The village of Victoria, tucked neatly on the south shore of the Island, halfway between Charlottetown and Summerside, was founded in 1819 by James Bardin Palmer, an immigrant lawyer and agent for the Earl of Westmoreland. His son Donald, following a well-conceived plan, laid out the village on Palmer’s estate. The effect can still be seen today by the grid pattern of its streets.
By the late 1800’s the settlement was prosperous with three wharves and many thriving businesses. Because of its sheltered harbour and strategic location, Victoria became an important seaport with a significant amount of trade with Europe, the West Indies and other East Coast ports.
A wide variety of produce, including potatoes and eggs, was shipped by schooner from Victoria until the early 1900’s. In the days of the steamboats Victoria was a regular stop for the Harlan, dropping off visitors from Charlottetown and places further afield, to spend a few days relaxing in the beautiful village by the sea.
Over the years the community has had many businesses and facilities including a bank, a rink, general stores, a fox farm, a blacksmith shop, and a farm equipment dealer. The rink was home to the Victoria Union’s, one of the most successful hockey teams in the Maritimes. When the Trans-Canada Highway bypassed Victoria many businesses and facilities relocated to nearby Crapaud.
Today, with a year-round population of under two hundred, there are a number of family-run businesses employing local people, just as there were in the prosperous years up to the 1950’s. You can see the business life of Victoria by visiting the Victoria Business Association website.