Online Guide for Newcomers to Prince Edward Island - Canada
Arts and Entertainment
When it comes to entertainment, at first glance PEI might not seem as exciting as some other places in Canada. However, if you look closer you will discover a beehive of arts and entertainment activities going on in this smallest, but most densely populated, province in Canada.
Many artists -- painters, sculptors, writers, comedians, musicians, filmmakers and others -- have made the Island their home, and many come to PEI through various organized events, to the delight of both the tourists and local population.
A 'ceilidh' [pronounced kay-lee] is a traditional Gaelic social gathering, which usually involves playing Gaelic folk music and dancing. It originated in Ireland and Scotland.
In keeping with these traditions, many communities across PEI hold ceilidhs throughout the summer months.
Theatres, cinemas, galleries, concert halls, community centres and other public places hold events to satisfy a wide range of entertainment interests, for people of all ages. Towns and cities organize eventful festivals throughout the year.
Confederation Centre of the Arts in Charlottetown is the largest arts and entertainment centre on the Island. It gives the stage to theatre plays, concerts, musicals, art shows, community events, etc. It also houses a public library.
Many of the Island entertainment facilities stay open throughout the year, but some operate only in summer and early fall.
Here are some ideas on how to find out what is going on:
- read The Buzz, a free monthly arts and entertainment guide for PEI
- read G!, a free PEI entertainment and information magazine
- listen to the radio
- visit a tourist information office
- read a local newspaper
- look at signs, posters and announcements around entertainment venues and in other public places
- look for current events on the Internet [See Related Resources]
Most Island festivals are organized over the summer months and early fall, but some are held in the winter. They attract both tourists and local people. We are only listing some of them on this page.
DiverseCity is an annual multicultural street festival organized by the PEI Association for Newcomers to Canada in collaboration with government and community partners. It is a day to celebrate the diversity of cultures present on the Island and in the city of Charlottetown. The event showcases food, music, dance, arts and crafts from around the world.
This is an annual event organized at the end of June and beginning of July. Part of it is the Canada Day celebration with fireworks. It usually includes concerts on small stages, and at least one big concert on a big stage, street performers, various shows, and all sorts of fun activities and amusement for people of all ages.
Indian River Festival
This festival takes place at St. Mary's Church near Kensington, PEI, during summer and fall. It is a series of concerts showcasing a wide range of musical genres, but mostly classical, jazz and singers-songwriters.
Every summer there are a number of community festivals and exhibitions throughout the Island that centre around culture, food and fun. The celebration themes include First Nations, Acadian, Irish, Scottish, multicultural, agricultural, fishing, music, arts, crafts, etc.
PEI Jazz and Blues Festival
This annual event usually lasts for several days and brings local, Canadian and international musicians to Island audiences. Events usually take place at several venues in Charlottetown and other towns. A true treat for jazz and blues lovers!
Fall Flavours is an Island-wide fine food festival organized annually in September. It includes hundreds of small and several large culinary and cultural events that highlight authentic Island food and traditions.
PEI International Shellfish Festival
The PEI International Shellfish Festival is said to be the 'biggest kitchen party in Atlantic Canada'. It includes demonstrations of PEI shellfish preparation, seafood chowder competitions, the World Invitational Oyster Shucking Competition, and lots of good music.
Jack Frost Winterfest
Jack Frost Winterfest is held in Charlottetown every February. The event organizers create an outdoor winter wonderland made from snow and ice, with a variety of fun winter activities for little and grown-up children to explore.