Prince Edward Island

Prince Edward Island

ORIGIN OF PROVINCE NAME: Prince Edward Island was originally called Abegweit ("lying down flat," or "cradled by the waves") by the Micmac Indians. Europeans called it the Island of Saint John in 1763; in 1799 the island was renamed Prince Edward Island, in honor of Prince Edward of England.

NICKNAME: The Garden Province, The Million Acre Farm, or Spud Island. Called by most residents simply "The Island."

CAPITAL: Charlottetown.


SONG: "The Island Hymn."

MOTTO: Parva sub ingenti (The small under the protection of the great).

COAT OF ARMS: In 2002 elements were added to surround a shield with a lion in the upper third and a large oak tree (representing Canada) and three smaller oak trees (representing the three counties of Prince Edward Island) in the lower two-thirds. Added were a blue jay (the provincial bird) atop a helmet, and two silver foxes flanking the shield. One fox wears a garland of potato blossoms and the other a length of fishing net. Together they represent ranched fur, agriculture, and fishing industries. The provincial motto appears on a scroll beneath.

FLAG: The design of the flag is similar to that of the shield in the coat of arms, with the addition of a fringe of alternating red and white.

FLORAL EMBLEM: Lady's slipper.

TARTAN: Reddish-brown, green, white, and yellow.


TREE: Northern red oak.

TIME: 8 AM AST = noon GMT.


Prince Edward Island (PEI), one of Canada's four Atlantic Provinces, is the smallest of the ten provinces in both size and population. The island is crescent shaped, measures 139 miles (224 kilometers) from tip to tip, is 4 to 40 miles (6 to 64 kilometers) wide. Its total area is 2,185 square miles (5,660 square kilometers). It is situated in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and is separated from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick by the Northumberland Strait.


The province has numerous lakes and rivers, most of which are quite small, and is known for its red soil, sand dunes and 500 miles (800 kilometers) of beaches. The highest point is 499 feet (152 meters) above sea level at Springton, Queen's County.


The climate is generally temperate, with chilly winters and mild summers. The most precipitation occurs between November and January. Average temperatures for Charlottetown are 19° F (-7° C ) in January and 64° F (18° C ) in July. The highest recorded temperature on PEI was 98° F (36.7° C ) on 19 August 1935 at Charlottetown, while the lowest recorded temperature was -35° F (-37.2° C ) on 26 January 1884 at Kilmahumaig.


The temperate maritime climate is hospitable for a wide variety of native and imported European plants. Many species of clams, snails, and seaweeds are found along the coast, as well as seals, seagulls, and various migratory bird species.


As in New Brunswick, the drift of air pollution from industrial centers in central Canada and New England over PEI is a prominent environmental problem. The Island Waste Management Corporation is the provincial Crown corporation that administers and provides solid waste management services throughout PEI. As of 2004, the corporation was aiming to divert 65 percent of its solid waste through its extensive recycling program. Water usage per person is the lowest in Canada. Emissions of air pollution are minimal; annual carbon dioxide equivalent releases are about 428,000 tons.

Prince Edward Island Population Profile

Prince Edward Island

Estimated 2003 population 137,800
Population change, 1996–2001 0.5%
Percent Urban/Rural populations
Urban 44.8%
Rural 55.2%
Foreign born population 3.1%
Population by ethnicity
Canadian 60,000
Scottish 50,700
English 38,330
Irish 37,170
French 28,410
German 5,400
Dutch (Netherlands) 4,130
Acadian 3,020
North American Indian 2,360
Welsh 1,440
American (USA) 640
Métis 245
Inuit 120

Population by Age Group
Population by Age Group

Top Cities with Populations over 10,000
Top Cities with Populations over 10,000

City Population, 2001
Charlottetown 38,114
Summerside 14,654


Prince Edward Island's 2001 population of 135,294 is fairly evenly divided between urban and rural dwellers. The median age

Prince Edward Island
of the population increased from 32.8 years in 1991 to 37.7 in 2001, or just above the national average. Charlottetown, with a population of 38,114, is the only city in the province. Summerside, population 14,654, is the second largest municipality. Other municipalities include Cornwall (2,209), Montague (1,950), Kensington (1,385), and Souris (1,248).


Approximately 68 percent of the population is of British ancestry (English, Scottish, and Welsh), and about 21.3 percent is of French descent. In 2001, 2,360 people had Aboriginal ancestry. The island's population also includes small numbers of Arabs, Chinese, and blacks.


