…It’s not what it used to be. We used to have so many things here and it’s our own fault in a way because when the big stores came to Montague we all started going to Montague, and Murray River couldn’t keep up- That was a mistake.3.
In the 50’s and 60’s, both Murray River and Murray Harbour were thriving villages with many amenities. Murray River was especially booming; almost anything a person needed or wanted could be found right there in the community. But after that boom, the area went into an economic decline. People were more mobile than ever before, and often sought out goods and services outside of the community. First the movie theatre and car dealership, then small stores and gas stations closed. The number of businesses in Murray River and Murray Harbour plummeted as people started to do their shopping in Montague and Charlottetown. Opportunity wasn’t gone, but it was further afield for many. Fanny Moore commented on the changes in Murray River in an interview:
“Well we had one… Two… Three…probably five grocery stores, and they carried not only groceries but a lot of other things as well. We had a jewelry shop. We had a feed mill. We had a woodworking plant. We had a doctor and… had a school. One time we had a theatre… a bowling alley... a car dealership, you know, and garages, two or three garages, and what have we got now? Practically nothing. The transportation got so easy and they used to load a lot of vessels in Murray River at the wharf with potatoes and produce. We had a chee, we had a chicken factory too. Railroad station. Hotel … We had a tailor shop too. It was a thriving community!”
Fanny’s quote shows how vast the change has been- in comparison, Murray River now has no grocers, and mostly seasonal businesses. That being said, even though you can’t do your grocery shopping here anymore, you CAN go on a seal cruise, go golfing, visit a winery or two, and shop for gifts or furnishings at the Magic Dragon or the Old General Store! Murray Harbour still has a small grocer, and Brehauts restaurant is practically sacrosanct- but there’s no question that the area is less self-sustaining, and less vibrant than it once was.