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The Confederation Bridge opens a new chapter for P.E.I.

Almost since Confederation, a link between Prince Edward Island and the rest of Canada was a lively possibility. But would a fixed link sacrifice the island's stand-alone charm or just make life more convenient? And could a link disrupt the delicate ecosystem of the Northumberland Strait? From fishermen to farmers to ferry workers, the island's prospects were debated and protected. In 1988, after a referendum with 60 per cent in favour, the inevitable came to pass. It wouldn't be a tunnel or causeway; it would be a curvaceous, 12.9-kilometre bridge.

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The "island way of life" is a phrase close to the heart of those who cherish it. More than geography, being an islander is a state of mind, a philosophy of living. For hundreds of years, island residents were alone in their rustic haven, surrounded by ocean and joined to no one. An island historian and some other dedicated islanders tell CBC's Tom Murphy what defines island life and what, if anything, will be lost with the opening of the Confederation Bridge.
• Prince Edward Islanders refer to non-residents as "people from away."
• P.E.I. is 224 kilometres in length and ranges in width from 6 to 64 kilometres, giving it a total area of 5660 square kilometres.

• Prince Edward Island is known for its red soil, sand dunes, many small lakes and rivers, and 800 kilometres of beaches. Its nickname is the garden province, because half the land is under cultivation.
• Prince Edward Island is Canada's smallest province, by population and landmass. It is 0.1 per cent of Canada's total area and 0.004 per cent of Canada's total population.
Medium: Television
Program: CBC Television News
Broadcast Date: May 28, 1997
Guest(s): Mike Cassidy, John Eldon Green, John Eldon Green, Ray Keenan, Joy Mackenzie, David Weale, David Weil
Reporter: Tom Murphy
Duration: 16:18

Last updated: February 8, 2012

Page consulted on September 10, 2014

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