We welcome your rants, thoughts, comments and stories!

Over on our Facebook Group page we have been having great discussions this weekend!  People have so many stories to share about their personal experiences with PEI.  Please do share your story with us.  Leave a comment on this post. We are planning to do some profile posts on people who are connected to our Alliance in the very near future.  In the meantime, this is a great way for us to get some stories going!

Are you an Islander?

  • Tell us what has drawn you to the Islander by Choice Alliance.
  • What issues do you think there are for people who move to the Island?
  • Were you away for many years and then came back “home”?

Are you an Islander by Choice?

  • What drew you to PEI?
  • What has your experience been like so far living on the Island?
  • What do you LOVE about PEI?
  • What barriers have you faced?

Are you a Part Time Islander by Choice?

  • When did you first come to PEI?
  • How often are you on the Island?
  • What keeps bringing you back?
  • Do you plan to move to the Island in the future?

Are you planning to relocate to PEI in the future?

  • What is drawing you to the Island?
  • When will you be moving?
  • What are you waiting for to happen before you can make the move?

14 thoughts on “We welcome your rants, thoughts, comments and stories!

  1. Where do I start?
    My father is an Islander. Our family has been on PEI since the early 1700’s. My father moved to Ontario as a young man for work, married my Mother who is from Ontario, and we returned frequently to visit my Grandparents and other family. Following the death of my Grandparents within the last ten years, my father decided to buy a cottage here so we would have a place to stay when we came down. I loved PEI growing up. We had so much fun either staying at my Grandparents or camping. I always thought ‘I would love to live here’. A few years ago while staying at the cottage I met the neighbour and fell in love and made the move from Southern Ontario to live with him. My parents are in Ontario as well as most of my siblings and of course my close friends. I have a sister in Nova Scotia. I live two minutes to the South Shore which I love. I spend as much time as possible on the beach. After almost 4 years I very quickly realized that PEI is not the perfect place to live. A great place to visit..as many have said Islanders are very friendly when you are visiting and living here they are very superficially friendly but that’s it. Try to break into their established circle of friends and family and it is like being up against a brick wall. They will go out for lunch or a coffee if I initiate it but don’t look for an invite back. I have cousins who say ‘drop in’ (a very island thing) but would not pick up the phone and say ‘ what are you doing for dinner Sunday?’ opps, dinner is lunch so be careful with that if you invite someone for dinner… make sure they know it’s not the noon meal! I think all of the friendships I am forging are with people from away. And as others have said I notice that most people who volunteer are from away or have lived away. The corruption and patronage makes me shudder. And yes, I know it is alive and well in other parts of the country but it is so much more evident here as everyone knows each other, and wouldn’t say anything or do anything to change it as their job may depend upon it. Islanders love the Status Quo. I have made a few phone calls about environmental messes and heard afterward ‘how dare she, she’s from away’ . Don’t get me going on the Island Environmental stand or lack of it. Sure great, one of the first places in Canada to have recycling but it has barely moved forward from there. A leap into the 20th century would be nice let alone the 21st. And how about a bit of tree planting? It’s pretty hard to find the Island Tree…Red Oak. Fish kills, potato spraying….. as I said don’t get me started. So the only thing that has saved me is that I have volunteered for a few things, formed a quilting group (with people from away). If my partner hadn’t lived in Ontario I don’t think I would have lasted with him. He is not rednecked, homophobic and zeno-phobic like many Islanders. Not all, don’t get me wrong I’m sure there are many enlightened, open minded Islanders and I’d love to meet them. If anything happened to my partner the only thing that would keep me here at the moment is the Ocean, the clear starry nights and fresh air. The pull to return to my elderly parents, siblings and friends in Ontario is very strong. I miss Stratford and Shaw Festivals, big broadway shows in Toronto, a great diversity of ethnic foods, many ethnic faces in the streets, great fruit and vegetables from the Niagara Penisula…. If I became single I don’t know if I would stay. I tried very hard not to generalize and I know it all happens in other places but damn it’s so in my face here. The statistics show how the education system is doing and unfortunately it is very evident in many ways. I’m still here, and will probably be here for a while…I guess I’m hoping to help pull many Islanders into the year 2011 even if they are kicking and screaming. Small town and quaint only goes so far in the the world today. Apologies to anyone who is offended.

