It’s the story of Prince Edward Island in microcosm. Victoria, the tiny port community, is now one of the island’s tourism gems.
The community has fewer than 150 full-time residents, yet even more people came to Victoria on Monday to explore the historic port town.
The village was one of the first on the island. It was designed to be a port and a fishing community and have the kind of amenities to people in the surroundings areas could use, including one of the early island post offices.
Founded in 1819 and seeing heavy traffic during the age of sail, the port was home to three active wharves at its peak.
It still maintains much of that Victorian-era charm.
“Uniqueness is to that central core area where you see all these traditional homes, old style homes right next-door, or included in their home, a small business, said Keith Dewar, Chief Administrative Officer for the rural municipality of Victoria, “That ability to walk around the community feels very much like you’ve gone back in time.”
Visitors come from near and far to visit the fishing village.
“It has to be at the waterfront, said John Holt, of Charlottetown. “The tide coming in and just, well you can see yourself, you see everything is just beautiful.”
Some parts of the shoreline are very long and shallow, good for clam-digging tours and sea kayaking.
“Beautiful little town, absolutely,” said Kristie Ranken, from Ontario. “Friendly, cute, little shops, lots to do.”
Victoria is still very much a rural community. Despite a number of new subdivisions popping up in recent years, the tight core of the old fishing village is surrounded by mostly farmland.
“When you sit down by one of the restaurants, you see the lobster fisherman come in, or when they’re doing crabs they’re coming, or you see the farmers tractors going through,” said Dewar. “It all makes you feel like this is an active little community.”
The port town is a hot spot for crafters and artists, as well as history buffs.
Many of the town’s old buildings are heritage structures, and the community’s tight four blocks wouldn’t look out of place in any of the Maritimes’ more populated historical towns or cities.
Still, this place feels like the small town it remains, even as tourism becomes an ever bigger part of the community’s identity.
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