Green Gables national historic site open for season

Green Gables Heritage Place opened April 15 for private tours by appointment, as it gears up for a full opening to the public on June 1. 

Only private tours available until end of May

Barbara MacDonald, manager of national historic sites and visitor experience with Parks Canada on P.E.I., says she hopes Islanders who haven’t visited the Green Gables site in a while will come this summer. (Jane Robertson/CBC)

Green Gables Heritage Place opened April 15 for private tours by appointment, as it gears up for a full opening to the public on June 1. 

Staff at the national historic site, which commemorates the famous Anne of Green Gables books and their author, L.M. Montgomery, have plans in place to make sure safety comes first for staff and visitors amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"Green Gables house in particular was a challenge because it's a very small building, a small farmhouse," said Barbara MacDonald, national historic sites visitor experience manager for Parks Canada in P.E.I.

"People will be able to go through the downstairs as well as the upstairs. We have a kind of a route so that they don't cross paths … and that way they get to see everything." 

Green Gables Heritage Place includes the Green Gables house, a visitors’ centre that opened in 2019, and wooded trails. (Parks Canada)

Visitors inside the Green Gables house will be limited to groups of 10, as they were last summer. 

"Because the numbers are small, it's a great opportunity to almost pretend the house is your own," said MacDonald. 

More people will be allowed inside the visitors' centre and onto the grounds of the site than last year, however. 

"We're hoping that people will come and explore the grounds, come and have a picnic, enjoy the gardens, explore the trails," said MacDonald. 

"The site is a beautiful place just to spend time outside, you know, even without going through the exhibits and in the house itself." 

Green Gables Heritage Place is adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic with physical distancing measures and some changes to its exhibits. (Brady McCloskey Photography)

Despite public health regulations, almost everything on the site will still be open to see, except for some interactive parts of the exhibits inside the visitors' centre. 

Also on offer during the summer will be special visitor experiences that people can book after hours, such as a visit with an actor playing Anne Shirley. 

"We're also working on some other special programs during that time, tours of Green Gables house, that will be more kind of like a more in-depth experience of the artifacts and what's in the house," said MacDonald. 

MacDonald said she and staff prepared for this season anticipating a similar year to 2020, with visitors from the Atlantic provinces.

"We're still hopeful for that. But we are planning on being open and available to any visitors who are able to come," she said. 

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