Average Temperature in February: –7.8°C (18°F)
Average Snowfall in February: 60 cm (23.5 in.)
Travel Time from Delta Hotel to UPEI (Driving): 11 minutes (3.7km/2.3 miles)
Travel Time from Delta Hotel to Brackley Beach (Driving): 22 minutes (22.4 km/14 miles)
Charlottetown is the capital city of Prince Edward Island (PEI) and has a population of 36,094. The island’s total population of 146,283 makes PEI the smallest province in Canada.
What to Do in Charlottetown
Charlottetown may be small on size but we’re big on fun! Downtown Charlottetown has many unique restaurants and attractions that cater to all desires and tastes. A local favourite for a pint and good food is the Gahan House; the Olde Dublin Pub is a great late-night hangout with a band playing until 2 a.m. every weekend. If you’re thirsty, stop by one of the two local breweries in Charlottetown, the PEI Brewing Co. and Upstreet Brewery. If upscale and classy is more of your thing, Sims Steakhouse or Terre Rouge will cook you a gorgeous meal using locally-sourced ingredients. To try local seafood, Merchantman Pub is the spot with traditional and modern takes on PEI’s fruits de mer. After dining, take in a show at the Confederation Centre of the Arts or stroll through one of their Art Galleries.
During the winter, our sandy beaches turn into beautiful snow-covered landscapes. Snowshoeing through the trails in the National Park is popular, as is skating on Charlottetown’s many outdoor rinks. Taking in a hockey game is also popular. The Charlottetown Islanders play in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). These players range in age from 16-20 and are the future prospects for the top league in the world the National Hockey League (NHL). The UPEI Panthers women’s and men’s hockey teams play in what is considered the top amateur league for male and female hockey. The women’s team is comprised of the best female players attending university, often right out of high school. The men’s team is older, the majority of these players have finished their junior hockey careers and are looking to pursue an education. Since they are older, the men’s team is often considered to be a better calibre of talent than the still developing Charlottetown Islanders. These suggestions are but a small sampling of the kinds of entertainment that one can expect on PEI. Ask your team ambassador about their favourites!
About Prince Edward Island
Industries of PEI
Three industries drive the economy of PEI: tourism, agriculture, and aquaculture/fishing. Tourism is the biggest contributor to the economy, bringing in visitors from around the world. The primary attractions of PEI are the sandy beaches on the North Shore and the Green Gables homestead. Anne of Green Gables is a popular Canadian novel, published in 1908 by Islander Lucy Maud Montgomery. The story follows the life of an orphaned red-haired girl as she adjusts to her new life in rural PEI. Montgomery is renowned for her vivid descriptions of PEI and inspires many to come see it for themselves. The book has been translated into 36 languages and has been adapted into a play that has run every year for the last 53 years and recently taken to Broadway.
Agrarian life is typical for many Islanders. Potatoes are the most farmed produce on PEI, though soy and canola are also widely grown. Corn and wheat/hay fields are also commonly found on a short trip outside of the city. Dairy and beef cattle are also raised, dairy being the more profitable of the two. Pigs, turkeys, and chickens are also raised. The majority of farmers’ product is sold to large buyers McCain Foods and Cavendish Farms.
People looking to try local cuisine have plenty of options. Every Saturday morning the Farmers’ Market opens its doors featuring local vendors from across PEI selling their products directly to consumers. It is a must-stop for anyone looking to try local foods! Fishing and aquaculture are another traditional industry. Lobster, oysters, mussels, and tuna are the biggest exports; 80% of mussel exports to the rest of Canada come from PEI! Yearly, fishing and aquaculture contribute about $350 million to the PEI economy. Newer industries taking off in PEI including the aerospace, bioscience, and IT. PEI is also home to the national headquarters of Veterans Affairs Canada, who employ about 1,500 people in the greater Charlottetown area.
PEI’s first inhabitants were the Indigenous Mi’kmaq peoples who continue to live throughout PEI today. They call PEI Epekwitk, which was anglicized as Abegweit, meaning ‘cradle on the waves’ in Mi’kmaq. Archeologists have found evidence of Mi’kmaq ancestors from 9000 BCE. The Mi’kmaq have never ceded their land, thus PEI is the ancestral territory of the Mi’Kmaq.
France settled PEI in 1604 as part of its claim on the rest of the Maritimes – what is now neighbouring provinces Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. They called the territory Acadia and called PEI Ile Saint-Jean (St. John Island). The French were the first Europeans to settle in PEI, after their ship wrecked off the north easterly part of the island in 1719. Over the next 40 or so years the French colonizers entered into peace and friendship treaties, but not land treaties, with the indigenous Mi’Kmaq. The French built a fort at the mouth of the Charlottetown harbour which they used as an administrative hub. This fort was repeatedly attacked by the British who were trying to take control of the region. The French, with the help of their Mi’Kmaq allies, were able to repel British forces until 1763.
