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Over the years, the village has boasted two blacksmiths, two garages and a car dealership, the biggest strawberry plant in the Maritimes, a co-op store, two warehouses for potatoes, two fish plants, a movie theatre, a box factory, a handle factory, a dentist and two doctors. At least 50 local residents served in the Second World War.

Then the trains stopped running.

Today, says Ms. MacMillan, 19, Mount Stewart “is full of a lot of older people.” And “full” isn’t what it once was. According to the most recent census, the 2011 population was a mere 225, a drop of 14 per cent in just five years. Each September, the local high school has more empty seats.

Effervescent, ambitious and civic-minded – we chat while she sells cookies on the University of Prince Edward Island campus, to support the swim team – the second-year student in the foods and nutrition program sees no future for herself on the Island. “I’d like to live here,” she says, “but I don’t think I’d be able to get a position. A lot of people I know have already left.”

Nor is she likely to put down roots in neighbouring Nova Scotia or New Brunswick. After decades of declining fortunes, the Maritime provinces now find themselves trapped in what one observer describes as “a perfect storm” of economic and demographic decline...

How the Maritimes became Canada’s incredible shrinking region - The Globe and Mail

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