The following are my last two posts about maps that concern Prince Edward Island. It is the almost-end of a project that began innocently on June 30, 2020, and which was meant to be a light survey of the most significant Island maps, and which fate somehow turned into a much more comprehensive research project as I became increasingly fascinated with the components of this chronological series.
The unwritten subtitle of my Heritage Blog is a personal view. As my study of Island maps moves into the middle of the Twentieth Century my memories leap back to scenes and events that I have illustrated with contemporary photographs. That was the world into which I was born and from childhood to old age have used maps to orientate myself in all the areas of art historical and topographical study that dominated my life.
These last two Island map blog posts begin in the years after Meacham and take it up to the time of World War II, which is when I was born. There are no doubt items missing in the sequence but, in time, when I have this material at hand, I will insert it.
The 1886 Railway Station at Tignish – from Buote, L’Impartial Illustré, p. 36.
The first map featured in this post is the 1884 map of the Prince Edward Island Railway that was published in Boston by the Rand Avery Supply Company. The information about it is provided by the provincial archives. There is no date on the map. Construction of the railway began in 1871 and continued until 1930 when the Murray Harbour line was standard gauged. In the early 1930s when the Hillsborough River bridge could no longer support the weight of the equipment then in use a 10-mile (16.1 km) connecting track called the Short Line was built from the Maple Hill Junction on the Mount Stewart Junction – Georgetown line, to connect with the Murray Harbour track at Lake Verde Junction. This map only shows the first phases of construction when in 1885 the line ran from Tignish to Souris with spurs to Cape Traverse, Charlottetown, and Georgetown.
1884 Map of Prince Edward Island Railway and Connections, Rand Avery Supply Company, Boston. Public Archives and Records Office of Prince Edward Island, Acc3466/HF70.499.
The story of the PEI Railway is well summarised in the following Wikipedia article.
The Mackinlay Maps
Andrew Mackinlay (spelled variously) was born in Stirlingshire, Scotland in 1800. He had 11 children from two marriages. At some time, he moved to Halifax and by 1826 had opened a book and stationery store. In 1827 he was joined by his brother William, thus forming the firm of A. and W. MacKinlay. He was deeply interested in education and early specialised in pirating schoolbooks which he provided for the local schools. He was interested in all levels of education, having spent time with the Mechanics Institute, an organisation devoted to the education of ordinary working people. He had a special interest in the young and handicapped and did much to bring knowledge into their lives.
1890 Mackinlay’s Map of the Province of Nova Scotia, including the Island of Cape Breton. Compiled from actual & recent surveys. 78 x 100 cm. The map, printed in bright colour, is cut into 32 pieces and mounted on linen. Published by A. & W. Mackinlay, No. 10 Granville Street, Halifax, N.S. Engraved by G. Philip & Son, Liverpool. Drawn by W.A. Hendry. David Rumsey Historical Map Collection.
His interests soon spread to cartography and in 1867 won a bronze medal at the Paris Exposition for his map of Nova Scotia. After Mackinlay’s death in the same year the company continued to prosper in the areas established by the founders, and it continued to produce updated versions of this map up into the Twentieth Century. The company was in existence until about 1929.
This map contains information gathered in the 1890 census hence its tentative date. This edition was meant to be carried in a pocket and was cut into 32 pieces which were then glued onto linen to permit easy folding. The colour is brilliant, and it is surely one of the most beautiful maps of Nova Scotia ever produced.
Leaving New Brunswick as an outline only, he pays more attention to Prince Edward Island.
The P.E.I. map shows the counties and parishes, all the major ports and the route of the railway as it existed in 1890. It is a very uncluttered map, showing only what were considered to be the most vital aspects of the Island at that time.
The Wright/Cundall map lives on into the Twentieth Century
The Wright map of 1852 updated by Cundall into the 1860s continued to be one of the most popular maps of the Island. It would become the basic Island map used in schools and government offices and was produced in large format lithography which was then filled in with bright pastel colours.
1903-04 Map of Prince Edward Island in the Gulf of St Lawrence, Comprising the latest Topographical information afforded by the Surveyor Generals office and other authentic Sources, by George Wright Esq, H. J. Cundall and Captain H. J. Bayfield, based on the Cundall revision of 1861. 25.00 x 49.41 inches, Published by G. Ballingall, Charlottetown, n.d. [1903-04]. Price: $5.98. (Image from an antique dealer site – name not recorded – selling this item for $2500.)
