The North Cape Coastal Region’s Celtic heritage is very evident in the names you’ll drive past on our mailboxes. You’ll hear the Celtic lilt in the reels and jigs played at our ceilidhs. The College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada in Summerside continues the traditions of pipe and fiddle music. You can catch a show in the newly renovated performance stage afternoons and evenings during the entire summer season.
History of Celtic Immigration
The earliest European settlers began arriving in the 16th century. By the early 19th century, Scottish settlers made up most of the colony’s population. The Scottish Highlands were in disarray after the Battle of Culloden, so the opportunity for a better life in the new world motivated many Scots to emigrate. The new settlers were able to use their traditional agricultural techniques. They cleared trees for agriculture, tilled small plots with hand implements and planted potatoes among the stumps.
The Irish who came to Prince Edward Island were experienced farmers and skilled tradesmen. They were seeking refuge from religious discrimination against Catholics. They came here with emerging middle class values of human rights and freedoms. Still, it was only in 1830 that the Irish and other practicing Catholics began to achieve higher status when the Penal Laws were rescinded, giving Catholics the right to vote and to hold office.
The 18th and 19th centuries saw the arrival of many British settlers, including the Scottish and Irish emigrants fleeing economic problems in their homeland. The Island prospered in the wood, wind and water economy of the mid-1800s and communities and colonial institutions expanded.
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