The local lobster fishery ensures that the succulent crustacean is easy eating in Charlottetown

A gourmet getaway in Charlottetown

By Lea Currie

Prince Edward Island is Canada’s smallest province by pretty much any measure. Its capital, Charlottetown, is similarly the country’s littlest “big” city. But what the Birthplace of Confederation lacks in size, it makes up for in history, local flavour, and good old-fashioned hospitality. The coastal city is ideally designed for on-foot exploration; most key sites are within a 10-minute stroll. All that walking will come in handy as you spend your day noshing on delectable island dishes, from fresh seafood and homegrown potatoes to wild blueberries and craft beer.

Wake up and smell the city’s best cup of joe at Leonhard’s Café & Restaurant on University Avenue. The menu of breakfast and lunch clas¬sics, all of which are made daily from scratch, echoes the location’s vintage vibe. Try the French toast, either sweet or savoury, prepared with house-made bread.

Save some room for the Taste the Town walking tour, a foodie-focused journey through Charlottetown’s downtown, which traces its roots back to 1720. The tour, starting at Founders’ Hall (6 Prince St.), offers a leisurely exploration of must-see attractions, such as St. Dunstan’s Basilica—a National Historic Site and one of the island’s most visited spots—with breaks at quaint local restaurants along the way. Among the possible scrumptious samples are locally harvested mussels at the Olde Dublin Pub, and the province’s finest French fries—perfectly golden and crisp, made with P.E.I. Russet-Burbank potatoes—from The Chip Shack.

You’ll welcome the chance to walk off your gastronomic indulgence along the harbourfront and through peaceful Victoria Park. On the pier, pick up artisan-made jewellery and other wares, such as P.E.I.’s dirt shirt, dyed with the island’s famous red soil. Or hit the water with Peakes Wharf Boat Tours to spy Charlottetown’s shoreline sights and marine life (including seals), while trying your hand at taking a live lobster from its trap.

Back on land, the patio at Peake’s Quay, P.E.I.’s largest, is the site of another culinary must-have: local lobster rolls. If your timing’s right, you can catch a free outdoor concert there too. From there, it’s just a few steps to Cows, purveyors of what some call the world’s best ice cream. Naturally, it’s made from an old family recipe. Go all out and get a scoop of Gooey Mooey: as fun to say as it is to eat, it’s made with burnt sugar ice cream (vanilla ice cream mixed with English toffee) laced with more toffee, caramel and chocolate flakes.

There’s more than dessert to savour as you trek to the bustling Victoria Row district (Richmond Street, between Queen and Great George), just 10 minutes away. The area’s cobblestone streets will lead you to charming shops, galleries and lively restaurants. People-watch from a patio, purchase prints from local artists or pick up a box of Anne of Green Gables Chocolates’ mouth-watering chocolate-covered potato chips to take home—if they make it that far!

Assuming you’ve managed to save a little room, a trip to the island isn’t complete without a lobster dinner. Make a reservation at Water Prince Corner Shop and Lobster Pound, which, like Charlottetown itself, is small but brimming with character. Locals and tourists flock here in equal numbers for the fresh seafood, purchased direct from P.E.I. fishermen.

An eventful day deserves a monumental night. Lodge in luxury at the historic Great George Hotel. Originally built in 1846, the boutique hotel encompasses an entire block of Great George Street: A whopping 17 restored heritage buildings house 54 unique rooms, each one exquisitely styled and maintained. Your pillow mint is a sweet conclusion to a food-filled day.


Explore P.E.I. and more of Atlantic Canada (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island) on AMA’s exclusive small-group coach tour this fall. Highlights include:

• Roundtrip from Halifax.
• Explore Hopewell Rocks on the coast of the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick.
• Enjoy whale watching on a day trip to St. Andrews by-the-Sea.
• Discover the renowned fishing village of Peggy’s Cove
• Spend 2 nights at The Great George hotel.
• Visit Green Gables, a National Heritage Site.
• Take in an evening performance at the Confederation Centre of the Arts.
• Take in the stunning views of Cabot Trail.

13-day land journey, Sept. 1-13
From $3,849 + $551 tax (airfare not included)

For more details and to reserve your spot call toll-free 1 866 667 4777 or see