THE VOICE OF ATLANTIC CANADA, DELIVERED DIRECTLY TO YOUR INBOX.
Welcome to the bi-weekly boost, brought to you by [EDIT] and Saint John Regional Hospital Foundation.
A twice-monthly digital publication packed with timely news stories, opinion pieces, current affairs, arts curation, community messaging and positive local tales. The same quality journalism and world-class photography that you expect from [EDIT], but all unique to [EDIT]ION.
Featured in the issue below are:
I first visited Prince Edward Island on a trip to the Maritimes two decades ago. It was love at first sight. And it is still one of my favourite places in the world to visit. It is utterly unique which is why it maintains its position as one of North America’s most desired destination. When I tour the world and tell people I live in the Maritimes, the first thing they say is that a trip to the island is on their bucket list.
And sure enough, thousands descend upon magical Prince Edward Island every year and the wisest visitors know that to truly experience the magic of the island, one must visit the small towns. My favourite is Hunter River (not just because my children’s names are Hunter and River!), a municipality with a population of just over 300 and nearby New Glasgow. I always stay at the Heritage Classic Inn when performing at the Harmony House Theatre in Hunter River, one of those uniquely splendid performing-arts venues that Atlantic Canadians do so well. Kris and Melanie Taylor purchased the building (a former church that they were married in almost two decades ago) and converted it into one of the most electric venues I have ever played. The 140-seat theatre is upstairs, and downstairs is a proper English-style pub with a full kitchen that serves the best lobster chowder I have ever had. The Taylors did something many thought impossible: created a world-class arts venue in a small place and made it phenomenally successful.
Since moving to this region, I have performed on the island more than two dozen times. The Small Halls festival is an absolute joy and has allowed me the privilege of performing in a church in Belfast and a Lions Club in South Rustico. I have also played at the Confederation Centre For The Arts in Charlottetown, Kings Playhouse in Georgetown, the Harbourfront Theatre in Summerside and last summer I hit the stage at the island’s only drive-in: the Brackley Drive-In (with some of the island’s funniest comedians including Sam MacDonald and Katherine Cairns), which is famed for offering a uniquely traditional experience. Bob Boyle who owns it is a real local legend.
Everyone knows that The Inn At Bay Fortune is one of the greatest dining experiences anywhere in the world. Superstar chef Michael Smith and his team offer a 14-course culinary experience that appeals to all the senses and excels in every possible way. Michael and wife Chastity are also the most delightful hosts and entertainers that you will ever meet, so you will not only leave with a full stomach, but a big grin on your oyster-drenched face.
758 Route 310, Souris, C0A 2B0
Enter Prince Edward Island National Park and spend a day on the stunning sandy beach, admire the oft-photographed Covehead Harbour Lighthouse and stroll over to Richard’s for the greatest lobster roll of your life. This is no exaggeration. There is more lobster in it than most restaurants manage in a dozen. Equally as impressive are their generous wine pours.
9 Wharf Road, York, C0A 1P0
Part of the Murphy Hospitality Group, the Great George began life as The Regent Hotel in 1846 and every room is steeped in history. Each of the rooms and luxury condos is unique – some will make you feel as if you are ensconced in the world of Downton Abbey while others are startlingly reminiscent of Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals (in the best possible way). Whether traditional, vintage or super sleek and modern, the rooms are all immaculately perfect. The Perkins Suite (also known as The Prime Minister’s Suite) is PEI’s most luxurious spot and no one seems to know about it. It’s word of mouth and rightly so, boasting two baths with double Jacuzzi, dining room, private roof top deck and much more over two floors.
58 Great George Street, C1A 4K3
Also, owned by the Murphy Hospitality Group, The Hotel on Pownal is where the Atlantic Edition crew stayed when filming the second season of the show this summer. Wow, what a gem. Great location, beautiful rooms, magnificent beer and wine selection and incredible service. The on-duty team of Joee and Anastasia were truly delightful and welcoming and went out of their way to ensure our stay and trip was a successful one. Will definitely be back and thank you Joee and Anastasia. They are unique in their customer service and attention to detail.46 Pownal Street, Charlottetown, C1A 3W6
Last summer, with the Atlantic bubble open, my family and I decided to spend a week in Prince Edward Island. Prior to that, my time there was always too short, leaving me with a list of more places to see and discover. We had the best time touring throughout the island, finding new gems along the way. Their warm beaches, with soft sand and unpredictable surf, friendly people and incredible restaurant and café scene keep me wanting to return again and again. Be sure to pack a skim board and take advantage as the tides recede.
