PEI

Owner's death, COVID-19 make for tough year at P.E.I. landmark

Shirlene MacKay is hoping to reopen the Car Life Museum next summer in honour of her husband, Kevin, who died in April after a heart attack just weeks shy of his 65th birthday.

Car Life Museum did not open this summer for first time 54 years

The Car Life Museum has been a landmark along the Trans-Canada Highway for 54 years. (Shane Ross/CBC)

Shirlene MacKay is hoping to reopen the Car Life Museum next summer in honour of her husband, Kevin, who died in April after a heart attack less than a month shy of his 65th birthday.

The museum has been a landmark along the Trans-Canada Highway near Bonshaw for 54 years. It's normally open from mid-June to mid-September. This year was the first summer it did not open.

Shirlene said her husband's death and the COVID-19 restrictions made it too difficult.

"It's been tough," she said. "It's been really tough being out at the museum, too, this summer, a few times cutting the grass, trying to maintain it.... I know it needs a lot of work out there."

The museum was a passion for Kevin, Shirlene said. He inherited his love of restoring antique cars from his father, Newton, who opened the museum in 1966.

Kevin had been working on a 1970 Plymouth Roadrunner last spring that he had planned to showcase.

Shirlene MacKay says it was difficult even to cut the grass at the museum this summer after her husband's death in April. (Shane Ross/CBC)

The museum features historic tractors and farm equipment, along with antique and classic cars, including a 1959 pink Cadillac once owned by Elvis Presley

Shirlene said she and her children, Kristi and Greg, will try to keep the museum running. 

"My hope is that it would open up. It doesn't make a lot of money. It's certainly more of a passion and a hobby than it is a money-maker but we do our best," she said.

"It'll depend on COVID and the travelling…. There's a lot of unknowns right now."

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