1767-1820), the father of Queen Victoria.


[edit] Geography

Known as the "Garden of the Gulf", the Island is located in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence north of Nova Scotia and east of New Brunswick, with which it forms the Northumberland Strait.

The island has two urban areas. The largest surrounds Charlottetown Harbour, situated centrally on the island's southern shore, and consists of the capital city Charlottetown, as well as suburban towns Cornwall and Stratford and a developing urban fringe. A smaller urban area surrounds Summerside Harbour, situated on the southern shore 40 kilometres west of Charlottetown Harbour, and consists primarily of the city of Summerside. As with all natural harbours on the island, Charlottetown and Summerside harbours are created by rias. (See also a list of communities in Prince Edward Island.)

The island's landscape is predominatly pastoral: rolling hills, pristine forests, white sand beaches, ocean coves and the famous red soil have given Prince Edward Island a reputation as a province of outstanding natural beauty. A number of laws have been passed by the provincial government to attempt to preserve the landscape through regulation, although the lack of consistent enforcement and absence of province-wide zoning and land-use planning has resulted in some aesthetically displeasing development in recent years.

The island's lush landscape has had a strong bearing not only on its economy but also its culture. Author Lucy Maud Montgomery drew inspiration from the land during the late Victorian Era for the setting of her classic novel Anne of Green Gables. Today, many of the same qualities that Montgomery and others found in the Island are enjoyed by tourists who visit during all seasons. They enjoy a variety of leisure activities, including beaches, various golf courses, eco-tourism adventures, and simply touring the countryside and enjoying cultural events in local communities around the island.

The smaller rural communities as well as the towns and villages throughout the province proudly retain a slower-paced, old world flavour, something that factors heavily into Prince Edward Island's popularity as a destination for relaxation. Most rural communities on Prince Edward Island are based on small-scale agriculture, given that the size of farm properties is quite small when compared with other areas in Canada. There is an increasing amount of industrial farming as older farm properties are consolidated and modernized.

The coastline of the island consists of a combination of long beaches, dunes, red sandstone cliffs, salt water marshes and numerous bays and harbours. The beaches, dunes and sandstone cliffs consist of sedimentary rock and other material with a high iron concentration which oxidizes upon exposure to the air. The geological properties of a white silica sand found at Basin Head are unique in the province; the sand grains cause a scrubbing noise as they rub against each other when walked on. Large dune fields on the north shore can be found on barrier islands at the entrances to various bays and harbours. The magnificent sand dunes at Greenwich are of particular significance. The shifting, parabolic dune system is home to a variety of birds and rare plants and is also a site of significant archeological interest.

Ten largest municipalities by population
Municipality 2001 1996
Charlottetown 32,245 32,531
Summerside 14,654 15,525
Stratford 6,314 5,869
Cornwall 4,412 4,291
Lot 34 2,344 2,180
Montague 1,945 1,995
Lot 1 (Tignish & area) 1,900 1,936
Lot 65 1,829 1,595
Lot 19 1,775 1,759
Lot 2 (St. Louis/Elmsdale area) 1,720 1,766

[edit] History

Panorama of a river bank in New Glasgow.
Red Cliffs at North Cape on a slightly foggy day.
A long wooden bridge linking a national park and sand dunes at the beach.

Prince Edward Island was originally inhabited by the Mi'kmaq people. They named the island Abegweit, meaning Land Cradled on the Waves. They believed that the island was formed by the Great Spirit placing some dark red clay which was shaped as a crescent on the Blue Waters.

As part of the French colony of Acadia, the island was called Île Saint-Jean. Roughly one thousand Acadians lived on the island. However, many fled to the island from mainland Nova Scotia during the British-ordered expulsion of Acadians in 1755. Many more were forcibly deported in 1758 when British soldiers, under the command of Colonel Andrew Rollo, were ordered by General Jeffery Amherst to capture the island.

The new British colony of "St. John's Island", also known as the "Island of St. John", was settled by "adventurous Victorian families looking for elegance on the sea. Prince Edward Island became a fashionable retreat in the 18th century for British nobility"<ref>Government of Canada - PEI history</ref>.

