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Prince Edward Island, Canada
4th March 2004

Today I was to meet Reg (Dutch) Thompson who has been recording talks with PEI's elderly citizens for a number of years now and thus building up a wonderful archive of historical information about island and people's lives on it. I was given a warm reception and spent a couple of hours with him while he regaled me with stories about the island.  Dutch also has a large collection of old photographs of many buildings and fishing boats and it's just as well as many are no longer in existance now.

There you can see Dutch with some of his audio recordings behind him. He's going to try and send me some wee audio tracks of a few of his interviews and when they arrive I'll certainly get them up on the site for you to listen to.

I then headed for Belfast and came across the Selkirk Cove where there were a few plaques commemorating the landing.

It was almost impossible to take these pictures as the sun was so bright I could see the little LCD screen on the camera. On the right is my hire car and you look over it to the cove.

I'm told that when the settlers landed the trees were growing right down to the beach. The picture on the right was of a small cemetary but the snow was too deep to try to get close ups of the graves.

As an aside... I will say that it is quite difficult to identify towns and villages as most just don't seem to have a sign up telling you that you've arrived and then they don't seem to be communities as they are so spread out.  For example I was heading for Belfast which shows up well on the road map but all I really saw was the Belfast School and a few buildings.  I really don't know if that was it or if I missed it somehow.  I found the same with my visit to Cavenish.

I now drove around the Belfast area for a bit trying to take some pictures of the area...

A sign saying Isle of Skye

When I visited Dutch he told me about an historical meeting at Stanhope that might be interesting to visit so I headed up there early to get a couple of pictures before the sun went down.

As you can see the sea was frozen and from the sign you can see that this was the first Scottish settlement on the island

And a full moon at the Community centre

The meeting started with an introduction, report on the last minutes and then a financial statement of the society. Then we had the President of the Scottish Caledonian Society giving a most interesting talk about olden times in PEI with many humourous stories.I think it is fair to say that everyone thoroughly enjoyed the meeting after which tea, coffee and home made goodies were available. Everyone made me most welcome and I very much enjoyed my visit.

Essentially I very much enjoyed my day seeing the country and meeting many folk from the island and I'd like to take this opportunity to thanks them all for their time and their warm welcome.

So.. what did I learn from today?  Well several people were of the opinion that over 60% of the population of P.E.I. have Scots blood in them. Driving around there were Scots names all over the place on road signs, villages and towns and on post boxes on the road. Many of the people I met had Scots names and in many respects I found the area to be somewhat like the Isle of Skye in some of the landscape and the way the houses are well spaced out and with no fences or hedges around them. I learned that P.E.I. was once the centre of a huge ship building industry and that there ships sailed on all the oceans of the world.  I was told of one graveyard on the island where you can see headstones that list all those oceans.  It's quite amazing how this industry has simply vanished. Even the small boats are now made out of fibreglass. So once where there waa a great tradition of wood working this industry just doesn't exist anymore and it's now mostly agriculture.

I was also told that the island is seeing a net gain in population but it's the older people that are retiring to the island that has done that.  There is still a move towards the major town on the islands so there are homes and land aplenty for those able and willing to live here.

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