Upstreet Craft Brewing has the best charcuterie boards and a menu that pairs perfectly with their home brews. The welcoming vibe is immediate, and the service is undeniably upbeat and friendly. They also produce a line of craft sodas that will have you second-guessing your loyalty to the big-name brands.
41 Allen St, Charlottetown
Samuels Coffee House roasts and brews the very best, rich coffee on the island and beyond. Their soups, desserts and sandwiches are made with love, and are stuffed with local ingredients. Try ‘The Clifton’ (sandwich), made with P.E.I Smoked Turkey, Glasgow Glen Goat Cheese, Spinach & Cranberry.
4 Queen St, Summerside
The Dining Room is the Culinary Institute of Canada’s epicenter, where all their Culinary, Food, Beverage & Hospitality training shine bright. It boasts breathtaking views of the harbor, a sit-down bar with craft beer on tap, and an open kitchen where their teams create award-winning contemporary lunch and dinner cuisine.
4 Sydney St, Charlottetown
The Blue Mussel Cafe is a seasonal seafood restaurant located in North Rustico. They only use products that are harvested or caught within hours, and the freshness and vibrancy of their daily choices can be tasted in each and every bite. Their specialty is seafood, and they offer a variety of delicious and healthy meals – with no deep frying. The vibe is vibrant and hip – lunch or dinner (or both!) there is a must.
312 Harbourview Dr, North Rustico
Prince Edward Island was a huge part of my childhood. My memories of Rainbow Valley, sandy beaches, and tiny cabins were ones I always held close to my heart. Unfortunately, there were a few years that I hadn't made it out to PEI, until this past summer. It was like seeing it with new eyes, the scenery and stunning landscape elevated now. I can truly say there is no other place like it in the world. Once you cross the bridge you have a beautiful mix of ocean views, sprawling farms, and bountiful greenery. The country land quickly turns into a bustling city when you enter Charlottetown. The lively energy of the city with amazing small businesses and a colorful culture was a sight to behold.
There are too many incredible places on the island to count, but here are a few of my favorites...
The Nature Space Resort is a retreat center that opened in 2020, and has everything from water tours, yoga retreats and yurt stays. It’s the perfect balance of comfort and connection to nature.
631 St Peters Harbour Rd, Morell
Hillcrest Farm Disc Golf is one of the most niche, but endlessly fun, activities. This course has been ranked the best disc golf course in Canada, and the second-best in the world too!
7873 PE-1, Bonshaw
The Olde Anchor is a classic and lovely Bed and Breakfast in Murray River. It’s a stunning oasis with PEI’s signature views that gives you access to the many beaches, lighthouses, and trails that make it an incredible destination.
9457 Main St S, Murray River
Receiver Coffee Company is a staple in the Charlottetown community. Their amazing menu features freshly baked bread, delicious coffee, and mouthwatering brunch options. The friendly staff and cool atmosphere work to make it one of my favorite coffee stops around.
128 Richmond St, Charlottetown
Slaymaker & Nichols isn't just a restaurant, it's a story. Based in Prince Edward Island, it tells the history of Henry Slaymaker and William Nichols, who launched the Olympic Circus in the spring of 1864. When the circus came to PEI, people throughout Atlantic Canada came to see the event. It collided with the meeting of political leaders to convince the Maritime leaders to union together with the country, The Charlottetown Conference. The circus filled the province with laughter and joy, and it was told that the political leaders bonded through attending. Although not in the history books, the circus influenced our country's formation.
Slaymaker & Nichols pays tribute to it in a beautiful way, with delicious food, a fun atmosphere, and pieces of the circus throughout.
[EDIT]: Why did that story resonate with you?
Steve Murphy: The story really struck a cord with us as it was one that hasn’t been told very often other than by true local PEI historians. I mean, a few islanders have heard about the story but the details weren’t very clear and the focus was mostly on the founding fathers and not really told from the circus’ point of view. We felt that not only was this a great story, but also an important story, as the circus gave the founding fathers the opportunity to build relationships outside of the negotiation table. It put the founding fathers on equal playing filed and allowed them to let their guards down just enough to get to know each other. Also, after some long tense days of endless negotiations, the party atmosphere and flowing alcohol probably didn’t hurt their moods either.
[EDIT]: There is a clear connection to history. Why do you think it's important to keep history alive?
Steve: We felt that the story was not only an important one to tell but it was also a unique one. It is said that the timing of the travelling circus arriving preciously when it did along with pitching it’s tent on this exact lot as well as it’s celebratory atmosphere was the catalyst needed to bring our founding fathers together and solidifying the negotiation over our country’s union.
