I thought it was cool when I saw Paul Martin in Charlottetown.
I should’ve waited 10 years! Two of the best known talk show hosts are doing remote broadcasts from the home of Confederation (or at least the location where all the Fathers of Confederation got drunk.)
Yes, Regis and Kelly is one of the hottest tickets in Charlottetown, home of Holland College, potentially once known as the Samuel Holland Institute of Technology. (Take a moment to think about its acronym. S. H. I. I leave it there.)
I lived in Charlottetown for three years while going to school there. I had the misfortune of experiencing winter, when there’s lots of snow, wind, and red mud to stain your pants (yes it stains like you wouldn’t believe. I lost more pants that way…)
Charlottetown in summer, though, is a different beast. Cows Ice Cream is everywhere. Japanese tourists drive rented cars to Cavendish, tracking down red-haired girls. And all around the island, tourists hold cameras, ready to fire.
It’s nothing short of amazing that Charlottetown is being shown in millions of homes thanks to Regis and Kelly. See video, if it works.
The whole world will now know about:
- Cows Ice Cream
- the red pigtails of its literary star
- Maritime seafood
- red soil (red STAINING soil; yes I’m still bitter about those pants. I should have made it a business idea like the PEI Dirt Shirts!)
- and so many more motifs of the world’s smallest province.
I think it’s great that the many Canadian stereotypes which are often applied to the country as a whole will now be replaced with more provincial stereotypes.
Don’t get me wrong. Prince Edward Island is a stunning, beautiful place, full of rolling green hills, potato fields as far as the eye can see, and waves upon waves of red cliffs and dunes.
However, when I did the touristy thing, I was disappointed by both the beaches and Cavendish.
For one, you have to pay to go to the beach in Cavendish. Wha? I’ve never paid to see a beach in Nova Scotia, that’s fo sho! Guess it keeps the beach in tip top condition (then again, Rissers Beach is pretty dang nice.)
And two, Green Gables was a disappointment.
I’ve religiously read the Anne books, loved them, analyzed them, read them again. So when I finally got my chance to see Green Gables, I was a bit disappointed by the site. There was a golf course nearby, an amusement park just down the road, and too many touristy things around the Cavendish house Lucy Maud Montgomery once inhabited. Seeing tour buses close to Green Gables just felt wrong. Plus, there were little to no fields or greenery around the house (unless you count the golf course.)
Fame tends to do funny things, sometimes.
The government was wise in courting Regis and Kelly to come play on their island. The one mil price tag should pay off when viewers begin travelling to Canada’s tiniest province. Already, Google searches are up, and the show has aired only one day out of four.
Prince Edward Island is a treasure. Even though it’s become a tourist trap destination, it’s a beautiful land that will take your breath away, and filled with many generous, welcoming people (despite a few I’ve met to the contrary.)
The things I liked most about the Island were:
- the fact you can walk from one end of Charlottetown to the other
- it reminds me so much of the Annapolis Valley, with its red soil and many farms
- the provincial Legislature
- Confederation Bridge
- Holland College
- University of Prince Edward Island
- Moonsnail Soapworks
- Victoria Park
- Maid Marian’s, RIP (in Sherwood, no lie!)
- 42nd Street Lounge, which has the feel of a Roaring Twenties club, with lots of antiques and ambiance
- all the other restaurants like Olde Dublin Pub… mmmm
- the Sports Page for $3 steak and fries night! (oh baby it was good!)
- all the lights and decorations in December (see pic)
- Confederation Centre of the Arts
- Victoria Row, for its old-style charm
- all the old brick buildings in Charlottetown
I enjoyed the three years I spent there, even if they were in the winter. Even though I had to carry laundry on my back to the laundromat six kilometres away (thank goodness it was next door to McDonalds.) Of course, not that the red came out of my clothes.
This week, I feel nostalgic for Charlottetown and wish I could be there to see Reege and Kelly. And I could go for one of those Raspberry Cordials.
Then again, I’d rather have a steak at the Sports Page.