Inspiring Places

Grazing Cows
Maurice Bernard – 2014 – 12” x 16” oil on panel 

Inspiring Places

Introduction


The Inspiring World of L.M. Montgomery Literary Tour has been created to help guide Prince Edward Islanders and visitors from around the world to learn about and visit some of the most important and meaningful places which inspired Montgomery to write. Official place names, thought-provoking key words and descriptive passages help set the stage for your real or virtual tour experience.


Montgomery Park

7512 Route 13, Cavendish.
 

Montgomery Park (formerly Cavendish Heritage Park) has been created to commemorate L.M. Montgomery, and to celebrate the Founding Families of Cavendish and the Avonlea Women’s Institute, and to serve as the recommended starting point of The Inspiring World of L.M. Montgomery Literary Tour.

A Glimpse of Beauty

Bronze Sculpture

Conceptual Design by Grace Curtis

Sculpture and Casting by Nathan Scott

From the Designer

“I hoped to portray Montgomery in her late 20s, during the time she lived in Cavendish and was inspired to write Anne of Green Gables. A Glimpse of Beauty depicts Montgomery taking on a posture of awe in a moment of pure inspiration. She wrote about this creative moment and called it “the Flash". Inspired by the beauty of nature, she lifts her head heavenward to take a deep breath, to take it all in; in part, a moment of joy, and in part, an acknowledgement of the gift of creativity she has been given. As a young girl, I remember being struck by Montgomery’s description of this glimpse of beauty which showed up in several of her writings. I later learned that Montgomery herself experienced this moment. It is this wonderful mysterious moment that, as an artist, still intrigues me.” – Grace Curtis

Artist Grace Curtis’s Concepts

From the Sculptor

“This has been a unique experience for me in the sense that I’ve been given Grace’s conceptual design and been asked to bring it to fruition, capturing all that the commissioning body dreamed of as well as another artist’s concept. I think LM Montgomery has played a major role in making PEI a really special place and she has let the world in on the secret gem this little Island is. Her writing has captured the imagination of the world through her characters, Anne of Green Gables, and Emily of New Moon. It is a pleasure to be a part of honouring Montgomery’s work, and such a gift to me to be able to return to the Island again!” – Nathan Scott

Sculptor Nathan Scott in studio


Path to L.M. Montgomery’s Cavendish Home

 

HOME

After her mother became ill with tuberculosis, L.M. Montgomery came to Cavendish to live with her maternal grandparents, Alexander and Lucy Macneill, at their Cavendish homestead. Montgomery undoubtedly walked and explored every inch of the homestead, which originally included the land for this park and the lane on the park’s south side. Montgomery walked that lane going to the one-room school across the road, and visitors used it to reach the community post office in the Macneill kitchen. This entire area left an indelible imprint on her, and she wrote prolifically at this site, including her universally acclaimed novel, Anne of Green Gables, in addition to hundreds of short stories and poems. Montgomery lived here until 1911 when her grandmother died, and she then married Reverend Ewan Macdonald. After marrying, she left PEI to live in Ontario. She never lived again on the Island though she continued to visit and used it as the setting for 19 of her 20 novels.

“I had left Cavendish forever, save as a fitful visitor; and in leaving it felt that I was leaving the only place on earth my heart would ever truly love. The world might have a home for me somewhere; but the only home my inmost soul would ever acknowledge would be that little country settlement by the gulf shore…” (L.M. Montgomery’s Journal, January 28, 1912).

Old home (Alexander and Lucy Macneill’s) – front view, ca.1890’s. Cavendish, P.E.I.


The Macneill Homestead

8521 Cavendish Road, Cavendish, P.E.I., immediately adjacent to Montgomery Park
 

INSPIRATION

Arguably more than any other place, L.M. Montgomery’s Cavendish home is the setting that  inspired and enabled her to write. Much of her life was spent here with her maternal grandparents, Alexander and Lucy Macneill, following the untimely death of her mother Clara Macneill Montgomery and the subsequent departure of her father Hugh John Montgomery to Western Canada. Young Maud was only 21 months old when her mother died, and she remained at the homestead until the death of her grandmother in 1911. The Macneills’ kitchen also served as the community post office, where Montgomery both worked and wrote and was able to post prospective manuscripts to publishers without anyone knowing, including her first and most celebrated novel, Anne of Green Gables, in addition to hundreds of short stories and poems. While the homestead is no longer intact, the kitchen – retained, preserved, and repatriated to the site – is open to the public.

