Canadian History for Kids!
Sketches of Canada for May 23rd!

Canadian History for Kids: Green Gables

May 23, 1997 – Anne of Green Gables house damaged by fire; the Victorian farmhouse that inspired Lucy Maud Montgomery’s novels will reopen on Canada Day after repairs.

This Canadian History for Kids exclusive looks at Green Gables.

On May 23, 1997 Green Gables the famous farm in Cavendish, Prince Edward Island, was damaged by an electrical fire. The house was designated a National Historic Site in 1985.

Canadian Author Lucy Maud Montgomery visited the farm as a girl. She later based her successful story, Anne of Green Gables, around that same farm. When she died, on April 24,1942, her wake was held at the Green Gables farmhouse for several days. She was then buried in the Cavendish Community Cemetery.

Over a million people have visited Green Gables.

Ms. Montgomery first published Anne of Green Gables in 1908 and within the first five months she sold almost 20,000 copies. It has been translated into more than 12 languages, made into movies, radio and television series and musicals.

The story tells the adventures of a young red-headed orphan named Anne Shirley, who was mistakenly sent to a brother and sister, Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert. They were both middle-aged, owned a farm on Prince Edward Island, and had wanted to adopt a boy to help them run the farm.

Lucy Maud Montgomery herself was born in 1874 in Prince Edward Island. Her mother died of tuberculosis when Lucy was 21 months old and she was raised by her grandmother, Lucy Woolner Macneill. She graduated from Prince of Wales College in Charlottetown in 1894 with a teacher’s license.

When her grandfather died she once again went to live with her grandmother, staying with her for the next 13 years, except for a nine month period in 1901 to 1902 when she worked as a proof reader for the Daily Echo in Halifax. During these years she continued to write and she sent off many of her poems and stories to Canadian, British and American magazine, making a good living for herself. She then decided to write a novel and began writing her Anne of Green Gables story. The story was rejected several times until it was accepted by LC Page Company in Boston and published in 1908. The story was an immediate success.

In July of 1911 she married Ewan Macdonald and moved to Leaskdale, Ontario. She was extremely happy to have her own home and in 1912 to become a mother to her first son, Chester. She lived there for 15 years and continued to write. Her life was not easy. In 1914 WWI broke out and eight days later she suffered the still birth of her second son, Hugh. Her third son, Stuart, was born in 1915. Shortly thereafter her husband began to suffer from mental illness. She also began a nine-year lawsuit against her publishers, LC Page Company.

In 1926 they moved to the Forks of the Credit near Toronto where she was able to enjoy public engagements as speaker at literary clubs. Upon her husband’s retirement, they moved to Toronto to be closer to their sons.

Before her death, she received many honor’s. In 1923 she was the first Canadian woman to become a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in England. In 1935 she was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire.

After her death, she was declared a person of national historic significance. She published 20 novels, 500 short stories and 500 poems.

And that’s this week’s Canadian History for Kids, exclusive!

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