In 1798, Great Britain changed the colony's name from St. John's Island to Prince Edward Island to distinguish it from similar names in the Atlantic, such as the cities of Saint John and St. John's. The colony's new name honoured the fourth son of King George III, Prince Edward Augustus, the Duke of Kent (1767–1820), who was then commanding British troops in Halifax. Prince Edward was also the father of Queen Victoria.

[edit] Joining Canada

In September 1864, Prince Edward Island hosted the Charlottetown Conference, which was the first meeting in the process leading to the Articles of Confederation and the creation of Canada in 1867. Prince Edward Island did not find the terms of union favourable and balked at joining in 1867, choosing to remain part of the nation of Great Britain and Ireland. In the late 1860s, the colony examined various options, including the possibility of becoming a discrete dominion unto itself, as well as entertaining delegations from the United States, who were interested in Prince Edward Island joining the United States of America.

In the early 1870s, the colony began construction of a railway and frustrated by Great Britain's Colonial Office, began negotiations with the United States. In 1873, Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald, anxious to thwart American expansionism and facing the distraction of the Pacific Scandal, negotiated for Prince Edward Island to join Canada. The Federal Government of Canada assumed the colony's railway debts and agreed to finance a buy-out of the last of the colony's absentee landlords to free the island of leasehold tenure and from any new migrants entering the island. Prince Edward Island entered Confederation on July 1, 1873.

As a result of having hosted the inaugural meeting of Confederation, the Charlottetown Conference, Prince Edward Island presents itself as the "Birthplace of Confederation" with several beautiful buildings, a ferry vessel, and the Confederation Bridge using the term "confederation" in many ways. The most prominent building in the province with this name is the Confederation Centre of the Arts, presented as a gift to Prince Edward Islanders by the 10 provincial governments and the Federal Government upon the centenary of the Charlottetown Conference, where it stands in Charlottetown as a national monument to the "Fathers of Confederation."

[edit] Demographics

Population of Prince Edward Island since 1851
Year Population Mean annual
% change
Five Year
% change
Ten Year
% change
Rank Among
1851 62,678 n/a n/a n/a 5
1861 80,857 2.6 n/a 29.0 5
1871 94,021 1.5 n/a 16.3 5
1881 108,891 1.5 n/a 15.8 5
1891 109,078 0.017 n/a 0.2 6
1901 103,259 −0.55 n/a -5.3 7
1911 93,728 −0.96 n/a -9.2 9
1921 88,615 −0.56 n/a -5.4 9
1931 88,038 −0.065 n/a -0.7 9
1941 95,047 0.77 n/a 8.0 9
1951 98,429 0.35 n/a 3.6 10
1956 99,285 0.17 0.9 n/a 10
1961 104,629 1.1 5.4 6.3 10
1966 108,535 0.74 3.7 9.3 10
1971 111,635 0.56 2.9 6.7 10
1976 118,225 1.2 5.9 8.9 10
1981 122,506 0.7 3.6 9.7 10
1986 126,640 0.67 3.4 7.1 10
1991 129,765 0.49 2.5 5.9 10
1996 134,557 0.73 3.7 6.3 10
2001 135,294 0.11 0.5 4.2 10
2006* 138,519 0.47 2.4 2.9 10

};"> | *Preliminary 2006 census estimate. }}


| Source: Statistics Canada }} <ref>Statistics Canada - PEI Population trend</ref><ref>Population urban and rural, by province and territory (Nova Scotia). Statistics Canada, 2005.</ref>

<td valign="top" width="50%">
Ethnic GroupsReligious Groups
Ethnic Origin Population Percent
Canadian 60,000 44.98%
Scottish 50,700 38.01%
English 38,330 28.74%
Irish 37,170 27.87%
French 28,410 21.30%
German 5,400 4.05%
Dutch (Netherlands) 4,130 3.10%
Acadian 3,020 2.26%
North American Indian 2,360 1.77%
Welsh 1,440 1.08%
American (USA) 640
Polish 615
Italian 605
Lebanese 525
Danish 420
Norwegian 325
Ukrainian 320
Swedish 315
Belgian 240
Métis 245
Chinese 225
Hungarian (Magyar) 225
British, not included elsewhere 210
Spanish 175
Jewish 165
Russian 160
Swiss 145
Finnish 135
Inuit 120
Information taken from the Canada 2001 Census.

