Prince Edward Island, one of the Maritime Provinces of Canada, and the nation's only island province. It is in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, an arm of the Atlantic Ocean. Northumberland Strait separates the island from the provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. With a total area of 2,185 square miles (5,660 km 2), Prince Edward Island is Canada's smallest province; it is slightly smaller than the state of Delaware.

Prince Edward Island'sPrince Edward Island's provincial bird is the blue jay.
Physical Geography
Prince Edward IslandPrince Edward Island is one of the Atlantic Provinces of Canada.

Although the island is part of Canada's Appalachian region, its topography is low and rolling. The highest point is only about 466 feet (142 m) above sea level. Rivers are short and unsuitable for navigation. Almost all the coast is deeply indented with bays and estuaries; the largest include Malpeque, Hillsborough, and Egmont bays. Sand beaches extend along much of the northern coast, which has only a gentle slope. The southern coast, with red sandstone cliffs, is more rugged.

Prince Edward Island'sPrince Edward Island's provincial flower is the lady's-slipper.

Sea influences give the island a generally mild climate despite the northerly latitude. Temperatures average 67° F. (19° C.) in July and 18° F. (-8° C.) in January. Total annual precipitation is 43 inches (1,092 mm), relatively well distributed throughout the year. Winter snowfall is heavy. Occasional gales lash the northern shore.

Interesting facts about Prince Edward Island
Irish moss, Canada's most valuable commercial seaweed, is harvested off the coast of Prince Edward Island. The island exports about 6,000 tons (5,400 metric tons) of Irish moss each year to manufacturers throughout the world. The manufacturers extract a substance called carrageenin from the moss. Carrageenin is a thickening agent used in cosmetics and in food products such as ice cream, pudding, and cake mixes.
The meeting of the tides is a unique sight that can be observed from North Cape, the northernmost point of the province. There the tides of the Northumberland Strait overlap with those of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The phenomenon is especially evident at high tide, but the line where the two tides meet is visible throughout the day.
The Bottle Houses at Cape Egmont, built between 1980 and 1983, are houses made from many kinds of bottles. The largest of the three houses measures 18 feet by 24 feet (5.5 meters by 7.3 meters) and is made from 12,000 bottles.
Prince Edward Island'sPrince Edward Island's provincial tree is the red oak.
Economy

Prince Edward Island is often called the “Garden of the Gulf,” because it is primarily agricultural. Manufacturing industries deal mainly with the processing of farm and fishery products. The mild summer climate and scenic attractions have made tourism a chief source of income in the province.

Agriculture

About 45 per cent of the province's land is farmland. There are about 2,000 farms. The average farm size is about 270 acres (110 hectares). Prince Edward Island is Canada's leading producer of potatoes, many of which are shipped to Ontario, Quebec and the United States. The island also produces other important crops such as a variety of berries, vegetables, and grains.

Dairying is widespread. Also important is the raising of beef cattle, hogs, sheep, and poultry.

Fishing, Forestry, and Mining

The island's fishermen catch mainly lobsters and oysters, which are valuable exports. Other shellfish, halibut, and herring are also caught. Irish moss is an important specialty product.

The island was once heavily forested, but virtually all of the original forests have been cleared. Spruce is the predominant species remaining; however, it is of poor quality and has minimal commercial value. Reforestation is underway.

With the exception of sand and gravel, used in construction, Prince Edward Island lacks mineral resources.

Transportation

The province has a good system of roads, including three scenic drives and part of the Trans-Canada Highway. The airport at Charlottetown provides scheduled airline service. Confederation Bridge links the island with New Brunswick. Year-round ferry service connects it with New Brunswick while seasonal service links it to Nova Scotia and the Magdalen Islands.

The People

Most of the people are of Scottish, English, and Irish descent. There is a large minority of Acadians, descendants of the early French settlers.

Charlottetown, the capital, is the largest city. More than 55 per cent of the people live in rural areas.

Almost half of the people are Roman Catholics, and one-fourth belong to the United Church of Canada. Other principal groups include Presbyterians, Anglicans, and Baptists.

