Victoria-by-the-Sea, a small fishing village, is located just off the Trans Canada Highway near Crapaud, about half way between Charlottetown and Summerside on PEI’s south shore. With a year round population of less than 200, summer brings a lot of visitors to this tiny, quaint village that is neatly laid out in a square grid. The village is very logically designed and it would be impossible to get lost!
Founded in 1819, Victoria was once a bustling seaport with schooners and steamboats making regular visits. Today, the life of the seamen is still evident and you can see fishing boats coming and going and landing their daily catches.
Sailboats are a common sight in and around Victoria.
A number of small pleasure craft find their way into the sheltered local harbour in the summer months.
It’s quite extraordinary that this tiny village boasts no less than four lighthouses and it certainly attests to its long history with the sea. The one in the photo below is the Seaport Lighthouse, built in 1879. It is the most recognizable of the four because it sits just adjacent to the harbour and is hard to miss.
The second lighthouse known as Leard’s Back Range was built in 1878 and sits in a field just to the entrance of the village.
The third lighthouse is known as the Wright’s Back Range and was built in 1894.
The fourth lighthouse – Wright’s Front Range – is very small (only 3.7 metres in height). Built in 1903, it sits on the edge of an Island red cliff.
Water plays a big role around the Island for obvious reasons (we are, after all, an Island). Locals and tourists alike enjoy the sports of kayaking and paddleboarding out from the harbour.
It’s not uncommon to see kiteboarders out skimming the water around the shores of Victoria.
The village is flat terrain and easy to stroll around. Look for interesting styles of houses like this one next to an antique shop.
Many of the homes have cozy verandahs.
Houses are in a myriad of colors.
A favorite house in the village is this turquoise colored home with its dormers.
When I started my early morning stroll through the village, it was very foggy and, as the fog started to lift, it gave way to some very soft lighting for photos.
The photo below is of a home with Queen Anne Revival influences found on Nelson Street. This property was once known as Dunrovin, one of the first tourist homes on PEI. For many years, the Wood family ran this tourist business that included accommodations in both the house and cottages on the property. At the time of writing, the cottages are being restored and will operate under the name of Victoria Cottages.
The Orient Hotel, built in 1900, welcomes summer guests to its bed and breakfast on Main Street. This local landmark is known for its colorful array of chairs on the front verandah that invite guests to stop and pause awhile.
In the center of the village, on Main Street, you will find the old community hall that has been turned into a summer playhouse theatre. Each year, the playhouse features two to three plays and a Monday night concert series all of which are popular with both tourists and locals.
Look for some quaint shops throughout the village, many of them in older traditional homes.
There are several casual eating establishments in the village. The Landmark Café is the oldest restaurant still in operation and is just adjacent to the Victoria Playhouse Theatre on the corner of Main and Howard Streets.
More restaurants and shops can be found along the harbour at the foot of Main Street.
Perhaps you’ll stop by the Lobster Barn for a PEI lobster roll.
If you have a sweet tooth, you’ll want to drop in to the Island Chocolates factory on Main Street where you can watch chocolates being made onsite and, of course, buy a sweet treat or two.
Be sure to stop by The Studio Gallery on Howard Street to check out the work of various Island artists.
And, if antiques are your passion, you will need to browse through the Coach House Antiques shop on Russell Street.
You will definitely want to plan some beach time while visiting Victoria. There is a lovely little park within walking distance to the village that provides access to the beach.
No matter where you look in Victoria, you will find intriguing land and seascapes.
Some of the most amazing sunsets can be found over Victoria.
The Confederation Bridge makes a stunning backdrop for a magnificent sunset.
And, if you are lucky enough to be in Victoria at sunset when the tide is low, take a walk on the sandbars and maybe do a little beachcombing.
Victoria-by-the-Sea is a charming seacoast village in Canada’s smallest province and is worth a visit. Whether it’s theatre, dining, water sports, local craft shopping and antiquing or simply spending a day enjoying the beach and warm waters of the Island’s south shore, you can easily spend a day or more in this historic coastal village.