As of 2001, English was the first language of 93.8 percent of the island's residents, while 4.2 percent claimed French as their mother tongue and 1.6 percent had other first languages (0.4 percent had two native languages).


Roman Catholics comprise 47.4 percent of the population, or approximately 63,265 people. About 42.8 percent of the population, or 57,080 people, are Protestant, the majority of whom are members of the United Church of Canada, but with Presbyterians, Anglicans, Baptists, Pentecostals, and Lutherans also represented. The province also has less than 250 each of the following: people of Eastern Orthodox faith, Muslims, Budhhists, Hindus, and Jews. About 8,950 provincial residents profess no religious affiliation.


The movement of goods to and from the province is carried out largely by truck, since rail service to PEI was discontinued in 1989. The province's highway system is comprised of some 2,360 miles (3,798 kilometers) of paved highways and over 900 miles (1,448 kilometers) of unpaved or clay roads. In 2003, PEI had 79,931 registered road motor vehicles, 58 buses, 1,270 motorcycles and mopeds, and 9,629 trailers. SMT Limited operates bus service between Charlottetown, Summerside, and Moncton, New Brunswick, for connection with Via Rail passenger train services and other bus services.

On 1 June 1997, the 8-mile (12.9 kilometer) Confederation Bridge opened, spanning the Northumberland Strait to link PEI with the mainland. The bridge connects Borden-Carleton, PEI to Cape Jourimain, New Brunswick and replaces the ferry service between the two towns. The C $840 million bridge is the longest of its kind in the world over ice-covered marine waters.

Two ferry services still operate. One line operates between Woods Island, PEI, and Caribou, Nova Scotia between May and December. The other links Souris, PEI with Grindstone in the Magdalen Islands of Québec from April to January.

Air travel between Charlottetown and other centers, including Toronto, is provided by Air Nova and Air Atlantic to connect with Air Canada and Canadian

Canadian Mountie checks shipping movement at Charlottetown's harbor. © Eric Hayes/Woodfin Camp.
Canadian Mountie checks shipping movement at Charlottetown's harbor.
© Eric Hayes/Woodfin Camp.
Airlines International flights at Halifax, Nova Scotia. Air Canada also provides daily jet service between Charlottetown and Toronto, Ontario. Prince Edward Air provides daily scheduled service to Halifax from Summerside and Charlottetown. Atlantic Island Airways provides daily scheduled service to Toronto and Ottawa.


European Settlement

Prince Edward Island is located off the coast of New Brunswick in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. There is evidence that the ancestors of the Micmac Indians lived on the island 10,000 years ago, when a land bridge extended across what is now the Northumberland Strait. The Europeans discovered the island when French explorer Jacques Cartier landed there in 1534; he described it as "the most beautiful stretch of land imaginable." In spite of his enthusiastic description, it was a long time before the island was settled. No permanent colony existed until the French established a very small one in 1719.

The population of the island (then known as the Island of Saint John) remained low—at only 700 people—until the British deported the uncooperative Acadians (who denied all allegiance to the British Crown) from Nova Scotia in 1755. Within three years, the population rose to 5,000.

In 1766, Captain Samuel Holland prepared a topographic map of the island (meaning the map reflected the various levels of land elevation and other natural features of the region). He divided it into 67 sections and distributed those sections, known as parcels, among groups of British landowners. Many of these landowners overcharged their tenants for the use of the land. This created bad feelings between the British Crown and the daring settlers who had ventured into Canada to begin a new life.

In 1769 the Island of Saint John became a separate colony, and 30 years later, in 1799, it was given its present name in honor of Prince Edward of England. Charlottetown, the capital of Prince Edward Island, was the site of the conference that set Canadian Confederation in motion.

Agriculture, Fishing, and Furs

Up until the late nineteenth century, Prince Edward Island had a farming economy. The province's climate and its light, sandy soil made it an ideal location for potato production. Because the Islanders did not have the money to invest in boats and other fishing equipment, they were unable to profit from the many fish that swam in its surrounding waters. American fishers, however, took full advantage of the plentiful cod and mackerel that populated the rich fishing waters, positioning their fleets along the coast of Prince Edward Island in the first half of the nineteenth century. In 1854, the Reciprocity Treaty gave the United States the right to fish anywhere along the Island's coast and to hold property in the colony. American investments in the island aided in the establishment of a native Island fishery.

