Our People, Place & Culture

OUR PEOPLE, PLACE & CULTURE 

A quick look at our PEOPLE

POPULATION: 24,735

2016 Census: Down 2.1% since 2011

OUR MEDIAN* AGE IS 54.5 years
Up 2.9 years from 2011

ONT 41.3 years

*Definition of Median: the amount which divides a list of statistics in two equal groups: half above the median, half below.

Ours is an aging population, and the trend appears set to continue.
How will this affect our future vitality?
How will this impact our healthcare and services?

POPULATION DENSITY

PEC: 23.5 people/sq km — Toronto: 4,334 people/sq km.

What are the implications?

Our population increases significantly in summer with visitors, returning snowbirds, seasonal workers and seasonal residents.

What is the impact on our infrastructure and services?

⇒ Get more details from the 2016 Census

Are we diverse?

98% speak English at home but Prince Edward County’s population mix has been woven by immigrants from all over the world. Many were seeking peace after wars, from the United Empire Loyalists and Hessian soldiers after the American Revolution, to Dutch and German families after World War II, to Syrian families making new lives here today. We may look like a monoculture from a distance, but our threads are many and colourful.

2.2% of us are visible minorities, however … since the 2016 Census we see The County is becoming more diverse as people from many different backgrounds move here. The Tyendenaga Mohawk Territory is right next door, and 690 County folk identify as Indigenous. That’s up 12% since 2011.

We are a place of simple living and surprising complexity. A peaceful community that accepts people for who they are, not where they’re from, who they worship or who they love.

The County is A Place That Welcomes Everyone.

PLACE AND CULTURE

Our heritage buildings, vineyards and wide open spaces help to make us a favourite destination with people seeking peace and beauty. Sandbanks Provincial Park has one of Canada’s best beaches and the world’s largest freshwater sand and dunes system. The South Shore is an internationally recognized Important Bird Area and 750,000 migrating birds rest on the island in Spring and Fall. Tourism is nothing new in The County. From the 1800s we had dozens of hotels and our economy boomed in the late 1800s and early 1900s with the prosperous Barley Days and a thriving canning industry, then slumped in the last quarter of the 20th century. Now we are “rediscovered” and appear on Top 10 lists of places to visit. Our popularity has boosted the economy. However it’s having an impact on local life. House prices have soared. Roads, infrastructure and services are feeling the strain. Sometimes visitors’ expectations are out of sync with The County reality:

Why do places close so early around here? Anonymous visitor

It’s a family operation – they have to get some rest! Anonymous local

Continuing 225 years of modern history, we are still largely agricultural. Although the number of mid-sized farms has decreased, new smaller farms are being established with the focus on sustainability. Investors and entrepreneurs love us. Our challenge today is to ensure that Prince Edward County remains

A Place That Works for Everyone.

OUR GEOGRAPHY – beautiful but a challenge for some.

Our population is spread across a large land area, and amenities and services are concentrated in two main towns. There is limited public transit. We are working on it, but getting around is a big challenge for many people whether to go food shopping or get to work, attend appointments or participate in programs and take part in community events.

How does this affect a sense of belonging?

SPORTS & RECREATION

There are indoor and outdoor sports facilities around The County offering everything from badminton to martial arts. Many recreation and sports programs are free, and all of them strive to be inclusive, but affordability can be a barrier. With most recreation facilities located in the urban centres, the lack of public transit is a challenge for those in out-lying areas.

ARTS & FESTIVALS

The Firelight Lantern Festival

We’re Ontario’s fastest growing wine region, and where there’s wine there’s art, food and music, too! We celebrate it all, from the world-class PEC Jazz Festival to the Firelight Festival where children parade on Main Street to show off their handmade paper lanterns. In autumn there’s the Scarecrow Festival and Wellington Pumpkinfest. The PEC Marathon is international, so is the Walleye World Fishing Tournament.

Music festivals, studio tours, the Kids of Steel triathlon, boxcar races, wine and culinary and harvest festivals happen all over The County.

And all of these events are POWERED BY VOLUNTEERS.

“There is a tangible sense of pride here. One wonderful strength of our County is we’re big enough to have a presence in Ontario, yet small enough to nurture community and connectedness. There are many worthy causes here and the community rallies behind them. There is a sense of finding the balance between preserving our rich history and taking opportunities to invest in a vibrant future.”

Executive Director
Prince Edward Memorial Hospital Foundation

WE CHERISH OUR CULTURAL HERITAGE.

It helps give The County its unique sense of place. We’re proud of it and we work to preserve the buildings and landscapes that embody it. Our biggest library was designed by Andrew Carnegie, while our youth had enormous input in the design of our skate park.

We enjoy and support 6 Libraries, 9 Town Halls, 5 Museums, 1 Heritage Theatre, 2 Community Centres, a Community Radio Station, 2 Arenas .. and more. 

Our villages have playhouses, music venues, fairgrounds and old and new community meeting spaces that are booked year round for everything from yoga to political meetings.

In this period of rapid change, we face some serious challenges.

It’s exciting to be the focus of media attention, but we want to protect and preserve our character and culture from overdevelopment and to create a balance. While encouraging interest, in-migration and investment, we realize some have prospered and some have been left behind. We must work together to retain control of our future and to build a community where Everyone Belongs.