There are many little facts about peddlars that I can tell you, so this page is going to tell about them.
- Many Canadian peddlars were Syrian/Lebanese. They were mistaken for Jews on many occasions. When they came to Canada, they came in small numbers, carrying almost nothing. They took up less than 1% of PEI's population.
People who would have ordered goods would have included storekeepers, dressmakers and seamstresses, and people who needed items not usually sold in a regular store. Most of the goods were grown on the farms, came from other parts of PEI, from other parts of Canada or the US, or came from overseas. Goods that were brought in locally would have been farm goods, vegetables, fruit, breads, grains, baskets, hats, and baked goods. Some of the goods that would have been shipped in included tea, spices, china, glass, silk, and other things that weren't made or grown on Prince Edward Island.
The General Store had a lot of household goods and farm tools that you could buy. What most people went there for were the household goods, like flour, salt, sugar, spices, and so on. They also bought fabric for clothing, some articles of clothing, shoes, dishes, and dolls. The most costly items were probably the farming tools. The most interesting items sold would probably have been the bear gloves because you wouldn’t see them at a store today. Wools, flannel, silks, and other fabrics were sold to make dresses and other clothing, and popular medical remedies (that didn’t always work) could also be bought there.
The general store looked like a big house. When the people first walked into the store, there was a lot for them to see. It had a counter (sometimes with glass to display things) where the store keeper stood. In the middle of the room was a wood stove that heated the whole building. There was also a bench that people called "The Gossip Bench." That's where the people sat and talked. In front of the counter were chairs for people to sit and have a drink or look at the items that they had purchased.