}} <ref name="2001CensusPEI">PEI 2001 Canadian Census</ref>.

* These percentages sum to more than 100% due to dual responses (e.g. "French-Canadian" generating an entry in both "French" and "Canadian" categories.) Groups with greater than 1,000 responses are included.

}} </td>

<td valign="top" width="50%">

Total population133,385100.0%
Roman Catholic63,24047.4%
United Church26,57019.9%
No religion8,7056.5%
Protestant not included elsewhere5,1053.8%
Christian not included elsewhere3,2102.4%
Jehovah's Witnesses4750.4%
Salvation Army3400.3%
Christian Reformed Church2050.2%
Brethren in Christ1650.1%
Greek Orthodox1100.1%
Orthodox not included elsewhere700.1%
Aboriginal spirituality500.0%
Ukrainian Catholic150.0%
Evangelical Missionary Church100.0%
Information taken from the 2001 Canadian Census.

}} <ref name="2001CensusPEI"/>. </td>

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlottetown comprises the entire Island and is the second oldest English diocese in Canada. The Archdiocese of Kingston is the oldest.

[edit] Economy

The provincial economy is dominated by the seasonal industries of agriculture, tourism, and the fishery. The province is limited in terms of heavy industry and manufacturing. Although commercial deposits of minerals have not been found, exploration for natural gas beneath the eastern end of the province has resulted in the discovery of an as yet undisclosed quantity of gas.

Agriculture remains the dominant industry in the provincial economy, as it has since colonial times, although potatoes have replaced mixed farming during the 20th century to become the leading cash crop - accounting for one-third of provincial farm income. The province currently accounts for a third of Canada's total potato production, producing approximately 1300 million kg annually<ref name="PEIPotato">PEI Potato - Potato production figures</ref>; comparatively, the state of Idaho produces approximately 6200 million kg annually<ref>Idaho Potator Production</ref>. PEI is a major producer of seed potatoes, exporting to more than 20 countries around the world<ref name="PEIPotato"/>.

Prince Edward Island's transportation network traditionally revolved around its seaports (Charlottetown, Summerside, Borden, Georgetown, and Souris), all of which were linked to its railway system, and airports (Charlottetown and Summerside) for communication with mainland North America. The railway system was abandoned by CN in 1989 in favour of an agreement with the federal government to improve major highways. Until 1997, the province was linked by two passenger-vehicle ferry services to the mainland - one service provided by Marine Atlantic operated year-round between Borden-Cape Tormentine, the other provided by Northumberland Ferries Limited operates seasonally between Wood Islands-Caribou. A third ferry service provided by CTMA operates seasonally between Souris-Cap-aux-Meules, connecting with Quebec's Magdalen Islands.

On June 1, 1997, the Confederation Bridge opened, connecting Borden-Carleton to Cape Jourimain, replacing the Marine Atlantic ferry service. Since then, the Confederation Bridge's assured transportation link to the mainland has altered the province's tourism and agricultural and fisheries export economies.

[edit] Education

Prince Edward Island is home to one provincial university, the University of Prince Edward Island, located in Charlottetown. The university was formed from the merger of Prince of Wales College and St. Dunstan's University. UPEI is home to the Atlantic Veterinary College, which offers the region's only veterinary medicine program.

Holland College is the provincial community college, with campuses across the province, including specialized facilities such as the Atlantic Police Academy, Marine Training Centre, and the Culinary Institute of Canada.

The Maritime Christian College, also located in Charlottetown, is a small private evangelical Christian college with a university degree-granting charter.

The College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada, located in Summerside, specializes in the instruction of bagpipe and other traditional Scottish and Irish performance art such as highland dance.

