Me: Hi! I’m trying to get to downtown Charlottetown.
Girl: Umm, well, I’m not sure what you’re looking for, but this area is considered downtown…
That was my first conversation on the island. I had somehow managed to wander onto the University of PEI campus and a young soft-spoken freshman stared at me in utter confusion as I posed my question. She pointed me in the direction of the shops and restaurants just down the street, though I was neither hungry nor wanting to shop. I’m honestly not sure what I was looking for and couldn’t help laughing at myself as I walked back to the car where my friend sat waiting.
Coming from Toronto, I must admit I was slightly culture shocked when I arrived in the Maritimes. No, I was not expecting large cities laden with sky-scrappers; but I also wasn’t expecting to find such a different way of life within my own country. My time in Charlottetown quickly evolved from wanting to check touristy things off the list, to taking the time to stroll the historic streets and enjoy the tranquility of this seaside town.
What I found in Prince Edward Island were some of the most polite and caring people in all of Canada!
Whenever I stopped on the sidewalk and stared at my map for too long, a local would kindly approach to point me in the right direction. When I asked for directions to the visitor information centre, a local woman and her dog happily walked me to my destination. When I had my arm stretched out in an attempt to take a photo of myself, a local man walked over and offered to take the picture for me. When I was at the gas station struggling to open the fuel cap on the rental car, the station attendant came out to help and then seeing I was holding a map also ensured I had the right directions to my next destination.
Their kindness blew my mind!
On an island that is so overrun with tourists in search of Anne of Green Gables, I would have expected locals to turn a blind eye to all these visitors, but I was wrong! Prince Edward Island is home to some of the most caring people I’ve ever encountered, and they were all more than willing to help out a disoriented tourist like myself.
And not only did Charlottetown offer some great Canadian hospitality, but it also gave me a great review of Canadian history. Did you know that the first meeting to discuss the formation of Canada took place on this small island at Province House? The first four provinces that would initially come together to form this fine country were Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Today Canada is made up of 10 provinces and 3 territories. We’ve come a long way since then!