Category Archives: History Lessons

Centre 150

Canada turns 150 in 2017 – why not come to Canada’s birthplace to celebrate? In 1864, delegates to the Charlottetown Conference came up with an interesting concept – why not merge the colonies and form a country? A series of meetings and conferences followed and on July 1, 1867 the Dominion of Canada was declared.

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Charlottetown is proud of its role as Canada’s Birthplace and the activities planned for our 150th birthday revolve around the country’s origins, its current standing especially in the arts, and our future as a great nation. Most of the action will take place in and around Confederation Centre of the Arts, located right in the heart of Charlottetown.

Built in 1964 to commemorate the Charlottetown Conference, Confederation Centre has a mission to “inspire Canadians through heritage and the arts to celebrate the origins and evolution of Canada.”

Green Gables Quick Facts

Anne of Green Gables was an immediate success when it was first published in 1908. It sold nineteen thousand copies in the first five months.

It went into ten printings in its first year and was translated into Swedish as early as 1909.

It has since been translated into more than a dozen languages.

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It is believed that more than 50 million copies have been sold worldwide.

The term “Anne of Green Gables” is currently a registered trademark, owned jointly by the Province of Prince Edward Island and the heirs of L.M. Montgomery. Producers of Anne-related products outside of PEI pay a royalty to the family while Island producers make Anne items royalty free.

First staged at the Confederation Centre of the Arts in Charlottetown in 1965 as part of the inaugural Charlottetown Festival, Anne of Green Gables-The Musical™ now holds a Guinness World Record as the longest running annual musical!

About 3.3-million people world-wide have seen the musical – in Charlottetown and other Canadian cities, as well New York, London (England), and Japan. In Charlottetown alone, over 2.1-million people have seen the show (from 1965 to 2015)

Seventeen Canadian actors have performed the lead role of Anne Shirley since 1965.

Based on L.M. Montgomery‘s novel Anne of Green Gables, first published in 1908, the musical was written and composed by Don Harron and Norman Campbell respectively, with lyrics by Elaine Campbell and Mavor Moore.

On Canada Day 1999, the Dominion Institute and the Council for Canadian Unity held two Internet surveys (one in English and one in French) asking people to nominate their favourite Canadian heroes; L.M. Montgomery, author of Anne of Green Gables, was voted one of the top twenty heroes of the Twentieth Century.

Anne of Green Gables and other works by Montgomery have been adapted for stage plays, radio dramas, musicals, movies, television miniseries and movies, and into an interactive CD-ROM.

CBC’s Road to Avonlea (based on Montgomery’s stories) held the record as the most-watched Canadian TV series averaging 1.97 million viewers in the 1989-90 season. (Surpassed by Canadian Idol in 2003).

Over 125,000 people visit Green Gables Heritage Place at L.M. Montgomery’s Cavendish National Historic Site each year.

In Japan, Montgomery became part of the school curriculum in 1952. In 1939, when New Brunswick missionary, Miss Shaw, left Japan, she gave to her friend Hanako Muraoka her prized copy of Anne of Green Gables. Secretly, the respected Japanese translator rendered Montgomery’s text into Japanese, Akage No Anne (Anne of the Red Hair).

When the Second World War ended and officials were looking for uplifting Western literature for the schools, Muraoka brought out her translation of Anne. Ever since, Anne has been a part of Japanese culture, with her exotic red hair and comic outspokenness. Yuko Izawa’s recently published bibliography of editions gives some idea of the continuing popularity of Montgomery in Japan.

Today, there is an Anne Academy in Japan; there are national fan clubs; one nursing school is nicknamed “The Green Gables School of Nursing” and is sister school with the University of Prince Edward Island’s School of Nursing. Thousands of Japanese come to Prince Edward Island every year as visitors to Anne country and the Land of Green Gables. When Green Gables House caught fire in May 1997, the Japanese responded immediately by sending money to restore and repair the building. Dozens of glossy Japanese magazines have devoted whole issues to photographs of Island scenery and crafts and of course to the sites devoted to Montgomery and her works.

In Poland, Montgomery was something of a hero in war time and later, becoming part of a thriving black market trade for the Polish resistance. Polish soldiers were issued copies of a Montgomery novel to take to the front with them in the Second World War. The Blue Castle was made into a musical in Cracow in the 1980’s and its performances were sold out. Today, there is a new L.M. Montgomery School in Warsaw.

Montgomery’s work introduces many readers to Canada. For example, as a child immigrant from China, Her Excellency, Adrienne Clarkson, the Governor General of Canada, understood Canadian customs and culture through reading Montgomery’s novels. In 2000, Her Excellency became the official Patron of the L.M. Montgomery Institute at the University of Prince Edward Island.

Every two years the L.M. Montgomery Institute at UPEI hosts an international academic conference concerning Montgomery’s life, works, culture, and influence. Participants and presenters have come from Australia, Canada, China, England, Ireland, Israel, Scotland, Sweden, Japan, and the United States. Montgomery scholarship is undertaken in countries around the world.

Korean Broadcasting System (the national network) has just aired a one-hour program on Montgomery and Anne of Green Gables. The broadcast is tied to the publication by the network of more than a dozen of Montgomery’s Anne novels as well as a promotion whereby 20 Koreans will win a trip to Prince Edward Island in Canada in May.
Montgomery saw the coming of the telephone, inexpensive Victrolas, wireless radios, cars, airplanes, motorized tractors, silent films and talking movies; she lived through the First World War and the beginning of the Second.