[edit] Miscellany

  • The island has several nicknames: Epikwetk (Abegweit) which is a Míkmaq word meaning "Cradled in the Waves"; "Garden of the Gulf" referring to the pastoral scenery and lush agricultural lands throughout the province and finally "Birthplace of Confederation", referring to the Charlottetown Conference in 1864. Among some Islanders, it is also referred to as "Potholes Every Inch", a joking reference to PEI's sub-par road conditions in some locations. With only half of the Island's 1,398,000 acres now under cultivation, the long standing nickname "Million Acre Farm" is no longer accurate. Also referred to as "De Island" from those with thicker east coast accents.
  • On August 1, 1758, Jeffery Amherst, commander of the British forces in North America, ordered Colonel Andrew Rollo to capture what is now P.E.I. and expel the remaining Acadians. Rollo Bay is named after the Colonel.
  • Currently 10% of all electricity consumed on the island is generated from renewable energy (wind turbines); the provincial government has set renewable energy targets as high as 30-50% for electricity consumed by 2015.
  • Until May 1, 1924, automobiles drove on the left side of the road.
  • The Prince Edward Island Railway (Canadian Government Railways after 1915, CNR after 1918) was a narrow gauge system when it was built in 1873. Converted to standard gauge by 1930, the railway was abandoned province-wide in 1989.
  • The world's fur-farming industry started with fox fur on a farm in Prince County.
  • The province has very strict laws regarding use of road-side signs with billboards and portable sign use banned. There are standard directional information signs on all roads in the province for various businesses and attractions in the immediate area. Some municipalities also restrict what type of permanent signs can be installed on private property through by-laws.
  • It is the only province which has yet to ratify the National Building Code of Canada.
  • The Island has recently become home to a small population of a unique form of coyote, closely related to wolves, which evolved in neighbouring Maritime provinces. It is believed the coyotes "landed" on the Island by crossing the ice which had formed in the Northumberland Strait during the winter months.
  • Repeal of prohibition of alcohol was vetoed in 1945 by then Lieutenant Governor B.W. LePage<ref>PEI Government - Repeal of prohibition</ref>.
  • There are 27 Canadian cities with a larger population than Prince Edward Island, 14 in Ontario alone.
  • The provincial government enforces extremely strict rules for non-resident land ownership as a legacy of Islanders' distrust on this issue from their colonial history. Residents and corporations are limited to maximum holdings of 400 and 1200 hectares (4 and 12 km²) respectively. There are also restrictions on non-resident ownership of shorelines, and higher property taxation is in place for recreational properties, the majority of which are owned by non-residents.
  • The province had the highest per capita enlistment rate in the armed forces of any Canadian province in the volunteer army, navy and air force of the Second World War.
  • Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery was born in Clifton, setting many of her famous novels in her native North Shore communities.
  • Prince Edward Island is the first province in Canada to elect a Premier of non-European descent (Joseph Atallah Ghiz) in 1986.
  • It is also the first province in Canada to elect a female Premier (Catherine Callbeck) in 1993; both the Lieutenant Governor and the Leader of the Official Opposition at that time were also female. British Columbia had a female Premier prior to Callbeck (Rita Johnston), although she did not win a provincial election.
  • Prince Edward Island, along with most rural regions in North America, is experiencing an accelerated rate of youth outmigration. The provincial government has projected that public school enrolment by the 2010s will decline by 40%.
  • It is illegal to sell canned carbonated beverages such as pop and beer. Carbonated beverages are sold in reusable glass bottles.
  • The provincial government provides consumer protection in the form of regulation for certain items ranging from apartment rent increases to petroleum products including gas, diesel, propane and heating oil, all of which are regulated through the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission <ref>PEI Government - Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission</ref>. IRAC is authorized to limit the entrance of companies who can sell petroleum products.
  • Prince Edward Island has Canada's highest Provincial retail sales tax rate which is currently set at 10%. The tax is applied to almost all goods and services except some clothing, food and home heating fuel. The tax is also applied to the Federal Goods and Services Tax.
  • Prince Edward Island has a three-tier waste management system, operated by the Island Waste Management Corporation, a Crown Corporation. The program is mandatory and has reduced the amount of waste on the island by 64%<ref>PEI Government - Island Waste Management Corporation - Waste reduction</ref>. Consequently, the province is a national leader in waste diversion and recycling.
  • The province only requires license plates on the rear of motorized vehicles. Many vehicles have novelty plates, or plates advertising car dealerships, on the front.
  • Prince Edward Island has a high level of political representation, with 4 Members of Parliament, 4 Senators, 27 Members of the Legislative Assembly, 2 cities, 7 towns and 60 incorporated rural communities (having over 500 municipal councillors and mayors) to give a total of 566 elected officials for a population of 138,307 (as of 2006).
  • There are no white tailed deer, porcupine, moose, or bear on Prince Edward Island.