In the 1890s an economic depression, or slowdown, hit the province hard, and many of Prince Edward Island's residents moved to the United States, where employment opportunities were more plentiful. Boston, Massachusetts, was the destination for most people who left the Island during this period. In 1896, Charles Dalton and Robert Oulton began to breed silver-black foxes on the Island. This quickly became an important industry, and as breeding spread and fur prices rose, some of the local fox ranchers became very wealthy. But the Great Depression of the 1930s brought the industry to a grinding halt.

Like the United States, all of Canada suffered during the Great Depression, a period of severe economic slowdown that began in 1929. Droughts, frequent crop failures, and low grain prices devastated the national economy, which still relied heavily on farming. As a result, social welfare programs expanded rapidly during the 1930s. The Depression continued until World War II broke out in 1939.

In the 1940s, consumer spending and immigration to Canada increased significantly. There was some economic development on Prince Edward Island at this time, but it was slower than in many of the other Canadian provinces. Agriculture was still the basis of the Island's economy, but by the 1950s tourism was becoming increasingly important. Advancements in transportation helped spark growth in this industry. Up until the middle of the 20th century, it was difficult for tourists to even get to Prince Edward Island. From the mainland, travelers had to cross the Northumberland Strait by ferry, but there was just one ferry and it made only a few crossings to the Island each day. After arriving on Prince Edward Island, tourists then had to deal with a slow railroad and poor roads that were nearly impossible to navigate. Paving became common in the 1950s, and the resulting increase in mobility boosted tourism considerably. One of the Islands main attractions was the home of Anne of Green Gables author Lucy Maud Montgomery.

Other improvements to the province followed. For instance, a national park had been established in the province in 1937, but it wasn't until the 1950s and 1960s that it was really developed. The Confederation Centre of the Arts was established in Charlottetown in 1964. A showcase for visual and performing arts in Canada, the site is a memorial to the Fathers of Confederation who met at Province House in Charlottetown in 1864 to discuss the creation of Canada. The 1960s also marked the beginning of the tradition of lobster dinners on Prince Edward Island. Up until this point in history, lobster was used largely as a fertilizer on the Island. However, as the seafood began to gain popularity, church and community groups used it as the focus of their fundraising dinners, a tradition that continues today.

On 17 December 1992 Canada joined the United States and Mexico in signing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which was built upon the U.S.-Canada Free Trade Agreement. NAFTA, which was implemented in 1994, seeks to create a single market of 370 million people.

The Québec Question

Canada's unity has been threatened by the possibility of Québec's secession, or separation, from the rest of the country. Québec is a French-speaking area that places high value on the preservation of its French culture. The Meech Lake Accord (1987) and the Charlottetown Accord (1992) both proposed the recognition of Québec as a "distinct society" within the nation. The Canadian government had hoped that these accords would alleviate Québec's fears of cultural loss and discrimination while maintaining a unified Canada. However, Québec's separation issue remains unresolved. If Québec does eventually break away from Canada, the fate of the traditionally poorer Maritime Provinces, including Prince Edward Island, would also be uncertain. It is thought that one or more of these provinces might explore the possibility of admission to the United States.

Industry Branches Out

In 1993, Catherine Callbeck of the Liberal Party became Premier of Prince Edward Island. She was the first woman to hold this office anywhere in Canada. In May of 1997, the Confederation Bridge opened, linking Cape Tormentine, New Brunswick, and Borden-Carlton of Prince Edward Island. At 12.9 kilometers (almost 8 miles), the concrete bridge is reported to be the longest continuous marine span in the world. A car traveling at normal highway speed takes about 10 minutes to travel its length. Although construction of the bridge was not without controversy—some Islanders did not want to see their homeland linked with Canada's mainland—there is no doubt that it has encouraged tourism, the second biggest money-making industry in the province (behind agriculture).

In recent years, the government has sought to expand Prince Edward Island's economy beyond its traditional activities. Consequently, manufacturing and processing are becoming more important, as are aviation and aerospace industries. Although potatoes remain the region's most important cash crop, new crops such as ginseng and hemp have been added to Prince Edward Island's farms. In addition, emu farming was established in 1992.

The Progressive Conservatives have been in power on Prince Edward Island since 1996. Under the leadership of Premier Pat Binns, the party won a landslide victory in the general election of 2000, taking all but one of the 27 available seats.

In 1999, a Canadian Supreme Court ruling declared that same-sex couples were entitled to the same benefits and obligations as opposite-sex couples in long-term relationships that the government recognizes as "common law" marriages. The province of PEI had not acted to comply with this ruling as of early 2004.