    • Martha,

      Thanks for your very open and candid comments. These are things that we need to talk about. They are the “hard truths” that are out there. Every community – no matter where in the world – faces challenges; that said there are things about PEI that seem to make the experience very unique. The more we learn about each other the more we are able to break down barriers and create opportunities to work together to overcome the issues that we all understand are there. I hope your comment prompts more folks to share their thoughts and experiences – both Islanders and Islanders by Choice. We are all in this together and that is the very reason that we are an Alliance!


      Jane Boyd (@boydjane)

  2. I will likely alienate myself from the group by this but I’m going to say what’s on my mind anyway. I am ‘from away’ originally born and raised in NS, lived in BC for 18 years and grew very tired of the status oriented society that BC had to offer. We decided to head back east for a little down home friendliness and although we originally set our sights on NS we opted to settle on the island for a more quiet & friendlier atmosphere.

    I was elated when I heard a group was being formed to help new comers navigate their way around, literally and socially. I found that finding events and things to do weren’t generally advertised and some digging was needed to help myself feel a little more at home.

    I am quite saddened that the groups name has come to be what it is. I feel that it does more to segregate new comers than it does to form much needed relations with those who are considered islanders. The word Alliance conjures up images of a group that is standing united against something. This is not the vision I had of integrating into a new province and new community.

    There are bad experiences to be had no matter where you chose to live, I truly believe it’s up to the individual to make the experience positive and meaningful.

    Not everyone on the island may welcome ‘new comers’ with open arms. I had hoped the group name would symbolize that and provide people considering moving to this beautiful province with a more welcoming image that isn’t weighed down with words that have negative connotations.

    I feel it’s important to highlight the things the group can offer such as easy access to information on housing, recreation and community events. I realize that being heard and solving certain issues is essential but I think it’s critical for this group to find some common ground with islanders rather than projecting itself as a separate entity that seemingly has ‘issues’ with some aspects of island life.

    It’s easy to forget that we as new comers also have to make a concerted effort to adapt as well.

    Change is never easy and I’m sure this is true for islanders as well. An influx of new residents from off island has meant big change over the years for this island. New things ate happening for everyone and yes I find sometimes the ‘island’ has trouble keeping up with the times. I’m not so sure it’s unwillingness, I think it’s more a period of adjustment and for a small island I think they are doing what they can with what I feel is limited resources.

    Education is key and I hope this group can reach out to ALL islanders looking for guidance. There is a definite need to help bridge the gap between old and new and to help help form community relationships. Islanders are a wealth of knowledge and can have a lot of information to offer this group if it can find a way to work together with everyone on the island.

    • Hi
      Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts with us. You have raised some really important points that are worth consideration and further discussion. Certainly our goal is to offer support, information and social/networking opportunities for people who choose to live on PEI, one day plan to live on the Island or who are Part Time Islanders. Our intention is to be inclusive of ALL Islanders. Everyone has a story to tell and it is by sharing our individual and collective experiences that we can all learn from each other. We are still a new group and the interest in us has grown quickly. We are hoping to develop several different types of social opportunities where people can meet and network. I will be sure to share your thoughts on our use of the word Alliance with our Executive as we are still forming much of our future direction. We welcome ongoing feedback and input as we move forward.
      Jane Boyd @boydjane

  3. Ilsa…i’m going to respond directly to the name comment as i think i was one of the people responsible for putting Alliance on the table when our board of directors met.

    i’m an Islander – born, bred, the full deal. 😉 as are a number of the people involved, and interested in working towards building a more welcoming and integrated sense of community here on PEI. the IBCA isn’t a group of people “from away” but rather a mix of people with all different kinds of investments in and ties to the place, all working together towards a shared goal. you seem to have the impression that we’re a group of newcomers demanding change – rather, we’re more a conglomerate of people, many deeply embedded in Island communities, working to try to foster a richer and less closed sense of community for all of us.

    alliance means “friendly association,” which was largely why we chose it. our goal was to try to build networks and be allies for people who want to make PEI their home.