This undocumented photo from the internet shows the map mounted on rollers to hang on walls. The finished product had received a light varnish coat which in time caused the paper to crack and split. This was the first large-scale map of the Island that I encountered, in the late 1940s, in my primary school classroom in West Prince County. It had been updated by the publisher to show the railway and some new communities. Unfortunately, I have not had direct access to this map for the purposes of documenting all the details the publishers had included in their update.
Transportation routes updated to the early 1900s
This small, folded map of the Island was produced in the early years of the Twentieth Century and its prime focus is on transportation – the major roads, the railway as it had evolved to that date and the various ports for the ferry to the mainland and other port-to-port destinations on the Island.
[c. 1906, but LAC’s copy is dated 1899] Prince Edward Island in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, no publication data, sheet folded in four. Image size 18.5 x 38.5 cm. R. Porter Collection.
In 1912 the Mackinlay company in Halifax was still producing updates of the map that had brought them fame at the 1867 Paris Exhibition where they received a bronze medal. Compared to the 1890 version (above) this map contains far more information.
1912 Mackinlay’s Map of The Province of Nova Scotia Compiled from Actual & Recent Surveys 1912. Published by A. & W. Mackinlay, Halifax. 1 map: coloured; 150 x 192 cm, folded to 11 x 17 cm. W. K. Morrison Special Collection, WKM-M-403. Credit: Digital reproduction from the W. K. Morrison Special Collection of the J. B. Hall Library at the NSCC Centre of Geographic Sciences, Halifax.
New Brunswick, although still on partially shown, has received far more attention with the insertion of basic information of place names, railways, ports, and roads. Prince Edward Island is given a much fuller treatment, this time with the place names of the communities in the interior all squeezed in.
In the last quarter of the Nineteenth Century, because of the expansion and improvement of roads throughout the interior, and especially because of the seemingly endless expansion of railway lines all over the place, new communities had emerged. Some of these were centred around schools, but the majority were focussed on post offices which expanded and speeded up communication tremendously. The Island was growing at a rapid rate and catching up with developments on the Mainland.
Since the 1880 the Americans had been engaged in a massive project to produce hydrographic maps of the Eastern Seaboard. Prince Edward Island was given its own map with all the soundings brought up to date. This map would continue to be reissued from time to time and so various editions exist.
[1918, ’27, ’33] NORTH AMERICA/ DOMINION OF CANADA/ GULF OF SAINT LAWRENCE/ PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND/ AND/ ADJACENT COASTS/ FROM SEA WOLF ISLAND TO ESCUMINAC POINT/ Compiled from the latest information. Hydrographic Office, U. S. Navy, Washington, 1888. This is the 39th Edition published in August 1918. Dimensions 23 x 38 ½ inches. Gallery 18 Collection.
Photograph courtesy of Gallery 18
This map is part of the American hydrographic survey project that began in the Late Nineteenth Century. This same map, with minor changes would be reissued in 1927 and 1933. It is principally concerned with soundings and has its origins in the works of Admiral Bayfield along with subsequent observations by George Wright and Henry Cundall in their maps of the Island. The road system of the interior is not articulated, and the place names are mostly coastal.
As early as 1920 an enormous folding map divided into 30 lithographed sections glued to a linen back that folded into covers was produced by Calverleigh Milford and published in Charlottetown. In the cartouche it claims prominently that it has the support of Public Works, the Board of Trade, and the Motor Association as the official road guide.
MAP OF PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND in the GULF OF SAINT LAWRENCE Compiled from the latest information afforded by Surveys Records and other authentic Sources by CALVERLEIGH MILFORD, 1920. Endorsed by the Department of Public Works, Boards of Trade and Motor Association as the Official Road Guide. Image size: 24” x 49” and lithographed by Guthrie Ballingall, Charlottetown, P.E.I., 1920. Gallery 18 Collection.
Photograph courtesy of Gallery 18
The map is very simple outline with no colour or decoration other than the fancy fonts used in the cartouche.
