I think we’ve all heard from someone (if not from many), that ‘Prince Edward Island is Beautiful.’ Since I’d never before visited our smallest Canadian province on the east coast, I had always wondered – how so? How is PEI beautiful? Simply because of the landscape? What does ‘a beautiful place’ truly mean?
Recently I had a wonderful opportunity to visit Prince Edward Island for the first time, and indeed I agree with the masses in saying that it is stunningly beautiful. Knowing that I was always curious as to the reasons why, I pondered this for the duration while exploring the east coast. I constantly thought about the beauty of what was before me, and how to describe it to others upon my return.
Here is my explanation:
As I walked through the historic streets of Charlottetown, I took a deep breath of the salty air and couldn’t help but think I was in another country.
This was just after I took an incredibly informative Confederation Tour, a literal walk-through and explanation about this location, where the idea of ‘Canada’ was first created.
My country. It all started here, and there’s beauty in being in a spot of such historic significance, which still resembles that time so long ago. Despite the amount of decades that have passed since, Charlottetown and the entire island somehow preserved the ideals and simplicity of past life. They mastered the fine art of placing history and tradition on a grand pedestal, with modern day essentials humming silently in the background, waiting for when they’re needed.
After gazing upon the iconic shores of Peake’s Wharf, I went inland one block and sat on a street bench and relished in the peace I felt, with myself and my surroundings. There’s an indescribable yet most welcome feeling of calmness while on the island, most likely due to the easy ability to set aside life’s noise while here.
Minutes later, a lady walked by and waved to a man across the street, who was delivering fresh seafood to a quaint eatery. I watched as she took the time to sprint across the street, and converse with the man for longer than one would expect, given that it was almost noon and she obviously had an alternate destination in mind.
I can’t help but think about the same situation (home or elsewhere), and how little time people generally take to engage with others when they are busy and en route elsewhere. It was a shift in priority for sure.
Later on while shopping, I’m witness to a staff person at the till greet someone walking in by name, and begin a polite conversation. Again, later on, the same event occurs while in a restaurant and, later still, a market. All examples of this particular beauty put a smile on my face, not only for the genuine care that I see between people, but for the fact that everyone seems to know everyone.
There’s a saying on the island that you ‘mind your business, and your neighbours’ too.’ The sense of community and unity is strong on Prince Edward Island, like one big happy family of just over 145,000. This is where I realize that I don’t know some families who live on my street, despite living there for almost 10 years. With a feeling of slight loss and insignificance, I admire the beauty of the respect the islanders share for one another, and how they take time to honestly care for others’ well-being.
Suddenly there’s intense and profound meaning in this quote: “What a small big world it is!” – L.M. Montgomery, author of Anne of Green Gables.
To those from Prince Edward Island, there’s two kinds of people, ‘Islanders’ and those ‘from away.’ From where exactly, it doesn’t matter – just ‘away.’ Again it’s the simple and tight-knit life that perfectly illustrates that deep respect for their home, their land and their community.
Islanders also believe that working so chaotically to attain things in life is nothing unless you pause it all to enjoy them. This might be a belief that many believe yet, on the island, it holds true. As well, Islanders believe that if you are feeling ‘off’ and somewhat stressed, you’ve been inland too long and it’s time to gaze upon the shores. Simple, true and beautiful.
I’m happy knowing that the idea of our country was conceived in such a gentle and respectful place where one cares for themselves as much as others, the place where they live, and also for those that come ‘from away.’ There’s plenty of beautiful for everyone on the island.
I came to Prince Edward Island and ate incredible food, appreciated the wondrous shores, allowed a talented fiddler to take my breath away, saw a play that brought me to tears, was invited to the dinner table of a local fisherman, and was witness to the pure beauty of this gentle and noble island that is like no other place I’ve ever been.
From the sights, to the attractions, the people, and because it simply exists – the rumours are true. Prince Edward Island is amazingly beautiful, to the senses and deep into the soul.
I now ‘get’ the beauty of Prince Edward Island, and, if given the chance, everyone must experience the why’s and how’s that so many boast about. The photos, while beautiful in themselves, don’t do it justice and are only a fraction of what lies within.
Which is why this Canadian traveller, from away, might just be an honorary islander after all. The true essence has forever made its mark.
Whether it’s a day on the beach, an evening at the theatre, or the best seafood you’ve ever tasted, the memories you make last longer on Price Edward Island. It’s an island filled with fun and unique adventures. No matter what experience you’re searching for, it’s easy to find when you add a little island. Start planning your PEI getaway today onlyinPEI.com
Disclosure: This post was brought to you by Tourism PEI via Mode Media Canada. The opinions expressed herein
are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Tourism PEI.