Visit the historic Matthew and McLean Building located at 95 Main Street, in the heart of Souris, serving as the region’s new Cultural and Visitor Information Centre. Learn about the rich history of Souris, things to see and do, our exciting calendar of events, local festival dates and full details of where to eat and stay while in Souris. Discover our parks, stroll our waterfront and shop for handmade quilts and sweaters, Island preserves, works by local artisans, and much, much more. Discover Souris - rich in history, lots to see and do and the Gateway to the Iles de la Madeleine.
Prince Edward Island is part of the Appalachian Region which runs from southern Quebec and Gaspésie and includes New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland. There are many physiographic units with a peneplain that slopes from the highest point in the northwest down in a southeastward manner towards the ocean. The Prince Edward Island physiographic region is part of the Maritime Plain. The Maritime Plain runs around the coast of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia from the south shore of Chaleur Bay and includes Prince Edward Island and Îles-de-la-Madeleine.
Souris has a varied climate. In the summer (July and August) the average daytime high is 23 degrees Celsius but the temperature can sometimes go above 30 degrees. In the winter (January and February) the average daytime high is -3.4 degrees Celsius. The average yearly rainfall for the whole Island is 855 mm and the average yearly snowfall is 285 cm. The North Shore of PEI is part of the Coastal Zone. Souris is a very windy area.
Souris is a town in transition. In its history it has played numerous roles. The
first inhabitants were the Mi'kmaq who
settled at the head of the Souris River. The first French settlers on Prince
Edward Island landed in 1720 and Souris was an Acadian settlement until 1758
and the expulsion of the Acadians by the new British owners of this part of
The town’s name was provided by these early settlers when a plague of
mice invaded the area. Souris was comprised of what is now the Town of Souris
(then Souris East) and Souris West.
In 1765, the British government divided Prince Edward Island into 67 lots.
Souris was part of Lot 45. Initially this lot went to William Matthew Burt
and John Callendar. Neither man paid much attention to their 20,000 acres and
did not attempt to settle it which was part of the deal if they wanted to keep
the land. When the land was surveyed for the division of the lots in 1764,
this lot was described as containing burned woods (there had been a forest
fire) and indifferent land. It remained unsettled at the time of the first
census in 1798. When the government began land sales to deal with neglected
and abandoned land. Also, many Acadians had returned and were living on the
land now known as Souris. They claimed squatter’s rights and won their
The Souris River and the tall trees in the unburned areas were ideal for shipbuilding
and as the 18th century progressed, shipbuilding emerged as the leading industry
and for most of that century, Souris West was considered to be the part of
the area that was the most likely to be developed into a settlement of size.
In 1835, Souris East was comprised of 10 farms. John Knight settled in the
area on what is now Knight’s Lane and operated a shipbuilding business. See
attached presentation by Alex Fitzpatrick, a Souris Consolidated School student.
Over the next few decades, commercial business began to develop in Souris
East. Among one of the 19th century enterprises was Matthew and McLean (sometimes
spelled MacLean). The store is now a Heritage Building. (See the Natural and
Cultural Heritage section for more on this building.)
Souris was incorporated as a town on November 14, 1910.
Souris has been a shipbuilding centre. It has been a mercantile haven. It
has been a port town. It has been a fishing village. It retains much of this
history in its current state of change.