Shipbuilding Heritage

Summerside is the Island’s second-largest city, just 28 km from the Confederation Bridge and gateway to the western end of the Island. It proudly displays its shipbuilding heritage in many century homes, museums, monuments and murals, and the harbour front offers a spray of coastal flavour.

Steeped in trade and mercantilism

Summerside is steeped in trade and shipbuilding history. Growing from a mere lot of land, Lot 17 in 1800, to a combination of small townships being incorporated as the town of Summerside by 1875. The late 1800’s saw Summerside’s affluence in abundance, with a community rich in shipbuilding, exporting goods, such as oats and potatoes, and its steady farming industry churning in the background. The Prince Edward Island Railway began construction in 1871 with a stop in Summerside. This cemented its position as the leading centre of trade and commerce for the western half of the Island.

Things to See & Do in Summerside

Here are some activities not to miss while visiting the Island’s second largest city:

  • Harbourfront Theatre: This 527 seat, year-round theatre attracts world-class entertainers and hosts a myriad of festivals and events, plays, concerts, opera, ballet, comedy and magic shows.
  • Eptek Art & Culture Centre: Diverse array of exhibits and programs featuring heritage and history. The gift shop offers an eclectic mix of Island art and crafts.
  • College of Piping: Performers show off the Island’s Celtic roots with energetic displays of dancing, piping and drumming. Throughout the summer, the College has a busy schedule of ceilidhs and concerts, including free mini-concerts each afternoon.
  • Wyatt Historic House Museum: Constructed in 1867, the year of Canadian Confederation, this outstanding old house was the Wyatt family home. It is a remarkable heritage building that has been faithfully restored to its Edwardian beauty and authenticity.
  • Feast Dinner Theatres: Atlantic Canada’s longest running dinner theatre. You’re guaranteed a night of great musical hits, comedy, fabulous food and lots of laughs.
  • Spinnakers Landing: Summerside’s fishing village style waterfront marketplace offers an eclectic mix of shops, restaurants and live entertainment. Browse the shops, stroll the boardwalk or enjoy the view from this historic shipbuilding site overlooking Summerside Harbour, Indian Head Lighthouse and Holman’s Island.
  • Lobster House: Enjoy fresh lobster, mussels, oysters and beautiful views of the bay from the waterfront deck.
  • Confederation Trail: Once the railway route across PEI this groomed walking and biking trail passes through the centre of Summerside and throughout the Island. Begin at the pavilion that marks the birthplace of the TransCanada Trail in the centre of the city.
  • Walking History Tour: Pick up the walking tour guidebook published by the City of Summerside and stroll tree-lined streets past stately heritage homes and view murals around the city portraying Summerside’s history.
  • Red Shores Summerside: Home to some of the biggest events in Standardbred and Thoroughbred racing, Red Shores also boasts slots, blackjack and great food. Place your bets and take your seats because you’ll find yourself with very little downtime.