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  • Arsenault, Georges. The Island Acadians Charlottetown, P.E.I.: Ragweed, 1989. 296 pp.
  • Baglole, Harry, ed. Exploring Island History: A Guide to the Historical Resources of Prince Edward Island. Belfast, P.E.I.: Ragweed, 1977
  • Bolger, Francis W. P., ed. Canada's Smallest Province: A History of Prince Edward Island. Charlottetown: Prince Edward Island Centennial Comm., 1973. 403 pp.
  • Boyde Beck. Prince Edward Island: An (Un)Authorized History (1996)
  • Bumsted, J. M. Land, Settlement, and Politics on Eighteenth-Century Prince Edward Island. McGill-Queen's U. Press, 1987. 238 pp.
  • Clark, A. H. Three Centuries and the Island. A Historical Geography of Settlement and Agriculture in Prince Edward Island, Canada (1959) very broad look at historial geography
  • Ives, Edward D. Drive Dull Care Away: Folksongs from Prince Edward Island. Charlottetown, P.E.I.: Inst. of Island Studies, 1999. 269 pp.
  • W. Ross Livingston; Responsible Government in Prince Edward Island: A Triumph of Self-Government under the Crown. 1931. online
  • MacKinnon, Wayne. The Life of the Party: A History of the Liberal Party in Prince Edward Island. Summerside: Liberal Party of Prince Edward Island, 1973. 153 pp.
  • MacKinnon, Frank. Church Politics and Education in Canada: The P.E.I. Experience. Calgary, Alta.: Detselig, 1995. 144 pp.
  • Sharpe, Errol. A People's History of Prince Edward Island. Toronto: Steel Rail, 1976. 252 pp.
  • Smitheram, Verner; Milne, David; and Dasgupta, Satadal, ed. The Garden Transformed: Prince Edward Island, 1945-1980. Charlottetown, P.E.I.: Ragweed, 1982. 271 pp.
  • Weale, David and Baglole, Harry. The Island and Confederation: The End of an Era. Summerside, P. E. I.: Williams and Crue, 1973. 166 pp.


[edit] External links

Image:Flag of Prince Edward Island.svg Prince Edward Island
Counties Kings - Prince - Queens
Parishes Bedford - Charlotte - East - Egmont - Greenville - Halifax - Hillsboro - North - Richmond - St. Andrew's - St. David's - St. George's - St. John's - St. Patrick's
Lots 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 - 17 - 18 - 19 - 21 - 22 - 23 - 24 - 25 - 26 - 27 - 28 - 29 - 31 - 32 - 33 - 34 - 35 - 36 - 37 - 38 - 39 - 41 - 42 - 43 - 44 - 45 - 46 - 47 - 48 - 49 - 51 - 52 - 53 - 54 - 55 - 56 - 57 - 58 - 59 - 61 - 62 - 63 - 64 - 65 - 66 - 67
Royalties Kings Royalty - Prince Royalty - Queens Royalty
Cities Charlottetown - Summerside
Other communities Alberton - Borden - Breadalbane - Cavendish - Central Bedeque - Cornwall - Ellerslie - Foxley River - Freeland - Georgetown - Hebron - Hunter River - Kensington - Knutsford - Miminegash - Miscouche - Montague - Morell - Mount Stewart - Murray Harbour - Murray River - North Rustico - O'Leary - Souris - Stratford - Tignish
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