Prince Edward Island, Home of Anne of Green Gables
Just as the world knows Austria’s Tyrol through The Sound of Music, it knows Canada’s Prince Edward Island through Anne of Green Gables. The island, which hovers just above Nova Scotia in the Gulf of St Lawrence on Canada’s east coast, is the setting for the fictional village of Avonlea in Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery, Canada’s all-time best-seller. Although she’d be an elderly lady these days, Anne would find herself perfectly at home in present-day PEI. The capital, Charlottetown, is a city of 40,000 and it’s eminently gorgeous. Built around a harbour where two rivers enter a bay on the island’s south, it consists of a Victorian commercial zone ringed by double-storey clapboard houses with big porches shaded by maple trees. The whole island is virtually one giant potato field, rows of them sprouting from rusty red soil in a landscape that segues genially between town and country. Now and again a white-steepled church thrusts heavenwards. Along the coast are small communities that still fish for their livelihood, and remnants of PEI’s lush Acadian forests can be found in its stands of red maples, balsam firs and ostrich ferns. The Anne Shirley industry is the mainstay of tourism on PEI. As well as Green Gables, the house where the fictional Anne supposedly lived, there’s the cottage where Lucy Maud Montgomery was born, “Anne of Green Gables – The Musical”, the Anne of Green Gables Store and Avonlea Village, a theme park dedicated to Anne’s life and times. There are also several excellent golf courses, and the island has super biking in the 400 kms of cycling paths that make up the Confederation Trail.