A Little Bit of
Hunter River History
Amidst the rolling hills of central Prince Edward Island lies the beautiful village of Hunter River. It has a population of approximately 350, but many more call Hunter River home. Within the village limits there are over 15 different shops and services including an elementary school, public library and several churches that serve the residents as well as those in the neighboring communities. The name Hunter River first appears in the1765 land survey done by Samuel J. Holland though there was no settlement in the area at the time. Settlement of the heavily wooded did not come until the 1870's when the railway was built. By 1889 the village began to look more like what you see today.
Through the years the village of Hunter River has been shaped by hard working, industrious and entrepreneurial people. There have been numerous shops that have operated in the village, ranging from small grocery stores to meat markets, hair dressers to shoemakers, and hotels to restaurants. At one time there was no need to leave the village for anything, it was all available right here. The local businesses served the residents for many years but with the coming of the bigger box stores in Charlottetown a number of them ended up closing.
Hunter River was also home to several larger operations over the years. G.E. Full & Sons operated a starch factory in the village. They grew their own potatoes and also purchased from local farmers. McCain Produce Co. later purchased this property, growing and purchasing table stock potatoes to be shipped to Halifax and St. John using the railway. McCain’s also exported as far as Venezuela, South Africa and Greece. McGuigan and Boyle opened a Shur-Gain feed mill in 1955 and served farmers for a ten mile radius. The mill has been owned by various people since it was opened and though the original buildings were destroyed by fire a number of years ago a feed store is still in operation today. Built in the 1830's by James Patterson Sr. , a saw and grist mill were operated in the village by the Patterson family for 80 years or more. The mill was also the location for the Hunter River Electric company that operated from 1917 until 1938 when it was purchased by Maritime Electric. The property has changed ownership numerous times over the years, at one time being operated as the well known Bagnall’s Mills. The mill is no longer operational.