L.M. Montgomery’s Cavendish National Historic Site, Green Gables Heritage Place Draft Management Plan, 2022
Green Gables Heritage Place
Parks Canada manages one of the finest and most extensive systems of protected natural and historic places in the world. The Agency’s mandate is to protect and present these places for the benefit and enjoyment of current and future generations. Future-oriented, strategic management of each national historic site, national park, national marine conservation area and heritage canal administered by Parks Canada supports the Agency’s vision:
Canada’s treasured natural and historic places will be a living legacy, connecting hearts and minds to a stronger, deeper understanding of the very essence of Canada.
The Parks Canada Agency Act requires Parks Canada to prepare a management plan for national historic sites administered by the Agency. The L.M. Montgomery’s Cavendish National Historic Site of Canada, Green Gables Heritage Place Management Plan, once approved by the President & Chief Executive Officer of Parks Canada, ensures Parks Canada’s accountability to Canadians, outlining how management of Green Gables Heritage Place will achieve measurable results in support of the Agency’s mandate.
Partners, stakeholders, and interested Canadians, including the Mi’kmaw-rights initiative L’nuey, the L.M. Montgomery Institute of University of Prince Edward Island, and tourism stakeholders, were involved in the preparation of the management plan, helping to shape the future direction of Green Gables Heritage Place. The plan sets clear, strategic direction for the management and operation of Green Gables Heritage Place by articulating a vision, key strategies and objectives. Parks Canada will report annually on progress toward achieving the plan objectives and will review the plan every ten years or sooner if required.
This plan is not an end in and of itself. Parks Canada will maintain an open dialogue on the implementation of the management plan, to ensure that it remains relevant and meaningful. The plan will serve as the focus for ongoing engagement on the management of Green Gables Heritage Place in years to come.
Significance of L.M. Montgomery’s Cavendish National Historic Site, Green Gables Heritage Place
L.M. Montgomery’s Cavendish National Historic Site was designated by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada in 2003. The designation recognizes the significance of the cultural landscape intimately associated with author Lucy Maud (L.M.) Montgomery’s formative years and early career. The cultural landscape of L.M. Montgomery’s Cavendish National Historic Site establishes Montgomery in time and place in her world of Cavendish, and reveals the natural surroundings and circumstances in her life which influenced the story of her most famous novel, Anne of Green Gables, an enduring contribution to Canadian literature.
The national historic site is made up of two separate properties (Map 1). The eastern portion, the Site of L.M. Montgomery’s Cavendish Home, is privately owned and operated. The western portion, Green Gables Heritage Place, is administered by Parks Canada and is the focus of this management plan. The two properties are separated by Route 13 and connected by the Haunted Wood Trail.
Together, the two parts of the national historic site serve as anchors for the L.M. Montgomery and Anne tourism offer on Prince Edward Island (PEI). For more than one-hundred years since Anne of Green Gables was written and published (1908) the cultural landscape of Cavendish continues to draw visitors from around the world to experience this unique blend of L.M. Montgomery’s life and her creative descriptions of the area.
Map 1: L.M. Montgomery’s Cavendish National Historic Site — Text version
A map of the entire L.M. Montogomery’s Cavendish National Historic Site. The site includes “Green Gables Heritage Place” (eastern section north of Cavendish Rd/Route 6 and east of Route 13), administered by Parks Canada, and the privately owned and operated “Site of LM Montgomery’s Cavendish Home” (western section north of Cavendish Rd/Route 6 and west of Route 13). The two properties are connected by the Haunted Wood Trail. The visitor reception centre and part of the parking area lie to the north of the designated place.
Green Gables has become famous the world over as the inspiration for the setting in L. M. Montgomery's classic fictional tale Anne of Green Gables. In real life, the Green Gables farm was settled in 1831 by David Macneill Sr. and became the home of David Jr. and Margaret Macneill, who were cousins of Montgomery's grandfather. Although L.M. Montgomery never lived in Green Gable House, she grew up nearby with her grandparents, at the Site of L.M. Montgomery’s Cavendish Home, and she came to know the Green Gables farm through her explorations of the surrounding woodlands, naming places such as the Haunted Wood and Lover’s Lane.
