• The Maps Between Lake and Meacham – Confederation, Geology, and the Railway, 1864-1880

    Colonists fight British Feudalism. For a hundred years the settlers on the British Colony of Saint John’s Island/Prince Edward Island lived on the land in a manner that was unknown anywhere else in North America. When Samuel Holland produced his great map in 1765, the townships he created with a regularity that homogenised the topography of the landscape, belonged entirely to another country and another time. It was almost impossible for a settler to own his own property because the colony was set up in such a way that a perpetual landlord/tenant relationship was established for all time. This led to terrible and grotesque hardships for those who, at their…

  • SPOTIFY: THE CANADIAN STORY – Reg Porter – A Man and his Garden

       https://open.spotify.com/episode/5MIuPSSWteQqPXqRS014jP A few weeks ago Zach Gerber and David Parker interviewed me for a Spotify podcast in The Canadian Story series to talk about my love of Canada and Prince Edward Island. I am most grateful to Rob Faucher for recommending me to the hosts. I was terrified at the prospect, even more so as a large team of gardeners and lawn cutters arrived just as the zoom was being set up, and I rushed from laptop and microphone to the guys outside. I was also blessed with a severe sinus infection that clogged up my throat and made my usual bell-like tone sound scratchy. But we got through…

  • The Lake Map of 1863

    What does the Lake Map look like? My first intimate encounter with the Lake map occurred in August 1994 when I was asked to prepare an evaluation and proposal concerning the restoration of this map in a local collection. I had the opportunity to spend some time  examining and studying it, and gaining a first hand experience of what the map was originally supposed to look like. The Lake Map is a huge lithograph meant to be hung on a wall, and is printed on heavy paper and mounted on two wooden rollers, the top one a plain moulding about 77 inches wide, with metal fasteners for attachment to a…

  • A Princely Interlude in the Charlottetown Topography of 1860

    There have been many accounts of the Prince of Wales’s visit to North America in 1860 which caused a frenzy of excitement in the British Colonies and the United States. Most of them are easily available on the internet and I have provided links to some of them in the Resources section. The most complete narrative of the visit I know of is in Pollard’s 1898 book. Fortunately, thoughtful UPEI has scanned this rarity and the relevant chapter is available in the link below. Recently Harry Holman has posted two very interesting essays on aspects of the visit on his Sailstrait blog which I highly recommend. Links to these are…

  • The Cundall and Wright Maps of 1851-61 – The Birth of Island Cartography.

    Henry Cundall’s Map of Prince Edward Island Henry Jones Cundall (1833 – 1916) was an extraordinary man during a period when loud blusterers dominated the social and political scene. He came from a good, well-to-do family and, by all accounts, had a reserved personality. He remained a bachelor all his life and filled his time with his various passions, chief of which were surveying and photography, in which he was a pioneer. His parents were English and had extensive landholdings which never really paid off. He was apprenticed to a surveyor at the age of 16 and began to work for the Cunard brothers, and by 1853 had become their…