by Treva McNally
While preparing for the annual arrival of summer visitors, I stopped into the Visitor Information Centre on Water Street in Charlottetown recently and picked up a Visitors Guide and a handful of brochures to plan some excursions for my guests. One of the publications I picked up was a Passport to Prince Edward Island Heritage, published by the Community Museums Association of Prince Edward Island. Beautifully illustrated by Island artist John Burden, it's a gold mine of information highlighting every Prince Edward Island museum and heritage site from North Cape to East Point.
The Museum Passport is attractive and logically laid out. Organized by county, each section starts with a numbered county map marking community museums, heritage sites, and other points of interest. Every museum has its own page which includes a picture of the facility, a map of the immediate vicinity so that you can find it, a summary of what you can expect to see, the hours of operation, a contact phone number, the admission price, and space for a stamp to mark your visit. In all, there are over thirty Community museums, one Provincial museum with seven sites, four National historic sites, and sixteen other sites of interest.
When we live somewhere for a long time, we sometimes forget to go see some of the more obvious places. I've often taken visitors to the far ends of our province and toured the middle of the province extensively, but had no idea there were so many other museums and historic sites that I had missed. I thoroughly enjoyed a guided tour of Beaconsfield this spring, and when I heard the story of James and Edith Peake building that house, it made me wonder how many other great stories I was missing. The back of the Museum Passport states: "This passport will help you discover the Prince Edward Island we know and love." I'm going to use the passport to start my own rediscovery of a province I already love. In future issues of The Buzz, different museums and historic sites will be featured to highlight the history which surrounds us.
To encourage visits to heritage sites, the Department of Tourism is sponsoring a Tour the Island Contest which runs from mid-June until mid-October. To enter, obtain a Museum Passport at any Visitor Information Centre. When your Passport has stamps from seven museum sites, return it to a Visitor Information Centre where you'll receive a ballot to enter a draw for PEI apparel to take place in November. More information on the contest is available at any Visitor Information Centre or by typing in "tour the island contest" at www.gov.pe.ca/infopei