timeline

Prince Edward Island

Prince Edward Island is Canada's smallest province, making up just 0.1 per cent of Canada’s total land area. It is situated in the Gulf of St Lawrence and separated from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick by the Northumberland Strait.

Seaside view of Prince Edward Island

October 18, 1748

Government and Politics 

Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle

The Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle ended the War of the Austrian Succession. PEI, Cape Breton Island and Louisbourg were returned to France.

August 08, 1759

Government and Politics 

Andrew Rollo Captures Île Saint-Jean

Brigadier-General Andrew Rollo, the 5th Lord Rollo, captured Île Saint-Jean (now Prince Edward Island) from the French at the height of the Seven Years'' War. Roughly 3,500 Acadians were swiftly repatriated to France whilst Rollo constructed Fort Amherst in honour of, and on orders from, General Jeffrey Amherst.

June 28, 1769

Cavendish Beach

Government and Politics 

Government for PEI

A separate government was established for St John Island, which was not named Prince Edward Island until 1799.

September 11, 1784

Government and Politics 

St John I Rejoins Nova Scotia

Saint John Island (PEI) was reunited with Nova Scotia, though it retained a separate local government.

June 03, 1799

Cavendish Beach

Government and Politics 

PEI Named

The name of Island of Saint John was formally changed to Prince Edward Island.

September 20, 1810

People 

Birth of George Coles

Businessman and politician George Coles was born in Prince Edward Island. Coles was a prominent PEI businessman who specialized in many sectors, including brewing and distilling. A Father of Confederation, Coles supported union initially, but changed his mind because he believed that the terms of union extended to PEI did not address its needs.

June 14, 1811

People 

Birth of John Hamilton Gray

John Hamilton Gray was born in Charlottetown, PEI. Gray supported Confederation as premier of Prince Edward Island and host of the Charlottetown Conference in 1864. The majority of Islanders were against union, and this lack of public support (and his wife’s ill health) led to Gray’s resignation from office in 1864.

August 13, 1814

People 

McKitrick of PEI Killed

Sergeant Joseph McKitrick of Prince Edward Island was killed in action with the Glengarry Light Infantry at Fort Erie, Upper Canada. He is believed to be the only Islander killed in the war.

November 13, 1822

People 

Birth of Thomas Heath Haviland

Thomas Heath Haviland, a Father of Confederation, was born in Charlottetown, PE. A long-time politician from a prominent Island family, Haviland had an impact on Prince Edward Island’s social and political spheres. He supported Confederation even when many Islanders did not. Fear of American annexation and railroad debt eventually swayed the public to Haviland’s position, and Prince Edward Island joined Confederation in 1873.

January 01, 1836

Government and Politics 

Prince Edward Island Disenfranchises Women

The Prince Edward Island Legislature excluded women from the franchise. For a time, there were regions in British North America where some women could vote; however, just as in Prince Edward Island, statutes were passed to disqualify women in places such as the Province of Canada and Nova Scotia.

January 12, 1842

Communication and Transportation 

First Edition of The Islander

The first edition of the PEI newspaper The Islander was published.

April 25, 1851

Government and Politics 

PEI Gets Responsible Government

PEI obtained responsible government, with George Coles as premier.

June 20, 1854

Government and Politics 

Stanislas Poirier (Perry) elected to the PEI Assembly

Stanislas-François Poirier (Perry) became the first Acadian elected to the House of Assembly of Prince Edward Island. Twenty years later, in 1874, he became the first Acadian Member of Parliament.

April 17, 1855

Early Charlottetown

Government and Politics 

Charlottetown Incorporated

Charlottetown, PEI, was incorporated as a city.

May 19, 1864

People 

Tenant League

The Tenant League, a militant agrarian movement, was formed in Charlottetown, PEI. It advocated the sale of lands by estate owners to the farmers in actual occupation.

September 01, 1864

Government and Politics 

Charlottetown Conference

The Charlottetown Conference was held in Charlottetown, PEI. At the conference Maritime union was virtually dropped, and the delegates agreed to meet a new conference in Québec to discuss a Canadian scheme for a union of all the colonies.

December 10, 1867

People 

Death of Edward Whelan

Journalist and politician Edward Whelan died in Charlottetown, PEI. Whelan was a reformer, using his newspaper as a platform for his views on property issues and unification. A Father of Confederation, Whelan served as an Island delegate to the Québec Conference. He was Prince Edward Island’s only pro-Confederation Liberal.

July 28, 1870

People 

Birth of Aubin-Edmond Arsenault

Premier of PEI Aubin-Edmond Arsenault was born at Egmont Bay, PEI. Arsenault was the first Acadian premier of any Canadian province.

June 26, 1873

Red Soil, PEI

Government and Politics 

PEI Admitted into Canada

An imperial order-in-council admitted PEI into Canada, effective 1 July.

July 01, 1873

Prince Edward Island Coat of Arms

Government and Politics 

Prince Edward Island Joins Confederation

Prince Edward Island entered Confederation as Canada's seventh province.