Three different levels of government exist on PEI—federal, provincial, and municipal. The provincial parliament is known as the Legislative Assembly and consists of 27 members (in 1893, the Legislative Council and the Assembly were merged). At the federal level, the island is represented by four Members of Parliament in the House of Commons and four Senators in the Senate of Canada. As part of a constitutional monarchy, the province also has a lieutenant governor who is the Queen's provincial representative.


From 1769 to the early 1800s, the informal political groups of PEI concentrated on settling land disputes and rivalries within the government, church, and militia. By 1870 however, labor union and church problems had proven so divisive that there were no stable political parties on the island. Since the development of local political parties was immature when PEI entered the confederation in 1873, the evolution of provincial political parties on the island closely resembled that of the federal parties. As a result, third parties have never played a serious role in Island politics.

The general election held on 29 September 2003 gave power to 23 Progressive Conservatives, 4 Liberals, and 0 New Democrats.

Premiers of Prince Edward Island
Premiers of Prince Edward Island

Term Premier Party
1873 James Colledge Pope Conservative
1873–76 Lemuel Cambridge Owen Conservative
1876–79 Louis Henry Davies Liberal
1879–89 William Wilfred Sullivan Conservative
1889–91 Neil McLeod Conservative
1891–97 Frederick Peters Liberal
1897–98 Alexander Bannerman Warburton Liberal
1898–1901 Donald Farquharson Liberal
1901–08 Arthur Peters Liberal
1908–11 Francis Longworth Haszard Liberal
1911 Herbert James Palmer Liberal
1911–17 John Alexander Mathieson Conservative
1917–19 Aubin-Edmond Arsenault Conservative
1919–23 John Howatt Bell Liberal
1923–27 James David Stewart Conservative
1927–30 Albert Charles Saunders Liberal
1930–31 Walter Maxfield Lea Liberal
1931–33 James Davis Stewart Conservative
1933–35 William Parnell MacMillan Conservative
1935–36 Walter Maxfield Lea Liberal
1936–43 Thane Alexander Campbell Liberal
1943–53 John Walter Jones Liberal
1953–59 Alexander Wallace Matheson Liberal
1959–66 Walter Russell Shaw Conservative
1966–78 Alexander Bradshaw Campbell Liberal
1978–79 William Bennett Campbell Liberal
1979–81 John Angus McLean Conservative
1981–86 James Matthew Lee Conservative
1986–93 Joseph Atallah Ghiz Liberal
1993–96 Catherine Sophia Callbeck Liberal
1996– Patrick G. Binns Conservative


Charlottetown (the capital) and Summer-side are the province's only incorporated cities. PEI also has 7 towns and over 80 communities. There is no minimum population requirement for the incorporation of a municipality.


The Canadian Constitution grants provincial jurisdiction over the administration of justice, and allows each province to organize its own court system and police forces. The federal government has exclusive domain over cases involving trade and commerce, banking, bankruptcy, and criminal law. The Federal Court of Canada has both trial and appellate divisions for federal cases. The nine-judge Supreme Court of Canada is an appellate court that determines the constitutionality of both federal and provincial statutes. The Tax Court of Canada hears appeals of taxpayers against assessments by Revenue Canada.

There are three levels of courts in PEI: the Youth Court, the Provincial Court, and the Supreme Court of PEI. The Supreme Court of PEI has two divisions, the Trial Division and the Appeal Division. The Trial Division hears trials in general civil matters, criminal proceedings, family matters, small claims, and estate or probate matters. The Appeals Division hears appeals from the Provincial Court and the Trial Division.

No more than 1 homicide per year usually occurs on the island, which would give PEI a rate of 0.7 homicides per 100,000 persons. There were 865 violent crimes per 100,000 persons in 2002, and 3,204 property crimes per 100,000 persons.


In 2001, 31.6 percent of the 4,140 immigrants living in PEI had come from the United States, and 25.4 percent from the United Kingdom. About 18.2 percent came from Northern and Western European countries other than the United Kingdom (mostly from the Netherlands and Germany), and 6.2 percent from Southern Europe.

In 2001, 0.9 percent of PEI residents age 5 and over were living abroad. About 8 percent were living elsewhere in PEI. Some 6.3 percent were living in other provinces.

While Ontario is the leading province of origin for internal migration into PEI, Nova Scotia is the leading province of destination for those leaving the island to live elsewhere in Canada.


