Are Prince Edward Islanders friendly?

A few days ago my father sent me a note asking whether Prince Edward Islanders are friendly or not. He’d been talking to someone in Ontario, and they’d mentioned to him that while people in Nova Scotia are genuinely friendly, people in Prince Edward Island are only friendly when tourist money is involved.

On first reading I dismissed his comment; I’ve been here 17 years and I’ve always thought of Islanders, if not overtly gregarious, as having a underlying bedrock of friendliness.

Then I ran it by some colleagues, all raised here, and without exception they agreed: Islanders, they told me, are not friendly.

Apparently this is a well-known fact.

And then yesterday came Rude Patients, a blog post from Charlottetown doctor Robert Coull. In his post Dr. Coull starts by relating some of his experiences before he arrived on Prince Edward Island:

I’ve been threatened with a knife, threatened with a gun, had tables thrown at me, been chased round a hospital by a patient trying to flatten me with a chair, been shouted at regularly, been punched, had a cigarette stubbed out on my arm, had a patient try to strangle me in the back of an ambulance, and I’ve been kicked in the privates.  I’ve seen running battles in the street between knife wielding gangs.   I’ve had to wrestle violent people to the ground, I’ve had a patient I was treating in the street attacked by a gang intent on beating him up and had to use violence to help drag them off.

And since he moved his practice to Charlottetown?

So you would think that being a GP (Family Physician) on the Gentle Island of Anne of Green Gables would be a delight.

You’d be wrong.

It’s come as quite a shock to find out that lovely PEI appears to be infested with a significant minority of people who are bitter, rude, and — to be quite frank — horrible.

They make snide comments, are undermining, negative, and behave in a highly passive aggressive way.  Although less dramatic than the hostile aggressive behaviour of their Scottish ancestors, their behaviour is far, far more damaging.  Not least, it is far less honest.

Is this true? Are Islanders really a hostile, standoffish, unfriendly lot?

What do you think.


Sam D.'s picture
Sam D. on February 15, 2021 - 18:50 Permalink

As someone who was just on the cusp of moving to PEI (Summerside no less), I can only say a deep heartfelt Thanks, to this blog and all the commenters who have spoken so straight. It's been an eye-opener times ten and I'm grateful.

Actually I have always despised the term "CFA" (even when I was on the "right" side of it). The way it's used has always struck me as needlessly divisive, and perpetuating undertones of victimhood. The very fact that it exists so colloquially and "normally" in PEI says something about the mentality of the people. For myself, I've had my fill of ignorance and trash in life (let alone if organized into an inbred island community.) What I'm looking for, need, is a place of broad basic decency in human beings again. I've taken the valuable info on this page to heart, and will continue looking until I find it. PEI can keep its vaunted "party" of degradation going; I won't cramp their style.

Oh, one bit of value I think I can add, to those who are extolling Cape Breton. Most of Nova Scotia is indeed wonderful, but when you hear CB included within that wonderfulness, all I can say is be careful. Either those making such claims are native CBers themselves (and thus just parroting the empty slogans and brainwashing hammered into them from birth), or they've never actually lived here in CB. CB is an exclusionary, financially-ghosted cultish region that relishes its victimhood (although our particular Intractable Enemy Du Jour for the past several decades tends to be Halifax specifically), thrives on a social culture that has deteriorated into little more than Tim-Hortons-n-Booze (woe betide anyone who dares buck that trend), and will treat anyone "from outside" every bit as coldly as outlined in the comments here regarding PEI. Stick with other parts of Nova Scotia.

Greg Kennells's picture
Greg Kennells on March 2, 2021 - 19:21 Permalink

Not a chance in hell PE islanders are friendly people. They are the most unfriendly two-faced individuals in the entire East Coast. The Eastern part of the island is more business centered and city like but the Westside is white trash garage. Nothing but a bunch of stuck up ignorant pricks. PEI is mostly ...especially the Westside ALL RELATIVES. If they don't know you, you're an outsider and you will be treated like shit. Don't move to PEI just quickly pass through. The beaches are nice and the food is good. That's it. The woman there will love you for your $$$. PEI is the drama capital of Canada. A tiny puddle of mud in the Atlantic Ocean. You might find a semi friendly person that attends the local non- catholic church. Be cautious in this province. It's a very nosy environment.

Dion Browne's picture
Dion Browne on March 31, 2021 - 10:21 Permalink

I will keep this short. DON'T MOVE TOO PEI. They are the most disdained people in all of Canada. They only like tourists money but dispise anyone that chooses to stay in their tight knit communities. If you are not related too someone or from the island, you will be black flagged guaranteed. If you have family... you, your wife and your kids will be segregated. They smile at you only to stab you in the back or too talk behind it. The worse places are in the western parts of the province. It's mostly over paid fishermen and farmers that run the townships. I recommend moving to other East Coast provinces like NF or NB. Honestly you would have a better relationship with a skunk then with the people in PEI. Prince Edward Island fails to meet the mold and gets an F in the friendliness catagory.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on March 31, 2021 - 10:39 Permalink

After 11 years, I’m closing comments on this post. Thank you to everyone for your colourful thoughts.