November 30, 1874

Lucy Maud Montgomery

Sports and Culture 

Birth of Lucy Maud Montgomery

Writer Lucy Maud Montgomery, whose first novel, Anne of Green Gables, was an instant best seller, was born at Clifton, PEI.

August 21, 1875

People 

Death of George Coles

Politician George Coles died in Charlottetown, PEI. Known as a feisty character, Coles is said to have dueled with fellow Father of Confederation Edward Palmer, and was convicted of assault. While in the provincial government, he spent a month in custody, refusing to withdraw a statement made in the Assembly.

October 07, 1879

People 

Death of William Henry Pope

William Henry Pope, a Father of Confederation, died in St. Eleanors, PE. A lawyer and land agent, Pope articled with Father of Confederation Edward Palmer. Pope advocated for union in and out of public office. His push for a railroad inadvertently led to Prince Edward Island’s joining Canada over bankruptcy woes.

July 25, 1883

Communication and Transportation  Sports and Culture 

The Marco Polo Runs Aground

The famously fast clipper Marco Polo, which had been launched 32 years earlier from Saint John, NB, ran aground on the coast of Prince Edward Island. Local residents rescued the crew. Among the spectators was a young Lucy Maud Montgomery, who would publish her first newspaper article, “The Wreck of the Marco Polo,” eight years later.

November 03, 1889

People 

Death of Edward Palmer

Edward Palmer, a Father of Confederation, died in Charlottetown, PE. Palmer made a name for himself in Island politics as a Conservative, disapproving of reform attempts in government and land holding. He was strongly anti-Confederation. Palmer accepted Confederation in 1873 as Prince Edward Island faced imminent financial collapse over railway construction debts.

December 20, 1892

People 

Birth of Percy Corbett

International law scholar Percy Corbett, who was widely recognized as perhaps Canada's greatest international law scholar, was born at Tyne Valley, PEI.

January 21, 1905

People 

Birth of George Craig Laurence

Nuclear physicist George Craig Laurence was born at Charlottetown, PEI.

March 21, 1912

People 

Death of Andrew Archibald Macdonald

Andrew Archibald Macdonald, a Father of Confederation, died in Ottawa. Macdonald followed his father and uncle into politics, where he was often embroiled in such controversial issues as land reform, separate schools and railway construction. Though not wholly supportive, Macdonald moved to accept the terms of Confederation in 1873. He was appointed lieutenant-governor of Prince Edward Island in 1884 and Senator in 1891.

August 29, 1919

Communication and Transportation 

PEI Allows Cars

Prince Edward Island finally decided to allow cars onto all the province’s roads after dismissing them as a “fad” and restricting them for several years.

May 03, 1922

Government and Politics 

PEI Women Get Vote

Prince Edward Island women won the rights to vote and to hold provincial office.

March 30, 1923

Sports and Culture 

Birth of Milton Acorn

Milton Acorn, whose poems paid unceasing tribute to workers' suffering and humble crafts, was born at Charlottetown.

January 01, 1937

Brackley Beach, PEI

Resources and Environment 

Prince Edward Island National Park Established

Prince Edward Island National Park was established. A narrow strip of coastline stretching over 40 km along the north shore of PEI, the park is a fragile seascape of red sandstone cliffs and sweeping beaches, backed by shifting sand dunes held together by the roots of slender grasses.

August 14, 1961

Government and Politics 

Premiers Meet

The second conference of provincial premiers was held at Charlottetown, PEI.

January 01, 1963

Indigenous Peoples 

First Nations Gain Right to Vote in Prince Edward Island

Status Indians in Prince Edward Island were granted the right to vote in provincial elections.

May 11, 1970

Government and Politics 

First Woman Elected to the PEI Legislature

Jean Canfield became the first woman elected to the Prince Edward Island legislature.

May 02, 1986

Government and Politics 

Joe Ghiz Sworn In

Joe Ghiz was sworn in as premier of Prince Edward Island.

March 29, 1993

Callbeck, Catherine

Government and Politics 

First Woman Elected Premier of a Province

Catherine Callbeck was the first woman to be elected premier when she won the election in Prince Edward Island.

August 06, 1996

Callbeck, Catherine

Government and Politics 

Callbeck Resigns

Catherine Callbeck, the first woman elected head of a provincial government, resigned as premier of PEI.

October 10, 1996

Government and Politics 

Milligan Becomes Premier of PEI

Keith Milligan, a former silver fox fur farmer, was sworn in as premier of PEI following the resignation of Catherine Callbeck. He had been chosen leader on 5 October.

November 18, 1996

Government and Politics 

Conservatives Win PEI

The Conservative Party was elected in PEI. Patrick Binns, a former bean farmer, became premier.

February 23, 2015

Government and Politics 

MacLauchlan Becomes Premier

Liberal candidate Wade MacLauchlan was sworn in as the 32nd premier of Prince Edward Island, taking over the province's leadership following the resignation of Robert Ghiz. MacLauchlan, who has held professorships in law and written a biography of PEI premier Alex B. Campbell, was president of the University of Prince Edward Island from 1999 to 2011.