Motor Tourism Rears its Head
As the Twentieth Century progressed, tourism, which had reared its head in the late Nineteenth Century, causing large summer resorts to be built on beauty spots across the Island, speeded up tremendously as travel for pleasure became more common, and a taste for isolated but accessible rustic charm intensified. By 1925 the prototype of all subsequent tourism road and destination maps appeared. I bought this battered copy, on sale in a local antique store because of the timing of its appearance and the joyful arrangement of colours that make up the design. It made to catch the eye of the tourist, who could use the railways to get to most destinations, but also for the tourist who came with a motor car, hence the detailed information on the quality of the road system.
1925 Map of Prince Edward Island indicating Motor Roads and Recreational Resources. Prepared by the National Resources Intelligence Service, F. C. C. Lynch, Director, 1925 Preliminary Edition, 19 1/2 x 31 inches, Department of the Interior, Ottawa. R. Porter Collection.
It was produced (drawn?) by F. C. C. Lynch, Director of the National Resources Intelligence Service, a division of the Department of the Interior. The road system, very clearly drawn and coloured, shows optimistically the various grades of roads that motorised tourism could expect when it took the great ferry, the SS Prince Edward Island, which had been built in 1917 and arrived at Port Borden.
This model of the SS Prince Edward Island was crafted by Everett Campbell in 1978 and is in the Bedeque Area Historical Museum Collection.
The design of the map is very clean and the major roads easy to follow. It is a traveller’s dream.
The legend in the map cartouche is very interesting. The motor roads are marked with a bright red line which indicates dirt roads that were regularly maintained by graders that were towed by horses or farm tractors.
The secondary roads, familiar to me from my childhood, were rarely maintained and had perpetually muddy and swampy stretches. These were raked over and levelled from time to time by large wooden or metal frames towed by horses belonging to local farmers.
Rural Heritage Magazine – 1919
The ‘other roads” indicated in the legend were in the deep countryside and were barely a single lane in width. These were traversed with horse-drawn carts with very tall wheels that sank deep into the mud and ruts. It is exactly in such a rig as this one – perhaps this very one – that I had my first 1.5-mile drive with my grandfather over a road with deep spring mud.
The back of this prototype tourist map I have been discussing is blank. Future editions will contain contact data for various hotels and boarding houses, along with details of transportation.
This map is of further interest because it is the prototype of most of the maps produced for tourists to this day, such as this most recent one provided by the PEI Department of Tourism.
A Second Atlas of PEI
At this time, I am unable to discover why, after World War I, it seemed necessary to produce another atlas of Prince Edward Island. Related to this, but not necessarily a direct cause, the Cummins atlas came at the time when many of the farms in the Meacham atlas lot maps, because of the increase in rural population, had been subdivided to the point where further division would only be destructive. This coincides with the mass exodus that took place on the Island after the war when thousands of rural people, with no hope of obtaining sufficient land upon which to live, went to work in what was called the Boston States where there was plenty of work in places like textile mills and factories. In my own experience, most of my grandfather and grandmother’s siblings – who were numerous – did just that.
The picture that emerges in Cummins’ lot maps sharply illustrates the subdivision of farms in many rural areas that took place in less than a century of colonial/provincial evolution.
1928 Atlas of Province of Prince Edward Island Canada and the World, P.E.I. Atlas 140 pp., World Atlas lxxii pp., Published by Cummins Map Co., M. S. Arniel, Manager, 70 Lombard Street, Toronto, Ont., Copyrighted .
The illustrations gratefully used in this post are screen shots from the David Rumsey website on the Cummins Atlas, where the entire book can be viewed in large scale with the very easy to use software provided:
You can also obtain and download the atlas from this UPEI site;
The Saskatchewan Archives holds the bulk of the Cummins material, which mostly concerns the mapping of that province between 1917 and 1940 when the company closed down. Therefore it is not surprising to see a map of Saskatchewan in the Island atlas – as well as the other Western Provinces.
The Archives site on Cummins lists the basic holdings in the collection and provides a brief but very useful history of the Cummins Map Company in a 1981 article written by Eric Jonasson in Canadian Genealogist.
