Leaving Lebanon, and Early Arrivals of lebanese to Prince Edward Island.
A large number of Lebanese began to migrate from Lebanon in the late 1800s, and soon they were leaving their homes at an extensive rate, as much as 15 00 a year, by the early 1900s.
Today, there are an increasing population Lebanese people and families in Canada, the United States, South America, Australia, New Zealand, the West Indies, France and many other countries.. It is ass umed that today there are more lebanese people living around the world rather than in Lebanon itself. The main cause of the out-migrations in the nineteenth and early twentieth century, was the oppression of the Christians by the Turks. The majority of those who came to P.E.I., are of the Christian segment of the population. Others came because of the lac of opportunity at home. There was simply nothing to do in the Old Country.
Over population was, no doubt, andthoer factor to all this. Today, the population in Lebanon is three million, which caused for a lot of stain on the limited amount of resources of such a small portion of the world. Whole towns and districts begin to empty out in what seemed to be a fury in out-migration.
It is quite another thing to determine why the Lebanese came to the Canadian Maritimes, and in praticular, Prince Edward Island. Today there are few towns or cities of any size in Atlantic Canada where Lebanese emigrants have not become established. Several of the early emigrants would do their business in the Magdalen Islands and use PEI as their return base.
George Shelfoon did this aswell, and it is that he arrived here on the Island in 1888. He did some peddling in the Western part of the province, and later on, opened a store in Tignish. The Shelfoon Store and its owners had become well known and trusted in their area.The western francophone section of the Island, was where many Lebanese families were attracted to, as their second Language was French and English. Here are some names of other Lebanese who arrived here before the turn of the century:
Simon Joseph, peddled as early as 1894, and later, opened up a clothing store by 1900 on the corner of Pownal and Kind St. in Charlottetown.
L.A. Koury, peddled in Prince county in 1894.
Brothers, Peter J. and Monsieur Abusleman were also here in the early 1890s. Peter was a photographer, he took mostly family portraits and advertised himself as “The Picture Man”. The two later to Georgetown and settled there.