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The Americas & Caribbean

About Charlottetown

A flat patchwork of green fields and neatly laid towns of clapboard houses and white churches, Prince Edward Island evokes the simplicity of Canada’s maritime life, a fertile mix of fishing and farming; a full one-quarter of Canada’s potatoes are harvested here. In Charlottetown, tree-lined streets keep restored 19th-century mansions in shade and tidy green parcels dot provincial squares. The island has been molded by its rich Scottish and French heritages, as evidenced by the traditional ceilidh, or kitchen party, that still unites friends and neighbors with its Celtic and Acadian music and dancing. In 1864, the Charlottetown Conference was held here, a gathering of representatives of the British North American colonies. The meetings, despite that they were upstaged by a circus that happened to be in town on the day the diplomats arrived by ship, were the first steps in shaping today’s Canadian provinces. Besides its role in history, picturesque landscapes and sea-kissed breezes, the island’s biggest draw might be the farmhouse that inspired Lucy Maud Montgomery to write her famous novel Anne of Green Gables. The house, a pilgrimage site for many, is a short drive from Charlottetown.