PEI Provincial Overview
Prince Edward Island's Location
PEI is Canada's smallest province in both area and population. The island lies in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, separated from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick by the Northumberland Strait (see Provincial Map). This Maritime province is 224 kilometres long and has a width that ranges from 6 to 64 kilometres and has a total area 5,660 square kilometres. Its largest city is its capital, Charlottetown.
Prince Edward Island's History
PEI was originally called "Abegweit" by the Micmac Indians, who lived there for over 2,000 years before the arrival of the Europeans. It was discovered by Jacques Cartier in 1534, who described it as "the most beautiful stretch of land imaginable," though it was a long time before Prince Edward Island was settled. The French established a permanent colony in 1719. The British later took control of the island and renamed it in honour of Prince Edward of England. Prince Edward Island is known as the "cradle of Confederation" since it hosted the 1864 Charlottetown Conference that set Canadian Confederation in motion. The island, surprisingly, did not join the Dominion of Canada until 1873.
Prince Edward Island's People
PEI has a total population of 134,000 of which 65,000 live in and around the capital city of Charlottetown. Over the peak summer tourist season, though, the Island is host to more than 1.2 million visitors.