Lord Selkirk Provincial Park: More Information
St. John's Presbyterian Church
This is one of the most picturesque and historic churches on P.E.I. It was built in 1824 by Scottish settlers who immigrated to Canada because of the Highland Clearances in Scotland. They were brought to the Island by Thomas Douglas, the fifth Earl of Selkirk, after whom Lord Selkirk Park is named. Stately trees frame the church, and a pioneer cemetery adjoins it.
This church is usually open, and you should take time to see its lovely wooden interior, with a parquet ceiling and five small stained glass windows over the altar. After visiting the church, turn left and continue along Route 207.
Belfast Mini Mills
Curiosity drove us to cycle half a kilometer down the entrance lane to International Spinners Limited and Belfast Mini Mills Limited. We are so glad we did! It's a fascinating place. Eight members of the Sutherland family operate two unique, closely related businesses. International Spinners Ltd. manufactures equipment for processing fleece and spinning yarns, about 20 different machines in all. The machinery is specifically designed for exotic fibers like alpaca, llama, and mohair, and it is shipped all over the world. Sutherland's milling machinery is scaled for "cottage industry," but it is technologically advanced and fascinating to see.
Meanwhile, Belfast Mini-Mills operates as a demonstration and teaching facility while commercially processing fine fleeces and offering custom services. The mill's most unusual product is quivit — a luxurious fiber from the arctic Musk-ox. Belfast Mini-Mills is involved in a joint project with the native people of Nunavut in the Canadian arctic, who harvest Musk-ox for food and send the hides to P.E.I. for processing. Musk-ox have long, coarse outer hair, but this hair covers a soft undercoat that is incredibly fine — so fine, in fact, that individual fibers are almost invisible, and specially-designed machinery is needed to spin it. The resulting fabrics are incredibly soft and warm. There is a store at the mill where yarns and beautifully woven fabrics are sold, and informal tours of the facility are offered. There are even llamas, goats, and other animals to enjoy. Turn left back onto the paved road after your visit. This detour adds nearly a kilometer to the distances that follow.
Point Prim Lighthouse
Point Prim lighthouse, the oldest on PEI, was built in 1845 and fully automated in 1969. It is one of only two round brick lighthouses in Canada. However, the soft bricks were deteriorating so they were covered with white shingles. There are historic exhibits inside the lighthouse, including information about the lighthouse keepers, a display of lighthouse lenses, and a working foghorn. From the top floor there is a magnificent view. There is a nominal fee for admission and a guided tour.
Orwell Corner Historic Village
Orwell Corner is a restoration of the small agricultural community that was founded here in the early 19th century. Local people, many of whom are descended from the original Scottish, Irish, and Loyalist settlers, worked with agencies of the provincial and federal governments to bring the community back to life in the 1970s. Restored buildings include a home, general store, blacksmith's shop, an old schoolhouse, barns, and a meeting house. There are lovely gardens and picnic sites in the village.
Orwell Corner's meeting house is a lively venue for traditional music. There are performances most nights during the week throughout the summer; frequent daytime events are scheduled as well.
Turn right when you leave Orwell Corner Pioneer Village, and continue uphill. The short ride in and out of the parking lot adds only 300 or 400 metres to the distances that follow.
Sir Andrew Macphail Homestead
Sir Andrew Macphail Homestead, a National Historic Site, is the birthplace of one of P.E.I.'s most distinguished citizens. Sir Andrew was born here on the farm in 1864. He became a doctor, the first professor of the history of medicine at McGill University's medical school. He was also one of Canada's noted authors. A true renaissance man, he is even credited with establishing P.E.I.'s seed potato industry. Sir Andrew was knighted in 1918 for his contributions to the British Empire - especially his service in the Canadian Army Medical Corps during World War One. Today the family homestead, a center-gable colonial built in the 1850s, functions as a museum and also houses a tea room and restaurant. There are three nature trails and a tree nursery on the homestead's 140-acre site.
Turn left when you leave the Homestead. The paving ends, but the lane is generally in good condition. In 150 meters, notice two ornate stone pillars on the left. This was the original entrance to the Homestead. Sir Andrew salvaged the pillars from McGill University after a fire destroyed the engineering building whose entrance they had adorned.
The detour into Sir Andrew Macphail Homestead adds about half a kilometer to the distances that follow.