Prince Edward Island

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Prince Edward Island
Flag of Prince Edward Island Coat of arms of Prince Edward Island
Flag Coat of arms
Motto: Parva Sub Ingenti
(Latin: The Small Protected By The Great)
Map of Canada with Prince Edward Island highlighted
Capital Charlottetown
Largest city Charlottetown
Official languages English
- Lieutenant-Governor Barbara Oliver Hagerman
- Premier Pat Binns (PC)
Federal representation in Canadian Parliament
- House seats 4
- Senate seats 4
Confederation July 1, 1873 (7th)
Area Ranked 13th
- Total 5,683.91 km²
- Water (%) 0 km² (0%)
-LandArea 5,683.91 km²
Population Ranked 10th
- Total (2006) 135,851
- Density 23.9/km²
GDP Ranked 10th
- Total (2005) $4.142 billion
- Per capita $29,993 (13th)
- Postal PE
- ISO 3166-2 CA-PE
Time zone UTC-4
Postal code prefix C
Flower Pink Lady's Slipper
Tree Red Oak
Bird Blue Jay
Web site
Rankings include all provinces and territories
Template:Infobox Province or territory of Canada

Prince Edward Island (PEI or P.E.I.; French: Île-du-Prince-Édouard; Scottish Gaelic: Eilean a’ Phrionns or Eilean Eòin; Míkmaq: Apekweit or Epikwetk) is a Canadian province consisting of an island of the same name. One of the Maritimes, the Atlantic Province is the nation's smallest province in land area and population.

Prince Edward Island has 135,851 residents[1] collectively referred to as Islanders. It is located in a rectangle defined roughly by 46°–47° N, and 62°–64° 30′ W and at 5,683.91 km² in size,[2] 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 west of Cape Breton Island, north of the Nova Scotia peninsula, and east of New Brunswick. Its southern shore 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 much 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: List of communities in Prince Edward Island

The island's landscape is pastoral: rolling hills, pristine forests, reddish white sand beaches, ocean coves and the famous red soil have given Prince Edward Island a reputation as a province of outstanding natural beauty. The provincial government has enacted a number of laws that 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 coast of Prince Edward Island around Cavendish.
The coast of Prince Edward Island around Cavendish.

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 32,245a 32,531
Summerside 14,654b 15,525
Stratford 6,314 5,869
Cornwall 4,412 4,291
Lot 34 2,344 2,180
Montague 1,945 1,995
Lot 1c 1,900 1,936
Lot 65 1,829 1,595
Lot 19 1,775 1,759
Lot 2d 1,720 1,766
a Agglomerated population: 58,358.
b Agglomerated population: 16,200.
c Tignish and surrounding area.
d St. Louis/Elmsdale area.

[edit] History

Panorama of a river bank in New Glasgow.
Panorama of a river bank in New Glasgow.
Red Cliffs at North Cape on a slightly foggy day.
Red Cliffs at North Cape on a slightly foggy day.
A long wooden bridge linking Geenwich national park and sand dunes at Greenwich beach.
A long wooden bridge linking Geenwich national park and sand dunes at Greenwich 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 eighteenth century for British nobility".[3]

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 buildings, a ferry vessel, and the Confederation Bridge, the longest bridge over ice covered waters in the world[4], 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

According to the 2001 Canadian census,[1] the largest ethnic group in Prince Edward Island is Scottish (38.0%), followed by English (28.7%), Irish (27.9%), French (21.3%), German (4.0%), and Dutch (3.1%) - although almost half of all respondents also identified their ethnicity as "Canadian." PEI is the most densely populated province in Canada.

Population of Prince Edward Island since 1851
Year Population Mean annual* 5-year* 10-year* Rank**
1851 62,678 5
1861 80,857 2.6 29.0
1871 94,021 1.5 16.3
1881 108,891 1.5 15.8
1891 109,078 0.017 0.2 6
1901 103,259 −0.55 -5.3 7
1911 93,728 −0.96 -9.2 9
1921 88,615 −0.56 -5.4
1931 88,038 −0.065 -0.7
1941 95,047 0.77 8.0
1951 98,429 0.35 3.6 10
1956 99,285 0.17 0.9
1961 104,629 1.1 5.4 6.3
1966 108,535 0.74 3.7 9.3
1971 111,635 0.56 2.9 6.7
1976 118,225 1.2 5.9 8.9
1981 122,506 0.7 3.6 9.7
1986 126,640 0.67 3.4 7.1
1991 129,765 0.49 2.5 5.9
1996 134,557 0.73 3.7 6.3
2001 135,294 0.11 0.5 4.2
2006 135,851 NA 0.4 NA

* Percentage change.
** among provinces.
† Preliminary 2006 census estimate.

