We devoted most of the day to touring Charlottetown, the capital of Prince Edward Island. It was much more time than it deserved. When we toured Quebec City, also a provincial capital, we barely scratched the surface. But Charlottetown only has 34,000 people and there just wasn't that much there there. It has a nice sheltered harbor with a lighthouse, but it is shallow and regularly has to be dredged out. In its heyday shipbuilding built the fortunes here, but today an occasional cruise ship and the shipping of potatoes out and everything the island needs in; things are pretty quiet. A major tour stop was Cow's Ice Cream, purportedly the best in Canada. It made us think of Ben and Jerry's with cleverly named concoctions and incredibly rich licking.
Charlottetown is very important in Canadian history and after we had a tour of Confederation Square with a couple dressed for the part, we realized how little we know about Canadian history. Shame on us! During the time when the sun never set on the British empire, the Brits began to see Canada as a sort of super colony, able to take care of many aspects of governance on their own, freeing up the British army to allocate its limited military resources to other parts of the world. An informal meeting to discuss confederation was held here in 1864 with representatives of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and PEI with folks from Quebec and Ontario, then known as the Canadian alliance, looking on. By the end of the meeting, the groundwork had been laid for what came to be the Dominion of Canada. Ironically, PEI did not join until seven years later and gradually the western areas such as British Colombia signed on as well. The last territory Nunavit, which only has 30,000 people, wasn't created until 1999.
We were scheduled to attend a performance of the musical Anne of Green Gables, which has been performed here for 49 summers. But that would bring us back to the campground late in the evening after the roads nearby had been closed to inbound traffic, due to the music festival going on next door. So we went to the first half of the show, ducking out at intermission and racing home before the Canadian mounties closed the road. This gave us a chance to hear Keith Urban and the massive crowds cheering him on. The musical was well done, but it felt more like a children's show and we didn't mind missing the exciting climax. If I had it to do over again, I would have spent the day riding bikes on the Confederation Trail, a rails to trails path that traverses much of the island.