Bedeque museum offering guided tours of 'mystery' island in Summerside Harbour

The tours of Holman Island are held at low tide so people can walk across the ocean floor. (Nature Conservancy of Canada - image credit)
The tours of Holman Island are held at low tide so people can walk across the ocean floor. (Nature Conservancy of Canada - image credit)

There's not much to see now other than trees, birds and maybe a few rabbits, but Holman Island in Summerside Harbour was once home to a 125-room tourist resort.

And anyone curious about taking a tour of the present and imagining the past now has that opportunity. This summer, the Bedeque Area Historical Museum is offering a rare opportunity to go on a guided walking tour of the island.

Museum operations manager Caeley Currie said she wanted to create a program that "got people up and about and exploring the local community."

"I think [Holman] Island is a big mystery for a lot of people, you know, whether you are from Central Bedeque or Summerside or Lower Bedeque," Currie said.

"A lot of folks have admired the Island for perhaps their whole lives but haven't really known much about it."

The tour is a three-kilometre walk along the ocean floor and around the perimeter of Island at low tide.

The program began with three tours in early July, and has added new dates for July 20-22.

The 37-hectare island is now owned by the Nature Conservancy of Canada as a protected bird and wildlife habitat.

The Island Park Hotel was open on Holman's Island from 1872 to 1877.
The Island Park Hotel was open on Holman's Island from 1872 to 1877.

The Island Park Hotel was open on Holman's Island from 1872 to 1877. (P.E.I. Public Archives)

It was the site of the Island Park Hotel, which opened in 1872 but closed just five years later when its owner died. The resort fell into disrepair and was eventually destroyed by fire in 1904.

"We'll be pointing out places that may not look like much today but used to be the site of different structures or a place where ships would land, so it'll be a lot of bringing stories to life because there's not much left on the island these days besides trees, which is a good thing, of course," Currie said.

The tour costs $40 for adults and $30 for youths. To book a spot, call 902-887-3009 or email  bedequemuseum@gmail.com.

"I have been completely overwhelmed and thrilled with the response," Currie said.