Keeping Anne Alive For Tourists

Keeping Anne alive for tourists
By Mike Duffy

Published Stanley Bridge Centre

LM Montgomery was years ahead of her time. A force for social change, whose worldwide impact is only now being fully appreciated. How well we tell her story will help determine future tourism development in “Anne’s Land.”

Senator Mike Duffy

Last week residents of the Resort Municipality were invited to discuss a proposal to “redevelop the Cavendish Heritage Park.”

The meeting notice read: “The Resort Municipality of Stanley Bridge, Hope River, Bayview, Cavendish and North Rustico has engaged Coles Associates (in association with BDA Landscape Architecture, Results Marketing PEI Inc. and MRSB Consulting Services) to redevelop the Cavendish Heritage Park and to develop a connected well adjudicated Lucy Maud Montgomery literary tour.”

The Municipality is looking for ways to make our area, often referred to as “Anne’s Land” more interesting and appealing to tourists.

If we don’t find new – perhaps interactive – ways to capture the attention of tourists; to find compelling ways to tell the Anne story; and explore the other fascinating aspects of LM Montgomery’s work, we risk falling off the tourism radar.

For decades LM Montgomery was seen a writer of “cute” children’s stories. But because of the times in which she worked, and the world-wide distribution of her work, historians today see her in a new, and much more important light.

A lot of the credit for that new appreciation belongs to Dr. Betsy Epperly the former President of UPEI, who made the study of LM Montgomery her life’s work, and who founded The L.M. Montgomery Institute at UPEI.

A further appreciation of Montgomery’s important literary and cultural impact on countries around the world, can be found in “Anne’s World: A New Century of Anne of Green Gables.”

Edited by Irene Gammel, and Benjamin Lefebvre, the book is published by the University of Toronto Press.

They track the ways in which the international editions of “Anne” impacted the countries in which the translated works were published.

Most people know the Japanese fascination with Anne came about because “Anne of Green Gables” became required reading in the Japanese school system after the war.

General Douglas MacArthur, who led the Army of Occupation wanted to bring Western values of equality and democracy to Japanese society. He saw Anne as a perfect role model for Japanese girls.

Today Japan is a vibrant democracy. Their culture, and the role of women there is much different than it was 75 years ago. And part of the credit belongs to LM Montgomery.

A “connected well-adjudicated LM Montgomery Literary Tour” which is what the Resort Municipality is seeking – should not only show tourists the Island places referred to in the “Anne” books; it should also explain how Anne Shirley’s story fueled social change in countries around the world.

LM Montgomery’s vision extended far beyond her Island home, and our tribute to her at LM Montgomery Heritage Park and the associated literary tour should reflect that internationally important legacy.

To provide your input on considerations for the park and tour design, written comments will be accepted until July 23, 2018 by e-mail or fax. Fax: 902-963-2932 Email:


Cavendish resident Mike Duffy writes on topics of local interest. He represents PEI in The Senate of Canada.

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