Literary landmarks: Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

Prince Edward Island boasts plenty of Canadian literary history: it's the home of Anne of Green Gables creator L.M. Montgomery, after all. But the red-headed orphan is one of many bookish highlights worth celebrating on the island. We've rounded up the best literary hotspots to check out in the provincial capital, Charlottetown.

Headed to another Canadian capital city? Check out our entire literary landmarks series here.

Confederation Centre of the Arts


Image: Charles Hoffman, Wikimedia

This visual and performing arts centre is THE place to see Anne of Green Gables - The Musical, which took the stage in 2014 for its 50th season, making it the longest-running musical in Canada. Until September 7, 2014, they also have an art exhibit that looks back at Anne's history as a concept, book and musical in their art gallery. The province's largest library, the Confederation Centre Public Library, is also housed at the Centre.

The Guild in Charlottetown


Image: Google Maps

This arts and cultural centre is the home of Anne & Gilbert - the other Anne of Green Gables musical. If you'd rather check out a different show, we suggest STORY, a production created by David Weale and Colin Buchanan that celebrates storytelling in all forms. It runs until August 26, 2014.

Province House


Image: Share Bear, Wikimedia

Province House is where the Prince Edward Island legislature meets. In 1864, the building hosted the Charlottetown Conference, which led to the confederation of Canada. In the Confederation Chamber, there is a bronze mural. The mural was commissioned to honour the 50th anniversary of the Charlottetown Conference in 1914, although its reveal was postponed until after World War I. The inscription on the mural ends with "Providence being their guide, they builded better than they knew," a phrase borrowed in part from both John Milton's Paradise Lost and Ralph Waldo Emerson's poem "The Problem."

The Bookmark Bookstore


Image: Bookmark Charlottetown, Facebook

The Bookmark in Charlottetown opened in 1972 and has been serving the city's book needs ever since. The Bookmark is one of the largest independent bookstores in Atlantic Canada and has a wide selection of books for every reader, and an especially large collection of works by local and Maritime authors.

The L.M. Montgomery Institute


Image: Robertson Library, Facebook

The L.M. Montgomery Institute, which is part of the University of Prince Edward Island and is housed within the school's Robertson Library, is the only place in the world with a complete collection of English-language first editions of Anne of Green Gables. It also has a comprehensive collection of letters by Montgomery, memorabilia and foreign language editions. While designed to primarily support researchers interested in Montgomery, there are occasionally pieces from their collection on display to check out.(While you're there, stop by the monument to Robert Falconer, the prominent academic, writer and biblical scholar, outside the library.)

The Bookman


The Bookman, Facebook

The Bookman was Prince Edward Island's first used bookstore, when it opened in the early 1970s. Today, it remains a worthwhile place to check out an impressive inventory of used and rare books. The store also buys and appraises used books.

Bonus road trip: Cavendish

We couldn't ignore the most popular literary destination in arguably, all of Canada, could we? Cavendish is about a 40 minute drive outside Charlottetown. There you can visit the home that inspired the classic story and the home where L.M. Montgomery grew up, and wrote the book that would become an international phenomenon. You can visit the village of Avonlea and tour the grounds of Green Gables, giving you a taste of what life for Lucy - and Anne! - must have been like.

Many thanks to Karen Mair, host of Mainstreet PEI, for her help in building this list!