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Monumental Events
From the discovery of Prince Edward Island by Jacques Cartier through early settlements, colonial government, waves of European immigration, industry, and early communication and transportation with the mainland, the pivotal events in Island history are acknowledged with commemorative monuments scattered across the province.

The Town of Alberton boasts two historic monuments commemorating the town’s history. Of special interest is the “Discovery of Prince Edward Island” monument commemorating the 400th anniversary of Jacques Cartier’s landing at Canoe River (present-day Alberton) in July 1534.

Though it is a fairly small community today, in 1732, Brudenell was the site of a control base for the Gulf fisheries and trade with France, Quebec, and the West Indies. Founded by Jean Pierre Roma, the base at “Three Rivers” was destroyed after the fall of Louisbourg in 1745. A monument erected at Brudenell now marks the site.

In 1764, the British government engaged Captain Samuel Holland in a systematic survey of their new colony, Prince Edward Island. The result of his work was the division of the Island into 67 townships whose boundaries have left their mark on the construction of Island roads and land ownership. A plaque at Holland Cove (Rocky Point) marks this turning point in the history of the land in Prince Edward Island. Loyalist monument

The Abegweit Branch of the United Empire Loyalists have erected a monument in Summerside to commemorate the arrival, starting in 1783, of United Empire Loyalists and disbanded troops who settled on the Island following the French Revolution.

The arrival of Scottish settlers in Prince Edward Island is commemorated with a monument at the Selkirk Settlement in Eldon. Eight hundred settlers arrived at this site in 1803 aboard three ships: the Polly, the Dykes, and the Oughton.

Cape Traverse boasts two monuments, testaments to the area’s role in transportation and communication on the Island. One monument marks the laying of the first substantial submarine telegraph cable in America in 1852. A second monument to the ice boat service between Cape Traverse and Cape Tormentine, New Brunswick. Fitted with runners making it suitable for travel over water and ice, the Capes Ice Boat Service brought passengers and mails safely through ice drifts and squalls across the Northumberland Strait.

Prince Edward Island’s history of land struggles is acknowledged with a monument located at the Brighton Compound in Charlottetown. The Brighton Powder Magazine was built in 1866 when troops were stationed here to quash the Tenant’s League.

The “Pioneer Fox Farming, 1880–1910” monument in Alberton commemorates the work of Robert T. Oulton and Charles Dalton, who were the first to breed and raise silver and black foxes, and James Gordon and Robert Tuplin, who perfected the technique and developed the industry.

Prominent Islanders
Though run-of-the-mill, everyday Islanders may constitute the very salt of the earth, we have been blessed with outstanding figures who have played important roles in the history of local, national, and international politics, military service, education, religion, and the arts.

The first governor of St. John’s Island (which was later to be renamed Prince Edward Island) was Walter Patterson, in 1769. A plaque at the Fort Amherst Visitor Centre in Rocky Point commemotrates Patterson and his efforts in administering the Island, its people and its land.

Bishop Angus Bernard MacEachern played an important role in early Atlantic-Canadian spirituality and education. In 1829, MacEachern became the first bishop of Charlottetown with jurisdiction over Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and the Magdalene Islands. In 1831, he founded the Island’s first institution of higher learning in the community St. Andrews.

Freetown-born Jacob Gould Schurman, educator, author, professor, and ambassador, is remembered with a monument in his community of origin. Professor Schurman taught at Acadia, Dalhousie, and Cornell Universities. He became United States Minister to Greece, Montenegro and China and ambassador to Germany. He was born in 1854 and died in 1942.

A plaque mounted on Summerside’s Armoury honours Charlottetown-born Georgina Pope who, in 1899, was chosen to superintend Canada’s military nurses in the South African War. In 1908, she was Canada’s first Nursing Matron in charge of all Canadian military nurses.

Sir Joseph Pope, K.C.M.G., C.V.D. was private secretary to Sir John A. Macdonald from 1882 until 1891 and was knighted in 1912. A plaque commemorating his accomplishments is erected on the grounds of Province House.

Sir Louis Henry Davies, Member of federal Parliament 1882–1901 and appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in 1918, is honoured with a plaque erected on the outside of the Charlottetown courthouse that bears his name.

The artist famous for his painting of the Fathers of Confederation and one of the country’s leading portrait painters, Robert Harris, began his studies in Charlottetown. He was to become an original member of the Royal Academy of Canada. The Confederation Centre Library is adorned with a plaque honouring his life and legacy.

The community of Lower Bedeque is graced with a monument commemorating merchant, shipbuilder and statesman, James Colledge Pope who was three-time premier of Prince Edward Island. Pope, born in Bedeque in 1826, played an important role in the Island’s entry into Confederation.

In New Glasgow, a monument commemorates Honourable David Laird, founder of the Charlottetown Patriot in 1859. Laird sat in the Island legislature between 1871 and 1873, was Member of the Canadian Parliament and Minister of the Interior 1876–1881, and was the first resident Lieutenant Governor of the Northwest Territories from 1876 until 1881.

As provincial capital, Charlottetown’s numerous cemeteries contain the gravesites of prominent Island politicians, including Island Fathers of Confederation who participated in the discussions leading to Canada’s nationhood and Prince Edward Island’s entry into Confederation. The grounds of Province House National Historic Site are adorned with plaques commemorating these statesmen:

George Coles (1810–1875). St. Peter’s Cemetery.
Col. John Hamilton Gray C.M.G (1811–1887). Sherwood Cemetery.
Thomas Heath Haviland (1822–1895). St. Peter’s Cemetery.
Andrew Archibald MacDonald (1829–1912). People’s Cemetery.
Edward Palmer (1809–1889). Sherwood Cemetery.
William Henry Pope (1825–1879). St. John’s Anglican Cemetery Summerside.
Edward Whelan (1824–1867). St. Dunstan’s Cemetery.

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