The PEI economy is more diverse than is often realized, and today the largest and fastest-growing sectors in terms of employment are in the service sector. The traditional sectors of agriculture and fishing dominate goods production, while food processing dominates manufacturing. Tourism is also an important contributor to the local economy. In 2002, PEI's gross domestic product totaled C $3.7 billion, or about 0.3 percent of the national total.


Average family income in the province was C $55,298 in 2000 for a family of five. As of 2000, average weekly earnings in the province amounted to C $490.91.


Most of PEI's industrial activity involves the processing of agricultural and fisheries products. In recent years, technology-intensive industry has become more important, especially in the medical, electronics, and agricultural fields. Specialized manufacturing industries have been established in the province producing goods such as diagnostic medical kits, optical frames, and steel and aluminum cookware. PEI also has a growing number of firms in the aerospace industry. In 2002, the value of manufactured shipments was C $1.3 billion. Non-food manufacturing shipments increased by 19.4 percent in value in 2002. Aerospace and wood processing increased by 28.2 and 15.7 percent, respectively. Shipments of food products (including fish) were valued at C $604.7 million during the first eight months of 2003.


There were 71,600 people in the labor force in 2003. About 67,000 persons were employed, and 9,100 persons unemployed, for an unemployment rate of 12 percent, the second-highest rate among the provinces, behind Newfoundland and Labrador. The hourly minimum wage as of January 2004 was C $6.50.

The sectors with the largest numbers of employed persons in 2003 were trade, 10,900; health care and social services, 8,000; public administration, 6,900; manufacturing, 6,600; accommodation and food services, 5,100; educational services, 5,000; construction, 4,300; agriculture, 3,800; other services, 3,600; information, culture, and recreation, 2,700; forestry, fishing, mining, and oil and gas, 2,700; professional, scientific, and technical services, 2,600; transportation and warehousing, 2,500; management, administrative, and other support, 2,200; finance, insurance, and real estate and leasing, 2,200; and utilities, 400.


Prince Edward Island's rich red soil and temperate climate make it an ideal location

The Confederation Bridge opened on 1 June 1997. It connects Borden-Carleton, Prince Edward Island, to Cape Jouirimain, New Brunswick. EPD Photos/Peter Langer
The Confederation Bridge opened on 1 June 1997. It connects Borden-Carleton, Prince Edward Island, to Cape Jouirimain, New Brunswick.
EPD Photos/Peter Langer
for mixed farming. Almost half of the total land area is devoted to agriculture. In fact, the island is often called the "Million Acre Farm," or "the Garden Province." In 2001, of the 646,148 acres (261,482 hectares) devoted to agriculture, 433,648 acres (175,488 hectares) were in crops. Farm cash receipts (excluding forest products sold) equaled C $395.7 million in 2000, but operating expenses totaled C $337.7 million. The average farmer was left with C $32,212 before interest payments and taxes.

Potatoes are the major source of farm income, contributing an average of more than 30 percent of the total farm cash receipts; much of the annual potato harvest is shipped to the populous areas of Ontario. The primary field crops in 2001 included hay, barley, alfalfa, and spring wheat, in addition to potatoes. The top three fruit crops produced are blueberries, strawberries, and apples. The top three field-grown vegetable crops are carrots, rutabagas and turnips, and cauliflower. There were 23 farms producing certified organic products in 2001.

There were 1,845 farms operating in 2001, with an average size of 351 acres (142 hectares).


As of 2001, there were 84,791 head of cattle, 14,623 dairy cows, 126,065 pigs, and 3,589 sheep. The poultry population in 2003 was 138,837. There were 7 chicken producers and 19 egg producers. Cash receipts from livestock and products in 2003 were C $126.4 million. About 40 percent of those receipts come from dairy products.


Fishing and related industries are of major importance to the PEI economy. Lobster fishing accounts for two-thirds to three-quarters of the annual fishing income. In 2003, 18,624 tons of fish and shellfish were exported from PEI, for a value of C $196.7 million.

Although lobster is the primary species caught off PEI, about 30 other fish and seafood species are caught, notably cultivated "Island Blue" mussels, snow crab, groundfish, herring, mackerel, the giant bluefin tuna, and the renowned Malpeque oysters. Irish Moss, a seaplant, is widely harvested for its extract, carrageenan, which is used heavily in the food industry.

There are approximately 5,300 professional fishermen and helpers working from some 1,500 fishing vessels. More than 2,500 Islanders are employed in the fish processing industry, working at factories and facilities around the province.