“To-day I cleaned my own dear room.  It is a white peaceful nest tonight. Alas, that I should ever have to leave it! No spot on earth can ever be to me what it is.  Here, by its window I have sat in grief and joy and looked afar to those green hills in rapture and heartbreak.” (L.M. Montgomery’s Journal, April 27, 1910).

The old Home (Alexander and Lucy Macneill’s) where Montgomery’s upstairs gable window is visible, ca.1890’s, Cavendish, P.E.I.


A corner of L.M. Montgomery’s upstairs bedroom in her Macneill grandparents’ home, ca.1890’s, Cavendish, P.E.I.



The Cavendish United Church

8543 Cavendish Road, Cavendish.
 

COMMUNITY

During her youth, L.M. Montgomery worshipped with her maternal grandparents at the original Cavendish Presbyterian Church, which stood in what is now the Cavendish Cemetery. This existing historic church was officially opened on September 8, 1901, by the Presbyterian congregation. After Church Union in 1925, when many Presbyterian, Methodist, and Congregationalist churches formed the United Church of Canada, this church became Cavendish United Church. Montgomery served as the organist in this church from 1903 to 1911, and her funeral service was held here in 1942.

“Perhaps the rain comes on Sunday when folks are ‘at preaching.’ I am back in an old Presbyterian church . . .  and everybody else is there. Folks dead and buried for a quarter of a century hurry out of their graves and come to fill their accustomed pews just because I read in an old diary that ‘it rained at preaching.’ Not one is missing, from the old Scotsman in the front centre pew, who looks like a Hebrew prophet left over from olden time, to the graceless lads of my own generation in the back pews. The minister is preaching… none of your modern fifteen minute creeds but a solid discourse lasting nearly an hour… the choir are ‘up in the gallery,’ and the rain is streaming against the high, narrow white glass windows.” (From “Come Back with Me to Prince Edward Island,” by L.M. Montgomery, in The Maritime Advocate and Busy East [May-June 1936]).

Exterior view of New Presbyterian Church, ca.1901, Cavendish, P.E.I. (Now the Cavendish United Church).


The Cavendish Cemetery

Intersection of Routes 6 and 13, Cavendish.

 

REST

L.M. Montgomery was buried at this site following her death in Toronto on April 24, 1942, and subsequent funeral at the nearby Cavendish United Church, the steeple of which is in view to your right. She chose this as her final resting place. The gravesite is visited by numerous people from around the world every year.

“So this evening I went over to the graveyard and kept tryst with my dead. The old spot was beautiful in the sunset light, with its plots snow-white with clover. And I did what sounds rather dismal but which did not seem dismal to me at all—I selected a plot for my own resting place. I want to be buried in Cavendish graveyard when my time comes. I want to lie among my kindred in the old spot I love so much better than any other spot on earth. . . . I selected a plot on the crest of the hill, looking down on the beautiful scene I always loved—the pond, the shore, the sand-dunes, the harbour.  On innumerable summer eves I have stood there and gazed on them, longing for some diviner speech to express what I felt. I want to feel that my last resting place is in sight of them. . . .There, sometime I shall lie and the wind will creep up from the sea to sing over me and the old gulf will croon me a lullaby.” (L.M. Montgomery’s Journal, July 21, 1923).

L.M. Montgomery grave site at Cavendish, P.E.I. circa1942. She was buried here on April 29, 1942, following her death in Toronto, on April 24.



The Haunted Wood

Route 13 immediately opposite Montgomery Park, Cavendish.

IMAGINATION

L.M. Montgomery wrote about a spruce grove, the Haunted Wood, in Anne of Green Gables. The Haunted Wood Trail today leads to Green Gables Heritage Place that includes Green Gables House and Lover’s Lane. In addition, Parks Canada has created a modern multi-media centre designed to interpret the site and aspects of Montgomery’s life and literary legacy.

“Diana and I just imagined the wood was haunted. All the places around here are so—so—commonplace. We just got this up for our own amusement. We began it in April. A haunted wood is so very romantic, Marilla. We chose the spruce grove because it’s so gloomy. Oh, we have imagined the most harrowing things.” (Anne of Green Gables Chapter 20).


 The Haunted Wood Trail will lead to Lover’s Lane which leads to Balsam Hollow Trail.


