Island Class


if you think you're upper, middle, or working class then you're probably wrong. then again, could P.E.i. be considered a classist society? a study by british sociologists show that social classes aren't as clearly defined as they used to be.

During the Island's Golden Age in the mid-1800s, P.E.I. was an exotic getaway for the British aristocracy. Dalvay-by-the-sea, Brighton, and heritage homes around the Island stand proof today of the prosperity we once had.

Yet it was only a few decades ago that most Islanders faced a life of illiteracy, poor healthcare and a quality of life that severley lagged behind the rest of Western society. 

Today, pop-culture still promotes the idea that there is a deep divide between social classes. Television series such as Downton Abbey give us the impression that the British are either first, second or third class. And America Soap Operas like the Days of Our Lives give us a skewed idea of how rich yankees live. 

 "Shall we rebel and have  F  rosty Treat  as a snack, Lady McLady-Von Lady ?"   (Photo: PBS)

"Shall we rebel and have Frosty Treat as a snack, Lady McLady-Von Lady?"  (Photo: PBS)

In terms of class division, Canada sits in the shadow of two empires. First there was the British, who perfected the social system. And today there is the United States, who has surpassed the United Kingdom in terms of social calcification.

But Canada has no Eaton or Oxbridge. A Harvard or Yale. No Kennedys, or Windsors. No Royal Ascot or Kentucky Derby. Whatever "dynasties" we have are considered cute when compared to our classist allies. But neither the Trudeaus nor the Mulroneys, Upper Canada College or McGill University have been excusive in the ways families and institutions are in the the U.K. or U.S.A.

On P.E.I. some families may be see to rank more prominently than others. But putting aside any delusions of an upper, middle, and lower class, Island society is relatively egalitarian. 

 Pictured, left to right: Each social class and the best of Canadian society grouped together" (Photo: Hockey Canada)

Pictured, left to right: Each social class and the best of Canadian society grouped together" (Photo: Hockey Canada)

In 2011, British sociologists put together a massive study that reassesed the idea of modern classes. 160,000 people took part in the U.K.. The study showed that British society--and similar societies like Canada now consist of seven different classes. Largely, these new classes don't depend on how much money a person has, how materialist they are, or how "successful" they are at their jobs. But rather today it is in many ways the cultural activities, and wholesome qualities people have that make the difference. 

Try it for yourself.