Travel Guides Crafted by Experienced Archaeologists & Historians

Prince Edward Island
Art, History & Archaeology Sites & Museums

The smallest and most densely populated of Canada’s provinces, Prince Edward Island lies off the east coast of the mainland. Known by locals as “the Island,” the province has both a national park and over 20 National Historic Sites. The indigenous Mi’kmaq people referred to it as Abegweit, often translated as “Cradled on the Waves.” A French settlement was established here around the 1720s, although this was dispersed by the British in the 1750s. After the British assumed control of the island, they named it after Edward Augustus, one of King George III’s sons, while the island’s capital of Charlottetown was named after King George’s wife. In 1873 the island joined the recently formed Canada as its seventh province.

Archaeology & History Sites in Prince Edward Island

Beaconsfield Historic House

One of the finest 19th century buildings on Prince Edward Island, Beaconsfield in Charlottesville was the creation of the architect W. C. Harris. Completed in 1877, it initially served as the home of the merchant and shipbuilder James Peake, who lived there with his wife Edith for several years before ownership passed to Henry Cundall in 1883. After Cundall’s death in 1916 the house became a residence for young ladies and later for student nurses before being transformed into a heritage attraction furnished with period Victorian material.

Green Gables Heritage Place

Located in Cavendish, Green Gables is known internationally as the setting of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s 1908 novel Anne of Green Gables. The farmhouse was established from the 1830s onward, becoming home to the MacNeill family, who were cousins of Montgomery’s. The success of the novel led to the site becoming a popular tourist attraction, around which the Prince Edward Island National Park was subsequently established. Since 1985, the house itself has been a National Historic Site, while today’s visitors can also explore the local woodland via two specially-designed trails.

Skmaqn—Port-la-Joye—Fort Amherst

The Skmaqn—Port-la-Joye—Fort Amherst area is a National Historic Site at Rocky Point. Between 1720 and 1770 it served as the seat of government for Prince Edward Island, initially under the French, when it was called Port-la-Joye, and later under the British, when it saw its French and Acadian settlers deported and became Fort Amherst. An additional name used for site, “Skmaqn,” derives from the indigenous Mi’kmaq language and means “the waiting place.” A visitor’s centre opened in 1973, while a series of trails stretch over an area of 5km.

West Point Lighthouse

Built in 1875, the West Point Lighthouse is the tallest of its kind on Prince Edward Island. Today it stands as a distinctive marker in the local landscape with its striking black and white stripe design. The lighthouse itself now operates as an inn, allowing people the opportunity to spend the night here. The adjacent museum, opened in 1984, features displays devoted to the history of the structure, the lives of the lighthouse keepers, and the tragic stories of local shipwrecks. Visitors can also climb the 72-stairs to the top observation deck.

Museums & Art Galleries in Prince Edward island

Orwell Corner Historical Village

Launched in the 1970s, the Orwell Corner Historical Village is an open-air museum that recreates the feel of a rural community as it would have existed in late-19th century Prince Edward Island. At this time, Orwell itself was home to a mix of migrants from the Isle of Skye and County Monaghan as well as United Empire Loyalists who had fled the United States. Various historic buildings have been moved here for their long-term preservation, including a blacksmith’s store, a schoolhouse, and a village hall, many furnished with authentic period features.