Soon after Anne of Green Gables was published, visitors were drawn to Cavendish in search of Green Gables and other beloved settings and characters from the novel and its sequels. The scenery of rolling farm fields and wooded paths were dear to L.M. Montgomery and continue to hold special meaning for generations of her admirers.
The national historic site commemorates both the fictional landscape of creative imagination and the perseverance and achievement of the author. The elements of protection, authenticity and national significance separate L.M. Montgomery’s Cavendish National Historic Site from other places that use names related to L.M. Montgomery and Anne of Green Gables. In addition to the designated place of L.M. Montgomery’s Cavendish National Historic Site, L.M. Montgomery is recognized by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board as a person of national historic significance. The plaque commemorating L.M. Montgomery is located near the visitor centre at Green Gables Heritage Place. The plaque commemorating the national historic site is not at Green Gables Heritage Place, but is located on the property of the Site of L.M. Montgomery’s Cavendish Home.
Green Gables Heritage Place includes cultural resources that are central to the commemorative integrity of the national historic site. These cultural resources include: Green Gables House and the surrounding garden, yard and forest, including Lover’s Lane, and the Balsam Hollow and Haunted Wood trails. The designations of the national historic site and L.M. Montgomery as a person of national historic significance underscore that Green Gables Heritage Place is a cultural landscape of literary and historic significance for Canadians to appreciate.
The exclusive focus of the strategies in this management plan is Parks Canada’s Green Gables Heritage Place. Green Gables Heritage Place (the site) offers experiences to visitors that increase understanding of L.M. Montgomery and allow for engagement with the beloved fictional character. The site also includes a new (2019) visitor centre that presents exhibits on L.M. Montgomery, her inspiration from the landscape of Cavendish, the worldwide love for Anne of Green Gables, and key themes from the novels: imagination, belonging, beauty, friendship, home, and freedom.
Located on the picturesque north shore of PEI, approximately 40 km northwest of Charlottetown (population 36,000), Green Gables Heritage Place (the site) is a top tourism attraction on PEI (Map 2). Despite land-use changes and the development of tourism opportunities in the surrounding resort municipality, the area retains much of its former character. The Cavendish region is a pleasant, rolling, rural-agricultural landscape that resonates with and brings joy to fans of L.M. Montgomery and her writing, as well as to other visitors who come to experience Green Gables Heritage Place, Prince Edward Island National Park, and the north shore of PEI.
Map 2: Regional setting — Text version
A regional map of Prince Edward Island and northern portions of Nova Scotia and eastern portions of New Brunswick, showing the location of L.M. Montogomery’s Cavendish National Historic Site and other national historic sites of Prince Edward Island administered by Parks Canada. The site is located on the north shore of Prince Edward Island, approximately 40 km northwest of Charlottetown.
- Province House
- Skmaqn— Port-la-Joye—Fort Amherst
Green Gables Heritage Place (the site) was acquired by Parks Canada in 1936 to become part of the new Prince Edward Island National Park, established in 1937, so, in addition to forming part of the national historic site, Green Gables Heritage Place is also located within the boundaries of the national park. The national park lands surrounding the site, on the south side of Cavendish Road (Route 6), include the Green Gables Golf Course, which was established in 1939-40 on former farm fields.
As part of the national park, management direction for Green Gables Heritage Place was previously included in the park’s management plans (1998 and 2007). Since L.M. Montgomery’s Cavendish National Historic Site was designated in 2003, and considering the high profile of Green Gables Heritage Place, it was recommended in the 2007 plan that the management direction for the site be addressed in its own plan. This is Parks Canada’s first management plan for Green Gables Heritage Place.
