Time to raise a glass of raspberry cordial in celebration. One of the most popular Prince Edward Island tourist attractions linked to Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables saga is getting a government-funded makeover.
Just a week after $23 million in upgrades to a handful of historic sites in P.E.I. was formally announced by Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay, Ottawa has put out a call for consultants to guide the “redevelopment” of Green Gables Heritage Place in Cavendish.
The call for tender, issued Wednesday morning, specifically asks for “proposals from consultants for professional services.”
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According to Parks Canada spokesperson Annette Campbell, the overall goal of the redevelopment is to “refresh” the visitor experience, improve traffic flow through the site and upgrade the existing facilities.
“We are still in the planning stages,” Campbell noted in an email.
Green Gables Heritage Place will likely be familiar to anyone who has vacationed on the island, or who has even a passing interest in all things Anne.
Billed as the location that originally inspired Montgomery to pen the Anne of Green Gables stories, the site includes the Victorian-era Green Gables homestead where, according to Parks Canada, “images from the blockbuster 1908 novel blend with the real life experiences of local author Lucy Maud Montgomery.”
There is also a welcome centre, a gift shop, a barn, a cafe and a large parking lot.
In May 2016, Campbell said, Parks Canada received a series of recommendations from another team of consultants for improvements to the site. They included:
- Renovating the welcome centre and the gift shop to relieve congestion and reworking the site entrance path so that visitors walking to the house can take advantage of the view.
- Improving the parking area to better accommodate parking and drop-off areas for cars and buses.
- Adding a multi-purpose space for programs and on-site events.
- Eliminating any existing barriers to the site.
- Expanding the cafeteria.
“The next step will be to take those recommendations and develop design plans,” Campbell said.
“Phase 1 will probably begin late this fall, with some demolition work and renovations to the barn. Phase 2 will begin in 2017. We estimate that the construction itself will be complete for the 2019 visitor season.”
There is no indication that the Victorian home itself will undergo any major renovations.
Parks Canada recently completed an upgrade to the Haunted Wood Trail attraction, a ramble through the woods near the house.
“In short, these investments will give our past a future,” Campbell said.