2016 will probably always be remembered as the summer of Pokémon Go. The gaming app was released a few days before my birthday, and that week saw me and my coworkers joining, texting one another when we found a new Pokémon, becoming part of the Red Team (Valor!), and then spending my birthday evening walking around the Mosaic District, "catching them all".
I'd read that traveling was a great opportunity to catch different types of Pokémon, that each continent had a unique variety that none of the others had. While PEI is still in North America, a peek at one of the mapping websites revealed lots of Pokémon I'd never spotted at home hanging around Charlottetown.
Going into town was now fun for an additional reason. Not only would I get to shop and eat and go to the movies - while most of PEI is rural and bereft of "pocket monsters", C'town was crawling with them. For those who don't know how the game works, a google maps-like grid of the city you're wandering appears on your phone and cute creatures pop up as you walk the streets. You then try to catch them by flicking pokéballs at them. To get the pokéballs you need to catch pokémon, you have to stop by points of interest, called pokéstops, to gather them. Peakes Wharf and Victoria Row were a Pokemon trainer's dream - pokéstops on every block!
Of course, while wandering the Peakes Wharf waterfront area, I took the opportunity to do some non-virtual collecting as well. At Amos Pewter, I bought some pretty little shell earrings, a maple leaf charm, and an adorable life-size acorn necklace.
We made our yearly stop at Cow's Ice Cream. I bought t-shirts and a onesie for a friend who'd just had a baby. The staff was super helpful when they didn't have the size I needed on display, finding one in the back. We also grabbed ice cream - this time I went for PEI Apple Crisp and Sea Salted Toffee, which may be the best ice cream combination ever.
Walking away from the water, we enjoyed shops along the quaint streets of downtown. I bought a nautical-themed print for my cousin, as well as some adorable illustrated postcards for myself. I was able to frame them with a Tony Diodati print I bought on the island years ago, a little reminder of PEI at home in Virginia.
As we neared Victoria Row, we stopped to read this summer's entries on the 'Before I die' wall. I was happy to see some goals that I've already achieved, as well as one I'm looking forward to fulfilling in February - seeing Hamilton on Broadway! A goal that wasn't mentioned on the list? Catching a Pikachu, the cute Pokémon that serves as a sort of mascot for the game. I'd yet to spot one.
We stopped in at the Anne of Green Gables store, and once again, I admired the artwork on one of the new Canadian editions. (By this point, I'd also caught about a dozen new Pokémon, but no Pikachu.)
We wandered past the cathedral (I was impressed by a nearby sign in English, French, Scots Gaelic, and Mik'maq, the four historic languages of the island) and back toward the waterfront. Once there, we stopped and listened to Gord Belsher and Richard Wood, a world-class guitar and fiddle pair. Peakes Wharf hosts a free summer concert series, and it's a great way to see some of the musicians you'd otherwise pay to see at a ceilidh. They also tend to play more traditional songs at the concert series, since it's a more touristy thing. Some little old local ladies stepped to the music, inviting people nearby to dance with them.
We returned to town a few days later for pizza and a movie at City Cinema. After stopping by a few amazing second-hand bookstores on Queen Street, Mom and I began walking down to meet Dad at Piatto Pizzeria. I had Pokémon Go going on my phone. And then suddenly, before the app had even buzzed to warn me, there he was standing on the street corner - Pikachu! I hurriedly told Mom I'd meet her at the Pizzeria and ran across the street to catch him.
After a great dinner and a fun spy flick - Our Kind of Traitor - we made one last stop at Canada's chain bookstore, Ind!go. I was searching for the next book in the Lunar Chronicles series after buying 'Cinder' secondhand at Panmure Island Lighthouse. I found it, along with a great travel coffee mug. I also spotted my friend Meg's book, which was perfect, seeing as she's a kindred spirit when it comes to Anne - Meg's wedding was library-themed, and I sat at a table with an 'Anne' quote at her reception. Happy with my Pikachu and a new book for my flight in the morning, I couldn't help but agree with the wall of the bookstore that read, "The World Needs More Canada."