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Prince Edward Island, Canada
23rd February 2004

Today Chris was setting off for the Wireless Island office in Summerside.  Wireless Island is a project to bring wireless internet access to the whole island eventually but Summerside is the leader in this and is where the project is underway.  Obviously with the storm they had there were problems with masts being bent out of alignment, etc., so the guys had a lot of work to put things right.  Lots of discussions on how they might better locate the masts so that they could withstand another such storm in future.

Chris was also telling me that they are upgrading the bandwidth in the next couple of weeks to improve the service.  I will say that I think this is an excellent service and should also provide visiting tourists and business people with an excellent and important facility.  I have already seen in the USA how lack of internet access for visiting business people can seriously hinder business so Summerside should be commended for this initiative.

Anyway.. this was a great opportunity to take lots of pictures on the way there and to try and show you a little of the island and of Summerside albeit it in snowy conditions.  Mind you as they had a record amount of snow it seemed like this could even be an historical account of this period in the island history :-)

We got almost white out conditions at times due to the wind blowing snow off the piles of snow from the sides of the road.  The picture on the left attempts to show this. Also I might add that the vertical line is actually the car ariel as I was sticking my hand out the widndow to take these shots as we drove along the road.

There are a lot of churches on the Island but that was of course partly due to the fact that Scots were well known for wanting a church so it was usually the first communal building they built together along with one room schools.  Also, as they were mostly walking in those days churches were often built within reasonable walking distance.

These shots were taken on the main highway that runs the whole length of the island

Chris had to stop to do some banking so got a chance to get out and take a few shots at this village and even a spot of colour with the Canadian Flag flying which also shows that it was quite windy.

And this was us getting near Summerside

And this was us driving down into Summerside itself

And at last we arrived at the Wireless Island offices and that is a picture of Chris at the door

And of course these are all views of Summerside and I can well imagine that this would be a very pretty town in the Summer but to me it also looked good in all that snow :-)

Chris had to go off to a meeting so he dropped me off at a coffee shop and I took the opportunity to pop across to the local shopping mall to buy a paper.  Reading the paper I was immediately struck that PEI has all the same problems as Scotland.  A declining population with young people going elsewhere to work such as the main cities of Canada and elsewhere.  This leaves behind an increasingly aged population with all the associated costs on a declining income.  While in the mall I noted that there were many unoccupied premises as most of the large shops had moved to out of town areas.  Again all this is very similar to Scotland.

Because of the exceptional snow fall the island was looking to see if they could get emergency funding to help with the cost of the clean up.  Also noted that snow clearing had switched to the towns and pavements to let the children get to school. In the same paper I noted that a regional fund that goes to the Island was being cut by around $75million and of course there were protests in the paper about that.  I really could have been back in Scotland reading the paper.

One other thing I noted in the paper is the call to do better at tourism.  It's really the same as in Scotland... making some progress but must do better. In actual fact I have always been very critical of tourism authorities all over the world as to me they just keep tinkering with the same things they have done for years.  No real innovation and yet the web is a fabulous resource to exploit but our marketing people really don't seem to know how to use it to their advantage. It was the same when I was in Kentucky in the US as they have just the same problems.  It all comes down to the fact that each area has tremendous tourism resources but they can't seem to really tell a story about them that will make more people want to come and use them. It is time to do something different in my opinion but it's hard to get marketing people to be innovative as they seem more interested in protecting their jobs by doing tried and tested marketing that no longer works. [moan mode off :-)]

And here we arived at the City of Summerside offices where we were to meet with Terry Murphy the Chief Administration Officer of the city. While there I also got to meet with the Mayor, Basil Stewart.  I also noted that the Administrative Assistant to the Mayor is a Anna Marie MacDonald so the Scots and Irish are certainly doing well in Summerside :-)

Terry didn't have too much time but he did share some information on his own Scottish ancestors and later that night I received an email containing an account of Donald Chisholm which I've also posted into our Mini Bios section.  Thanks for that Terry and look forward to having more chats with you in the days ahead.

You can in fact explore the web site of the city at

I then spent an hour or so with Fred Horn at the McNaught Centre. He is in charge of the Wyatt Heritage Properties where they invite you to learn about there three historic homes and take a tour of the Wyatt Museum. You can visit the site at

Fred was most generous with his time and has offered to take me around some of the historic areas of the island during my stay which I am very much looking forward to.

It was now time to head back home and a chance to get some more pictures of the side roads

You can see the snow blower in action

And we arrived back home

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