Here is the entry from the Saskatchewan Archives site:
The O. F. Cummins Map Company was established around 1917 in Regina, Saskatchewan. The company’s office was located at 12-2350 12th Avenue (Co-operative Elevator Building). The president of the company, Oliver Francis Coumans, was an engineer and land surveyor. He changed his surname to Cummins around 1917, after which the company was known as the Cummins Map Company. Melville S. Arneil, a draftsman, was vice-president and manager. In 1918, Cummins moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba, where he initially operated a branch office of the company out of his home. The Winnipeg office was later located at 904-457 Main Street and 404-160 Princess Street. Arneil maintained the Regina office until around 1920, when he closed that office and moved to Winnipeg. In 1923, Cummins moved to Toronto, Ontario, followed by Arneil in 1924. The company office was located at 70 Lombard Street. Cummins was involved in other work after 1927 but Arneil continued to manage the company until it ceased to operate in the early 1940s.
The main product of the Cummins Map Company was a series of landowner maps, known as the Cummins Rural Directory Maps, for Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Prince Edward Island. The rural directory maps contained the names and locations of post offices, the location of local rail lines and the names of the owners of each parcel of land within the area covered. The maps were issued as collections of single map sheets instead of being bound in book form as many of the atlases were at the time. The maps were often used by local merchants and travelling salesmen to find customers as well as to assist travellers to find their way across unfamiliar and often unmarked land. The Saskatchewan map series were produced in 1917/1918 (covering most of the settled areas of the province); 1920; 1922; 1926 (covering eastern Saskatchewan) and 1930 (covering north-central Saskatchewan). An uniform sheet numbering system was used and maintained in all series.
Some of the other products produced by the Cummins Map Company included an atlas of Prince Edward Island and Cummins Crop Yield Maps, which indicated the crop yields of the prairie provinces using a “good, fair and poor” rating system. The company also advertised their mounting and drafting services.
1981 article by Eric Jonasson in Canadian Genealogist (R-E2060).
In 1991 the Heritage Foundation published a miniature facsimile of the Atlas:
Here is the Index/Table of Contents for the PEI atlas section.
The Cummins atlas was not nearly as attractive from a design point of view as the Meacham atlas. Smudgy halftone photographs replaced the lithographed drawings with more immediate impressions of the Island reality taken from black and white photos. The lot maps are an unattractive shade of brownish-pink that grates on the nerves. Perhaps that was a popular sales ploy at the time but experiments in removing the colour digitally tell me that simple black and white maps would have been easier to study and certainly more aesthetically pleasing to live with.
The Lot outline is neatly placed on the page so that maximum space is given to make the image as large as possible. Half of the page is left blank as a result and Cummins fills it with a Rural Directory of the lot.
One wonders at the accuracy of the Cummins atlas. As I always do by habit when I look at an Island map, I go to my home territory of Lot 1.
Looking at the area of the map which concerns the village of Tignish where my paternal Great-grandfather Joseph Isadore Gaudet (A) lived, I see with dismay that his property has shrunk to just 4 acres, evidence of his incompetence as a small farmer. He sold it all to the most prosperous Acadian farmer in the area, called here Peter Chaisson, but known locally to this day as Pierre à Maximin Chaisson (B).
In this detail from the map, you can see Joseph Isidore Gaudet’s miserable 4 acres next to the vast farm of Pierre à Maximin Chaisson. Joseph Isadore was in the church choir and was obsessed with Gregorian Chant. He and other members of the choir attended early morning mass six days a week, gathering again on Sunday for High Mass. Joseph Isadore would return from morning Mass and sing for the rest of the day, the chants appropriate to whatever saint’s feast was celebrated that morning. I have inherited his wonderful massive leather-bound Gregorian Chant book and it is one of my treasures.
From R. Porter collection.
Pierre à Maximin, on the other hand, worked his vast farm and became very wealthy. He built a new section on his house, keeping the original house as the kitchen wing.
From Buote, p. 34
There is more to be gained from this snippet of Cummins Lot 1 and that concerns the Catholic Church and the Congregation of Notre Dame Convent. In the Lot 1 map detail I have marked 2 locations, C and D in red letters. Despite having been excruciatingly accurate in the depiction of my great-grandfather’s declining fortunes, Cummins, or Arneil his surveyor seems to have left out any symbol that might indicate the proximity of the two grandest buildings in Tignish – the church (D) and the convent (C). It is true there are unlabelled tiny parcels of land where these structures should be, and across the road, to the east, is the field farmed by the convent, and next to it the cemetery with the 1826 church now serving as a school house. However, when you look at this aerial view of that part of the village taken just a few years later (the Dalton School would be built in 1931), you are surprised by how much was left out of the lot map of that part of Tignish.
