(C)  2002-2014 J. Watson       All rights reserved  
Travel Letters
  RV Travel notes from
       the traveling gran'ma and gran'pa
Vol 14  No 4                                                                                                                                                                               July/August, 2004
A warm afternoon brings hundreds to Basin Head
A sign says, “No jumping”, but a lifeguard is posted to
Dear Gals… Your guys …
Our grandchildren… our sisters

One of the outstanding events is staged by a
group of young adults who are in training to be
professional actors.  Each member of the cast has
diverse talents and is selected from the best of
each province.  They have daily performances in
an outdoor theatre at the Confederation Hall –
really good.  The elaborate dance routines and
colorful costuming are also of professional caliber.  
The Canada Day holidays are over but you wouldn’t
know it – on PEI there are almost constant fairs,
festivals and other entertainment, even a small village
parade to celebrate summer.  Since Canada Day we’ve
been spending most of our time here at Panmure – but
have taken time to enjoy the area.  A ceilidh
(pronounced KAY-lee) at a local church, a fiddle
festival up the road, an Irish festival down the road –
each with fiddling and step dancing; add to that the
reenactment of the founding fathers at the 1864
Convention of Confederation plus even more
attractions in Charlottetown!  Many of these are
focused to tourists; however, some are primarily for
their own enjoyment with tourists adding to the coffers.  
Dear Gals … Your guys …
Our grandchildren… and special friends

So what is a lieutenant governor, you ask.  Well, it
is the official contact with the queen of England.  
Though Canada is a sovereign nation it is a
voluntary member of the United Kingdom.  Under
the Canadian constitution the queen of England is
also the queen of Canada.  The constitution of
Canada dates to 1867 preceding the 1931 statute
that gave Canada its independence.  (In reality this
position is basically a tradition or courtesy from the
time before Canada gained full independence.)

The premier of the province is the executive officer,
comparable to the governor of a US state, while the
lieutenant governor is symbolic of the traditions of
the nation and is primarily involved in ceremonial
functions of provincial government.  The mansion
has several large rooms for entertaining

This corner of the garden at the home of PEI’s lieutenant
governor overlooks the Charlottetown harbor
One of the outstanding events is staged by a group
of young adults who are in training to be
professional actors.  Each member of the cast has
diverse talents and is selected from the best of
each province.  They have daily performances in
an outdoor theatre at the Confederation Hall –
really good.  The elaborate dance routines and
colorful costuming are also of professional caliber.  

Cheery noontime performances play to a full audience

While in Charlottetown last weekend we toured the
home of the lieutenant governor, below.  They sure
treat this official to lavish living – for a province of
only 140,000 people.  Each province of Canada
has a lieutenant governor.  
PEI’s tourist season has been extremely weak this
year – off as much as fifty percent at some
businesses.  Some places have closed, a play has
closed, and the tourist bureau is catching flack.  
The falloff is attributed to the economy and the
weather (there’s been a lot of rain).  A last minute
advertising program has been launched to
stimulate tourism.  I’m a believer in the power of
advertising but this is a bit late to recover.  After all,
advertising can’t improve the weather or change
the fact that the tourist season usually drops
precipitously in mid-August right after the Old Home
Week celebrations and races.  
A few years ago the island’s tourist business
flourished because the new bridge brought a lot of
tourists.  Additionally, the dollar exchange rate was
so out of kilter that some Canadians came to PEI
instead of crossing into the US to vacation.  Then
businesses built (maybe overbuilt) to accommodate
the influx.  Now the bridge has lost its novelty and
the exchange rate has moderated.  These may be
the real culprits and Islanders might have to “run

As an old ad researcher, just had to say this!


The weather has warmed a bit with some days in
the mid to high seventies.  The water is cool for
swimming but invigorating, about 20°C (68°F) and a
bit warmer in the bay – it’s fun but the coolness is
not conducive to the quarter mile early morning
swims that we enjoy in Florida.  

The prime tourist season is over when the Old
Home Week festivities end so we are looking at the
calendar and realize we can’t stop those pages
from turning – so we’re beginning to think of our
return home.  So many things have to be
accomplished – the last swims, clamming, walks
along the beach.  And, then more walks to the
lighthouse or down the side roads.  Maybe we can
squeeze in another fair.

If it’s not one thing it’s another – to see or do.  We
continue to tour and enjoy the island.  Last weekend
it was a village fair with horse riding events,
woodman’s competition, 4H judging, and tractor
pulls preliminary to this week’s finals.  
The other day we watched the resident buffalo
herd.  The province has a reserve for buffalo that
would be used to repopulate herds in the west if a
disease or other catastrophe wipes them out.  
Caged in the same area are the only deer on the
island.  They’ve wisely kept them confined to avoid
the problems that many areas have with deer.
Old Home Week ended last night and as usual it
was great fun.  Though we’ve gone to the
celebration before we enjoyed it this time as much
as the first time.  The fair features livestock
exhibitions – never saw so many types of birds
displayed, even carrier pigeons.  (These reminded
me of one of my civil defense jobs in high school.  
When air raid drills were during school hours I took
crates of carrier pigeons to backcountry Greenwich
to be used in case other communications were
interrupted during an air raid.)  The craft and 4-H
exhibits are always top notch.  One of the perennial
events is a showing of miniature horses, about the
size of a collie.  At the other end of the spectrum
were the trotters in the afternoon.  
We didn’t make any money on this race
Winding up the big week was the great parade
The mist stopped as the parade rounded the corner
Traditional dances by members of
First Nation at annual pow-wow

This calf ran back to the herd, outsmarting these cowpokes

judging, horsemanship, demonstrations, and talent
shows with fiddling and step dancing round out the
events.  We dry camped for a couple of nights to
enjoy the evening programs without having to drive
back to Panmure.

This trim fishing port (Northport) is on the north shore of PEI

The season’s about over, so only a few tourists
remain.  Lifeguards, they’re called surfguards even
though there isn’t much surf at Panmure, have left
for college.  Potatoes are being dug, wheat is being
cut and the locals are getting ready for winter.  
That means home gardens are being harvested
and vegetables are being put in freezers and new
canned goods are on the shelves.  

Enjoy the great fall days, y’all

Summer is drawing to a close so we left Panmure
and are making a final tour along the north shore of
the island.  We savor each view.  And, yes, there
was another fair to squeeze in – a favorite, in
Dundas.  It’s a plowing contest and fair so most
events go at a really slow pace.  But, it is fun.  There
are teams of oxen, horses, and tractors all
challenged to plow a straight furrow.  Family
members and friends cheer them on.

An oxen team from Nova Scotia demonstrated plowing

A number of other events during the three days
display the skills of the participants.  Some are just
for fun – imagine a bunch of kids, from three to six,
scrambling to get a handful of piglets into a small
doghouse – or see older folks riding on horseback
trying to cut three calves from a herd and get them
in a pen.  A group of three teen-age girls did as well
as the adults.  Simultaneous events of 4H livestock