Next stop Prince Edward Island (PEI)…
Prince Edward Island (PEI) is the smallest province of Canada in both land area and population and consists of the island of the same name, and several much smaller islands. Its capital is Charlottetown. The backbone of the economy is farming – it produces 25% of Canada’s potatoes.
Sailing across the Northumberland Strait…
We set off from Cape Breton after breakfast, hoping to get on to the ferry that goes from Caribou NS to Wood Islands PEI. To guarantee a booking for a car plus passengers costs CAD78, boarding without a reservation costs nothing. That’s right, zero CAD. What that meant was taking a risk and getting there early – and still not getting on.
On the Air Canada flight from Sydney to Vancouver, Glenda watched a documentary about various Canadian immigrant success stories. One of these was about the Hadhad family, who had a chocolate factory in Syria for more than 20 years. This factory was destroyed in a bombing that forced the family to leave everything behind and flee to Lebanon. After three years in a refugee camp with little opportunity or hope, they were invited into Canada and became full Canadian citizens. The community of Antigonish, NS has supported them in rebuilding their chocolate company.
Glenda was so touched by the story that she wanted to find out more. Even though we knew we needed to get to the ferry well before sailing to have a better chance of getting on, we were driving through Antigonish, so took the opportunity to drop in. We had the privilege of meeting some of the Hadhad family members and seeing the small building where they started the current company. Naturally, after
tasting a couple of their yummy products, we couldn’t resist buying a few bars.
And we still made it to the ferry in time to get on! After waiting in line, we drove the car on and proceeded up to the passenger decks for a relaxing 75 minutes trip across the water.
Caught in the lobster tourist trap…
Having already had lobster caesar, lobster nachos, lobster poutine and lobster roll during our travels in the Maritimes, we had saved the famous lobster lunch for PEI. Historically, lobster lunches were held periodically in church halls to raise money for a cause and to get the community together. The lunch would include everything from chowder, mussels and lobster through to dessert. Unfortunately, we discovered that there are no longer any churches doing this, but a few companies have jumped in on the bandwagon / continued the tradition and have these events every day. We had identified one such place between where the ferry docked and French River, where we were staying, so headed there. Said “lunch” started at 4pm, and when we arrived at around 350pm, there was a long queue of people waiting to get in.
The doors opened and the ant line started moving. We had to choose our main meal – size of lobster or other fish or meat – and pay at the door. Having been shown to our seat in the huge hall, we could select as many mussels, seafood chowder, salad and bread rolls as we’d like. Then the 1.5lb lobster arrived – one each. Apparently it’s usually served cold, but they’ve learned that the tourists like it warm, so gave us the option. The meal was rounded out by cherry pie and lemon meringue. Glad to have ticked it off but wouldn’t rush out and do it again.