The site is presented to the public in relation to its built and natural landscape features that inspired L.M. Montgomery and are creatively described in Anne of Green Gables and its sequels. To visit the authentic farmstead that inspired the setting of the novel is a pilgrimage for admirers of L.M. Montgomery and her novels. Operational dates for the site are May 1 – October 31, with by-appointment bookings available between April 15-30 and November 1-30. Events and activities are typically saturated during July and August. Since 2013, visitation at Green Gables Heritage Place has trended up, to over 210,000 visitors during the visitor season in 2019, a 65% increase.
Prior to the completion of this management plan, the site benefitted from major infrastructure investments, totalling over $11 million from 2015 – 2020, with a new visitor centre opened in 2019. Improvements include: the construction of a state-of-the-art visitor centre with new washrooms, gift shop and exhibit hall; a new food service area; upgrades to Green Gables House, including improvements for barrier-free accessibility on the first floor; improvements to trails and bridges; and, upgrades to the parking lot (Map 3).
Consistent with the previous management direction (included in the 2007 management plan for the national park), these investments allow Green Gables Heritage Place to accommodate more visitors and better convey the significance of this setting to L.M. Montgomery and her works of fiction. The investments also improved the condition of landscape features, such as trails and bridges, which were rated to be in fair condition in 2018. The previous plan committed to completing the site’s Commemorative Integrity Statement, which was completed in 2012, and to the preparation of this stand-alone plan. This plan builds on the initial stages of management planning: the 2018 State of the Site Assessment and the scoping exercise completed in 2019. Key issues and opportunities identified during the development of this plan included: maintaining the authenticity of the site, including managing impacts of the surrounding golf course; high visitor expectations and needs to maintain assets and landscape features; strengthening the unique identity of Green Gables Heritage Place as an authentic cultural site of national significance; and, opportunities to raise awareness about Mi’kmaw people and culture.
In addition to Parks Canada’s upgrades at Green Gables Heritage Place, neighbouring operations have also made changes. For example, Avonlea Village immediately to the west of the site has shifted its focus from heritage presentation to retail; and, in 2019 the Resort Municipality completed a project to create Montgomery Park. Montgomery Park, located on Route 13 adjacent to both Green Gables Heritage Place and the Site of L.M. Montgomery’s Cavendish Home, includes a statue of L.M. Montgomery, interpretive panels, a walking trail, picnic facilities, playground equipment and washrooms.
Map 3: Green Gables Heritage Place — Text version
A detailed map of “Green Gables Heritage Place”, with legend for buildings, trails and other amenities. Inset map shows entire Balsam Hollow Trail (0.8km), Lover’s Lane, and Haunted Wood Trail (0.9km).
- Visitor Centre
- Gift Shop
- Barrier-Free Washroom
- Water Refill Station
- Interpretive Trail
- Picnic Area
- Food Service
- Bus Barking
As a high-profile attraction on PEI, and one of several operations in the Cavendish area that use names related to L.M. Montgomery or Anne, Green Gables Heritage Place works in close collaboration with a number of tourism partners and stakeholders. These include: the Site of L.M. Montgomery’s Cavendish Home, the Montgomery Park Committee, Tourism Cavendish Beach, Central Coastal Tourism Partnership, Tourism Industry Association of PEI, the Anne Round Table, and the cruise ship and motor coach industries. For many years, Parks Canada and the Mi’kmaw First Nations on Prince Edward Island have built a positive and cooperative relationship by working in partnership toward shared goals. The groups collaborate on many types of joint projects; this work is often coordinated by L’nuey, the Mi’kmaw-rights initiative, which is owned and directed by Lennox Island First Nation and Abegweit First Nation. In 2018, Parks Canada signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the L.M. Montgomery Institute of the University of PEI. The purpose of the MOU is to open communications, strengthen relationships and advance their shared priorities in commemorating the life and stories of L.M. Montgomery.
