Tourism has been a central part of Prince Edward Island’s identity for more than a century. What began as a seasonal sideline in the nineteenth century evolved into an economic powerhouse that now attracts over 1.5 million visitors each year, employs one in ten Islanders, and is the province’s second leading industry.
Spanning from the Victorian era to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Summer Trade presents the first comprehensive history of tourism in any Canadian province. Over time the Island has marketed a remarkably durable set of tourism tropes – seaside refuge from urban industrial angst, return to innocence, literary shrine to L.M. Montgomery, cradle of Confederation, garden of the Gulf. As private enterprise and the state sought to manage the industry, the Island’s own identity became caught up in the wish fulfillment of its summer visitors. The result has been a complicated, sometimes conflicted relationship between Islanders and tourism, between a warm welcome to visitors and resistance to the industry’s adverse effects on local culture.
Lavishly illustrated with postcards, tourist guides, and memorabilia, The Summer Trade also presents a history of Prince Edward Island in cameo that tracks cultural, economic, political, and environmental developments and tensions. Across the strait, the Island beckons.
About the authors
Claire Campbell is an associate professor in the Department of History and the Coordinator of Canadian Studies at Dalhousie University. She is the author of Shaped by the West Wind: Nature and History in Georgian Bay and co-editor of Groundtruthing: Canada and the Environment, a special issue of the Dalhousie Review.
Edward MacDonald is Professor of History at the University of Prince Edward Island, where, since 2000, he has taught Canadian, Atlantic Region, and Prince Edward Island history.
“Alan MacEachern and Edward MacDonald are two of the most accomplished scholars of Prince Edward Island tourism history, and they offer a sophisticated account of the theory and practice of tourism with The Summer Trade. This is a timely book, coming as it does at a turning point in the world’s tourism trade, which has been challenged by the collapse of global travel and convivial human interaction.” Margaret Conrad, University of New Brunswick and author of A Concise History of Canada
“The Summer Trade is an engaging narrative that provides an authoritative assessment of tourism’s impact on PEI. It speaks both to the particularities of place and to ideals and concerns expressed in tourism destinations elsewhere in Canada and around the globe.” Michael Dawson, St Thomas University and co-editor of Symbols of Canada