In July 2011, just a few days after I proposed to Shannon, we celebrated our engagement with a journey “down east”, the destination being Prince Edward Island. We travelled on VIA Rail from Ottawa to Moncton, New Brunswick via Montreal, riding a “Corridor” train from Ottawa, and “the Ocean” from Montreal to Moncton, where we would catch an island-bound bus to Charlottetown. To get around PEI, we rented a 2011 Ford Fiesta hatchback, and for most of our stay on the island, we rented a cottage near French River but bookended the trip with single-night hotel stays in Charlottetown.
In the photo above is my now-wife (then-fiancée) in front of Province House, home of the provincial legislature. This building is a very important one in Canadian history: it was here, in 1864, that the Charlottetown Conference took place, leading to the confederation of Canada on July 1st, 1867. Charlottetown is a beautiful city, with an awesome downtown area, and lots of historical features, including the different-coloured houses seen all over the Maritimes, including PEI.
While on the island, we checked out most of the top attractions, including Green Gables and several other locations relating to “Anne of Green Gables” and its creator, Lucy Maud Montgomery.
When our time on PEI came to an end, we caught the bus back to the mainland, and had a few hours to burn before boarding the Montreal-bound VIA train. Shilo Bellis, one of my classmates from the Loyalist College radio class of 2003, was (and still is) working at Moncton’s popular country music station, CJXL-FM 96.9, and he invited me to meet him at the station’s studios on Arsenault Court, also home of rock station CJMO-FM 103.1.
Shilo’s been here since our 2003 grad, first as a Newcap employee and now part of the Stingray group – he’s CJXL’s award-winning music director and on-air personality, and he can do it all without seeing anything! Shilo has the touchscreen-based playout/automation computer, a Scott Studios SS32 installation at the time, pre-programmed to stop where he’s supposed to talk during his on-air shifts, and when he wants to start the next item on the playlist, he simply hits an On button on the mixing console; he can even run his MusicMaster music scheduling/playlist system, using only the keyboard and a pair of computer speakers giving him the output of his “JAWS” screen reading software for blind/visually impaired computer users.
Shannon & I had a blast on Prince Edward Island, and I’d love to do it all over again someday, when it’s finally safe again to do so.