PEI

Stompin' Tom Centre plans unveiled in Skinners Pond

Plans for a memorial centre celebrating the late Stompin' Tom Connors were unveiled Monday in the western P.E.I. community of Skinners Pond.

'I know he would be happy,' says Connors' wife Lena

Stompin' Tom's wife, Lena Connors, Premier Wade MacLauchlan, Egmont MP Gail Shea and Tignish Initiatives general manager Anne Arsenault reveal the plans for the new centre in Skinners Pond. (CBC)

Plans for a memorial centre celebrating the late Stompin' Tom Connors were unveiled Monday in the western P.E.I. community of Skinners Pond.

The legendary musician spent his adolescent years in Skinners Pond and it's where he considered home, says his wife Lena Connors, who was on hand for the event.

It's also where he long wanted a music centre in his name.

"Sad that he didn't live long enough to see what's happening today," said Connors.

"But I know he would be happy and I know he's up there looking down at us all."

Lena Connors says her husband wanted a place where songwriters and singers could showcase their material. (CBC)
The community development organization Tignish Initiatives unveiled the big plan. The old school house that Stompin' Tom attended will be renovated and opened for tours, as will the family homestead.

The centrepiece will be the Stompin' Tom Centre, a new 4,000-square-foot building with a café and cabaret-style entertainment space.

"That's what Tom wanted. He wanted people who write and sing songs of this country to come here and showcase their material," said Connors.

The project will cost nearly $2 million, says general manager of Tignish Iniatives Anne Arsenault. The federal and provincial government will fund most of that.

But Arsenault says she's confident it will pay off in tourism dollars.

"We're a rural area, and rural P.E.I. is having a tough go of it, so this is a real good announcement that we're going to create a draw to this region and really help the whole area."

Arsenault says the work will begin soon. The hope is to have the centre open for business by Canada Day next year.

Drawings for the new Stompin' Tom Centre. (Steve Bruce/CBC)

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