Photo courtesy of Parks Canada
Prince Edward Island is one of Canada’s crown jewels. I’ve never taken for granted the connection in my family to the Island. My Dad’s Mom and her family were all Islanders. There was a reason I spent so many summer days there as a kid. I’ve seen and been to most of the tourist attractions the place has to offer.
Perhaps the most widely known is the Green Gables site in Cavendish Prince Edward Island. L.M. Montgomery’s literary works were inspired by the places and stories of her youth. Year after year, tour buses and their occupants flock to the site to live a few minutes in the world of Anne of Green Gables. Many of the tourists are of Japanese descent. Japan has incorporated Anne into its’ school curriculum since the early 1950’s. I’ve visited the prestigious Green Gables House many times as a youth. The home always struck me as an authentic look into life in a more simpler time. Walking through the forest paths awoke me to the natural beauty of peace amongst the surrounding greenery.
When I last visited the property, it had been some time since I was in the house. At least ten years, maybe more. There were changes in the house that made it appear slightly modernized. Modernized enough to, in my view, take away some of the authenticity of the house. One of the other things I struggled with was the replica buildings put on the property. Those were never there when I was a kid. I question having these on the property and whether they are necessary.
There was news this week that the Green Gables site is beginning a 3-year rehabilitation project. New buildings are in the works while older buildings will see some renovation. I’ve come to have more of an understanding the reasons why Parks Canada needs to invest in the property. Still, part of me hopes that work on the older buildings, including the Green Gables House, will be work that restores some of the original authenticity .
Prince Edward Island continues to be a must-visit destination for travelers from all over the globe. The Anne books are sure to receive another revival of renewed interest and new readers, thanks to the new Anne series. Parks Canada can really be commended for all of the hard work they do with this site and all across Canada.
With Canada 150 celebration day drawing closer, people need to be reminded of the importance National Parks represent to the environmental and cultural fabric of this nation.