PEI Confederation Bridge - Gateway Village Charlottetown Founder's Hall - Lobster on the Wharf Eastern PEI Northern coast - East Point - Buffaloland Western PEI St Ann - Burlington - Malpeque - Summerside - Cap Egmont other pages PEI : overview and history | other provinces | articles
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The Confederation Bridge connects New Brunswick with Prince Edward Island. This bridge is an amazing piece of architecture, built between 1993 and 1997. It is 11 meters wide, almost 13 kilometers long, and it rises about 40 meters above sea level, with a peak of 60 meters for large ships.
At this point the Northumberland Strait is some 35 meters deep, so building it was quite an engineering feat, especially when considering that during the winter these waters are covered by ice!
Just beyond the bridge lies the Visitor Center, which was built as a small and charming village, called Gateway Village. It presents a brief visual overview of Prince Edward Island and and extended tourist information, but also has all kinds of shops, cafes and restaurants. It is probably the nicest Visitor Center that we ever visited!
The drive to Cornwall and Charlottetown is most pleasant. The roads are excellent, though rather hilly, with beautiful farms and well-maintained estates. A real pleasure to drive through!
The TCH 1 (Trans Canadian Highway) leads to Charlottetown, which is the capital of Prince Edward Island. It is a beautiful town that looks very European, with low-rise buildings, shops and lots of green.
The Founder's Hall presents an audio tour about the emergence of the new confederation of Canada. The tour is most interesting and well illustrated, and the only thing that is somewhat disturbing is the endless vaporing of the politicians...
In the Lobster on the Wharf you can personally pick out a nice lobster. will be cooked on the spot, and then you can take it home to munch it quietly...
They drive over Highway 2 leads through rural settlements with picturesque names such as Dunstaffnage, Glenfinnan and Canavoy, the proud descendants of a Scottish past. The road is quiet and the scenery is enchanting, with beautiful and recent homes and estates.
Just past St Peters, highway 16 runs along the northern coast. Here the quality of the road and the farms shows some wear, and several abandoned houses become apparent. This phenomenon is due to the depopulation by the younger generation, and their move to the city. Older farms are no longer exploited. But what a beautiful landscape, with a wealth of forests, green and open space !
The potato culture is clearly king in this region. There are miles of potato fields, sometimes coupled with wheat, which magically conjures a beautiful patchwork quilt on the hills.
At the end of the drive you'll reach East Point, the most northeastern tip of the island. A lonely lighthouse just sits there, and the view of the ocean against the island cliffs is simply phenomenal!
Highway 4 further leads to Buffalo Land Provincial Park, where a small herd of buffaloes can be admired.
In St Ann you can visit a store of handcrafted knitwear.
In Burlington, on the Woodleigh estate, the eccentric English Colonel Johnstone made some 30 replicas of famous English buildings, with enormous patience and over a period of 30 years. You'll find York Minster, Penn Manor House (the home of William Penn), Glamis Castle, Dunvegan Castle, the Tower of London, St Paul's Cathedral, Nelson's column, etc.
Most replicas were made of stone and concrete, and these have stood the test of time and have come unscathed through the harsh winter weather. On the other hand, the replicas that were made of wood, like St Paul's Cathedral, offered less resistance. Nevertheless, the visit is definitely worth the trouble!
Malpeque is a typical fishing port, located in a beautiful bay. The Malpeque oysters seem to be famous worldwide.
In Summerside you can visit a shop where woolen bears are hand crafted. These collection items are only made out of very exotic types of wool, such as Mohair, Lama and Qiviut (a bear from the north). The result is certainly special, but they are definitely no child friendly toys and rather expensive.
On the approach to Cap Egmont the beauty of the landscape starts to decrease, as does the care with which houses and the environment are maintained. Also more and more entries in French can be seen, until finally practically everything is indicated in French. Even the names on the mailboxes indicate French origins!
In Cap Egmont you'll find Les Maisons de Bouteilles (the Bottle Houses). In 1980 the retired Edouard Arsenault pieced together three special houses in his garden, made of some 25,000 glass bottles and an awful lot of cement. Given the extreme weather conditions, they have since been reconstructed. Next to the houses, the garden and the pond are certainly worth mentioning too.
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