Green Gables Heritage Place

8619 Cavendish Road, Cavendish.

 

DISCOVERY

Many people mistakenly assume that Anne Shirley, the character, and L.M. Montgomery, the author, are exactly the same. The fictional and the real personalities are very different, as Montgomery’s journals prove. Yet in creating fiction, Montgomery did draw from her own experiences. She re-imagined for Anne of Green Gables some of the places she loved, including for example, this farm, then belonging to brother and sister, David and Margaret Macneill. The idea for the primary setting of her novel was, according to Montgomery, “not so much the house itself as the situation and scenery, and the truth of my description of it is attested by the fact that everybody has recognized it.” (L.M. Montgomery’s Journal, January 27, 1911)

“Below was a little valley and beyond a long, gently-rising slope with snug farmsteads scattered along it. From one to another the child’s eyes darted, eager and wistful. At last they lingered on one away to the left, far back from the road, dimly white with blossoming trees in the twilight of the surrounding woods. Over it, in the stainless southwest sky, a great crystal-white star was shining like a lamp of guidance and promise.”

(Anne of Green Gables Chapter 2, when Anne first sees Green Gables).

 Through the Haunted Wood Trail lies the actual farmhouse (Green Gables) once belonging to L.M. Montgomery’s cousins David and his sister Margaret Macneill and later to their niece Myrtle (Macneill) Webb and her husband Ernest Webb.


Ernest and Myrtle (Macneill) Webb, owners of Green Gables.



The Cavendish Shore

Oceanview, PEI National Park, 100 Terre Rouge Lane, Cavendish.

 

FREEDOM

In 1891, Montgomery published her first work of prose, a piece about the wreck of the Marco Polo. Known in its day as the fastest sailing ship in the world, the famous three-masted wooden clipper was driven ashore near here on July 25, 1883. In addition to outings on the beach with family and friends, Montgomery frequently walked alone on the nearby Cavendish shore. She also took many photos of the area, as she was an avid photographer.

“Several afternoons we spent at the shore, going down with our cameras and lunch baskets, donning bathing suits as soon as we got down and living a sort of amphibious life, wading and diving and snap-shotting. One day we had a never-to-be forgotten surf dip. It was glorious.” (L.M. Montgomery’s Journal, August 3, 1904, describing time with her friend Nora Lefurgey).

Nora Lefurgey taking pictures on Cavendish shore, ca.1904. Cavendish, P.E.I. (photograph by L.M. Montgomery)


L.M. Montgomery Birthplace

6461 Route 20, New London. 

 

FAMILY

L.M. Montgomery was born in this house on November 30, 1874, the daughter of Hugh John Montgomery and Clara Macneill Montgomery. Not even two years later, Clara died of tuberculosis at the Macneill homestead in Cavendish. After her mother’s death, Montgomery continued to live with her maternal grandparents, Alexander and Lucy Macneill, where she was inspired to write the world-famous novel, Anne of Green Gables, and numerous other stories and poems.

“And here, around a certain corner, is a certain small, yellowish-brown house, close to the road, that I always look at with a kind of fascination, for it is the house where my father and mother lived after their marriage, and where I was born and spent the first year of my life.  The years have passed on and each succeeding one has left the little brown house something shabbier than before, but its enchantment has never faded in my eyes.  I always look for it with the same eager interest when I turn the corner.  (L.M. Montgomery’s Journal, December 31, 1898).

L.M. Montgomery’s birthplace, ca.1890, Clifton, P.E.I.


Clara Macneill Montgomery, portrait, 1870 [aged 17]



Anne of Green Gables Museum – Silver Bush

4542 Route 20, Park Corner.

 

BELONGING

Silver Bush, as the Campbell family farm is now called, is where L.M. Montgomery’s Campbell cousins lived and where she visited frequently as a child, as a young woman, and throughout her life. She was married to the Rev. Ewan Macdonald in the farmhouse parlour on July 5, 1911. She set several of her novels at the Campbell farm: The Story Girl (1911), Pat of Silver Bush (1933), and Mistress Pat (1935).

“It was such a loyal old house… always faithful to those who loved it.  You felt it was your friend as soon as you stepped into it.  It was full of dear yesterdays and beautiful old years.  It had been assimilating beauty and loveliness… which is not quite the same thing… for generations.  There had been so many things in this house and it had not forgotten one of them.  Love and sorrow… tragedies… comedies.  Babies had been born… brides had dreamed… all sorts of fashions had come and gone before the old mirrors.  Its very walls seemed to hold laughter.” (Pat of Silver Bush, Chapter 39).

Uncle John Campbell’s Home, ca.1890’s. Park Corner, P.E.I.


