Thursday, September 13, 2018 (Pine Hills RV Park, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island)

Today was a beautiful day...a little high cloud here and there but for the most part lovely. We headed out shortly after 9:00...rental car means I get to drive and Steve is the passenger and photographer.

Our plan for today is to take the East Coastal Drive loop, following the coast most of the way. As we drove east passing the edge of Charlottetown, we noticed there was a different cruise ship in port.
Beautiful scenery as we drove along the highway....
Fog is lifting over the water...

We went off the main highway, taking the road onto a peninsula...we passed through a small community called Mount Buchanan...where we passed Hannah's Bottle Village...
Our destination at the end of the peninsula was Point Prim Lighthouse...
The Early Years
Imagine being aboard of a ship on a dark, stormy night. The wind is howling fiercely, pushing large waves over the sides of your vessel. You are at the mercy of the elements. Picture a lack of navigational aids, creating a powerful sense of disorientation as you search desperately in the darkness for any indication of your ship's location. It seems like a nightmare; unfortunately, for the many seafarers sailing around the coast of Prince Edward Island in the days before lighthouses, it was exactly that.
Lighthouses were not always a common feature of the island's landscape. Prior to 1845, our intricate coastline lacked such structures, making navigation challenging. Merchants and shipowners, whose very livelihood depended upon the safety of their vessels, and the crews that sailed them, continually faced the worry of shipwreck. Even one could result in financial ruin, not to mention loss of life. Those employed in the fishing industry equally had much to fear.
Coastal communities were affected by this issue, particularly in Nova Scotia. In the early nineteenth century, its  government erected a number of lighthouses. To cut costs, nearby colonies were asked to contribute money for construction and maintenance - after all, they would be using the lighthouses as well.. Given its proximity, Prince Edward Island naturally invested in these projects.
-Between 1815 and 1839, Prince Edward Island contributed funds to lighthouses on Cranberry and St. Paul Islands off the coast of Cape Breton and Scatarie Island off the coasts of Nova Scotia.
-Prince Edward Island's contributions came from a tax known as a Light Duty. It was charged by the tonne on all registered ships departing from customs houses across the province.
-Between 1770 and 1845, an estimated 50 - 100 ships were wrecked in Island waters.

The 1864 Charlottetown Conference and the Road to Canada
Lighting the Way
Late in the summer of 1864, two events descended upon the city of Charlottetown. One was a circus; the other, a political conference. Of the two, it was the circus that captured the attention of Islanders. But it was the conference that would have a lasting impact as one of the defining moments in Canadian history.
As you stand here, take a moment to look out across Hillsborough Bay to Charlottetown Harbour. Place yourself in the shoes of Finlay MacDonald, the lightkeeper in 1864 and imagine the sense of curiosity at seeing three different vessels steaming their way towards the Island's capital. He would not have known that aboard these ships were delegates from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Canada (Ontario and Quebec), coming for a conference on Maritime Union, but which quickly changed to a meeting about the idea of Confederation; nor would he have known that he was seeing history in the making, and that he was part of it, as the nation of Canada was being conceived mere miles away.
Now look behind you. This lighthouse, built in 1845, was envisaged by some of the same minds who met in Charlottetown in 1864, and a host of other individuals instrumental in shaping the Islands' history. What you see is not merely a lighthouse - it is a legacy. The Fathers of Confederation are credited with "building better than they knew". The same could be said of the fathers of Point Prim Lighthouse.

On our way back to the main highway now...all sorts of interesting things along the way!

Pinette Harbour...
Pinette River...

Of course, we made many stops along the way...especially at lighthouses. Marconi Station was built adjacent to Cape Bear Lighthouse and received the first distress signal in Canada from the Titanic... 
Rugged coast here...
Awww....a baby lighthouse too!
Murray Harbour...
Panmure Island Provincial Park...






Views of St. Mary's Bay...



Prince Edward Island has a huge aquaculture industry...We stopped so Steve could take a couple of photos with his telephoto lens...

