Prince Edward Island: Summer and Fall Festivals

From the ‘Anne of Green Gables’ centennial celebration to shellfish festivals, Canada’s smallest province offers a wealth of activities for vacationing families.


Nicknamed “the gentle island,” Prince Edward Island is Canada’s smallest province, but throughout the summer and fall, the island has big plans for guests, with several festivals and events, celebrating everything from the anniversary of Anne of Green Gables being published to savory shellfish.

Literary Immersion

This year is the 100th anniversary of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s novel, Anne of Green Gables. The story tells of imaginative orphan Anne Shirley—a character whose search for “kindred spirits” to join her adventures has thrilled girls over the years. I have no idea how I missed reading Anne of Green Gables at a younger age, but luckily stumbled across the book in high school, and enjoy reading it even now.

Prince Edward Island has organized a huge centenntial festival in celebration of Montgomery and Anne, including theatrical events (such as musicals Anne of Green Gables and Anne & Gilbert), carriage tours, museum visits, a quilt exhibit, and kitchen parties and picnics with characters from the book in Summerside and Avonlea Village. Special fans of Anne will want to see Montgomery’s home in Cavendish as well as Green Gables, the site that inspired her well-loved novel.

Great Outdoors

Miles of sandy beaches abound on Prince Edward Island. Dig your own clams at Pinette or Tea Hill. Listen to the sand “sing” at Basin Head. Learn about how dunes migrate at the Greenwich Interpretive Centre. If you’re a lighthouse lover, you can visit any of the island’s seven lighthouses; start at Point Prim, Prince Edward Island’s oldest lighthouse, build in 1846.

With championship golf courses scattered around the island, there are plenty of opportunities to spend time on the sport. In time for the “Anne-iversary,” Green Gables Golf Course is being restored by famed golf architect Tomas McBroom, and is scheduled to open on August 1, 2008. If golf isn’t your bag, it’s just as easy to find quality hiking, kayaking, cycling and shopping.

Food Festivals

Foodies can mark Sept. 19-21 in their calendars for the 13th annual Prince Edward Island International Shellfish Festival. Check out oyster shucking competitions, chowder cook-offs and the Shellfish Chef Challenge. Learn how shuck oysters like a pro, watch culinary demos or just eat until you can’t eat any more. Kids’ programs include a marine life touch tank, music and interactive shellfish education. Round out the festival with a boat tour, and everybody’s happy. A value package, priced at $36, covers admission for two days, plus five food and drink vouchers—a savings of $5 over daily regular admission and vouchers.

Hardcore fans of food and drink should take note of Fall Flavours, a culinary festival held from Sept. 30-Oct. 5, 2008. The festival is hosted by famed Canadian chef Michael Smith (a PEI local), who also is host of the Food Network’s new series, Food Abroad. Events vary from product experiences at the source (such as digging clams and picking potatoes), interactive workshops, a farmers’ market, an organic harvest meal, an ales and wines festival, and a marketplace dinner with top chefs from the island preparing dishes featuring locally grown ingredients. Prices vary depending on the combination of events you choose from the à la carte menu. (Product experiences range from $12-$80 per person, interactive workshops $25-$129 per person, signature events $10-$175 per person.)

For additional information about visiting Prince Edward Island, visit

Destinations: Prince Edward Island, Canada

Themes: Beach Vacations, Culinary, Family Travel, Golf

Activities: Arts and Entertainment, Eat, Golf, Sightseeing

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