~Krista MacLellan’s Essay... “The typical “Island” way of life is very unique. Each community or even individual families have their own special way of going about their daily tasks and Kensington is no exception. The families that make up Kensington and its surrounding communities each have their own heritage. Most are the descendants of immigrants that settled on Prince Edward Island. My heritage is completely Scottish. My father’s Scottish ancestors have farmed the same land in Indian River since they arrived on Prince Edward Island from Upper Bornish of South Uist, Scotland in 1787.

My father and his brother now share the ownership of the family farm. They inherited it from their father and hopefully the ownership will continue to stay in the hands of our family in the years down the road. Over the years, as farming technology has evolved, so has the family farm. At one time my ancestors were not only raising cows and growing cash crops but raising horses, pigs, and chickens. Now the family farm milks dairy cows, raises beef cattle, grows potatoes and cash crops.

As we make up a portion of the “farming” part of the Kensington community, our farm works hard to produce high-quality products to be put on the market. All of the milk produced by our dairy here is sold to Amalgamated Dairies Limited, a company that operates out of Summerside. Our potatoes are sold to McCain’s, a potato processing plant near Borden.

Every day my father and his brother have to work very hard to keep the farm operating. Shore Lane FarmsFrom the time they wake up in the early morning to the time they get home late at night, they never seem to complete the never-ending list of jobs that have to be done. But in spite of all the hard work it is evident that their dedication to the farm has paid off. Shore Lane Farms presently milks 75 dairy cows, raises approximately 100 beef cattle, grows 300 acres of potatoes and grows cash crops. If my ancestors could see the farm now I think that they would be extremely pleased that not only has it remained in the MacLellan family but that it has and still continues to be very prosperous.”

~Karianne Champion’s Essay... “From my perception, the Island way of life is most accurately defined as a leisurely paced community oriented lifestyle in which the prominent industries are farming, fishing, and tourism. Islanders dwell in a lifestyle somewhat sheltered from the influence of the other Maritime provinces, due to the 12.9 kilometres of open water standing between our fair Isle and the Mainland, as well as the costly bridge tolls. Forced to bide many hours close to home, islanders become well acquainted with neighbors, attend chiefly Island cultural events, and satisfy the majority of their needs by purchasing Island products.

Throughout my entire life span, I have resided in a split level house situated on the corner of MacLean avenue, one of the many streets in the quaint, little town of Kensington. Kensington, which has a population of 1332, is a closely knit community located in the central area of the Island. Comparable to all residential locations, life in my community and on the Island in general, has its share of benefits, and likewise downfalls. Living within the boundaries of a small community allows one to become familiar with a vast majority of the town’s people, and constantly be greeted with hellos from familiar faces, when out and about. The concentrated area of the Island, and the small number of escape avenues, lowers crime rates on the Island, and allows its inhabitants to be less inhibited by fear of attack. On the flip side, the factors pertaining to the safety and closeness of Islanders promote invasion of one’s privacy, an overall lack of entertainment and industry, and make the Confederation Bridge and its hefty tolls a necessity.

Contrary to the beliefs of many, the daily life of an Island teenager closely mirrors that of any North American adolescent. In my family, my father is employed as Finance Manager of East Prince Health, my mother is a homemaker, and my days are spent in school. My leisure time is filled with homework, shopping, concerts, visits to friends, watching T.V., and viewing movies.

If I were to identify the industry which has the greatest impact on the life of all Islanders, I would choose the tourism industry. Summer on the Island is transformed into a bustling season marked by bumper to bumper traffic, a line up of endless cultural events, and the opening of numerous attractions and restaurants. The Island shines in summer, becoming a haven of beauty, with her white sand beaches surrounding much of the coastline, fields of lupins blooming in many picturesque locations, and her open fields adorned in every imaginable shade of green. With such a mass of activities available, and the tourist count pushing beyond the million mark, the island is alive and becomes an unbeatable vacation destination. Life for the vast majority of Islanders is carefree, and exhilarating. However, the seasons which follow are desolate, containing only the low key activities and very few tourists. For example, in Kensington, our train station which is home to farmer’s markets, ceilidhs, celebrations, and church services in the summer is lonely and abandoned throughout the fall and winter months. Still, the Island’s splendour remains untarnished by her slowing pace.