Annual events on Prince Edward Island
May
Ceilidh (traditional Scottish music) at the Irish Hall in Charlottetown (May-September); Indoor Scottish Ceilidh Concert in Richmond (May-October).
June
Atlantic Superstore Festival of Lights in Charlottetown (June-July); Street Rod Show 'n' Shine in Montague (June-July); Summerside Highland Gathering; Tignish Irish Moss Festival (June-July).
July
Ceilidh on the Water in Montague (July and August); Crapaud Exhibition; Indian River Festival Fine Music Series (July-August); Northumberland Fisheries Festival; Northumberland Provincial Fisheries Festival in Murray River; Potato Blossom Festival in O'Leary; Summerside Lobster Carnival; West Point Lighthouse Festival and Boat Races.
August
Caledonian Club of PEI Annual Highland Games in Eldon; Kensington Community Harvest Festival; Old Home Week Provincial Exhibition in Charlottetown; Plowing Match and Agricultural Fair in Dundas; Prince County Exhibition in Alberton; Truck & Tractor Pull Championships in Crapaud; Tyne Valley Oyster Festival.
September
Acadian Festival and Agricultural Exhibition in Abrams Village; Cornfest Festival in Cornwall (September-October); Eastern Kings Exhibit in Souris; Prince Edward Island International Shellfish Festival in Charlottetown; Prince Edward Island Studio Tour Weekend (islandwide).
Education and Recreation

Education is free and attendance is compulsory from age 6 to age 16. The major pattern of school organization is elementary school (grades 1–6); junior high school (grades 7–9); and senior high school (grades 10–12). Some 15 to 20 per cent of the students receive their education in French. The University of Prince Edward Island is at Charlottetown. Holland College, which provides vocational and technical training, has several campuses in the province.

Recreational facilities include camping sites, beaches, golf courses, and provincial parks. Prince Edward Island National Park, Ardgowan National Historic Site, and Fort Amherst/Port La Joye National Historic Site are all near Charlottetown.

Government
Prince Edward Island's Province HousePrince Edward Island's Province House is in Charlottetown, the capital since 1768.

Prince Edward Island has a lieutenant governor appointed by the Canadian governor general for five years. The lieutenant governor represents the Bristish monarch. It is only an honorary position. The real power is exercised by a premier and an Executive Council responsible to the Legislative Assembly. The assembly has one house of 27 members elected for five-year terms. However, the assembly may be dissolved at any time by the lieutenant governor on the advice of the premier and a new election held.

Premiers of Prince Edward Island
NamePartyTerm
James C. Pope Conservative1873
Lemuel C. Owen Conservative1873-1876
Louis H. Davies Liberal1876-1879
William W. Sullivan Conservative1879-1889
Neil McLeod Conservative1889-1891
Frederick Peters Liberal1891-1897
Alexander B. Warburton Liberal1897-1898
Donald Farquharson Liberal1898-1901
Arthur Peters Liberal1901-1908
Francis L. Haszard Liberal1908-1911
Herbert J. Palmer Liberal1911
John A. Mathieson Conservative1911-1917
Aubin E. Arsenault Conservative1917-1919
John H. Bell Liberal1919-1923
James Stewart Conservative1923-1927
Albert C. Saunders Liberal1927-1930
Walter M. Lea Liberal1930-1931
James Stewart Conservative1931-1933
W. J. P. MacMillan Conservative1933-1935
Walter M. Lea Liberal1935-1936
Thane A. Campbell Liberal1936-1943
J. Walter Jones Liberal1943-1953
Alexander W. Matheson Liberal1953-1959
Walter R. Shaw Prog. Cons.1959-1966
Alex B. Campbell Liberal1966-1978
Bennett Campbell Liberal1978-1979
J. Angus MacLean Prog. Cons.1979-1981
James M. Lee Prog. Cons.1981-1986
Joseph Ghiz Liberal1986-1993
Catherine Callbeck Liberal1993-1996
Keith Milligan Liberal1996
Patrick G. Binns Prog. Cons.1996-2007
Robert Ghiz Liberal2007-

The judiciary is headed by a supreme court of seven justices. It is the highest court in the province. Prince Edward Island is represented in the Canadian Parliament by four senators and four members of the House of Commons.

Prince Edward Island's only cities--Charlottetown and Summerside--and most of the towns have a mayor-council form of govenment.

The province has three political parties—the Liberal Party, the New Democratic Party, and the Progressive Conservative Party. Most of the province's administrations have been conntrolled by the Liberal Party.