  4. Thanks Martha, Elsa and Jane for sharing. As we (IBCA) discuss these issues I hope that both awareness and education surrounding the opportunity of being an Islander by choice will evolve for all of us. Lots of great points that need to be explored further. Everyone has a story and as a person born here on P.E.I. I also want to share.

    My introduction: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_156018311114169&view=doc&id=158551197527547

    My homepage: http://www.81x.com/garydotgray/home

    My HIP blog: http://www.hiddenislandparadise.blogspot.com

    Looking forward to lots more caring, sharing and networking along with increasing awareness and learning opportunities about this great topic.

    Thanks! – Gary 🙂

  5. I have no preconceived notion of who is tied into the group and I think it’s wonderful that there are ‘islanders’ involved. My opinion is simply that ‘Alliance’ can be taken in many different ways and for me personally it is not representative of something friendly. Perhaps there is a possibility that others outside the group may view the word in the same way and as I wish for the group to succeed beyond it’s wildest dreams I thought it note worthy.

    Personally I don’t care much for labeling people by their origin of birth either. If a group is to appear to be totally unbiased from an outside view I think it would be wise to use very generic terms to describe everyone equally. Again this is just my opinion.

    The group is a fantastic idea and certainly needed. I realize there has been lots of work to put this all together and I’m sure there will be lots more work and positive change to come.

  6. Gary, no worries!

    And I just wanted to add to my last post that one of the things I absolutely love about this island and some of the people that live here is that they like where they are and they’re happy to see the island stay quaint & quiet. We moved here specifically because we were in search for that and we knew that there may be some ‘old thinking’ challenges. We also know that changing the way people think will not happen overnight. I must say that I am nothing but happy with living here and I hope that the strength of character that emanates from residents here never changes.

  7. Ok here goes.

    It is stormy today and all sorts of cancellations. If the power holds out, spending time by the fire and the computer seems like a good thing right now.

    My wife has been on the Island since the spring of 2001 and I moved in the summer of 2003. So why did we move here? Have you heard the now fading tourism ads and website http://thegentleisland.com? That pretty much sums it up. We needed to get our children away from the peer pressure and bullying of the Ottawa (and other big cities) area. The Garden Province? That’s another good analogy.

    I was close to retirement and the gentle, quiet, and environmentally responsible Island appealed to me. i recall the NO BINS posters but I am glad to see that recycling is taking hold here. We just need to take it a bit farther…but that is another rant.

    I soon found out that you are known by what you do. First there was “oh you are the people that bought so and so’s house”. Then we got “so you are the one that looks after my aunt at the old age home”. and then “so you are th one that bakes the bread at the bakery.”…and so on. I guess if you are a CFA you can’t be known according to your parents. A few weeks after I moved to the Island, I was first in line at the blood clinic and I got my picture in the paper with an article about blood supply. At least I got recognition that way.

    Generalizations are tricky and I try to avoid them. We all do it: teenagers this, baby boomers that, generation-y something else. So first the disclaimer: not all Islanders are like I describe below and I have managed to make a few friends along the way.

    Islanders tend to measure their worth by how busy they are. Ask someone how they are and after the “good” that sort of sounds like it drops of into a “th” –“goodth”, they will often add that they are busy driving kids to school or activities, doing groceries, and doing this, that, and the other thing. I guess that is healthier than measuring yourself by what you OWN – or often by what you OWE.

    One comment on the recent newspaper article on your blog expressed surprise at being asked “are you an Islander.” We run a small business and we get asked this question dozens of times per year. I never turned around to ask why it matters. I wonder if a CFA running a business is frowned upon. Are we taking business away from “good Islanders?”

