PEI

Tourism remains strong for this P.E.I. seaside village

While tourism operators are experiencing a decline in tourists this season, Victoria-By-The-Sea is booming. Businesses are running smoothly, despite the effects of COVID-19 and minimal border traffic.

'It's such a beautiful little community'

Victoria-by-the-Sea is experiencing a high volume of tourists this season, despite COVID-19 restrictions. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

A seaside village in Prince Edward Island is reaping the benefits of business this season, despite a dip in tourism across the Island.

Victoria-by-the-Sea, a small seaside community located between Charlottetown and Summerside, is seeing a high volume of visitors and off-Island tourists this summer. 

Island residents were encouraged by the provincial government to stay on P.E.I. this summer as a precaution against COVID-19 and to help support local businesses. While some of the visitors in Victoria-by-the-Sea are Islanders, a large portion are tourists.

Serge Dupuis and his family of four — from Grande Digue, N.B. — stopped in Victoria-by-the-Sea to take in the sights and have a meal after a camping trip. 

We have our masks, we have lots of hand sanitizer if needed. We keep our distance.— Danielle Ehler

"Think it's great. Nice and quaint. Lots of places to eat. Beautiful day, look at the water. Excellent," Dupuis said. 

Despite concerns of COVID-19, Danielle Ehler from Nova Scotia wouldn't skip her annual day trip to the village. 

 "We always make it a point to come to Victoria-by-the-Sea because it's such a beautiful little community," said Ehler. She and her family have been visiting for the last three years.

"We have our masks, we have lots of hand sanitizer if needed. We keep our distance. You only live life once."

'Very successful'

The community has seen some new businesses pop up this season. Two new restaurants have opened, which some merchants believe is drawing the tourists. 

Richard's Fresh Seafood, a fixture at Covehead Wharf, opened a second location in the village. And Casa Mia, a Charlottetown restaurant, opened Casa Mia By The Sea.

According to Ehler, an ice-cream truck has opened as well. 

People come here because it's quiet, well, usually it's quiet.— Terri Williams, Tidewater Merchants

Kristi Stewart, a supervisor at Casa Mia, said it was a scary year to open a new location. 

"Once COVID hit, it was a little hesitant, not too sure what to do, but they decided to open up," Stewart said. 

"I'm really happy they did. It's so far very successful."

Terri Williams, owner of Tidewater Merchants, credits the number of tourists to the new restaurants. 

Terri Williams usually keeps her stores closed on Mondays, but decided to open this week because of how busy the village has been. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

"People come here because it's quiet, well, usually it's quiet," Williams said. 

"We have a lot of great new restaurants in the village. I think all those things just contribute to people just wanting to escape to this little beautiful village." 

Williams has part ownership of How Bazaar, a chain of retail stores across P.E.I. and Halifax. She said the location in Victoria-by-the-Sea has been the most successful. 

Due to the high volume of foot traffic, Williams opened her stores on Monday, a day where she typically stays closed. 

While businesses in the area are busy, Williams said it is not as busy previous summers, which she attributes to COVID-19. 

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Brian Higgins

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