The Lake of Shining Waters

4542 Route 20, Park Corner, P.E.I.

 

BEAUTY

This pond inspired L.M. Montgomery and she uses it in the novel, Anne of Green Gables, to demonstrate Anne’s fondness for renaming beautiful places to make them sound more romantic. Anne gives Barry’s Pond the more fanciful name, the Lake of Shining Waters.

“Below them was a pond, looking almost like a river so long and winding was it. A bridge spanned it midway and from there to its lower end, where an amber-hued belt of sand hills shut it in from the dark blue gulf beyond, the water was a glory of many shifting hues—the most spiritual shadings of crocus and rose and ethereal green, with other elusive tintings for which no name has ever been found….

“That’s Barry’s pond,” said Matthew.

“Oh, I don’t like that name either.  I shall call it—let me see—the Lake of Shining Waters.”  (Anne of Green Gables Chapter 2)

“The Lake of Shining Waters is generally supposed to be the Cavendish Pond. This is not so. The pond at Park Corner is the one I had in mind.” (L.M. Montgomery’s Journal, January 27, 1911)


Senator Donald Montgomery House/Inn at Ingleside

4615 Route 20, Park Corner.
 

REMEMBERING

L.M. Montgomery’s paternal grandfather, ‘Big’ Donald Montgomery (January 19, 1808 – July 31, 1893), a Conservative Canadian senator, lived here. She had a deep fondness for him and their visits together. Montgomery re-imagined the house in several Anne-themed books, including Rainbow Valley, Anne of Ingleside, and Rilla of Ingleside.

“I used to be at Grandfather Montgomery’s very often when I was a child and a visit there was a great delight to me.  They lived then in the old house—a quaint old spot.” (L.M. Montgomery’s  Journal, June 2, 1931).

L.M. Montgomery’s grandfather Montgomery, ca.1870’s

Please note: The Inn is frequently rented by guests. When this is the case, a sign will be posted, inviting tour visitors to feel free to take pictures of the Inn and grounds, but to please respect guests’ privacy by not entering the building or looking in the windows.


The Kensington Train Station

62 Broadway St. North, Kensington.
 

TRAVEL

The Kensington Railway Station is a National Historic Site of Canada, designed by PEI architect Charles Chappell and built in 1904-1905 by local construction company, M.F. Schurman for the Prince Edward Island Railway. The current station was built in 1905, but on this exact spot, the earlier station provided the setting for a remarkable moment in young L.M. Montgomery’s life: on August 11, 1890, she was accompanied by her grandfather, Senator Donald Montgomery, to travel to Western Canada to visit her father, Hugh John Montgomery. On the train that day she met Canada’s first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald. Seven days later she and the senator were met by her father in Regina, from where they went on to his home in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.

“Finally we reached Kensington where we were informed that a special [train] containing Sir John and Lady Macdonald—who are touring the Island—would be along in an hour; so Grandpa—who is a Senator and a great crony of Sir John’s—telegraphed to Hunter River for Sir John to stop at Kensington and take us on.  I assure you I was quite excited over the prospect of seeing the Premier of Canada…I was never on a train before but I enjoyed this, my first ride, very much.” (L.M. Montgomery’s Journal, August 11, 1890).

Kensington Train Station, P.E.I., ca.1905.


The Bideford Parsonage Museum

784 Bideford Road, Route 166, Bideford.
 

SOCIAL

On July 28, 1894, after graduating from Prince of Wales College in Charlottetown at 19 years of age, L.M. Montgomery came as a stranger to teach at Bideford #6 School, where she boarded at the parsonage with the local Methodist minister, Mr. Estey and his family. The former site of the school is now a commemorative park which the community and visitors use for picnicking. Two years following her time in Bideford, after going on to study literature at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Montgomery returned to Western Prince Edward Island to teach at the Belmont School.

“[Mr. Estey] is the Methodist minister and his family consists of himself, Mrs. E. and one little girl, Maud, a sweetly pretty little maid of seven, who is one of my pupils. The parsonage is a nice house with pretty grounds, about half a mile from the school.” (L.M. Montgomery’s Journal, July 30, 1894).

L.M. Montgomery with pupils of Belmont School, ca.1897. Belmont, P.E.I. where she taught two years after her first teaching position at Bideford #6 School.


