This is the story of Robert McDonald, a shipbuilder from Prince Edward Island. It will be your story during this activity.

My name is Robert McDonald. I'm 24 years old, living at home with my parents and brothers here in Summerside, Prince Edward Island.

Saturday nights, I like to go with my chums to community dances. Most Sundays I go to the Methodist church with my parents and neighbours. Things were good in this part of Canada.

Since I left school, I've worked as a carpenter at the shipyards, building the big wooden sailing vessels to carry freight. I was happy to learn the trade that so many Islanders do so well-ship-building. I was pleased to join my dad and my brother Charlie. I don't mind hard work. I thought I'd always have a good job here. Was I ever wrong! Things haven't been good lately.

Let me tell you about it.

For the last few years our company has been getting fewer and fewer orders for new ships. Those new steel-hulled steamships are very popular now. Shipping companies don't want our wooden sailing vessels any more. Times are changing. Companies that build wooden vessels are going out of business. And putting people out of work.

Where can I find work? I've heard about some Maritimers who went out West to the Prairies. They worked out there for a few months, came back home, then moved West for good. Charlie and I have talked a lot about trying this out. We think it's a good way to see if we're ready to leave our fine home here in Prince Edward Island.

In the spring, we're going to Winnipeg. We'll get jobs, see how we like the West. It's time we learned some more about this great big country. Maybe moving to the Prairies will solve our problems.

I wonder?