Ontario manse where L.M. Montgomery lived to become museum

Fans of Lucy Maud Montgomery will soon have a new destination — a group has purchased the manse in Norval, Ont. where the famous author of Anne of Green Gables lived from 1926 until 1935.

The L.M. Montgomery Heritage Society, a committee of the Heritage Foundation of Halton Hills, closed the deal to purchase Lucy Maud Montgomery's home on March 10, 2017. 

"Big, big celebrations here, I felt like we had really accomplished something major," said Lois Fraser, president of the foundation.

"I think fans will be delighted to stand where she stood, to be right in the room where she wrote."

Two private citizens kicked in $100,000 each towards the purchase and fundraising is now underway to pay off the rest of the mortgage.

One of the donors is related to Lucy Maud Montgomery, and actually lived in Green Gables house on P.E.I.

"They came to the Norval community because Maud was here, so we have some of her relatives working on this, which is really exciting," said Fraser.

"I think fans everywhere are just thrilled that it's going to be preserved, that we were able to save a piece of history and to keep it for all time," Fraser said.

Second manse to become a museum

Montgomery moved from Prince Edward Island to Ontario in 1911, when her husband, Presbyterian minister Rev. Ewan MacDonald, took a job in Leaskdale.

The family then moved to Norval, where Montgomery continued to write, producing five novels, many short stories and poems and three volumes of personal journals. 

"The room where she wrote her books overlooks a hill of pines that she wrote about in her journals and the pine trees are all still there," said Fraser.

"The thing that made me excited was to read her quote that said that she loved Norval more than any place in the world save Cavendish," she added.

"We know where her number one spot was but we'd like to be number two."

'A great destination'

"I can walk down the street in Norval, by that church and that house and it's 1926, you just feel like you stepped back in time," said Mary Beth Cavert, a Montgomery scholar from Minnesota and member of the L.M. Montgomery Literary Society. 

"She used everything at her finger tips in her writing so every place she lived contributes in part to what we can glean from and enjoy in her writing," said Cavert.

Cavert says Montgomery fans and scholars will now a circuit of places to visit in Ontario with connections to the writer, including Norval, Leaskdale and Montgomery's favourite vacation spot, Bala, Ont., which also has a museum.

"I think people always want to visit every single place connected to Montgomery if they know anything about the author," said Cavert.

"It's really a great destination and I think they're going to have a ton of tourists."

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