The New Student's Reference Work/Prince Edward Island

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Prince Edward Island, the garden-province of Canada, is a crescent-shaped island in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and snugly within the curve of the mainland of the two other maritime provinces. It is the smallest but most densely settled of the Canadian provinces. It is 140 miles long, and its width varies from two to 34 miles. The total area is about 2,184 square miles. The indentations of the coast are so numerous and great that no part is far from the sea. In 1534 Cartier called it a "low and beautiful land" — a fitting description, for the chief elevation is a chain of hills crossing it near the middle from New London Bay to De Sable. The sand-dunes, extending for forty miles along the coast, prevent the washing away of the land by the waves. The island, which owes its name to the Duke of Kent, is divided into Prince, Queens and Kings Counties. When laid out, each county was given a site for a capital, with two public domains called royalties and commons. Only two of these prospective towns, Georgetown in Kings and Charlotte town in Queens, became capitals, Summerside being the capital of Prince. The population in 1911 was 93,728— almost wholly of Canadian birth. People of Scotch and English origin predominate. Roman Catholics are the most numerous, then Presbyterians, then Methodists. The island is connected with the mainland during the summer by two steam-ferries, one between Summerside and Point du Chene (New Brunswick) and the other between Charlottetown and Pictou (Nova Scotia). Both tap the insular system of railways and meet spurs of the Intercolonial. In the winter two ice-breaking steamers keep these lines open. The Prince Edward Island Railway covers the island from end to end and taps all prominent towns. The summer climate makes the island a paradise for tourists. Atlantic fogs are practically unknown, because of the sheltering hills of Cape Breton and Newfoundland.

Agriculture is the chief industry, about 80 per cent. of the population being engaged therein. For the new world the province is thoroughly cultivated, 85 per cent. of its area being occupied. The fertile soil is easily enriched by sea-manures. The breeding of live stock for export is carefully fostered. Poultry is raised for the Sydney market,— a noteworthy contrast to the day when the island fed the fortresses of Louisburg and Quebec. Now it feeds a coalmining city. The farmers' season is short but profitable. A provincial-government experimental farm has been established for half a century, and there are eight model orchards throughout the province. The fisheries (lobster, oyster and herring) are profitable. The Malpeque is the oyster of Montreal; it comes from Richmond Bay on the ocean-side of the island.

Educational advantages are excellent. Prince of Wales College and St. Dunstan College are important institutions and are affiliated with McGill and Laval. There is a free public-school system, the schools being supported both by local taxation and by government grants. Schoolhouses are seldom more than three miles apart, so well is the island supplied. Sir William C Macdonald of Montreal has established a consolidated school near Hillsborough, where among other things manual training, home-science and nature-study are provided. There also are Macdonald rural schools throughout the province. At Charlottetown there are the noticeably fine building of Prince of Wales College and Normal School, a government (undenominational) institution. Its diplomas are accepted at McGill (Montreal). The Roman Catholic College of St. Dunstan, which is affiliated with Laval, the Roman Catholic university at Quebec and Montreal, also is in Charlottetown. Charlottetown is the capital (population 12,000). It is situated on a fine harbor in the middle of the province. Summerside and Georgetown (winter-port) are the next in importance.