Canadian Potato Museum – O'Leary, Prince Edward Island - Gastro Obscura

Canadian Potato Museum

This sprawling collection hides many charms. 


One might think that the name “Canadian Potato Museum” does not inspire an enormous amount of excitement.

Canada and potatoes are not what most people would consider thrilling subjects. In fact, despite effusive exhibit titles like the “Amazing Potato Exhibit!” it may be the least exciting-sounding museum in the world. But don’t be fooled; this sprawling collection hides many charms. 

In fact the Canadian Potato Museum is quite interesting, housing a huge collection of farm implements, machinery, and “the largest exhibit of potato artifacts in the world!”

The “Amazing Potato Exhibit!” along with the “Potato Interpretive Center” takes you on “a journey through time, learning about the potato from its beginning as a wild food source in South America, to the fourth largest commercial crop in the world.” According to the museum’s website, “Many visitors come from all over the world each year to enjoy this unique experience.” 

The museum also houses a “Community Museum” which includes household artifacts, tools, and industrial objects collected in the late 1960s from Prince Edward Island. “Medical, military, fox farming, carpentry tools, handcraft industry” and “19th century living room, bedroom, and kitchen artifacts” make up the community museum.

In the next room is the “Antique Farming Equipment” room, which includes a re-creation carriage shop and numerous antique threshers. Among the threshers is the “first thresher ever made by Thomas Hall founder of Hall’s Manufacturing Ltd in Summerside, PE” which, for Canadian potato enthusiasts, is rather a big deal. 

A walk down heritage lane is an outside stroll through antique or re-creation buildings made up as they once would have been. The Heritage Chapel is a real chapel from 1880, the Log Cabin is a reconstructed cabin where you can see a “grain thresher, reaper, binder, beater potato digger (Moody), fanners for cleaning grain, a potato cart, a buggy, a jaunting sleigh, and plows.” The Little Red Schoolhouse was built in 1900 and was moved onto the museum grounds in the 1990s. Finally, the crown jewel: the Telephone Office was an operating local telephone system until 1968 when the Automatic Dial System came into operation.

The giant potato outside of the museum entrance stands tall to let all know that they have arrived at their destination. In the words of the museum, “Collectors of the curious will be pleased to find the giant sculptured potato at the entrance to the museum. This giant potato is made of fiberglass and stands 14 feet high and is 7 feet in diameter. This is a very popular spot for picture taking.”

Don’t miss the Potato Blossom Festival which is the last week in July. 

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April 11, 2013

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