The name of the island’s capital, Numerous streams, bays, and tidal estuaries indent the irregular coastline.
On the north side the bays are generally blocked by dunes, but on the east and south there are good natural harbours.
Its location, along with the island’s fertile red soil, has given Prince Edward Island two nicknames: the “Garden of the Gulf” (referring to the Gulf of St.
Lawrence) and the “Million-Acre Farm.” It is also sometimes referred to as “Spud Island” because of its significant potato production.
About 1,700 of them lived on the island at the beginning of the 21st century—more than one-tenth on the reserves of Lennox Island, Scotchfort, Morell, and Rocky Point, with the remainder “off reserve” in their traditional ancestral homelands.
More than three-fourths of current Islanders are descendants of early settlers from the British Isles: Highland Scots, English, and both southern and Ulster Irish.
The landscape ranges from rolling hills in central Queens county to level stretches in western Prince county.
The highest elevation is 466 feet (142 metres) above sea level in Queens county.
Tall trees line town streets as well as country lanes.Prior to European settlement, the mixed forest consisted mainly of beech, maple, pine, hemlock, oak, and spruce, varying according to topography, elevation, and soil drainage.Fragmented successional forest now covers about half the island.The climate of the province receives a significant impact from the surrounding ocean, with warmth drawn from the waters in the fall and early winter but then cool air for most of spring and summer.With this “oceanic pump” effect, the onset of the seasons is delayed several weeks when compared with continental Canada.Also prior to European settlement, moose roamed the island, as did black bears up to the early 20th century.Wildcats were exterminated, but foxes and snowshoe hares endured, and the nearly depleted beaver has been reintroduced. The striped skunk and the coyote are unwelcome invaders (the first coyote known to have been snared on the island was caught in 1983).Water pollution has not been extensive (mainly because of the paucity of heavy industry and of mass manufacturing), but effluents from food- and fish-processing plants, manure, pesticide, and fertilizer runoff, and soil erosion from intensive potato cultivation, as well as oil leakage and sedimentation, have collectively seriously degraded some water resources.Evidence of this can be found in the episodes of massive fish kills in rivers and estuaries that have been reported at least since 1962 and documented since 1994.The aboriginal Mi’kmaq (Micmac) people called the island Abegweit—popularly translated “Cradled on the Waves”—which aptly describes the slender crescent of land nested in the surrounding waters.As part of Acadia during the French regime (1720–58), it was called Île Saint-Jean, but when the British took over they first Anglicized the name to St.