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Winter tourism initiative seeks to bring off-season visitors to Cavendish


When you think of Cavendish, P.E.I., you might think of the summer; festivals, amusement parks, and the boardwalk, but a local group wants you to remember that the central north shore is open for more than two months each year.

There’s not much happening in Cavendish Beach this time of year. Much of the core tourist area is only open for the two summer months, but that’s not true just a few kilometres down the road.

Jane and Sue Chocolate is bustling. They’re part of the Hot Chocolate Trail, a tourism initiative trying to get more locals and Maritime visitors to see what’s happening in the region during the off-peak months.

“It’s wonderful. They’ve done a great job this year. There’s a website,” said Jane Woodley, chocolatier and co-owner of Jane and Sue Chocolate. “People have so much fun going to all different businesses and tasting different kinds of hot chocolate, and they just seem to really love it.”

Many of the businesses in the wider Cavendish region, even those who rely on tourist traffic during the summer, are open year-round, and they want people to know about it.

“There’s all sorts of things happening, and lots of businesses are open,” said Margaret McEachern, Central Coastal Tourism Partnership president. “So no, Cavendish is not closed. Cavendish is open and we welcome your business.”

It’s part of the broader tourism strategy to get islanders, as well as weekend and day trippers from the Maritimes, to look at Prince Edward Island as an all year tourist destination.

“To enhance the businesses up in, all around the central area, and is a way of letting people know that we’re open, and we’re looking forward to their business,” said McEachern.

As for the chocolatiers, they say the promotion has been a boom to their business, because nothing quite goes with winter tourism as well as hot chocolate.

“It’s helped bring people in. We’ve had a lot of new people,” said Sue Humby chocolatier and co-owner of Jane and Sue Chocolate. “People that didn’t know about us before that found us, because they found us due to the Hot Chocolate Trail.”

A total of 21 different businesses in central P.E.I. are taking part this year, about a third more than last year when this event started.

McEachern said there’re great things in central P.E.I., and the Hot Chocolate Trail is just one way to help people discover them.

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