The Island became renowned through the writing of Lucy Maud Montgomery, whose book Anne of Green Gables, written in 1908, put Prince Edward Island on the map of the world. Girls of a certain age loved that book, as did I, and it is still popular today--as are her follow-up books--in many countries, Japan being one of the notable ones.
The large sign above shows a picture of "Anne," advertising the live musical performance of "Anne of Green Gables," which is showcased on stage throughout the summer in the heart of Charlottetown at the Confederation Centre of the Arts.
The following picture was on one of the official Island internet sites. Unless one is on the water in a boat, that view cannot be seen well and certainly not when one is on the bridge itself.
Before the bridge, only a car ferry from Borden to Cape Tormentine was in operation during the winter months, as the water of the Northumberland Strait froze over, requiring an ice-breaking ship to cut through the heavy ice. (There is no longer a ferry operating there, summer or winter.)
In those earlier summers it could take three to four hours in long lineups before boarding the ship to cross the Strait from the mainland to the Island and return.
After our family moved to Nova Scotia in 1948 we drove over every summer and waited in the hot sun for several hours. I remember it as being a 75-minute crossing from Caribou, N.S. to Wood Islands, P.E.I., and a 45-minute crossing from Cape Tormentine, N.B. to Borden, P.E.I.
On one of our days we visited Fort Amherst. In our youth, we called it the "French fort" as indeed that is what it was originally.
As children, we always walked there from the cottage, perhaps about a 20-minute walk. It was just a large grassy area overlooking Charlottetown harbour. It included a hill with a moat surrounding it. (You can see the small rise of that hill in the picture above.) It was also the grazing area for a farmer's cattle, so we had to watch where we walked!
On the left, the entry area of the park. It is an open area with no charge.
The Mi'kmaq have remained in this area for thousands of years. I remember visiting them with my grandmother. Many live here still.
A view from Fort Amherst of Charlottetown across the harbour.
The next day we walked down to the beach, just a minute below the cottages. First: Some views from the cottage
Several times during the summer ships pass by. Here are two: the first, a cruise ship and the other, a steamship belonging to Canada Steamship Lines (don't know if they actually were using steam, though.
Arriving back on the New Brunswick side
Much of the foregoing information about the Island history was from Prince Edward Island's websites.