As a deeply meaningful, inspiring destination for diverse visitors from across the country and around the world, Green Gables Heritage Place celebrates its status as a protected heritage place and presents L.M. Montgomery’s sense of imagination. Green Gables House and the surrounding garden, yard, farm buildings and forest trails bring visitors back to a simpler time, to the authentic place of L.M. Montgomery’s inspiration. The site presents the coming together of L.M. Montgomery, the beauty of nature and the character Anne.
In 15 years, Green Gables Heritage Place continues to reflect the spirit of L.M. Montgomery’s Cavendish and provide visitors with immersive experiences for them to appreciate the achievements of L.M. Montgomery as a person of national historic significance. Visitors soak in the landscape and lifestyle that inspired the author, enjoying the setting of her novels. Green Gables Heritage Place provides visitors with an opportunity to understand and explore the universal themes of imagination, beauty and belonging, as well as the essence of Prince Edward Island, including appreciation of nature and Mi’kmaw culture.
As a fulfilling pilgrimage for devoted fans of the Anne of Green Gables novels, the site offers innovative programming that brings to life the places, stories and characters of Green Gables. The cultural landscape, house, farm buildings, visitor centre and interpretation programs continue to meet the high expectations of visitors and partners. Whether visiting the site in-person or exploring the site through on-line experiences, visitors from a wide range of identities, interests and abilities will enjoy their experiences learning about L.M. Montgomery and her fictional heroine, Anne. Green Gables Heritage Place continues to engage new generations of fans of the Anne stories, including those attracted by adaptations of the novels as plays, movies and television programs.
Green Gables Heritage Place is recognized as an integral part of the province’s tourism offer related to L.M. Montgomery and Anne of Green Gables, and receives strong support from partners, stakeholders and Island residents as a foundation of local, regional and international tourism.
The 10-year strategic priorities for Green Gables Heritage Place (the site) will be achieved through a management framework consisting of three key strategies. The strategies focus on the areas of visitor experience and cultural resource protection, the beauty of nature, and working with partners and stakeholders. The strategies have associated objectives and targets that support Parks Canada in achieving its vision for the site. The strategies are also supported by ongoing federal and departmental policies, programs, and commitments that provide direction on overarching issues such as sustainable development and operations.
Key strategy 1
The scope of visitation
This strategy provides direction related to meeting the needs of visitors and maintaining the condition of the site following significant investments from 2015 to 2020.
From the outset of Anne of Green Gables, L.M. Montgomery’s character Anne frequently concerns herself with “the scope of imagination” offered by different settings and circumstances. A focus of this management plan is “the scope of visitation,” or how the condition of the site’s resources and facilities support excellent experiences for visitors. An integral part of the site’s setting and the experiences of visitors is the protection and presentation of authentic cultural resources such as Lover’s Lane and Green Gables House. Surrounding features such as the trails, farmyard and gardens contribute greatly to visitors’ appreciation of the site. The proximity of the golf course can affect experiences at the site. To support the sense of place at Green Gables Heritage Place, Parks Canada will continue to work closely with the operator of the golf course.
To support the below objectives, Parks Canada has internal expertise in the areas of cultural resource management and asset management, as well as visitor use management and visitor experience strategies. These internal programs and tools, in addition to collaboration with partners and stakeholders, will be used to support the site with offering a diverse and sustainable range of quality experiences. Having completed significant upgrades in 2020, including the new visitor centre, Green Gables Heritage Place is in a strong position to meet targets for visitor satisfaction. However, opportunities exist to expand certain markets and the trend of increasing visitation needs to be considered. There are also opportunities to improve accessibility to the site, and Green Gables Heritage Place will continue to work with stakeholders towards that goal.
Cultural resources are maintained to support existing and new visitor experiences, programs and events.
- By 2030, Green Gables House will be maintained in good condition.
- By 2030, the condition of the cultural landscape will improve from fair to good.
- By 2025, the availability of information related to the site of the school attended by L.M. Montgomery (near Route 13, along the Haunted Wood Trail) will be increased.
- By 2030, as a valued supporting element for Green Gables House and the farmyard, maintenance and interpretation of the house’s garden will be improved.
