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Prince Edward Island
East Point Lighthouse

Prince Edward Island
East Point Lighthouse

To most of us, Prince Edward Island is Anne of Green Gables, Confederation, and potatoes. The national park is fine for families, but to escape the crowds a ride out to the island's unspoiled eastern tip is recommended. The high red bluffs along the north coast are fine places to forage for blueberries in July and early August, and the kilometers of spectacular deserted beaches and dunes will tempt you, but our destination is East Point Lighthouse, about a hundred kilometers east of Charlottetown.

From the windswept point you can see the Cape Breton Highlands on a clear day, and perhaps the Archipel des Îles de la Madeleine, a cluster of little known islands belonging to the Province of Quebec. The tidal rips of the Northumberland Strait and Gulf of St. Lawrence swirl and clash here, a perilous place for navigation in the days of sail. In 1880 during a northerly gale, while en route from Gaspé to Halifax, the three-masted steam sloop Phoenix went on the treacherous rocks which extend three kilometers out from East Point. As the lighthouse horn sounds on a foggy day, you may swear the ghosts of shipwrecked sailors are present even though the crew of the Phoenix survived.

East Point Lighthouse was built in 1867, and it's one of the last staffed lighthouses on PEI today. In mid summer it could hardly be called an "unknown sight," as little is undiscovered by visitors on this small and very popular island. From mid-June until Labour Day a few dollars will buy you the right to tour the tiny museum/gift shop, and to climb the stairs of this 19.5-meter white octagonal tower for a glorious view. In 1534 Jacques Cartier became the first European to sight these shores, a bit west at Campbell's Cove.

From the series Unknown Sights of Canada by David Stanley



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