In 1710 the British started to systematically re-locate French settlers in the Maritimes. Those removed from their homes were sent on ships to either Quebec, New France as it was called at the time, or Louisiana in the southern United States. Acadians, as the French colonizers became known, were expelled from PEI in 1763 when the British took control and renamed the island St. John’s Island (not a very creative bunch, they simply translated the French name). The British control lasted, though not without trouble. In 1775, the capital, Charlottetown, was attacked by two American-paid privateers as part of the American Revolution. The Governor and Justice of the Peace were taken prisoners. This attack was retribution on the British empire as PEI became a popular safe-haven for Loyalists escaping persecution in the American Revolution. Over the next century PEI was built up as a British colony that excelled in ship building. In 1864, there was a meeting of leaders from around the British colonies to discuss interest in forming a united country. They all met at Province House in downtown Charlottetown, partied – popular lore says that the 23 delegates had a champagne budget of $8,600 (adjusted for inflation), and realized that they all weren’t so different and decided to meet in Quebec a month later. By 1867, Canada was a country consisting of present-day Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. Interestingly, PEI decided against joining, reasoning that they could make it on their own with a strong shipbuilding industry. However, by 1873, facing the need to build a railroad but no money to get it done, expansionist interests from the United States, and a Canada fearful of American incursion, the first Canadian Prime Minister, Sir John A. MacDonald, welcomed PEI into the Dominion of Canada.
Official Currency: Canadian Dollar – all banks will exchange other currencies for a fee.
Languages: English and French (official). According to Statistics Canada, a government department, there are 67 Indigenous languages and 130 foreign languages that people list as their first language.
Population: 35,151,728 (2016)
Geography and Climate
Canada has a diverse climatological and geographical ‘footprint’ because it is such a vast country. Canada’s land buffers three oceans, the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic. Spanning a total of 9.985 million km², Canada has the second largest landmass in the world.
Climate varies widely across the ten provinces and three territories within the country. On the West Coast of Canada, it hardly snows and residents often enjoy relatively warm temperatures year-round with moderate levels of rain. The Rocky Mountains divide the West Coast from the rest of Canada. In the mountainous regions, residents often experience large changes in weather, including, but not limited to snow in the middle of summer, sweltering heat (35°C), and frigid cold (-35°C).
Central Canada experiences the warmest temperatures of the country, as it is situated the furthest south. Residents often experience spectacular summer storms, hot and humid summers, and icy winters.
The northern region of Canada extends all the way to the North Pole! The three territories experience variable climates, the westernmost two can experience temperatures near 20°C in the summertime. In Nunavut, the northeasterly most northern territory, the climate is much colder. Eureka, Nunavut has a yearly average temperature of -19.7°C. A common misconception is that it must snow relentlessly in such a northerly environment. In reality, the average snowfall in Iqaluit, the capital of Nunavut is 229 cm whereas Charlottetown, the Capital of the host province, experiences an average of 290 cm a year.
Eastern Canada, which includes the host province Prince Edward Island, experiences the most snowfall of all major Canadian areas – the north and the mountains in the west do receive more snow, however, these regions have few people living in them. In the summertime, Eastern Canada is warm and humid. People from all over the world visit to experience our beaches and beautiful landscapes.
The landscapes of Canada are beautifully diverse and have inspired and been referenced in Canadian artwork and songs. For some, it is a way of defining which region they are from. Those from Western Canada identify primarily with tall timbers, the Rocky Mountains, and large expanses of cattle pastures. Beyond the ‘Rockies’ are the ‘Prairies’. People in these provinces adore the miles of grain fields and fertile farmland. Central Canada is where 6 of the 10 largest cities and the nation’s capital are located. While large cities dot the southern half, the regions outside of the cities are filled with lakes where people often retreat to for summer vacation. Central Canada also borders the 5 Great Lakes, the largest freshwater lakes in the world. The Great Lakes are used to ship goods from the Atlantic Ocean into Central Canada and the United States. Eastern Canada has beautiful coastlines, rocky cliffs and sandy beaches. This part of Canada has literally been shaped by the ocean. After millions of years, the ocean has pushed and pulled against the cliffs and beaches, forever changing the shape of the Eastern part of Canada.
Prince Edward Island truly has been shaped by the waves due to its sedimentary composition. The little rock that is Prince Edward Island is composed of sandstone, coloured red by the high concentration of iron oxides in the rock. While this makes the rock faces beautiful and the soil fertile for farming, it does not serve as a sturdy base. That is because the sandstone is essentially millions of tiny particles of sand and other sediment that were compressed together millions of years ago. This makes it easy for the rock to break apart, one can even do it with one’s hands – imagine the damage the water does during a strong winter storm that throws ice and water at the rock. Efforts are underway to preserve the shoreline through planting trees and hedgerows, whose roots ‘hold onto’ the rock and soil, building protective walls made from harder, imported rocks, and protecting the sand dunes, which have delicate yet critical grass that holds onto the dunes and protects them from erosion.
