PEI

Park to pay tribute to L.M. Montgomery starts taking shape

A park to pay tribute to one of Canada's most beloved authors, Lucy Maud Montgomery, is starting to take shape in Cavendish, P.E.I.

'We're really excited'

A number of paths are being built around the park, located directly across from the Cavendish Cemetery. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

A park that will pay tribute to Lucy Maud Montgomery, one of Canada's most beloved authors, is beginning to take shape in Cavendish, P.E.I.

Work on the $600,000 project announced in January, started last month. A number of paths are being built around the park, located directly across from the Cavendish Cemetery.

The paths will lead visitors to other L.M. Montgomery experiences including Green Gables House and the new Green Gables Visitor Centre.

"We're really excited," said Linda Lowther, chair of the heritage park and Lucy Maud Montgomery destination development committee. "This has been a few years in the making from sort of talking about it, to sort of coming up with a conception to actually starting work out here." 

'Work together to make it happen'

Lowther said organizers were unsure of what the finished product would look like when they started discussing the project. 

Artist Nathan Scott, who created the John Hamilton Grays statues, has been commissioned to do a bronze statue of Lucy Maud Montgomery. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

"We kind of wanted to redevelop the park but we didn't know what or how," she said.

"And everything just happened to come together to do the park, to do a literary tour, to do the statue all at once and one great project and everybody's partnered together to work together to make it happen."

Important way to recognize history

Concrete pads are being installed for interpretive panels that will include the history of Montgomery and the founding families of Cavendish: the MacNeils, the Clarks and the Simpsons, who emigrated to Canada from Scotland in 1790.

"People forget about their history sometimes and this is an important way to recognize that history and why the land is the way it is," Lowther said.

"They were all farmers and fishers and we're going to recognize other stories too around the community." 

Work on the park is expected to be completed in June. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

The centrepiece of the park will be a life-size statue of Montgomery. Summerside artist Grace Curtis designed it. British Columbia artist Nathan Scott, who created the John Hamilton Grays sculpture on Great George Street in Charlottetown, has been commissioned to cast it in bronze.

The details of what the sculpture will look like are being kept under wraps. 

"Montgomery really liked nature," Lowther said. "She talks a little bit about the flash. The flash is something Montgomery talked about in her diaries as well as Emily of New Moon and the flash is that moment of inspiration that you get from from nature. I won't tell you more than that."

'Know about the lady'

Lowther said the hope is to have the park ready by the end of June, with the literary tour interpretive panels installed sometime in June or July and statue to be installed by the end of August.

She said the tours will be developed over the next few months.

'Now we're finally going to be able to make sure that people do know about the lady and not just the characters that she wrote about,' says Linda Lowther, chair of the heritage park. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

"We talk a lot about Anne but we forget about Montgomery and what an amazing lady she was. She was a feminist. She had mental-health issues. She was way ahead of her time. She was an organizer. She played music. She loved nature," Lowther said.

"There's all kinds of things that we don't know or the general public doesn't know about Montgomery and now we're finally going to be able to make sure that people do know about the lady and not just the characters that she wrote about."

More P.E.I. news

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.