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Tourism PEI
Aerial view of Strathgartney Provincial Park in fall

West River Prince Edward Island

Along Red Sands Shore, the West River meanders from Bonshaw through many rural communities near the Northumberland before emptying into the Charlottetown Harbour.

Shedding light on the controversial land tenure system 

The Land Question started in 1767 when the British divided the Island into 67 lots and gave them to wealthy Britons. Lot owners agreed to bring in new settlers and to pay a “quit rent” that was meant to help govern the Island - but things didn’t work out that way. Most owners never set foot on the Island, nor did they bring settlers or pay their quit rents. Many locals wanted owners to give up their land to the tenants who lived there. The sometimes-violent struggle between landowners and tenants went on for more than a century before the last of the landlords were finally forced to sell their land.

Strathgartney Homestead, located nearby, was the home of Robert Bruce Stewart (1813-1887), of the Island’s biggest landowners and his wife, Helen Birnie (1815-1871). They immigrated to Prince Edward Island from London, England in 1846 with and their five children. This homestead has been designated a National Heritage Site for its connection to the Land Question.

Historic postcard picturing Strathgartney Homestead, PEI


A daytrip for city folks of yesteryear

The community of Bonshaw, settled in the early 19th century, was a growing concern. Lumber and grist mills dating back to the early 1820s were significant in the economic development of the area. For example, the Crosby’s Mill complex included, at various times, carding, shingle, saw and grist mills. For a short period of time, it also generated energy for nearby houses. Shipbuilding was also a big industry. The West River was also a sanctuary of peace and beauty for locals as well as for city folks who liked to spend lazy summer days boating and picnicking in the area.

Close up of traps and lobster boats at Nine Mile Creek Wharf

Nine Mile Creek Wharf

Bonshaw and Area

Today, Bonshaw and surrounding communities are home to vibrant community halls, a world-class disc golf courses and mountain biking trail, wildlife and much more.