In September of 1992 I spent 36 hours on Prince Edward Island. It was my first time here — a quick vacation on the way back from driving a friend from Ontario to Halifax. The flip of a coin sent my travel-mate and I to the Island rather than into New Brunswick. Coming off the ferry, we walked into the tourism information centre in Borden only to find that, given that the season was over, it had been re-purposed as a kindergarten. We visited Cedar Dunes Provincial Park and the lighthouse at West Point, came into Charlottetown for a night and stayed at Strathgartney, and did a little touring around in-between. I thought it was the most beautiful place I’d ever been.
I loved PEI so much that six months later Catherine and I were living here.
We forgot to leave.
The CBC is reporting that the theme of this year’s PEI tourism marketing campaign is “P.E.I. isn’t just a nice place to visit it could change your life.” My old colleague Greg Arsenault from Tourism PEI is quoted as saying “The trick will be to show how Prince Edward Island changes people.”
As someone whose life was dramatically changed by a visit to the Island, I completely agree with this thrust.
Above and beyond just the tourism economy, I think it’s high time Islanders stop being so timid about how special and different and transformative a place we live in. The world does need a little more Prince Edward Island.
Of course it’s entirely possible that the Grey Worldwide (the Island’s new agency) could screw this up entirely, and leave us with some wacky half-baked cartoon of a vision of the Island’s super-powers. But as a starting point, this is one of the better ideas I’ve seen, and if they do it right, it could be dramatic.
Out with “come play” and in with “come rock your world.”