After more than a century, tourism has become a major player in PEI’s economy and a big part of the Island’s identity.
What began as a seasonal sideline in the 19th century now attracts over 1.5 million visitors each year, employs one in 10 Islanders, and is the province’s second-leading industry.
In their book The Summer Trade, historians Alan MacEachern and Edward MacDonald have presented the first comprehensive history of tourism of any Canadian province, taking the reader all the way from the Victorian era to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over time, the Island has marketed an incredibly durable set of tourism metaphors — seaside refuge from urban industrial angst, return to innocence, literary shrine to L.M. Montgomery, “Cradle of Confederation,” and “Garden of the Gulf” — and all are addressed here.
The book, running some 360 pages, is lavishly illustrated with images of postcards, tourist guides, and memorabilia, and presents a history of P.E.I. that tracks many cultural, economic, political, and environmental developments and tensions.
For their comprehensive look at tourism in this province, Alan MacEachern and Edward MacDonald have been awarded Publication of the Year.