The site offers a diversity of experiences, accessible to visitors with a wide range of interests and abilities.
- By 2025, visitor satisfaction with the availability of activities has improved from fair to good.
- By 2025, barrier-free access for visitors with mobility challenges and other disabilities has improved.
- By 2030, alternate on-site opportunities to experience Green Gables House will be increased, including for visitors who do not tour the interior of the house.
Infrastructure and facilities are maintained to support existing and new visitor experiences, programs and events.
- By 2030, satisfaction with the condition of facilities is maintained at greater than 90%.
- By 2030, visitation levels and accommodation of large groups are managed such that overall visitor satisfaction is maintained at greater than 90%./li>
Use of the site’s facilities for special events has increased.
- By 2030, the number of revenue generating third-party bookings of the site’s facilities has increased.
- By 2030, the number of special events and community events has increased.
Key strategy 2
The pleasant ache of nature
L.M. Montgomery had a deep love of nature. Her appreciation of natural beauty is reflected in her careful and detailed descriptions of the places she loved, which permeate everything she wrote, from novels and poetry to journal entries and letters. The evocative descriptions of nature in Anne of Green Gables draw people to cherish the story, and to seek out the landscapes she loved by coming to experience Green Gables Heritage Place.
In Anne of Green Gables the sights, sounds and smells of these special places affect the character Anne so deeply L.M. Montgomery describes it as “a pleasant ache.” In that spirit, this key strategy supports the protection of nature as an important part of the site’s cultural landscape and the experiences of visitors. Visitor feedback indicates that the trails, grounds and gardens are a significant part of what visitors enjoy about their experiences at the site. This echoes the sentiments of L.M. Montgomery, who had a life-long connection to Lover’s Lane. To support this key strategy, Parks Canada has internal expertise, programs and tools that will be used to ensure the condition of the forests and brook are monitored and protected. Management of the site (including natural resources, cultural resources and visitor experience) will consider the potential for increasingly frequent and severe storm events and other impacts of climate change. At Green Gables Heritage Place, ecological integrity of the site’s forests and brook will be balanced with aesthetic needs that support natural beauty and the commemorative integrity of the site.
The natural environment, an integral part of the cultural landscape and visitor experience, is protected.
- By 2025, the presence and use of suitable habitat for species-at-risk will be assessed and sufficiently understood to support necessary measures to maintain or improve available habitat and connectivity.
- By 2030, through working with the adjacent golf course, any environmental impacts from course operations will be reduced.
- By 2030, through continued maintenance and restoration activities, the condition of the forest and brook will be maintained, considering both natural beauty and ecosystem conservation.
Key strategy 3
Working with kindred spirits
L.M. Montgomery’s character, Anne, was passionate about “bosom friends” and “kindred spirits”. The themes of friendship and belonging are central to the popularity of L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables.
Given the importance of L.M. Montgomery and Anne to tourism on Prince Edward Island; the extent to which names related to Anne and Green Gables are used; and, the international interest in L.M. Montgomery, Anne and Green Gables Heritage Place, it is important for Parks Canada to continue working with partners and stakeholders that share interests in literary, cultural and nature-based tourism. In particular, Parks Canada needs to continue working with partners and stakeholders to promote the site, and to ensure that Parks Canada’s messages related to L.M. Montgomery and Green Gables Heritage Place are properly communicated to target audiences in a consistent manner.
Through ongoing signage improvements, the site is making progress with refining its identity, explaining the relationship between Green Gables Heritage Place and L.M. Montgomery’s Cavendish National Historic Site, and differentiating Green Gables Heritage Place from the national park, the Site of L.M. Montgomery’s Cavendish Home, and other destinations. The focus of this strategy is Parks Canada’s continued work with partners and stakeholders, as a means of promoting the site and reaching potential visitors with appropriate messaging.
Awareness of the unique identity of Green Gables Heritage Place will be increased.
- By 2025, the availability of outreach or promotional products has increased, including products that clarify the site’s authenticity and national significance.
