Being a lover of historic villages, I was interested in Orwell Corner and was pleased we took the time to visit. This used to be a busy agricultural village on the cross road to Charlottetown. It was founded in the early 19th century by Scots and settled by families from the Isle of Skye, Ireland.
Many of the people living in Orwell are descents of the original settlers and in 1970 the Provincial Centennial Commission combined with community volunteers, restored numerous buildings on their original site back to what they were, representing life in 1895. The site opened in 1973 and is now administered by the PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation partnered with community volunteers of the Orwell Corner Pioneer Village Corporation.
The entrance building provides a lot of historical information including the written stories told on a serious of boards complete with photos of people who lived the life of the village as well as examples of actual machinery of the era. This leads to the village complete with a school, church, well stocked general store, dressmakers shop, working forge and livestock barn complete with horses, lambs, hens, pigs and cats among other buildings.
There is a lot to see, so as with all self tours, you can walk through the village and if you have the time, talk with the staff dressed in costume about who lived in the village and what life was like. You can also enjoy tea and lunch in the tea room located in the hall.
There are a lot of artifacts in the buildings and the general store and you are provided with a small book outlining the buildings and some information about them.
A peaceful place to visit and soak in PEI rural history. There was also, at the time we visited, history in the making as there was a public archaeology dig of a house that had been abandoned in the 1920’s and fallen down. Part of Orwell Corner, the dig so far has found regular household items dating from 1870. The dig is public because everyone visiting the historical village is invited to dig with some training and help from the staff at Aboriginal Affairs and Archaeology. The staff are also happy to show and explain what they have already found.