• Arcadia and Acadia – A Meditation – Part I

    (This post is dedicated to my old friend Marcel Carpenter with whom, back in our school days in Montreal, I discovered that “nothing leapt in the heart of the Arcadian Youth.”) At first glance this blog post has almost nothing to do with PEI Heritage. That is because it is mostly about things that happened in Europe. While many people I know regard Prince Edward Island as the Jewel in the Crown, I see it differently. I see a magnificent crown, covered with many jewels, one of which is the Island. All my mature life I have seen the Island story as one of those jewels, cheek and jowl to…

  • Discovery and First Contact by Europeans

    THE DISCOVERY OF AMERICA, AND ILE SAINT JEAN (PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND) IN PARTICULAR 1492 is famous for Christopher Columbus’ discovery of America while he was in the employ of the Spanish king and queen. In the following ten years, it is believed, about 80 more voyages by different explorers and nations were made, searching for the elusive short route to the Far East, and all its riches. No one had any idea of the size of the North and South American continents. In the end, except for an always optimistic hope for a Northwest Passage, a realistic route to the East was abandoned in favour of robbing the Meso- and…

  • The Wigwam and Its Evolution on PEI

    The Wigwam as an International Phenomenon The wigwam appears to have a very ancient history that goes across continents. When you study the history of Neolithic Europe and even Africa, you come across excavation reports that describe finding small circular structures that were probably circles of poles arranged in conical fashion and covered with bark or skins. Although similar in outline, as it has evolved in the Maritime Region, the wigwam is not to be confused with the tipi of the Western Plains Indians. They too were constructed out of sapling poles but covered with skins instead of bark. In both instances the poles seem to have been folded up…