P.E.I. Needs a Winter Beach
For living in a place where we take so much joy in our beaches, winter gives Islanders withdrawals that other North Americans may not understand.
Sometime after Halloween the bleakness of winter sets in across the Island. Anything green disappears and the whiteness of snow is ruined by red topsoil that is whirled up by the chilliest wind from the sea.
And there’s nothing to do.
For those looking for a quick, quick thrill there’s Brookvale. A bit of skiing and snowboarding helps add some excitement to the bleakness. But besides that there’s nothing.
Other coastal areas in Canada or the U.S. that have a plethora of beaches like P.E.I. either don’t suffer the winters that we do, or have mountains--real mountains nearby. (Sorry, Brookvale).
So what if P.E.I. had a winter beach to help add some excitement to such a large portion of the year? Could it be more than a pipe dream?
A former airship hangar in Germany gives us an example. It’s called Tropical Island and it offers all the perks of a sun kissed beach and winter getaway.
The hangar is the third largest free-standing hall in the world. It was built after the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s and was intended to be a construction site for airships. But after the massive hangar was finally finished in 2000, the company went bankrupt. In 2003 it was bought for 17 million Euros and turned into the attraction it is today.
It’s not just Germans who have a lofty place to go escape winter. Here in Canada there’s World Waterpark at the West Edmonton Mall. It houses the world's largest wave pool, 17 water slides, 3 pools, and an average air temperature of 31 degrees celsius. Each year World Waterpark gets about 50,000,000 visitors. Although admittedly, Waterworld is much more of an amusement park compared to Tropical Islands. Because Germans aren’t one for being... amused.
Which begs the question, if these landlocked communities in Germany and Alberta can have massive indoor beaches, then why can’t an island that revolves around being a vacation hub? Between Old Home Week and Victoria Day weekend, the Island basically shuts its doors to tourists. For good reason! The winters here are awful.
Can PEI start capitalizing off winter by building its own (smaller version) of Tropical Island? It could work.
Not only would it profit from Islanders, but also our neighbours in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick where there isn’t much more to do in winter. Perhaps even market it to other parts of the country.
Afterall, it’s not just for having fun. The winter blues are a real thing and have very real health effects on a lot of people. About 10% of the North Americans suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). And for the rest of us, feeling sluggish, getting fat, and looking ghastly aren’t really part of our new year's resolutions.
Some quick cures to beating the winters blues are getting some Vitamin D, light therapy, staying active, socializing, and having fun experiences.
All things that shout: “P.E.I. need its own Tropical Island!” --A winter-beach to keep the party going after summer leaves.