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People from over 75 cultures have chosen to make Prince Edward Island their home. Although Prince Edward Island’s most visible cultures are of British (Irish, English, Welsh, and Scottish) and French (Acadian) origins, we must not forget that not all of us dance to the beat of a fiddle jig.

Prince Edward Island’s largest non-European and non-Aboriginal population is of Lebanese origin. Emigration from Lebanon began in the late 1880s when Christian Lebanese fled religious persecution in their country. The majority of these immigrants to Prince Edward Island came from one of two villages in Southern Lebanon—Kfair in the province of Hasbaya or Deir Mimas in Marjayoun. During their early years in the province, many Lebanese men earned their living travelling the Island’s clay roads as pack peddlers. Always a welcome sight travelling up the lane, these peddlers brought not only useful items and trinkets but also the news of the countryside. As rough as these roads may have been, they led to prosperity for the Island’s Lebanese people who are now active in many professions and vocations in the community.

Few Islanders associate slavery with the history of the province, but in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, a number of Africans was brought here as slaves. After obtaining their freedom, they settled in Charlottetown’s West End. This area came to be known as “the Bog” and, in 1881, counted 171 Black residents. By 1960, the Black population had dwindled to 48, having ‘disappeared’ through intermarriage and emigration. Today, most of Prince Edward Island’s Black population (under 100 people) came originally from the Caribbean several decades ago.
Chinese Association Booth
As early as 1901, four Chinese immigrants had settled in Prince Edward Island. The Island’s Chinese population did not start to grow in any significant way until after 1967, when Canadian immigration policy incorporated a non-discriminatory point system that eliminated the Head Tax and did away, once and for all, with the Chinese Exclusion Act. Today, the Island’s Chinese population numbers approximately 200 people or 70 families.

Many of the ethnic, cultural and racial groups that make up our society have created cultural associations that exist under the umbrella of the Prince Edward Island Multicultural Council. The council’s objectives are to foster co-operation and understanding between all cultural groups on the Island, to initiate activities for cultural exchange, and to assist groups in preserving and sharing their heritage with others. Some of the council’s activities include heritage festivals, speakers and presentations, working with government and media, providing resource materials, and organizing activities in recognition of the International Day for the Elimination of Racism (March 21). The numerous organizations affiliated with the council seek to promote the welfare of their members, preserve the values and traditions of their culture of origin, and support newcomers to Canada while striving to foster unity and good relations with other groups. These include:

African Society of Prince Edward Island
Benevolent Irish Society
Canadian Arab Syrian Association
Canadian Lebanese Association
Chinese Canadian Association
Clan MacLeod
Dutch Canadian Association
Filipino Canadian Association
German Canadian Association
Hungarian Culture Club
Immigrant’s Women’s Group of Prince Edward Island
Indo-Canadian Association
Jewish Community of Prince Edward Island
Lennox Island Mi’kmaq
Pakistan Canada Association of Prince Edward Island

Link to list of cultures in Prince Edward Island

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The Irish | Acadians and Francophones | The English
The Mi’kmaq | The Scots