- By 2025, Green Gables Heritage Place will have increased its presence on social media.
- By 2030, off-site opportunities to experience Green Gables Heritage Place will be increased through outreach and improved use of the site’s web pages.
- Through 2030, Parks Canada continues to facilitate collaboration among partners and stakeholders involved with tourism related to L.M. Montgomery and Anne of Green Gables.
The site’s position as a foundation for authentic tourism related to L.M. Montgomery and Anne of Green Gables will be improved.
- By 2025, relationships with representatives of international markets will be established or strengthened.
- By 2025, the needs of key tourism providers, such as cruise and motor coach tours, will be better understood through increased communications.
- By 2030, the number of visitors from outside of Canada and the United States (“international records” in market analyses) will have increased 5% compared to 2018.
The relationship between the PEI Field Unit and the PEI Mi’kmaw First Nations remains strong.
- Through 2030, the site and PEI Mi’kmaw First Nations will continue working together to expand opportunities to engage visitors to learn about and connect to Mi’kmaw perspectives, history and culture.
Summary of strategic environmental assessment
The purpose of a strategic environmental assessment is to incorporate environmental considerations into the development of public policies, plans, and program proposals, to support environmentally-sound decision making. In accordance with The Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals (2010), a strategic environmental assessment was conducted on the management plan for L.M. Montgomery’s Cavendish National Historic Site, Green Gables Heritage Place.
Many positive effects will occur as a result of the implementation of the plan, for example: ensuring the commemorative integrity of the site, including maintaining the condition of cultural resources and assets. In addition, positive effects will result from the maintenance and restoration of the forest and brook. The plan also identifies actions to better understand the presence and use of habitat for species at risk. This is important because the site contains suitable habitat for migratory birds, and potentially for several bird and bat species listed under the federal Species at Risk Act. Potential bird species include Bank Swallow, Canada Warbler, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Common Nighthawk, and Bobolink; potential bat species include Little Brown Myotis and Northern Myotis. Surveys for species at risk have not been conducted in recent years, but nesting Bobolink have been documented at the site in the past. Suitable habitat includes natural habitat such as grasses, shrubs and trees as well as old buildings on the site for some species. Opportunities to minimize impact from the adjacent golf course will also be identified and implemented. The management plan will help connect Canadians with nature contributing to the implementation of the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy.
Objectives and targets identified in the management plan that could potentially result in negative environmental effects include: increased visitation and special events, infrastructure repairs, and site maintenance activities. Increased visitation and special events could impact the integrity of cultural resources over time. They may also result in disturbance or harm to nesting birds, including migratory birds and, potentially, species at risk. Depending on the nature of infrastructure repairs and maintenance activities, possible adverse effects could include: damage to cultural resources; vegetation damage; alteration of wildlife habitat; and, disturbance or harm to nesting birds, including migratory birds and, potentially, species at risk. However, these effects can be minimized by following existing guidelines, including the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada; conducting project-level impact assessments and including species-specific mitigations as appropriate; and, complying with the requirements of the Species at Risk Act, Migratory Birds Convention Act and relevant Parks Canada policy and guidance. Operations at the site are required to mitigate impacts on climate according to Greening Government requirements in support of the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy.
Indigenous partners, stakeholders and the public will be consulted on the draft management plan, including a summary of the draft strategic environmental assessment. Feedback will be considered and incorporated into the strategic environmental assessment and management plan as appropriate.
For more information about the draft management plan or about L.M. Montgomery’s Cavendish National Historic Site of Canada, Green Gables Heritage Place:
LMMC NHS, Green Gables Heritage Place
2 Palmers Lane
Charlottetown, PE C1A 5V8
© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the President & Chief Executive Officer of Parks Canada, 2022.
Cette publication est aussi disponible en français :
Ébauche du plan directeur du lieu historique national du Canada du Cavendish-de-L.-M.-Montgomery et du site patrimonial Green Gables, 2022
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