If you don’t go shopping for crafts on Prince Edward Island you are missing a rare treat.
Canada’s smallest province might have the nation’s highest number of artists per capita. With a little pleasant sleuthing you can bring home one or more treasures for the island is dotted with home workshops and studios. These are often located in spectacular country settings. If you prefer to look at samplings of a variety of crafts in a single shop there are several stores that are well worth your visiting.
The Showcase Gift Shop located in the Confederation Centre of the Arts in Charlottetown has a large stock of island made pottery, woodworking, glass, jewellery and fabric arts. The quality of these creations is uniformly high. This is a good place to begin your search for the perfect work of art. If you like the work of a particular craftsperson but need to see more ask for their name and phone number and arrange a visit to their studio.
Walking along Victoria Row on one side of the Confederation Centre you will find shops selling island crafts and artwork. Be sure to look also at the stores on adjacent Queen Street. You will certainly find something that tickles your fancy in the way of unique island crafts.
Just outside Charlottetown on the road to Brackley Beach and Cavendish is the Dunes Studio Gallery & Cafe. Visiting this large and architecturally unique gallery is not likely to be a quick affair. Besides having a huge selection of island crafts and fine arts, the gallery has well-chosen examples of crafts from elsewhere in Canada and a select stock of fashion, jewellery, furniture, art and crafts from Southeast Asia. When you are exhausted from shopping be sure to settle down in the cafe for some exceptional food and drink and before you leave take a walk in the garden. It is tranquil, beautifully laid out with fountains and statuary and even includes an area where the fresh produce served in the cafe is grown.
If you are driving northeast from Charlottetown to Souris you must stop at St. Peter’s Bay Craft and Giftware. This is the home and studio of PEI’s largest pewter workshop. You can see the entire process of making pewter and select a special souvenir of your visit in a traditional Celtic or nautical design.
Another suggestion is to visit Victoria-by-the-Sea just off the highway between Summerside and Charlottetown. Several stores with island crafts plus a great chocolate shop are sure to entertain you before you head to a tea room or restaurant or attend an evening performance at the Victoria Playhouse.
For the more adventurous shopper visiting artisans studios and talking with island craftspeople can provide much enjoyment. The most rewarding experience might be the chance discovery of a particular artist’s work by letting yourself be directed to their studio by a road sign with an artisan symbol.