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Economic Dislocation and Resiliency on Prince Edward Island: Small Producer, Distant Markets

London Journal of Canadian Studies

UCL Press

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      In some ways the story of post-Confederation Prince Edward Island can be told as a search to find a replacement for the Island’s shipbuilding industry. For much of the nineteenth century, the export of locally constructed wooden sailing ships underpinned the colonial economy, providing widespread employment, enabling a profitable carrying trade and financing consumer expenditures. But in the late 1870s, the local shipbuilding industry essentially collapsed, squeezed between declining ship prices and freight rates, rising costs and competing technologies. Afterwards, the Island economy struggled to sustain itself, hampered by persistent out-migration, a small resource base and the state’s financial incapacity. Several new initiatives did provide partial answers to the Island’s economic dilemma. A case study of four industries – lobster fishing, fox farming, the seed potato industry and tourism – frames the issues facing Prince Edward Island in the century after 1873 and the strategies that the Islanders adopted to address them.

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      London Journal of Canadian Studies
      UCL Press
      January 2016
      : 31
      : 3

      This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit

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