Summerside

By the wide Summerside Harbour was the six-and-a-half-kilometre Bay Walk that passed the marina and several tourist shops around Spinnakers’ Landing. Beyond the shops a search and rescue vessel was moored. 

On an average day, the Canadian Coast Guard saved eight lives, assisted people in nineteen search and rescue cases, serviced fifty-five navigational aids, handled over a thousand radio contacts, managed nearly two thousand five hundred commercial vehicle movements, dealt with five reported pollution events, escorted four commercial ships through ice, and carried out scientific surveys. Because of its important maritime role, trained professionals managed the vessels and equipment.

Like several towns I’d visited in the Maritime provinces, Summerside had been prosperous for its ship building. As well as being connected to the Confederation Trail, Summerside was the birthplace of the Trans Canada Trail that was unveiled in 2000. Trans Canada Trail, a not-for-profit organization was behind the bold undertaking of connecting trails from one side of Canada to the other as well as up to the Yukon. This had culminated in over twenty-four thousand kilometres of trails and was the result of volunteer groups, communities, and doners coming together.

Behind the trail a couple of streets back from the harbour, was the Lefurgey Culural Centre— a Gothic Revival home built in 1867. It was the only house with a cupola that provided a view of the bay at the time it was built. The inside of the house had been turned into offices, but next door was a Georgian house, Wyatt Historic House that had been turned into a museum. This residence had served the Wyatt clan for just over a hundred years and the last Wyatts were two unmarried sisters, Dorothy and Wanda. Dorothy was an accomplished singer and active in the community. Her sister was the first woman to study law at McGill University, useful knowledge that enabled her to successfully take over her father’s business after his death. What made this house special, was the personal effects the women had left behind—dresses, hats, and shoes they had once worn, family photographs, Wanda’s McGill University text books, their china, and memorabilia from their travels.