There are plenty of stereotypes about Canadian culture; we like beer, maple syrup, moose, beavers, hockey, and are basically the younger sibling of the United States’ massive pop culture machine. All of those things do influence Canadian culture, albeit in a much lesser way. The simplest way to define Canadian culture is that it is the acceptance and welcoming of other cultures and works to integrate their arts, practices, lifestyles. Canada often refers to itself as a mosaic, with many small pieces coming together to create a larger picture – that of Canadian culture. Multiculturalism, as this sharing of culture is called, is so valued in Canada that it is enshrined in the Multiculturalism Act of 1988, whose purpose is to legally obligate the government to “preserve and enhance multiculturalism in Canada”.
Sports form a central part of many Canadians lives. Hockey is considered to be the national pastime. Other popular sports include lacrosse (the official national summer sport), soccer, Canadian football (similar to American football), baseball, and basketball (invented by a Canadian!). Canada has seven professional hockey teams, three professional soccer teams, one professional baseball team, one professional basketball team, and one eight-team professional Canadian football league.
Canada’s art scene is wholly distinct from that of the United States. It is true that many Canadians tune into American television for the large-scale sitcoms, however, Canada does have its distinct cultural production industry. Canadian television revolves around the CBC (the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the independently-run, governmentally-funded news and entertainment network). They broadcast a wide range of programming, on radio and television, in French and in English, from hockey to comedy, investigative journalism to historical fiction.
Visual art in Canada draws inspiration from the land. Canadian artists Emily Carr, Tom Thomson, and the ‘Group of Seven’ are some of the most recognizable names of the historical Canadian art scene, all of them predominantly painted landscapes of Canada. Visual artists today are more diverse than ever. Indigenous and minority artists are moving into the mainstream whereas historically the focus was on white, often male artists.
Musically, Canada is incredibly diverse. Drake, Justin Bieber, the Weeknd, and Céline Dion are all from Canada but they hardly define the Canadian sound; many Canadians would not even describe their music as Canadian. When asked about a Canadian band many would name Gordon Lightfoot, Stan Rogers, k.d. lang, Neil Young, Anne Murray, Great Big Sea, or The Tragically Hip as being historically representative of Canadiana. Much like art, the modern Canadian music scene has grown, incorporating previously unplayed artists and genres. while tuning into CBC Radio it is not uncommon to hear a catchy pop tune by Caveboy, followed by Indigenous inspired dance-music by A Tribe Called Red, ending with a fiddle-heavy East Coast jam by The East Pointers. This is but a small sample of the diversity of present-day Canadian music. Visit https://www.cbcmusic.ca/music-streams to find something you like!
Food and Drink
Traditional food and drink are defined largely in regional terms. Bannock, an Indigenous bread, is popular in the North. Poutine, French fries smothered in gravy and cheese curds, is commonly associated with the French province of Quebec. The East Coast is known for a variety of seafood and Nova Scotia has the distinction of inventing a now-popular treat, the donair. You will have to try one for yourself if you want to find out what is in them; they are available in Prince Edward Island.
Canadian whisky is popular around the world for its quality and aged properties; to be considered a ‘Canadian’ whisky it must be aged for at least 3 years. Wine is produced throughout Canada, but the West, between the coast and mountains, is particularly well-known for producing high-quality vintages. Beer is considered by many to be a part of the Canadian identity. With 817 breweries in Canada, many of which are specialty “craft beer” brewers, it is hard to argue with the notion that Canadians like beer. Coffee is a staple that many Canadians ‘rely’ on to get through tough winters spent in hockey arenas and shovelling snow. Tim Hortons, a national chain, is the largest supplier of coffee for Canadians (3,802 locations) and it is so popular that it is embedded in the minds of many that to drink ‘Tims’ is to be Canadian.
Section 2 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (1982) guarantees all Canadians the inalienable right to freely practice their religion of choice, though the state itself is secular. In total there are 108 unique religions practiced in Canada (2011). It must be noted that Statistics Canada denotes “Traditional Aboriginal Spirituality” as one religion however the manifestation of these practices and beliefs takes many forms.
Canada has about 310 billion trees, or almost 9,000 for every person. The tree species are as diverse as the Canadians who they outnumber – there are about 140 tree species that are native to Canada. Canada makes up about 40% of the world’s Boreal Forest and covers 60% of Canada’s total land area. Conifer (trees with needles, sometimes referred to as evergreens) make up the majority of the Boreal Forest, although there are deciduous (traditional trees whose leaves fall off and regrow once a year) species found.
While the Boreal covers much of Central Canada, Eastern Canada has the Acadian forest. It consists of some of the same types of trees but is much more diverse in its makeup. If one were to look upon the treetops it would be hard to miss ebbs and flows of the trees, tall pines jut out and break the flow of smaller, leafier birch trees, poplars try mightily to reach for the pines, large elms and oaks challenge the pines, their large trunks standing out. From below the trees, thick foliage creates a cooling canopy for anyone who ventures on a summer hike.