Tracing the roots of Anne of Green Gables in Prince Edward Island

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Anne of Green Gables in Cavendish, Prince Edward Island, Canada “Once and again, I stray down and listen to the duet of the brook and wind, and watch the sunbeams creeping through the dark boughs, the gossamers glimmering here and there, and the ferns growing up in the shadowy nooks.”
-The Selected Journals of L.M.Montgomery, entry July 24, 1899

With prose like that, it’s no wonder L.M. Montgomery became a world famous author. Drawing inspiration from the beautiful meadows and forests around Cavendish, Prince Edward Island, her surroundings would one day serve as the setting for her finest work: the story of Anne of Green Gables.

The tale of a spunky, red-headed orphan mistakingly sent to live with an aging brother and sister on their farm has been a treasured tale for generations, particularly in Canada, Japan and Poland. More than 50 million copies of the book have been sold since it was first published in 1908, creating an entire spinoff industry of toys, movies and mementos. The province of PEI has been the greatest benefactor, with visitors from around the world making the trip to the island on Canada’s east coast just to see the spot that inspired Montgomery’s stories: Green Gables Heritage Place.

Anne of Green Gables in Cavendish, Prince Edward Island, Canada

The entrance to Green Gables Heritage Place

The site sits on property which originally belonged to Montgomery’s cousins who she would often visit, and is now run by Parks Canada which restored the farm to look how Montgomery described it in the novels. They also erected a Visitor Centre, which shows a short film about the writer and has exhibits including her typewriter, scrapbooks, family photos and a look back at her life including her work as a teacher and journalist.
Anne of Green Gables in Cavendish, Prince Edward Island, CanadaVisitors then pass through a huge barn with big red doors and find themselves standing in front of perhaps the most iconic feature: the Green Gables House. Surrounded by pretty gardens and looking out over the surrounding woods, it looks just as it would have in the 1800s, complete with a dining room ready to serve up supper, brightly-coloured wallpaper and bedrooms that look just rumpled enough that it seems like Anne only just woke up and left for school.

Anne of Green Gables in Cavendish, Prince Edward Island, Canada

The famous Green Gables House

Visitors are welcome to walk through the home, and chances are this is where one might be lucky enough to come across mischievous Anne and her carrot-coloured braids. Never one to shy away from the spotlight, she’s always happy to pose for a photo!

Anne of Green Gables in Cavendish, Prince Edward Island, Canada

I found her!

The rest of the grounds are comprised of the Acadian forest where Montgomery spent many of her days dreaming up stories. Marked pathways such as Lovers’ Lane, Balsam Hollow trail and Haunted Wood trail are beautiful spots for a stroll, and include signs along the route with excerpts of Montgomery’s writing about the woodlands.
Anne of Green Gables in Cavendish, Prince Edward Island, Canada Anne of Green Gables in Cavendish, Prince Edward Island, CanadaFor those who haven’t got enough of Anne Shirley, Avonlea Village is usually the next stop. Located just down the road from the heritage site, the village has adorable shops, restaurants and cafes, including PEI institution COWS which some say makes the world’s best ice cream. This area is hands-down the best spot to stock up on souvenirs such as dolls, books and even Anne of Green Gables themed potato chips!

Anne of Green Gables in Cavendish, Prince Edward Island, Canada

Avonlea Village

Anne of Green Gables in Cavendish, Prince Edward Island, CanadaAvonlea Village also has historical significance, as it’s home to the Belmont School where Montgomery taught in 1896 and has since been converted into a gift shop. The Long River Church built back in 1872 also happens to be the original Presbyterian Church that the writer attended with her family, and is now used to host concerts.

Anne of Green Gables in Cavendish, Prince Edward Island, Canada

The former schoolhouse that L.M. Montgomery taught in

Anne of Green Gables in Cavendish, Prince Edward Island, Canada

The church L.M. Montgomery used to attend

The final Anne of Green Gables stop worth noting is back in Charlottetown. Anne of Green Gables- The Musical has been performed for more than half a century—so long in fact, that the production is now a Guinness World Record holder for the “longest-running annual musical theatre production.”

Hosted in the city’s Confederation Centre of the Arts, the highly-entertaining show features a talented cast (including a few islanders) who spin and cartwheel around the stage while singing the story of Anne’s unexpected arrival in Cavendish. A night at the theatre is the perfect way to cap off a day tracing the roots of the spunky, beloved Anne of Green Gables, seeing first hand why she holds such a special place in everyone’s hearts.


A guide to Charlottetown, PEI for every type of traveller

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10 quintessential Prince Edward Island experiences you must try

Tidal bore rafting in Nova Scotia, Canada: A wild, salty ride

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Tracing the roots of Anne of Green Gables Globe Guide explored Green Gables Heritage Place in partnership with Tourism PEI. As always, hosts have no editorial influence on articles.

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15 Responses

  1. Janice says:

    Love original “Anne of Green gables ” movie
    With Megan fellows” I too was an orphan
    And did relate to everything in the movie – watched it many times on PBS – bought the 2pack movie – still have it today- it has been
    Taken care of with special love

  2. Pedro Possebon (Brazilskyy) says:

    I only will be rest in peace after i meet the ;Green Gables in Prince Edward Island

  3. Evan Kristine says:

    Oh my goodness! I did not know they have this! I so need to visit this place. I LOVE ANNE OF GREEN GABLES! One of her most memorable quote for me is “Tomorrow is always a new day”

  4. Bernard Tan says:

    This is such an interesting place. I have never read the book before, maybe I should check it out soon.

  5. What a charming place! Great photos and post, thanks for sharing 🙂

  6. Never knew this place existed! I’d LOVE to visit! Thank you for sharing this lovely post 🙂

  7. Arzo Travels says:

    I have never heard of that story. The place looks so extremely peaceful (reminds me of “Our little house”)

  8. Vanessa says:

    I LOVE Anne of Green Gables! And PEI is a fantastic place to visit even if kid’s lit isn’t your thing.

    I’m so glad you mentioned Cow’s Ice Cream – they are really delicious. They also make award winning cheese and butter that is incredible.

  9. Jenn Coleman says:

    What a fun idea! Super creative and original, and the photography really played well into the motif.

  10. Richard Alan Savage says:

    My dream is to leave England and retire to Prince Edward Island I’m pretty good at attaining my goals I just hope it is as unspoilt and pretty when the time comes x

  11. Catherine says:

    i have the doll and her one dress… awe im so in love

  1. April 2, 2017

    […] most popular beach in PEI due to its proximity to tourist hot spot Green Gables Heritage Place (any Anne of Green Gables fans out there?!), Cavendish Beach is unique in that it has all the best features that beaches in […]

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