In 2000, there were 8,617 residents actively engaged in sport fishing within the province.


There are some 716,600 acres (290,000 hectares) of forested land on PEI, covering about 51 percent of the land area. Though timber quality has suffered from poor harvesting in the past, soil and site potential for forest production is excellent.

In 2000, the total timber harvest was around 24,721,200 cubic feet (700,000 cubic meters). The value of forestry exports in 2002 was C $14.9 million, with softwood lumber accounting for 90 percent. The island had some 20 logging establishments in 2001, along with 15 wood processing and 5 paper manufacturing establishments. The forestry industry directly employed some 600 persons in 2002.


Mining on PEI is limited to mostly sand and gravel. The value of production in 2003 was C $3.35 million.


Prince Edward Island relies upon the mainland for its electricity. There are no significant deposits of coal or petroleum on PEI. PEI is also without substantial sources of nuclear or hydroelectric energy. As of 2004, eight percent of PEI's energy needs came from renewable sources, such as wood and solar panels. Wind power holds great potential as a new energy source for PEI. Many hope wind power could account for 10 percent of PEI's energy needs by 2010. Ethanol produced from island-grown grains and combined with gasoline and diesel is projected to reduce PEI's dependence upon fossil fuels.


In 2002, total merchandise exports amounted to C $694 million and imports totaled C $23 million. The United States takes in 90.3 percent of PEI's exports, and supplies 63.8 percent of its imports. Russia is PEI's second largest import supplier, at 18.3 percent of all imports.

Due to its small population and isolation, retail trade on PEI relies on tourism and local recreation.


The fiscal year runs from 1 April to 31 March. For fiscal year 2002/03, total revenues were C $968.4 million; expenditures totaled C $980 million, for a deficit of C $11.6 million. The largest expenditure areas were health and social services, education, interest on debt, transportation and public works, and industry. In the 2002/03 fiscal year, provincial debt amounted to C $1.08 billion.


The basic personal income tax rate in 2003 was 42 percent, the lowest rate among the provinces. There were high income surtaxes of 10 percent. The retail sales tax was 10 percent. Consumption taxes include a gasoline tax of C $.14 per liter and a tobacco tax of C $22.90 per carton.

The average family of four (two parents and two children) in 2003 earned C $61,876, the lowest amount among the provinces. Such a family paid C $26,813 in taxes.

Corporate income tax rates in 2003 were as follows: small business rate, 7.5 percent; manufacturing and processing corporate rate, 7.5 percent; general business rate, 16 percent; and capital tax rate for financial institutions, 3 percent.


In 2001, there were 1,380 live births in PEI, a decrease of 4.2 percent from 2000. There were 1,160 deaths that year, a decrease of 5.6 percent. Life expectancy for men in 2001 was 75.3 years, and 82.6 years for women. Reported cases of selected diseases in 2002 included campylobacteriosis, 45; salmonellosis, 13; and giardiasis, 7. From November 1985 to June 2003, 609 residents (includes Nova Scotia) had become infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.


PEI had 50,795 households in 2001, of which 36,895 occupied single-detached houses, 30 occupied apartments in buildings with five or more stories, 2,225 occupied mobile homes, and 11,650 occupied other dwellings, including row houses and apartments in buildings with fewer than five stories. The average household size was 2.6 persons. In 2002, C $199 million was invested in residential housing construction.


The public school system in the province provides free education for students from grades 1 to 12. In 1999/00, there were 11,796 elementary students (grades 1–6) and 12,505 secondary students (grades 7– 12). Of the 69 schools in operation, three are private schools, and one is Aboriginaloperated. Provincial public schools are organized into five regional administrative units with elected school boards. Approximately 2 percent of the students receive their education in the French language, while an additional 15 percent are enrolled in French immersion programs.

The province has one university and one college of applied arts and technology. The University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) offers undergraduate programs in arts, science, education, music, business administration, and nursing. Total enrollment in 1999/00 consisted of over 2,322 full-time and 498 part-time students. A professional program in veterinary medicine (DVM) had 232 students. The primary purpose of Holland College is to provide training for students seeking employment at semiprofessional levels in business, applied arts, technology, and vocational areas. In 1998/99, 1,844 full-time and 2,606 part-time students registered in postsecondary programs within Holland College, which also offers extensive academic, vocational, and career preparation programs. Total enrollment of the college in 1998/99 was 9,246.

Annual expenditures on education for the province exceeded C $228.8 million in the 1995/96 government fiscal year.


