Monday, July 18, 2016

PEI: More than red dirt and Anne

Despite living in Canada for 24-ish years of my life, I didn't have many preconceived notions of what most places on our trip would be like. My travel experience of Canada has been limited to small sections of BC, Ontario, Quebec, and, as a child, Alberta.

When thinking of PEI, red soil, potatoes, and Anne of Green Gables were all that came to mind. Imagine our shock to find that PEI is easily as lush and green and gorgeous as my husband's homeland. Unfortunately, places to pull over weren't very plentiful so our photos don't do it justice. Striking emerald fields cover the landscape with occasional auburn soil peeking through crops and brilliant yellow canola fields.


After we had visited the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick, we drove over the ugly but efficient bridge to PEI. We stayed at Brackley Beach Hostel, out in the country, "far from downtown Charlottetown". PEI is so small that nothing is too remote and the views from the car are so spectacular, it's even better to be based far out. Driving to Charlottetown took around half an hour, less time than my daily commute to work.

Keigan and Vanessa took good care of us there for two nights, a sweet teenage couple who work at the tiny hostel. They're normally in a long distance relationship, he's in Nova Scotia and she's in PEI, so they're having a first summer together working at the hostel.

One of the more charming moments on our trip was listening to Keigan's very polite, Maritime-y reaction to a boiling egg exploding on the stove. Lots of "gee whiz", "golly", and describing the event as "a major incident" and "excitement" added to the ambiance of the whole thing. Cute as buttons, those two.

Confederation Arts Centre

On top of theatre productions, the Confederation Arts Centre puts on a free daily musical performance about the history of Canada.

Depending on your level of scepticism and your love of musical theatre, this is either a must avoid or a must see. After getting past the lack of mention of First Nations people being here first or suffering under various policies and broken treaties, the almost all white cast dressing up in different ethnic costumes and dancing in stylistic approximations of those cultures, and the usual exaggerated Canadian propaganda about diversity and racial inclusion, it's a lovely show. Genuinely. The performers are really talented: singing, dancing, and playing instruments for an hour to catchy tunes. I can always get behind a tap dance and song about public healthcare. They really won me over by ending the show quoting Jack Layton.

The Rest

Our day was just beginning with the noon show. We hit up the terrible Anne of Green Gables Museum (consisting mainly of random relics of family members of Lucy Maud Montgomery, the author of the beloved series), the small but not awful Lucy Maud Montgomery birthplace, and the awe-inspiring Cavendish Beach.

We rounded out our day with an overdue trip to Value Village to add much needed warm clothing to our luggage. While packing in 45C Shanghai, we foolishly forgot that coastal places are chilly! There were some American tourists there as well, presumably with the same objective.

I'm pretty excited to be rocking what I assume is an authentic Columbia-brand Canadian freestyle acrobatic skiing jacket across the rest of Atlantic Canada.

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