History of Our Cultures

Take some time to dig deep into the North Cape Coastal Region’s rich and storied history. Our museums and interpretive centers give you a fascinating glimpse into the life and experiences of our ancestors. You’ll learn more about the cultures that make up the peoples of Western PEI as well as how the past has shaped our future and given our local people their unique outlook on life.


Our roots are Mi’kmaq, Acadian and Celtic. Our people lived off the land  and the sea  in remarkable and different ways. You’ll learn more about the Mi’kmaq hunter-gatherer societies that called Epekwitk (meaning “resting on the waves”) their home for thousands of years before the first Europeans landed on these shores. The Pow Wow in August, on the impressive pow wow grounds, is an event unlike any you’ve ever witnessed. This is not a put-on tourist attraction, but rather an authentic celebration featuring opening prayers, dancing, drumming, sweat lodge and feast. Powerful drums, colourful jingle dresses and dancing will delight and amaze you. Everyone is welcome to join in the celebration.


The first European explorers arrived in the 16th century.  So lovely was our Island, that French explorer Jacques Cartier declared “…it is the fairest land ’tis possible to see!” French Acadian settlers called the Island Isle Saint-Jean. We have stories of their determination to wrest farmland from the forests of the Island and the alliances they forged with the First Nations people they encountered. A visit to the Acadian Museum of PEI in Miscouche will give you insight into the Evangeline Region and the hardships endured by the French settlers as distant governments jostled for political power and swapped lands.

English and Celtic

England took occupation of the Island in the mid-1700s. English, and later Scottish and Irish, settlers arrived to escape economic hardship in their homelands. The Island was again renamed in 1799 as Prince Edward Island in honour of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, the father of Queen Victoria.

All these stories are the building blocks of the birth of a new nation. In 1864, the Charlottetown Conference was held to discuss the idea of Canadian union. The conference led to Canada officially becoming a nation in 1867. The people of Prince Edward Island are fiercely independent, though, and it took some convincing and a promise of a continuous link to the mainland before we joined the union and became a province of Canada in 1873.

We are a young nation that is still learning and growing and striving to do right by all its peoples – the First Nations, the early settlers and the new immigrants to our shores.

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