Her views–about culture and about women–changed with those of her times. Her own portraits of women grew sharper in some details–even Anne and Emily are worlds apart in their ambitions and in their resentment over the customary dismissal of women who write. The five published volumes of her journals reveal much about the complex woman behind the novels.

Readers of Nikkei Woman Magazine in Japan recently rated Anne of Green Gables as their number one favourite pick in the category of “My Favourite Book.”

Courtesy: PEI Tourism

What is The Guild?

In February, 1994, the PEI Council of the Arts acquired the Royal Bank Building at the corner of Richmond & Queen Streets in Charlottetown, PEI, the current location of The Guild.

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The intent was to convert the building from a bank into an arts/cultural centre designed to house a theatre, a gallery, studio working space for existing and emerging artists, as well as office space for the PEI Council of the Arts and other non-profit cultural organizations.

Initially, the facility was incorporated as a for-profit entity, operating as The Arts Guild, with the expectation to become financially sustainable and have the capacity to generate annual revenues that would meet its operational and capital requirements.

However, throughout the 10-year period that followed, various challenges and limitations proved to be daunting to the new managers of the building therefore, the original intentions for the space were not met.

In 2004, a new non-profit corporation (ARS LONGA Inc.) was formed and a 6-member Board of Directors was appointed by the signatories of the original Memorandum of Understanding, signed by the Province of PEI, the City of Charlottetown, The PEI Council of the Arts. The new corporation currently operates as “The Guild” and runs all aspects of the building’s operations.

In July, 2005, operations of The Guild began under a new Mission and Vision set out by the Board of Directors and which directs the operation of the facility to this day.

Members of the Board of Directors continue to work in concert with the Executive Director of The Guild to achieve long term success; specifically, to enable greater participation and inclusion for all the vibrant cultural community on Prince Edward Island.

20 Years at the Harbourfront

Harbourfront Theatre opened its doors in 1996, the result of more than a decade of tireless effort on the part of a group of Summerside citizens with a vision to create a state of the art, multi purpose performing arts facility in Prince County. The theatre, along with the Eptek Art & Culture Centre and the Summerside Visitor Information Centre, is housed in The Wyatt Centre, aptly named after one of the facility’s major contributors, Dr. Wanda Wyatt.

 

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Harbourfront Theatre is owned by Regional Cultural Events Centre Inc., a registered non-profit organization managed by a board of directors, general manager, and director of operations, and boasts a friendly, knowledgeable, professional staff and a dedicated core of over 90 volunteers.

Its mission is “to provide a continuous live entertainment service to the Prince Edward Island community and its visitors, featuring both local and touring productions, while being a significant driving force within the community to encourage and nurture the development and appreciation of the performing arts.”

The facility is ideally suited to a myriad of uses, including plays, concerts, opera, ballet, comedy & magic shows, conferences, seminars, receptions, business mixers, trade shows and public forums. Beautifully appointed and state of the art equipped, the Harbourfront Theatre represents the best of both worlds – large enough to host renowned touring acts, yet small enough so that every one of its 527 seats captures a uniquely intimate performer/audience experience.

Opening Doors to the Past

Tony Gallant is a freelance photographer with a keen interest in documenting local history. He has lived most of his life in Prince County at the western end of Canada’s smallest province and birthplace of Confederation, Prince Edward Island.

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In 2012 Tony began documenting properties that have been abandoned – and continue to disappear from the landscape. He describes these dilapidated old houses, barns and buildings as “little time capsules dotted all across our Island.”

Tony and his wife Judy live on a three-acre woodlot in Brockton and have raised four children: Cory, Jamie, Amy Lynn, and Tyler.

Mr. Gallant’s show Door to the Past opens at The Guild on August 10th.

From Sea to Shining Sea (On Dry Land)

‘From Sea to Shining Sea’ Historic Vignette

Location: Richmond Street side of Province House, Rain location: Confederation Chamber exhibition located in the Upper Foyer of Confederation Centre.

Hours of Operation: Daily historic vignette runs at 12:50 p.m., Tuesday to Saturday.

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In addition to the daily historic vignette, the Confederation Players will be offering guided walking tours, beginning July 2nd. See schedule and details below:

(Departing from the Visitor Information Centre, 178 Water St.)

· 10 a.m.-11 a.m. – Tuesday to Saturday – Historic Great George Tour

· 2 p.m.-3 p.m. – Wednesday to Saturday – Visite guidée de la rue Great George

· 3:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m. – Tuesday to Saturday – Historic Great George Tour

(Departing from the 1864 sculpture beside Province House)

· 11 a.m.-11:45 a.m. – Friday to Saturday – La place historique Queen

· 2:30 p.m.-3:15 p.m. – Tuesday-Saturday – Queen Square Tour

 

Experience the Confederation Players

Confederation Chamber Experience

Location: Confederation Centre Upper Foyer
Hours of Operation:
June: 10 a.m.– 3 p.m. Mon. to Sat.; Closed Sunday
July and August: 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon. to Sat.; 12 p.m.–5 p.m. Sunday

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Cost: free of charge. The Chamber visitor experience includes the following:

A stunning replica of the historical Confederation Chamber where the Fathers of Confederation met during the Charlottetown Conference; Parks Canada’s new 20-minute film ‘Building of Destiny’ which transports viewers back in time to the first eight days in September 1864 when history was made at Province House that would change the face of North America. This film also showcases related themes, including the First Nations context at the time of Confederation and the role of women in Victorian society.

A short film about the role of Confederation Centre of the Arts as Canada’s national living memorial to the Fathers of Confederation.

Historic vignettes from the Confederation Players.

Guided interpretation of the exhibition, which includes a few original artifacts from the Confederation Chamber.