In conclusion, the Island way of life is shaped by our distance from the mainland, main industries, and small population, making us a unique part of Canada with a distinct way of life. However, the Island’s easterly location and association with the other Atlantic provinces, gives its people a deep appreciation for the sea, music, culture, and arts of the East coast comparable to that of fellow Maritimers. In this way, the Island way of life is both distinctive, and typical of the lifestyle of her fellow Atlantic provinces.”

~Jed MacKay’s Essay... “The Island way of life? Maybe I’m not the one to ask. I hardly fit the typical Islander archetype: I hate fish, despise hockey and dislike snowmobiles, three island stand-bys, or at least from what I’ve seen in my eight years here. I’m originally from New Brunswick, but moved here eight years ago. Still, I have my own ideas of “The Island Way of Life,” so I’ll share them with you. As if I had a choice.

Like I said, one of the Island stand-bys is fish. Fishfishfishfish. Yecchhh. Many people I know have parents who are associated with the fishing industry, which, I think, is either the third or second most important industry to the island economy. Yes, fish helps our economy, as well as helping to feed the swarming throngs of tourists that descend upon us like black flies upon the festering body of a dead trout in the summer. Appetizing bit of prose, isn’t it? Anyhow, a lot of people like fish. They can have my share.

The biggest, so I’m told, industry in the island is the horrible yet beneficial menace of tourism. Yes, I know, I’m being horribly cynical, but who likes those hordes of people invading our beaches, parks and cities? Aside from people working in the tourism industry, not many. Still, they also pump many dollars into our economy, and giving many Islanders jobs. So I guess that they can be forgiven.

Enough about industries, I’m probably boring you. Now perhaps I’ll talk about the people. As I said before, hockey is a major thing in Island entertainment. Kids play it, adults play, adults watch their kids play it, adults watch other adults play it, kids watch other adults play it, I amuse myself by making fun of it...hockey’s pretty pervasive in our Island society, or at least in Kensington. Or maybe it’s just a Canadian thing. Again, yeeeeccchhh. But, also again, they like it, so they can play it (imagine me shrugging resignedly right about now).

Yes, I can hear you right about now, shaking your heads in disbelief. “What,” you are thinking, “does this whiny kid like about the Island?” Well, I admit, I have been pretty pessimistic about our way of life. I quite like it, actually. There’s a lot of space, clean air, (relatively) friendly people, nice scenery and good beaches. It’s a lot better than living off the Trans Canada Highway, where we had a back yard and a front yard, but we weren’t allowed to play in the front yard for fear we would roll off into traffic by mistake or something. Now, you have to walk for a couple of minutes before you can even see the road, and even then, there’s very little traffic to dance in, except in tourist season or potato hauling season. So, to end it off, all in all, I like living on the Island. Except for tourists. And the fish. And the hockey. Yeccchhh.”

~Jamie Urquhart’s Essay... “Originally born and raised in a big city like Toronto, of course a place like Prince Edward Island would seem different to me in many ways. There were some similarities between the two, but I grew to love both equally. It sure is nice not to worry about what the crime rate is, and if you should hang out with friends after dark. Here I have many advantages over Toronto. I have a lot more freedom to walk around town. Both my parents and I would be worried if I took a stroll through downtown Toronto just for fun. The people here are great, which I have grown accustomed to and realized how ugly the place I left is when I visited Toronto during a holiday. People there don’t say “hello”, or “good afternoon” for no reason at all. Which I had to get used to for my short visit.

Maybe I am just a city boy, but I can’t even fathom my Ontario friends doing some of the stuff I get to do. In all my twelve years in Toronto I never once went to a ceilidh, ate lobster, or went for winter sleigh rides. All in all, I know I will be attached to Toronto, but for now my heart belongs to this beautiful island.”

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