by Barb Pratt
UXBRIDGE: “But Lucy Maud Montgomery lived in Prince Edward Island!” Not true, although most of her books were set in the picturesque province where she was born. Actually, the famous author spent all of her married life in Ontario. In the year 1911 she arrived in Leaskdale, just north of Uxbridge, as the bride of Ewan Macdonald, the Presbyterian minister.
Ms. Montgomery was already a celebrity when she arrived. Anne of Green Gables had been published in 1908 and was a runaway bestseller in Canada and the US. The people in that little church must have been a bit overwhelmed to have her in their midst!
Lucy Maud Montgomery lived in the Leaskdale Manse, as Mrs. Ewan Macdonald for fifteen years. While there, she raised two children, worked as a busy minister’s wife, and wrote 11 of her 22 books.
She made forays: to Toronto, for speaking engagements; to Boston, to meet with her publishers; to PEI, to be with friends and family.
The Manse is now a National Historic Site, restored and maintained by The Lucy Maud Montgomery Society of Ontario. Walls were ripped out, timbers shored up, a hidden staircase revealed and wallpaper and furnishings were matched from Maud’s own photographs. The project took, one outstanding contractor and a team of volunteers, over a year to complete. Now, this elegant house never fails to bring oohs and aahs.
Last year alone, hundreds of visitors came to see the Manse, and the Historic Leaskdale Church where Rev. Macdonald gave his Sunday sermons. It’s a destination for anyone who has read Anne of Green Gables. The tour of the manse, and the plays, concerts and luncheons are all part of the attraction.
This year we celebrate Lucy Maud Montgomery's 150th birthday. Watch for many special events to commemorate her life and legacy. Check out the web site, at www.lucymaudmontgomery.ca.