Green Gables and L.M. Montgomery
Green Gables has become famous around the world as the inspiration for the setting in Lucy Maud Montgomery's classic tale of fiction, Anne of Green Gables.
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery © Parks Canada
In real life, this farm was the home of David Jr. and Margaret Macneill, who were cousins of Montgomery's grandfather. The farm was first settled in 1831 by David Macneill Sr. Although L.M. Mongomery never lived here, she grew up nearby with her grandparents. She came to know her cousins' farm through her explorations of the surrounding woodlands and places she discovered and named such as Lover's Lane and the Haunted Wood.
Soon after Anne of Green Gables was published in 1908, people began coming to Cavendish in search of Green Gables, along with the other places and people of Avonlea in the novel.
Most of what Montgomery describes in her book was the product of her own creativity, sometimes complemented by the inspiration of a real-life setting.
"Cavendish is to a large extent Avonlea. Green Gables was drawn from David Macneill's house, though not so much the house itself as the situation and scenery, and the truth of my description of it is attested by the fact that everyone has recognized it."
L.M. Montgomery, The Selected Journals of L.M. Montgomery, Vol. II, Friday, Jan.27, 1911.
Montgomery's spiritual connection to her home community continued throughout her life. As a minister's wife living in Ontario, the author's occasions to return home were limited, yet all but one of her 20 novels have Prince Edward Island as the main setting.
Montgomery often visited or stayed with the Webb family at Green Gables during return visits to the Island, and when she died in 1942, she was buried in the Cavendish cemetery. Shortly after her death, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada recognized L.M. Montgomery as being a person of national historic significance and a monument and plaque were erected at Green Gables.
A Visit to Green Gables:
Green Gables © Parks Canada
The house has been restored to the period of the late 1800s to reflect not only the setting in the novel, but to reflect a typical farm house of the late Victorian period.
The site has recently been restored with the reconstruction of period farm outbuildings, namely a barn, granary and woodshed.
The site now more accurately depicts the farm that Montgomery would have been familiar with as the inspiration for the setting of Anne of Green Gables.
Touring the Site:
Touring the site © Parks Canada
A tour of the site begins in the Visitor Centre, where an audio-visual presentation "What a Small Big World it is" introduces the history of the site.
An exhibit highlights the life and works of L.M. Montgomery, Green Gables and Prince Edward Island National Park.
Visitors may then make their way to the barn to explore interpretive displays on the history of Cavendish, the site and farm life of the period.
Visitors also have the opportunity to view an award-winning biographical film, "A Celebration of Imagination - the Life of L.M. Montgomery" in the L.M. Montgomery theatre, located in the barn.
In Green Gables House, guides are available to answer your questions as you view the restored rooms. The artifacts are authentic to the period.
Balsam Hollow Trail © Parks Canada
Near the house itself are two interpretive trails.
The Balsam Hollow Trail, which begins as Lover's Lane, is a 30 minute walk through a shady forest along a babbling brook with interpretive signage highlighting Montgomery's love of nature.
The Haunted Wood Trail is a 45 minute walk through a woodland area that inspired part of Anne of Green Gables. Interpretive signage highlighting the inspirational sources for Montgomery's writing is located along this trail.
Trails are not maintained between Thanksgiving and Victoria Day each year. During this period there is no Parks Canada emergency response. Natural hazards are present in the area. By choosing to use unmaintained trails, you assume all actual and legal risks.