Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Seaside Hotel, Rustico, PEI

The Seaside Hotel, Rustico -painted by Robert Harris
The 75-room Seaside Hotel situated overlooking Robinson's Island
SEASIDE HOTEL (cf. Farmers Bank Exhibit)
     The Seaside Hotel was originally known as the "Ocean House" and owned by John Nelson, was also the owner of the "City Hotel", Charlottetown.  John Newson, a cabinet maker and merchant of Charlottetown, took over the ownership and changed the name to "Seaside Hotel". The first entry in the guest book is dated June 18, 1875.
     The Vice Regal Visit of the Marquis of Lorne, The Governor General of Canada and his wife, Princess Louise, daughter of Queen Victoria, visited here.
     The Seaside Hotel was moved and a new wing was added giving an additional 16 rooms.  The dining room was enlarged enabling 80 people to site at the table.
     The noted archaeologist, Jesse Walter Fewkes, was a guest at the hotel while he conducted archaeolgoical work on Robinson's Island.
     The final entry in the guest book is dated August 22, 1902.
Seaside Hotel - photo from PEI Public Archives. Acc.No.34661.HF72.66.4.8 (2)

1879, August 11.  Such a significant destination that when Governor General, The Marquis of Lorne and his wife, Princess Louise visited the Island it was natural that the “out of town” trip planned was to the Seaside Hotel.  The train from Charlottetown to Hunter River with “a large party of ladies and gentlemen".   At Hunter River a large throng was congregated to greet the official party.  The possession, several miles in length, moved in horse and carriages towards South Rustico – under an arch in New Glasgow and another one in Rustico.  At Rustico the bells of the Roman Catholic Church rang out a merry peal. And a hundred Acadian children sang “God save the Queen”. 
They arrived at the Seaside Hotel for a grand Bill of Fare:      Boiled and roasted Turkey, Wild Duck, Tongue and Chicken; Ham, Roast Beef, Corned Beef and Cold Lamb
Chicken and Lobster Salad
Colored Blanc Mange, Tipsy Cake, Charlotte Russe, Jelly,
Meringues, Trifle, Luncheon Cake
Pine Apple, Oranges, Pears, Peaches, Figs, Raisins and Nuts.
Champagne, Port, Sherry, Claret
A beautiful pavilion had been erected in a grove near the shore, and in it the party sat down to lunch.  After the Luncheon the Marquis visited the Churchill’s fishing establishment.  Mr. Churchill entertained him with a description of the mode of flaking and curing fish, and entered into an animated discussion with him respecting the habits of fish.  The Marquis displayed a good deal of knowledge about the matter, but he was no match for such a veteran professional as Mr. Churchill.  The Three hour drive in good weather from Charlottetown was a joy if you chose not to take the train to Hunter River.  The Travel writers waxed eloquent on the landscape they passed.  The extended holiday, and the returns, that most guests seemed to confirm that Seaside Hotel on Rustico Bay was one of the finest hotels in the Province of the day.
The hotel burned in January 1906


  1. Hard to picture such a statuesque building being in that location nowadays, although I bet that there was a lot more land a century ago too. Very nice find!

  2. Thank you for this article, I knew there used to be a hotel down the road from here, it was cool to see some pictures of it - and interesting to read how long a trip it was from Charlottetown to Rustico,

    Elisabeth in Rustico

  3. My Grandfater, Granville Buntain drove guests by horse and carriage from Hunter Railway Station to Seaside Hotel. He was 12 years old when he started driving.

    1. I drove around the area of Buntain road this evening, hoping to see a memorial to where the hotel stood. It seems that area is all cottages now. Do you know exactly where it was?

    2. OK. You go out Rustico Road (Route 7/6) from Charlottetown. At Gallant's Store in Rustico (aka South Rustico)turn right onto Church Road (Route 243) and go up to St. Augustine Church / Farmers' Bank / Doucet House / Barachois Inn - there are a couple of sharp turns at the church and inn - keep going, go past Belcourt Center, the new French school, right to the end, a T-intersection, turn right and go to the end, Luke Street is on the right, but turn left, this is the Barachois Beach, go up the road by the ocean bank - this is the same road as seen in Meacham's 1880 Atlas image of the hotel - there's a cottage rental place up at the end of this road, behind the cottages is a stand of trees - I'm told that's where the hotel stool. Today all that area is divided into lots, however, no cottages built yet. You're right - there should be a monument of some sort - this was a very important destination of rich and famous folk from all over North America in the late 1800's.

    3. Walked the shore today & saw what might be the footings of the wharf. Otherwise, no distinguishing features along the shore, bank, or cliff top. There is a lot of broken, aged looking concrete shoring up the bank along there, some with visible Island stone in it, but I don't know how to date or age concrete - it may be much newer than the period.

  4. Ok, so I WAS in the right area. Seems odd no evidence of the wharf or anything else remains, but I guess sand is shifting in that area all of the time. I am related to John Newson through my paternal grandfather. His parents are buried in the Pioneer Cemetary on Ferry Road, Cornwall, & his furniture factory building is first on the left of Victoria Row if you exit rear of Confed Center. The hotel was on the property of David Mutch, I think, who lies buried nearby. I looking into the connection with John Nelson now, who originally built the Hotel.

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  11. I spend alot of time at the Golden Sands Cottages at the end of the Wharf Rd in South Rustico. Many years ago there was a wharf that extended out infront of the property. I am wondering where in relation to the Golden Sands the Seaside Hotel was. The landscape and point of land look very similar. I found an aerial photo of where the Golden Sands is now along with the Wharf you can see in the picture.

  12. I found lots of ads in the PEI directories 1870s and 1880s.