1947 aerial photo of Tignish, from MacDonald p. 18.
Based on this single scrutiny of a familiar part of Cummins atlas, with its accuracy and discrepancies, one is led to wonder if more such irregularities in recording the topography are present in other lot maps.
Other lot maps in the atlas
The map of Lot 13 is very pleasantly presented, logically oriented at the bottom of the page. The empty space is used with the Rural Director of the lot and also of Lennox Island, which, because of its proximity to Lot 13 is represented in large scale on the same page.
The Cummins map of Lennox Island is very valuable because it can be compared with the large map that was also presented in Meacham’s atlas. All the residents are identified, and we can see that settlement, in the intervening 48 years has grown considerably. Interest in our indigenous populations, at a national level, has been steadily increasing, and a great deal of work remains to be done in creating a documented history of our local Mi’kmaq population and their descendants.
The map for Lots 43 and 44 in King’s County has been placed on its side and causes confusion for those who wish to study it. The atlas must be placed on its side in order to read the data comfortably.
Lot 65 with its peculiar configuration is perhaps, of all the Holland lot outlines, the most awkward and confusing. The Cummins surveyor does a neat job of presenting it along with the Rural Directory data associated with it. There is even a clear map of Saint Peter’s Island and what is to be found on it.
The Cummins atlas tries to be all things to all men and in that, provides a great deal of topical information, especially about World War I which had ended ten years before. Interestingly the war is still a very focussed topic after all those years.
Photographs of soldiers, in barracks and at the front are featured, and there is even a page – in a different colour! – devote to the theatre of war in Europe.
The Cummins World Atlas
The Cummins atlas is really two separate books linked by a considerable about of geographical information. The Atlas of the World has its own title page and I have assumed it was also published as a separate book. I don’t yet have data to support this assumption. In the Island atlas, to avoid confusion, the pagination is in Arabic numbers, but the world atlas pages are marked with Roman numerals.
 James, George Wharton, Burgoyne, Alan H. and Peake, Elmore Elliott, illustrators, The New International Atlas of the World, containing maps of all the countries of the world showing new boundaries as determined by the League of Nations and by Plebiscite. Published by the Cummins Map Co., 70 Lombard St., Toronto, Ontario.
Very brief descriptions of the various countries are given and there are fairly clear halftones of good photographs of various monuments.
The maps of the different countries of the world are all in colour and are very legible. The fact that the world maps are so beautifully coloured makes one wonder why the PEI atlas had to be so hideously coloured.
The First Foolish Tourist Map
There are different kinds of tourism for different kinds of people. Since the Renaissance scholars, the wealthy and interested people have crossed the Alps to visit the cities and ruins of Italy. This habit became known as the Grand Tour and those who took part in it were Grand Tourists. In time interested travellers to foreign lands became known simply as tourists.
In our day feelings run high among people who are anxious about the damage done by lighthearted tourists, and the mess they leave in our towns and landscapes. It is hard to distinguish between cultural tourism and those out for brainless amusement. Before the advent of the motor car tourism tended to be a restrained affair indulged in by thinking people. In time tourism became associated with wild, uncontrolled joyous behaviour, unravelling the exhaustion and tension of demanding jobs. The majority, in time, wanted fun, not culture, and this most extraordinary map from an atlas of similar maps, suggests wild uninhibited fun in the provinces of Canada. This is how Prince Edward Island was seen in that atlas.
1929 Animated Map of Prince Edward Island. The Artist Suggests Good Sport, Canada Department of Interior, 30 x 41 cm, from Dominion of Canada. Animated Atlas. Text by Oliver Master. Drawings by Arthur Edward Elias. Department of the Interior, Canada. 30 x 41 cm. David Rumsey Historical Map Collection.
It is all extremely foolish and completely unlike anything that we have encountered previously. What brought it on? The 1920s saw the complete break-up of the subdued conventions of the Victorian and Edwardian eras. Dresses were shortened, corsets were thrown out, and men and women indulged in wild bacchanalian dances fueled by African American rhythms. The Charleston had arrived and it, and its followers were filled with fun and very noisy. This is what this map pictures.
