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

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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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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2016

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  • The London Journal of Canadian Studies is an interdisciplinary journal specialising in Canadian history, politics and society and has been published annually since 1984. The current editor of the LJCS is Dr Tony McCulloch, Senior Fellow in North American Studies at the Institute of the Americas and President of the British Association for Canadian Studies.

    This is an Open Access journal, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (CC BY). This licence permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. For more information see:

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