When you find yourself smitten with a place you discover on your travels, inevitably you want a to take a piece of it home with you – an enduring keepsake or something edible, a unique piece of art or something kind of quirky. And Prince Edward Island is no exception. Whatever your style, our capital city of Charlottetown has plenty of shopkeepers, food purveyors, and artisans with something in store just for you.
At the Charlottetown Airport, it’s not unusual to see folks carrying coolers emblazoned with the image of a familiar red crustacean, announcing to fellow passengers that they’re heading home with the best kind of PEI souvenir: lobster, of course. Don’t let yourself be a victim of FOMOL (Feeling of Missing Out on Lobster). Instead, place your order at MacKinnon’s Lobster Pound where they will pack your lobster (live or cooked) to go or ship it directly to your home, so you can host a PEI lobster feast for all your friends.
In recent years the cafe culture in Charlottetown has grown exponentially. At the heart of this boon is Receiver Coffee Co. which boasts two locations: its flagship cafe on Victoria Row and its new location, The Brass Shop, on Water St. Check out their fair trade brews, roasted in-house and pack a bag of beans for your coffeemaker back home!
For those that fancy taking home local market fare, rest assured you’ll have plenty of options in Charlottetown, where each market is filled with unique foodstuffs and artisan goods that are perfect for packing in your carry-on.
The beloved Charlottetown Farmers Market is open Wednesdays and Saturdays from late June to mid-October (9 – 2) and Saturdays year-round. On Sundays during the summer, the Downtown Farmers’ Market takes place along Queen St, from Grafton to Water St. (11am to 4pm). A night market at the Farm Centre is set to run every Thursday (4pm to 7pm) this summer and offers the perfect invitation to explore the adjacent Legacy Garden, one of Canada’s largest urban gardens.
Whether you want to accessorize yourself with a subtle reminder of your visit to Charlottetown or let the world know you’ve visited this little piece of paradise, you’ll find a wearable treasure in one of the city’s many inviting shops. Must-visits for those in search of unique Island-made pieces of wearable art include: Garnish Jewellery, Kuriosities, Nessya’s Gems & Jewels, Happy Glass and Pam & Joe Handcrafted.
Fashion-forward folk will want to check out Luna Eclectic Emporium, Jem’s Boutique, Vanity Cosmetic & Fashion Boutique, and Green Eye Designs.
If an Island-inspired T-shirt or other fun piece of clothing is more up your alley, be sure to visit COWS (they’re more than just delicious ice cream!), Cool As a Moose, and Peake’s Wharf Historic Waterfront Merchants for an awesome selection of smile-inducing options. Psssst, Local Legends Apparel can also hook you up with super cool tees and tanks that pay homage to the Island. You can find their gear at the Kent St. Market.
Charlottetown is a haven for artists and artisans, and you’ll find plenty of shops and markets filled with their beautiful creations. For original works by some of PEI’s finest artists, visit Details Fine Art Gallery on Victoria Row or for Canadian-inspired pieces check out Lorimer Gallery on Great George Street.
Gorgeous handcrafted works of art, including pottery, woven pieces, wood carvings, hand-knit wool sweaters and more can be found at many of the independent shops in historic Charlottetown, including: Amos Pewter, Cordelia’s Artisan Boutique, McAskill’s Studio, Moonsnail, Northern Watters Knitwear & Tartan Shop, The Showcase, and Vermillion Art Works.
Sometimes you want to bring home something for a dear friend or family member that couldn’t join you on your trip. Sometimes said person has particular tastes or hobbies (no eye-rolling now!). Worry not, Charlottetown’s here to save the day!
Buying for a vinyl music buff? Head to Back Alley Music. Have a bookworm in your life? Check out the wide selection of locally-published books at The Bookmark. Friends with a fitness buff? Visit Dynamic Fitness & Boutique. Or maybe you’re looking for the perfect gift for a cook? Head to Liquid Gold Tasting Bar & All Things Olive or Paderno.