    The shock came last year when someone touring our establishment found out we were running three retail businesses from our home. The comment I got was “you can’t be an Islander.” I am still struggling with what that might have meant.

    Another thing I have heard is that most Islanders “already have enough friends.”

    On the other hand, I was surprised to see that many Islanders in Rural areas don’t lock their doors. So we did the same. One day, we came home to find a note:”I came for a visit and you weren’t home. I made myself a coffee and waited for a bit. Once I was done the coffee it seemed you would not home for some time yet, so I left.”

    That is one feature that I like about the Island and people who live here. Many are just easy going and down to earth.

    For IBSs I offer three hints:
    learn to say “goodth”
    use SOME a lot. Like: we’re going to get some snow today.
    and use GOOD instead of WELL: you’re doing goodth!

  8. Just want to say that this all sounds like just about anywhere in Canada…..no matter where you go you’re going to run into some of the same issues in some way I just find here it’s highlighted by the fact that the island is small and people born here are labelled ‘islanders’.

    BC was very difficult for being hard to crack into socially but it was never in your face, people just outright ignored you. At least here they are open and honest about it. As long as I know what the issue is I know how to work to make it better 😉

  9. Sitting down here in Florida reading through the comments on the blog and getting a charge out of how some people think and react. I remember in the early 1980’s when a large influx of people from Ontario and Quebec came to PEI to work with DVA Head Office. Prior to that, you would never have seen an Island man holding an umbrella, much less using one for himself. PEI has improved because of the new people, immigrants etc. who have chosen to live here. Islanders are very proud people, hard workers and are willing to lend a hand but we also have our faults and it would be difficult to be accepted into some small local tightknit communities, where many are related either by marriage or blood. That is one of the main reasons peoplel will ask you and “who were your parents and where did your grandparents come from?” in order to determine if there is a relationship especially if it was a couple dating.

    If your name is Gallant or MacDonald you will have all kinds of relatives from PEI, depending on what part you come from.

    Yes, I agree that patronage and family ties pay a large part in getting plum jobs or any job but that is practically the same in any small town all across Canada and in the US. I left PEI to work in Ontario in the mid 1960’s like thousands who did the same then and now it is out west. We left for work but our hearts and souls were still back on the Island. Just read L.M. Montgomery’s books or journals and her love for PEI and vivid descriptions of the landscapes and the sea will entice you to want to see it for yourself. L.M.M. also knew how quaint and narrow minded Islanders were especially in her native Cavendish where nearly everybody was related to either a Simpson or a MacNeill.

    I followed my siblings and cousins to find work and lived near Toronto. You could be living next door to somebody for ten years and yet not even meet them or know their names. The elderly lady with dementia, who recently froze to death in a driveway in Ontario, was an example of how society has become so protective. She was heard screaming for help by several people who heard her but they were too scared or indifferent to go out and investigate, or even call the police. She may have been saved but that is an example of the culture of large cities, you tend to stick close to your own place, either for safety or your own sanity.

    I think the blog is an excellent venue for people to post their pet peeves, suggestions and improvements to make the Island a better place to live for all residents wherever they came from.

    Our childrer benefit in our educational system, daycares etc. by working and studying next to children from all different parts of the world. We must learn to accept others, and to celebrate our accomplishments for the good of all. United we stand, divided we fall, don’t let pettiness and small mindedness prevent us from being a people and a PLACE to be admired.

    There are pros and cons for living on PEI or any other area of the world. No one place will ever satisfy everybody. However, I would also like to point out if somebody was unhappy in one place, they may just be unhappy in their next place. Contentment usually comes from within and negativity tends to attract negativity but a smiling face invites likewise no matter where you go or what you do.

    We miss PEI but don’t miss the snow and storms but we will be glad to be “back home again.”

  10. Pingback: Islander’s by Choice Alliance – Facebook « Trails of Hats'n Hospitalitea

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