Images of Prince Edward Island now on Flickr

Images of Prince Edward Island now on Flickr

Prince Edward Island is the smallest of three Maritime Provinces in Canada, separated from New Brunswick and Nova Scotia by the Northumberland Strait. Mi’kmaq peoples and their ancestors inhabited the Island until 1534, when Jacques Cartier arrived and claimed it as part of Acadia in the French North-American colonies. Throughout the 18th century, its inhabitants were directly affected by the war between Britain and France; they were constantly under threat, and many were deported.

A colour map of roads and recreational sites of Prince Edward Island

Map of Prince Edward Island indicating motor roads and recreational resources (MIKAN 4125513)

Britain officially took it over by treaty in 1763, naming it St. John’s Island, and there was a large influx of Scottish immigrants. In 1798, its name was changed to Prince Edward Island to honour Prince Edward, the Duke of Kent. Prince Edward Island hesitated to join Confederation in 1867 because of the unfavourable terms presented and, instead, courted options for its future. In an effort to stop American colonial expansion, Canada agreed to better terms, and Prince Edward Island became the country’s seventh province in 1873.

Did you know?

  • Prince Edward Island is home to Anne of Green Gables, a famous red-haired Canadian literary character created by Prince Edward Islander and author Lucy Maud Montgomery.
  • Agriculture has been the backbone of Prince Edward Island’s economy since colonial times and the province is known for its successful potato crop, producing a third of Canada’s supply.
  • Prince Edward Island is seen as the “Birthplace of Confederation,” as it hosted the Charlottetown Conference in 1864, the first in the journey to Canadian Confederation.

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Lightkeepers Wanted!

Throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries, lighthouses were an integral part of life in Atlantic Canada, which was home to over 135 of them. It was the responsibility of the lightkeeper to keep the light burning no matter what, a commitment that often involved his entire family. Library and Archives Canada holds records of many lighthouses from Atlantic Canada at its Eastern Canada Regional Service Centre in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

A lighthouse of particular interest is the Cape Bear lighthouse on Prince Edward Island. Next door to the lighthouse is the Marconi wireless station, which received one of the first distress signals sent from the Titanic.

But who were the lightkeepers who kept the lights burning?

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Census of 1861 now available online

Library and Archives Canada is pleased to announce that the Census of 1861 is now available online. Information was collected for people living in Canada East, Canada West, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.

Canadians can search this new database by nominal information, such as the surname, given name(s) and age of an individual, as well as by geographical information such as district and sub-district names.