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 incorporated as the town of Summerside in 1875. The late 1800’s saw Summerside’s affluence grow with a community rich in shipbuilding, exporting goods 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. From the early 1900’s to the 1940’s the town experienced prosperity as a fur-trading centre with breeding of silver foxes.
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: A diverse array of exhibits and programs featuring heritage and history and a gift shop offering 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.
- Wyatt Historic House Museum: Constructed in 1867, 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 where you’re guaranteed an evening of great musical hits, comedy, fabulous food and lots of laughs.
- Spinnakers Landing: Summerside’s waterfront marketplace offers an eclectic mix of shops, restaurants and live entertainment with views overlooking Summerside Harbour.
- Confederation Trail: Once the railway route across PEI, the walking and biking trail passes through the centre of Summerside and includes a pavilion that marks the birthplace of the TransCanada Trail.
- Walking History Tour: Pick up a 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 harness 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.
- Rotary Friendship Park: Re-connect with nature as you explore the great outdoors! This beautiful 65 acre park is home to a 5km trail for walking, running or cycling in all seasons and snowshoeing in the winter.
- Home by Caley Joy: The newest shop on Water Street is full of Canadian-made decor, essentials and gifts. If you’re looking for unique and beautiful treasures, this is the stop to make!
Places to Eat in Summerside
Don’t miss out on these delicious stops while you’re in the city:
- Samuel’s Coffee House: Daily house-made pastries, soups, sandwiches and terrific beverages make Samuel’s famous! Samuel’s partners with PEI-suppliers for locally made ingredients, making each recipe all the more delicious.
- Evermoore Brewing Co: Located in one of Summerside’s most historic buildings, the team at Evermoore Brewing Co. make and serve their own range of craft beers to pair with their fantastic menu.
- Holman’s Ice Cream Parlour: You can never go wrong with homemade ice cream, decadent desserts and old-fashioned hand crafted sodas! Holman’s is serving up some of the best sweet treats in PEI.
- Brothers 2: This Summerside staple has proudly been a family business for 50 years. With their diverse and locally inspired menu, you can’t go wrong!
- Deckhouse Pub & Eatery: An east-coast atmosphere at its finest! Enjoy your meal with a summer infused cocktails, a local beer on tap or an extreme milkshake while overlooking the beautiful Summerside harbour.
- Z&G’s Specialty Fusion Cuisine Inc: This new restaurant in Downtown Summerside excels at serving you unique flavours from around the world with the comfort of a home-cooked meal.