The Sir Andrew Macphail Homestead

271 Macphail Park Road, Orwell/Vernon River.

 

RECOGNITION

In September 1910, the Governor General of Canada, Earl Grey, requested a stopover in Prince Edward Island so that he could meet the writer L.M. Montgomery – he had been entranced with  her recently-published novel, Anne of Green Gables.  This meeting was arranged at the homestead of Dr. Andrew Macphail, an accomplished academic and writer, whose childhood and then summer home was here in Orwell. During this luncheon, Earl Grey and Montgomery took a stroll to discuss her books.  They wound up sitting on the steps of the Macphail outhouse to have their “heart to heart talk.” Earl Grey was entirely unaware of the nature of the spot they landed on, while Montgomery could hardly contain her laughter.

“… I was suffering so acutely from a suppressed desire to laugh that I hardly knew what I was saying.  The Earl thought I was nervous and asked me if I had been rather dismayed at the idea of meeting him and when I said, “Yes, I’ve been in a blue funk,” he laughed and said “But you won’t feel that way any more, will you.” I said “No,” but I really think if we had sat there much longer I would have gone into hysterics—and never been able to explain why. I was mortally afraid that some poor unfortunate was cooped up in the house behind us, not able to get out…” (L.M. Montgomery’s Journal, September 11, 1910).

Sir Andrew Macphail


The Charlottetown Guardian’s account of Canadian Governor General Earl Grey’s arrival on Prince Edward Island and his visit to the residence of Dr. Andrew Macphail, including the reference to ‘Miss Montgomery’ as one of the Macphail guests.


Image from the journals of Lady Grey, Earl Grey.


The Confederation Centre of the Arts

Intersection of Queen and Grafton streets, downtown Charlottetown.

 

CREATIVITY

Part of the ongoing interest in L.M. Montgomery stems from the creation of Anne of Green Gables – The Musical ™ staged by Confederation Centre of the Arts and The Charlottetown Festival, where it was premiered in 1965 and is now proclaimed as the longest-running annual musical theatre production in the world. The musical has also toured nationally across Canada three times; represented Canada at the 1970 World’s Fair in Osaka, Japan; has run in London’s West End, where it won the 1969 Drama Critics Award for Best New Musical; and played off-Broadway in 1972 at the New York City Center. Confederation Centre Art Gallery’s permanent collection includes some fifteen of Montgomery’s original manuscripts, Anne of Green Gables among them; in addition, the Centre preserves and maintains other Montgomery artifacts such as her scrapbooks and wedding dress and shoes.

“Anne, Anne, you little red-headed monkey, you are responsible for much!"

(L.M. Montgomery’ Journal, November 29, 1910, after returning from visiting with her publisher, L.C. Page, in Boston, Massachusetts, where she was feted and treated like a celebrity).

Image from the original 1965 production of Anne of Green Gables


Page 1 from L.M. Montgomery’s original Anne of Green Gables manuscript.



Robertson Library and the L.M. Montgomery Institute at UPEI

550 University Avenue, Charlottetown.

Bronze Sculpture L.M. Montgomery at the Robertson Library, by Claude Roussel, Edmundston, New Brunswick, Canada.
Mike Needham, UPEI Photography
Other photo credits for this page:
Bideford Parsonage Museum submitted photo
Sir Andrew Macphail Homestead photo by Brian Simpson
All other color photos on this page by John Sylvester

LEGACY

The L.M. Montgomery Institute (LMMI) was launched at the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) in 1993 to promote the research into and the informed celebration of the internationally acclaimed author L.M. Montgomery and her work. The Institute has over time assembled one of the largest and most important collections anywhere of publications, artifacts, and other material documenting Montgomery’s life and legacy. For reasons of security, preservation, and accessibility, these collections are housed at the UPEI Robertson Library. The Library’s own collecting efforts over the years – particularly with its Prince Edward Island research collection – complement and support the resources of the LMMI collections. Montgomery attended Prince of Wales College (PWC) from 1893-1894, which amalgamated with St. Dunstan’s University to form UPEI in 1969. The original site of the PWC Montgomery attended was on Weymouth Street in downtown Charlottetown, where Holland College is now located. Holland College was created in 1969 when Montgomery’s PWC became part of the new UPEI.

“When I went to Prince of Wales College there was not an automobile in the whole world or a traffic cop in America.  Nobody but Darius Green had ever flown. No wireless. No radio. No moving pictures. No X-Ray. No bobbed hair. No Charleston. No jazz. No Lloyd George. No Bolsheviks. A peaceful world with even the Spanish-American war and the Boer unpleasantness far in the future, while the seed of the red harvest of 1914 was not yet even sown.” (from “The Day Before Yesterday,” an essay of reminiscences on her time at Prince of Wales College which Montgomery contributed to the May, 1927 edition of The College Times (vol. 3, no.3 – pages 29-34).