When looking for the location to pitch our second restaurant we weren’t looking for a way to keep history alive. We were just looking for a central location and we really wanted to build an inn and restaurant that would fit into the downtown Charlottetown scene. We really wanted to find a building that looked like it has always been there and that had a personality all of its own.
The building we ended up buying was originally built as a family home in 1912. It's a grand wooden structure that sits high up off the ground overlooking the corner of Fitzroy & Queen streets an originally we felt it was really important to tell the buildings story and what it stood for. The more research we did the more we realized that the house wasn’t the actual story but the house stood more as as beacon and a grand marker of it’s role in bringing our founding fathers together, providing them with the opportunity to bond and therefore bring our country together as we now know it.
We know that when you purchase a lot that has played this type of pivotal role in our nations history it is something that needs to be respected, loved and shared with anyone that would listen for as long as possible. Christine and I are proud to welcome everyone to come in and sit for a drink or for a place to rest their heads and continue the celebration and unique atmosphere that is Slaymaker & Nichols!
[EDIT]: What inspires the menu?
Steve: The menu continues the celebratory atmosphere of the lot and we use that as the inspiration into the unique flavour profiles of the food and cocktails. The menus are designed with the use of a tremendous amount of flavour. We love nothing more than seeing how we can create unique flavours that are not traditional while keeping each dish identifiable and approachable in its now way. In a true gastropub concept we have taken traditional dishes and added our own personality to them.
[EDIT]: What do you love about being in the Charlottetown community?
Steve: Charlottetown really has it all. Its has great people, great history and a friendly vibe all year long. It is what I would call a great ‘walking town’. No matter where you are in Charlottetown you are only a couple of steps away from great historic buildings, great arts and entertainment, great outdoor parks, great shopping and some of the best food & drink anywhere in the Maritimes.
[EDIT] + Tourism NB
If you have yet to visit and experience PEI’s The Dunes Studio Gallery and Café there is no better time than now. Owned and operated by Potter Peter Jansons, ‘The Dunes’ originated in 1978 at The Brackley Beach School House (just up the road from their current location). Their newer location opened in 1983 and now employs upwards of 60 people in the gallery, the gardens, and the café.
Visitors can watch Peter Jansons and Joel Mills in the pottery studio to see works in progress and participate in daily ongoing demonstrations. Guests to The Dunes are also invited to shop in the Gallery, which features a vast and impressive collection of fine Canadian craft – work from over fifty artisans, including: fine woodworking, paintings, gold and silver jewelry, textiles, stained and blown glass, candles, baskets, preserves, soaps, books, etc. The Dunes also carries clothing and a large selection of Balinese art & crafts.
The Café is a fully licensed fine dining restaurant serving lunch and dinner daily. It features the very best hand selected fresh local produce, seafood, their world-renowned Island Beef and homemade desserts – all beautifully presented on The Dunes Handmade Pottery. Their Beet Salad is legendary, and features Fresh Island Greens tossed in Maple Dijon Vinaigrette, topped with Garden Beets, Shaved Fennel, Apple, Carrots, Red Onions, Goat Cheese and Candied Walnuts.
Whether you live on the Island, or you are a new visitor, experiencing The Dunes is a must. It’s a feast for the eyes and for the palate and your time there will keep you thinking about this special spot for years to come.
The Dunes Studio Gallery and Café is located at 3622 Brackley Point Rd, PEI. They are open daily for lunch and dinner in peak season.
Visit their website for operating hours and for more information.
[EDIT] + CAA
On the hills of Caledonia, Prince Edward Island is The Double Hill Cidery. The tasty cider that they produce is intertwined with a deep connection to the landscape and earth that the business is founded on. The land, purchased by the Manago family in 1993, is infused with rich PEI soil, which gives their wild apples a distinctly amazing taste.
When [EDIT]ION met with founder Sebastian Manago, he described this as terroir, a French word used to describe a "connection between the earth, the plants and human know-how." This knowledge of the land means that they care for their soil, knowing the influence is has on their apples, using organic practices in the production process.
Sebastian started the cidery after falling in love with cider while studying in France. His passion for every step of cider making from the soil to the tasting, is evident in everything he says. They now make a mix of old world and new world cider, using only wild PEI apples. Inspired by the complexity of French cider, each kind has a unique taste.
Aside from the incredible skill, technique, and flavour of the cider, is the beautiful backdrop it sits on. The rolling 'double hills' are perfectly reflected in the name, and the sprawling farmland is the island in a glance. Currently, they are focusing on their production, but they are quickly expanded and hope to soon include a tasting room so that people can visit and experience what it means to make Double Hill cider.