The Victoria Playhouse near Charlottetown and the Britannia Hall Theatre in Tyne Valley feature concerts and plays. Dinner theater is also popular in Charlottetown, Summerside, and Mont-Carmel. PEI's performing arts companies give 600 performances before a total attendance of over 120,000 each year. Per capita provincial spending on the arts in PEI was C $80 in 2000/01, higher than the national average of C $68.


The Confederation Centre Public Library in Charlottetown serves the province, with 22 branch libraries around the island. The Robertson Library of the University of Prince Edward Island is the main academic library. Other special libraries in Charlottetown include the Government Services Library, the PEI Provincial Library, and the Stewart McKelvey Stirling Scales Law Library. The Prince Edward Island Museum & Heritage Foundation operates five historic museums across the province. The Confederation Centre Art Gallery & Museum in Charlottetown features 15,000 pieces with a special focus on the development of Canadian art over the past two centuries.


There are 2 AM and 5 FM radio stations operating in the province as of 2004. CBC provides television and FM radio services from a studio in Charlottetown, while television programs of the CTV network are fed to the province via a repeater station. Atlantic Television (ITV) and East-Link Community Television are other television systems on the island. Cable and pay television service is provided to approximately 29,000 (69 percent) of the island's households. Radio-Canada offers French FM radio and UHF-TV from Moncton through repeater stations situated on the island. Telephones and telecommunications services are provided to 72,346 subscribers by the Island Telephone Co. Ltd., a member of Stentor. Cellular telephone service is available.


Readers have a choice of two local daily newspapers and three weekly papers (one French-language). The largest daily newspapers on PEI are the Guardian of Charlottetown and the Journal Pioneer of Summerside.


Tourism is extremely important to the economy of PEI. In 2002, expenditures from tourists amounted to C $353 million. There were approximately 1.18 million visitors to PEI during the 2000 tourism season.

Prince Edward Island offers a number of activities relating to history, culture, cuisine, sport, and recreation. PEI offers visitors scenic hiking trails, great golf courses, lobster suppers, live theater, historic properties, and picturesque landscapes. Green Gables, a house situated in Prince Edward Island National Park, was the inspiration for Lucy Maud Montgomery's novel Anne of Green Gables. Finally, the island's 500 miles (800 kilometers) of beaches attract more than 665,000 visitors yearly for relaxation and water sports, including bluefin tuna fishing.


Golf and hiking are popular warm-weather activities, while skiing and hockey are prominent winter sports. Harness racing draws spectators year-round.


George H. Coles (1810–75), one of the fathers of confederation, was born in PEI and, as its premier, initially delayed the province's joining the confederation until 1873. The most renowned PEI author was novelist Lucy Maud Montgomery (1874–1942), who made the island internationally famous in Anne of Green Gables and other related stories. The Island's sports heroes include George Godfrey (1852–1901), American Black Heavyweight Champion and one of the leading heavyweight boxers of the 1880s; Michael Thomas (1883–1954), a Micmac Indian who was one of Canada's best long-distance runners; and Joe O'Brien (1917–84), considered one of harness racing's best drivers ever.


Campbell, Kumari. Prince Edward Island. Minneapolis: Lerner Publications, 1996.

LeVert, Suzanne. Prince Edward Island. Philadelphia: Chelsea House, 2001.

Rogers, Barbara Radcliffe, and Stillman Rogers. Adventure Guide to New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. Edison, NJ: Hunter Travel Guides, 2002.

Web sites

Prince Edward Island. (accessed on March 22, 2004).

Travel Canada: Prince Edward Island. Canada. (accessed on March 22, 2004).

User Contributions:

Arnold J. MacDonald
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May 24, 2006 @ 8:08 am
I am having a hard time finding info on the narrow guage rr's that used to operate on the island. I had relatives that worked on the rr. Where can I get such info?
ebony cobbs
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Mar 14, 2007 @ 3:15 pm
OMG!!!! your website totally saved my life. please continue to put a lot of information about Canadas Provinces and u will save a lot of High School students lives. thank you thank you thank you!!!!!!!
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Mar 22, 2007 @ 4:16 pm
that was so much information. and i'm sooo happy i found it. i'm doing a history project at school about pei in the 1800s and this was exactly what i was looking for. THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH!!!
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Apr 23, 2007 @ 12:00 am
Hi there,
You guys are excellent information provider. your website gave me a glimpse as if I am there. Lots of information. Please continue your work for other provinces information.