Source: Statistics Canada [5][6]

[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. During the twentieth century, potatoes have replaced mixed farming as 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.[7] Comparatively, the state of Idaho produces approximately 6200 million kg annually.[8] PEI is a major producer of seed potatoes, exporting to more than twenty countries around the world.[7]

Many of the province's coastal communities rely upon shellfish harvesting, particularly lobster fishing[9] as well as oyster fishing and mussel farming.

Prince Edward Island's transportation network has traditionally revolved around its seaports – Charlottetown, Summerside, Borden, Georgetown, and Souris – all 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, provided by Marine Atlantic, operated year-round between Borden and Cape Tormentine, New Brunswick; the other, provided by Northumberland Ferries Limited, operates seasonally between Wood Islands and Caribou, Nova Scotia. A third ferry service provided by CTMA operates seasonally between Souris and Cap-aux-Meules, Quebec and connects with Quebec's Magdalen Islands.

On June 1, 1997, the Confederation Bridge opened, connecting Borden-Carleton to Cape Jourimain and 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 (UPEI), 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), 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 "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; also "Poverty Every Inch", in reference to PEI's monetary wealth as a have-not province. Another long-standing nickname, "Million Acre Farm", is no longer accurate now that only half of the Island's 1,398,000 acres are cultivated.
  • On August 1, 1758, Jeffery Amherst, commander of the British forces in North America, ordered Colonel Andrew Rollo to capture what is now PEI and expel the remaining Acadians. Rollo Bay is named after the Colonel.
  • Currently 15% of all electricity consumed on the island is generated from renewable energy (largely wind turbines); the provincial government has set renewable energy targets as high as 30-50% for electricity consumed by 2015.
  • In recent decades, the province has shown statistically significant and abnormally high rate of diagnosed rare cancers. Health officials, ecologists and environmental activists point to the use of pesticides for industrial potato farming as a primary contaminant [2].
  • 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. Billboards and the use of portable signs are banned. There are standard directional information signs on all roads in the province for various businesses and attractions in the immediate area. Some municipalities' by-laws also restrict the types of permanent signs that may be installed on private property.
  • PEI is the only province 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.[10]
  • There are twenty-seven Canadian cities with a larger population than Prince Edward Island, fourteen in Ontario alone.
  • As a legacy of the Islanders' colonial history, the provincial government enforces extremely strict rules as regards non-resident land ownership. 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. Recreational properties, the majority of which are owned by non-residents, incur higher property taxation.
  • Among the Canadian provinces during the Second World War, PEI produced the highest per capita voluntary enlistment rate in the armed forces.
  • 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 will decline by 40% during the 2010s.
  • It is illegal to sell canned carbonated beverages such as pop and beer. Carbonated beverages are sold in reusable glass bottles.&[11]
  • 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. These are all regulated through the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission (IRAC).[12] IRAC is authorized to limit the number of companies who are permitted to sell petroleum products.
  • Prince Edward Island has Canada's highest provincial retail sales tax rate, currently (2007) 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 called Waste Watch, 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%.[13] 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 four Members of Parliament, four Senators, twenty-seven Members of the Legislative Assembly and two cities, seven towns and sixty incorporated rural communities yielding over five hundred municipal councillors and mayors. This give a total of 566 elected officials for a population (as of 2006) of 138,307.

[edit] See also

[edit] Footnotes

[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 historical 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

Flag of Canada
Provinces: British Columbia · Alberta · Saskatchewan · Manitoba · Ontario · Quebec
New Brunswick · Nova Scotia · Prince Edward Island · Newfoundland and Labrador
Territories: Yukon · Northwest Territories · Nunavut

Coordinates: 46°20′N 63°30′W