A tribute to June in Prince Edward Island

Jim Hornby
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Signs of June’s beauty are around almost every corner of Prince Edward Island in this month, including this  lovely vista near Stanley Bridge.

Edward Reilly, editor of The Vindicator, publishes lyrical essay on June 15

The Vindicator, June 15



“Every bathed leaf and blossom fair

Pours out its soul to the delicious air.”


The month of June--the most beautiful of the twelve--is now arrayed in her chastest and most attractive dress, a dress that defies the descriptive pencil of the artist, or the imaginative powers of the poet. The trees which, but a few days ago, mournfully waved their leafless branches in the passing breeze, have now assumed a rich and profuse foliage, the home of numberless birds, whose morning and evening songs fill the fragrant air. The fields that yesterday looked bare and bleak, have changed, as if by enchantment, and are now clothed in bright and verdant robes. Nature, the great enchanter, appears to have granted to June the power to impart, to everything around, the most radiant beauty.

Other months have their peculiarities; but there is a freshness about June, an indescribable charm in the first blush of summer, which the maturity of the Season, or Autumn, with its golden fruits, its balmy, shortening days, fails to afford. In this month, the fruit-trees blossom, and the seeds which have been committed to the soil begin to appear above the ground, a sight that fills the husbandsman’s heart with an unalloyed pleasure at the prospect of a rich reward for all his toils. Advancing Summer may, perchance, bring droughts and blights to dash his bright hopes of an abundant harvest, but at present there is nothing of the kind to disturb his joy and gladness, and he rejoices as he looks forward to a bright future. Everything, too, is peculiarly favorable, during this time to expand those finer feelings of our nature, and to enliven those devotional sentiments such as are possessed by all of us in a greater or less degree.

In this colony, Providence appears to have compensated us for the brevity of our fleeting summer by its extreme and unsurpassed beauty. We believe that there is not, on the continent of America, a more lovely spot of earth than Prince Edward Island during the period of time between the first of June and the last of October. This is conceded by parties who have travelled extensively both in Europe and America; and as far as our own limited knowledge goes, we have seen no place which will bear comparison with this colony during our summer months. Nature may, and doubtless must, even in the sister Provinces, present grander scenery and aspects than can be witnessed here; but for that quiet, pastoral beauty, which induces within us a feeling of peaceful security and contentment, which never tires, and which always seems to acquire fresh loveliness, there is “no place like home.” Nowhere will you see more golden sunsets, more roseate hues, a sky more ethereally blue, a brighter verdure, or an atmosphere and climate more salubrious than in this “Garden of the St. Lawrence.”

 A more delightful summer residence cannot be found anywhere. Were those tourists who resort, during the oppressive heat of summer, to what are called fashionable watering-places, for the benefit of their health, to direct their steps hither, we are fully satisfied that a very short residence would suffice to convince them of the truth of our remarks. From our insular position, the heat of summer is moderated by cooling breezes from the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and sea-bathing is within the reach of all. The comforts and luxuries of life can be obtained on the most moderate terms, and there is daily communication by means of swift and commodious steamers between Charlottetown and the mainland.

It has, therefore, often been a matter of surprise to us that pleasure or health-seekers have never yet, in any considerable numbers, found their way here during summer; the only way in which we can account for the fact is that the advantages of this Island, as a delightful watering-place or summer residence, have not been sufficiently published abroad. Let the facts be known, and we feel satisfied that one season’s experience will suffice to establish the accuracy of our statements, and to vindicate the character of the Colony as being pre-eminently the “Garden of America.” For our own part, whether tourists visit us or not, we shall ever enjoy, equally alike, our summer season, nor let one thought of Winter’s coming desolation mar our present sunshine and gladness.

Jim Hornby: Edward Reilly, editor of the newspaper and probable author of this lyrical essay,  died suddenly of heart disease on March 29, 1872, at about 32 years of age. He comes tantalizingly close — “Garden of the St. Lawrence”— to calling the Island “the Garden of the Gulf (of St. Lawrence).”


Jim Hornby’s column, “1864: The Way We Were: gleanings from Charlottetown’s newspapers,” is in The Guardian every Monday in 2014 (on holiday Mondays when there is no paper, it will appear on Tuesdays). It contains excerpts from newspapers of that era, as well as Hornby’s comments on what he has found. It is presented in celebration of the sesquicentennial of the Charlottetown Conference. Contact the author at hornby@pei.sympatico.ca.

Organizations: The Vindicator, P. E.

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, America, Charlottetown Europe

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