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Oct 7, 2007 @ 4:16 pm
oh my goodness!!!! im only in the six grade and i had a HUGEEEE report on am so glad i found this website or i would be totally lost!!!thank u thank u thank u!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Dec 13, 2007 @ 7:19 pm
thank so much i would have failed grade six or else
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Nov 25, 2008 @ 4:16 pm
best sight ever it gives so much info i loved it especially because it gave a whole bunch of info for my history project on P.E.I in the 1800s THANK U SOOOOOOOOOOO MUCH
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Oct 11, 2009 @ 9:09 am
Thanks so much! I'm in sixth grade and i have to do a report on PEI. this website has so much info about pei!
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Nov 5, 2009 @ 6:18 pm
thanks so much for putting this info on here! it totally saved my life. i had to write to reports about Prince Edward Island, and this helped a lot. thanks!
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Mar 10, 2010 @ 1:13 pm
Thank you so much this site was so helpful to me. GO PEI!
I would have failed grade seven without this site. :)
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Apr 25, 2010 @ 3:15 pm
Im from PEI and even I learned something from this site, hahaha. thanks!
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Oct 14, 2010 @ 7:19 pm
i wanted to know if there were clubs in PEI to like party and go clubbing and stuff for students ?
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Oct 20, 2010 @ 6:18 pm
This website is the best!! I use it for everything thank you so much!!!
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Nov 8, 2010 @ 11:23 pm
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Jan 9, 2011 @ 1:13 pm
I really needed this email for a big 5th grade project!Thanks! So helful!
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Jan 10, 2011 @ 8:08 am
OMG it was so helpful to me that you have this information on canada THANK YOU SO MUCH OH YEAH
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Feb 8, 2011 @ 1:13 pm
Thank you! who ever made his is a life saver! You know writing a paper on P.E.I is harder then it seems!
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May 17, 2011 @ 11:23 pm
This is great info, I am a local PEI tour guide and this helps me out but it is very out of date, let me know when this gets up dated.
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Jun 28, 2011 @ 4:16 pm
THANKYOU. this helped alot with my geo project , all my information is from here.
and my project was due last friday . so thanks so much
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Sep 21, 2011 @ 9:21 pm
This was perfect because i have a huge 6th grade project on Prince Edward Island now i can tell my group this website thank you so much.
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Oct 30, 2011 @ 8:08 am
I loved this site!My geography teacher is making us do a brochure about PEI and this website gave me all the information on where to put everything!Thank you!
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Oct 30, 2011 @ 10:22 pm
Thankyou so much! this really helped with my PEI province project.
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Nov 8, 2011 @ 1:13 pm
this doesn't help me out i need more info about Prince Edward Island
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Nov 29, 2011 @ 6:06 am
Wow that information was very helpful! I am an eighth grade student and I am currently doing a Social Studies project on P.E.I. This information helped me greatly! There is alot of pressure on me to do good in school because I am student council president. This will help me get there! Thank you so much!

Keep up the AWESOME work!

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Dec 7, 2011 @ 5:17 pm
thank you very much for this site you help me with my homework. Thanks
yvonne meneksas
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Jan 16, 2012 @ 4:16 pm
I'm doing a brochure project on P.E.I. The part of the project is on the vegetation and the major imports of P.E.I. Is it possible to get receive some information on the two subjects that I mentioned.
P.S. I would greatly appreciate it and it would help me out a great deal.
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Mar 4, 2012 @ 1:13 pm
Thank you so much for having this website on pei i would of failed my high school class if this website wasnt alive who ever made it life saver much
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Apr 15, 2012 @ 3:15 pm
soo helpful! my project is due tomrow and im finally done !
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Nov 20, 2012 @ 6:18 pm
Very informative, detailed and precise. Was helpful in my daughter's project.
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Dec 12, 2012 @ 5:17 pm
There are so many things that I needed to know for my project that
are usefull alot. If this website was not here I could have gotten
a D+ for my project!
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Jan 22, 2013 @ 12:12 pm
You guys saved my life! I got a project due in three days and I did not event start. Keep up the good work guys!
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May 10, 2013 @ 10:10 am
what is the flag of PEI back in the 1870's ?? need it for project help!!!
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Dec 4, 2013 @ 7:07 am
awesome website! couldnt find the food they eat in PEI.
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Oct 24, 2015 @ 8:20 pm
I doing a social studies project about Canada and this helped me so much!!! Please keep putting out more info thank u so much!! You saved my live! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!

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