“Comes from Away” vs. “Islander by Choice”

“Comes from Away”

“Islander by Choice”

Two common PEI sayings that are used to describe people who were not born on Prince Edward Island.

They both mean the same thing or do they really?

What do you think?



2 thoughts on ““Comes from Away” vs. “Islander by Choice”

  1. No, they do not have the same meaning, semantically. Perhaps they are used synonymously, but that is erroneous.

    “Comes from away” refers to immigrants that are not born of at least one parent from Prince Eward Island. In reality, it should mean anyone who was born outside of PEI and did not spend a significant part of their life living here previously, but I doubt that is ever the intended use of this phrase.

    “Islander by Choice” should refer to anyone who chooses to live on PEI, regardless of their origin. Natives and non-natives alike should be allowed to call themselves Islanders by Choice (I know I do). Any negative or pejorative meaning associated with this term is misplaced, since native Islanders would fit the semantic meaning of these words also, if not the spirit of the phrase as well.

    This is Just the perspective from an Islander who doesn’t really identify as a “true” Islander.

  2. All this chatter reminds me of a tale I heard last year about ‘Islander’ status.

    A set of young parents, whose family roots on PEI stretched beyond memory, welcomed a new baby to their family while taking the ferry between PEI and Nova Scotia. A great debate began as to whether the child would ever be a true Islander as he had not actually be born on PEI. After many weeks of debate, the family turned to a wise old man who was known to be the authority on all things Islander. After listening closely to the arguements both for and against Islander status, he leaned back and, while stroking his long gray beard asked …

    “The ferry you were on, was it sailing to or from the Islander?”

    Yes — it is all really that silly. The whole IBC or ‘from away’ is the same debate people have about immigrants being Canadian. We give them passports, they pay taxes, own businesses and, in some cases, even die for our country, but some don’t consider them true Canadians because they lack a undetermined generational link to the Great White North.

    Personally, I’d rather be an IBC because that means that I made the choice to live in PEI. I don’t feel trapped (as some native Islanders have said they feel) nor do I feel entitled (as some Islanders do), but above all else I feel blessed to live in PEI. Where else can I watch a falcon wrestle with a flock of sparrows on my way to church, or a crane dig for its breakfast on my way to work?

    If there is a litmus test for Islander status, make it about deeds, not words.

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