The atlas has maps in full color and uses drawings in a humorous way to show the distinct economic assets of each part of the island. The maps are accompanied by text.
And so, all of a sudden, and promoted by the Federal Government, cultivated Grand Tourism with its civilised restraint is thrown out the window and fun reigns supreme.
A Tourist Guide
The Province of Prince Edward Island was quick to jump on the tourist bandwagon and around 1930 produced the Official Motor Guide of Prince Edward Island, sponsored by the Prince Edward Motor League. It is 97 pages long and full of minute instructions on how to get to every tourist destination on the Island. The boolet is not dated but an advertisement on page 21 by Prowse Brothers Ltd. suggests a publication date of 1930. The Guide is a perfect companion for the rather vulgar tourist map reproduced above.
Here are the contents, the index to the routes and all the road signs likely to be found on the Island.
UPEI has scanned this rare and valuable booklet and has made it available in Island Imagined at this link:
In 1935 a much more evolved version of this guide appeared, with many half-tone photographs and accompanied by a map, which is not reproduced in this fine scan of the booklet again by Island Imagined at UPEI:
The 1935 aerial survey and the 1938-49 topographic maps.
These two linked photographic and topographical map projects are large subjects that require more space for display and discussion than is desirable in this already swollen blog post. I have decided to split this post and deal with that material in Part 2.
In the next ten years, on the eve of World War II, maps for tourists have become more restrained, austere even, and limit themselves to giving directions for every kind of travel in the country. This 1939 Rand McNally road atlas is a very fine example of what will be the norm for touristic maps into our own day.
1939 Rand McNally Road map: Maritime Provinces. Copyright by Rand McNally & Company, Chicago, Ill. Lithographed in the U.S.A. U. (to accompany) State Farm Road Atlas: United States, Canada, Mexico, hotel, cabin camp guide. Published by: The State Farm Insurance Companies Travel Bureau, Bloomington, Illinois. Copyright 1939 by Rand McNally & Company, Chicago, Ill. Price $1.00 each. 39 x 50 cm, pp 88-89. David Rumsey Historical Collection.
The Atlas is bound in green cardboard, 40×30 ½, printed with title State Farm Road Atlas: United States, Canada, Mexico. 120 p. including 41 maps. Most maps are printed in color. On the back cover is an advertisement for the State Farm Insurance Companies and view of the Home Office building, Bloomington, Ill. Advertisements, and a general index are found inside the front cover.
The detail of Prince Edward Island has been simplified, showing only the best maintained major roads and the ferry route to the mainland. For the first time in any tourist map we see that the road from Summerside to Charlottetown has been paved with asphalt while all the other major roads are dirt maintained by grading with the now popular Caterpillar grader, which in winter served as a snow plough and opened up the country roads for the first time ever. Before that time the primitive roads quickly became snow canyons and all horse-drawn traffic in the country took to the relatively open fields. Sections of cedar pole fences were temporarily taken down to allow the winter traffic. I lived though this transition and the grader pictured below was the very one I saw for the first time around 1950 when I was about 8 years old. I was present when the Tignish North Road was ploughed for the first time ever. It was another of my earth-shaking epiphanies.
The Island is very cleanly represented with only those places, and those roads, that might interest the motorist.
The legend on the map has been simplified and the method of indicating the nature and condition of the various roads compressed into little icons.
This is almost the end of my survey of maps that followed the publication of Meacham’s atlas until the time of my birth during World War II. The list is not complete but as I obtain more relevant material, I will insert it in its proper place in this post.
In the next post, because they are products of the 1930s that followed hard upon the other, I will discuss the first ever aerial survey of the Island (1935) and the series of highly-detailed topographic maps that followed a few years later from 1938-47.
Once again I wish to thank Harry Holman for his focussed interest in this blog and for not only suggesting more illustrative material but actually providing me with the necessary jpgs.
Buote, François J. And Buote, Gilbert, L’Impartial: Numero Illustré – Souvenir de la Celebration du 100me. Anniversaire de la Fondation de Tignish, L’Impartial, Tignish, 1899.
MacDonald, D. Scott and Runtz, Vic, Prince Edward Island Then and Now, The Acorn Press, Charlottetown, 2016.