Once he switched lenses back the vessel started operating so this photo has been cropped. It appears they are spraying water on the line as it's being pulled in...


Montague is the largest population centre in the county...functions as a regional service centre for the eastern end of the province, supporting two supermarkets, three hardware stores, a number of independent businesses, and several fast food restaurants, banks, and car dealerships.
Museum...


Welcome to Georgetown...

Georgetown Historic Inn...

Three Rivers (Georgetown Harbour)...
They have a beautiful walkway along the shore...

Georgetown's New Railway Station
The railway and the steamship lines serving Prince Edward Island became major drivers of a new industry which became known as tourism. Realizing soon after the railway was opened for service in 1875 that more and more of their passengers were visitors from neighbouring provinces and New England, they began to promote the virtues of the Island. Many of the visitors were ex-patriots but many were not. The bulk of the traffic occurred in the non-winter months, just as now.
Railway buildings were sturdy utilitarian structures, distinctive but never attractive. The turn of the 20th century seemed to mark a turning point. Georgetown got a beautiful new architect-designed station in 1903. It was located at the intersection of the head of the Railway Wharf and the Montague Ferry Wharf. A second-storey, hexagonal pagoda-style viewing room overlooked both ferry routes. Painted light green with white trim, it was intended as an attractive first impression for visitors entering the scenic natural harbour. The structure did not survive after passenger service ceased in the 1960s but the full-scale replica, opened in 2006 was built as a symbol of Georgetown's history as a regional transportation hub. Interpretation panels are located inside.

Kings County Court House....
Drying some fishing nets...
We stopped for lunch in Cardigan at Clam Diggers Beach House and Restaurant...
We sat inside by a window with a beautiful view...
View from the restaurant...
More beautiful countryside....
Approaching the community of Souris...

Souris Beach Provincial Park...





Basin Head
An ecosystem worth protecting
You are in a special place Basin Head is a diverse ecosystem home to a unique form of Irish moss that is believed to be found nowhere else.
A rich diversity of other species fish, birds, mammals and plans also live here. To protect this unique ecosystem, Basin Head has been designated a Marine Protected Area.



Basin Head Provincial Park features a fisheries museum, souvenir shops, and interpretive centre. The beach itself is split into two sections, divided by a channel (known locally as the 'run'). A bridge spans the 'run', and is a popular attraction for jumping and diving. It is open as a tourist attraction, operated by Tourism PEI, during the summer months.
Basin Head was a very cool spot...it is best known by its nickname "Singing Sands", in reference to the pure white sand that "sings" as you walk through it, due to a high silica content. This silica, when heated by the sun, produces a high pitched squeaking sound when rubbed together. Dragging your feet through the sand is enough is elicit this effect. This sand is geologically unique to the area.



The paddle boarder had quite the workout against the river current...

Everything is closed now but I would imagine this place is very popular in the summer months...



Cool mailbox!
East Point is at the very eastern tip of the Island and was the "end of the road" before taking the northern coastline back down towards home.

The East Point Lighthouse was constructed in 1866-1867 as a result of petitions from local residents which were supported by the Lieutenant-Governor of PEI. This lighthouse is Canada's only confederation lighthouse and it was the last lighthouse erected before the Island joined Confederation in 1873.



Is That Foundation Where the Lighthouse Used to Be?
This is a question we get asked all the time!
Actually, this crumbling concrete foundation is the site of the original Fog Alarm Building, built in 1908.
The Fog Alarm Building was moved to its present site 100 years later due to the erosion of the cliff, but the old foundation remains a point of curiosity for Lighthouse visitors! 
Time to hit the road again...
North Lake Harbour...



Saint Peters Bay Roman Catholic Church...

You can still see the church from the other side of the bay...
Lots of aquaculture floats in the bay. PEI is famous for their mussels...



It was just after 6:00 when we got home...wow! What a fabulous day...but I was tired after a long day of driving!


2 comments:

  1. What beautiful scenery. So nice you had a clear sunny day to see it all.

    ReplyDelete