Happy Birthday, Lucy Maud Montgomery (1874-1942)
Alas. sometimes even a duchess’s wish doesn’t quite come true. For her first trip to Canada, the Duchess of Cambridge, the former Kate Middleton, asked to visit Prince Edward Island, but her heart’s desire to see Green Gables House, which inspired the setting for L.M. Montgomery’s classic story, Anne of Green Gables, went unfulfilled. But at least Tess Benger, who plays Anne in the long-running musical based on the novel, presented her with a copy of the book that Kate had so loved as a child when they met at Dalvay-by-the-Sea, the handsome historic resort that served as one of the locations for the Road to Avonlea television series and the Anne of Green Gables film.
Nearly 100 years earlier, exhausted by the long trip from Prince Edward Island, Lucy Maud Montgomery swayed in the buggy as the horse trotted through the damp night toward her new home, seven miles north of the railway station in Uxbridge, Ont. It was Sept. 30, 1911, and the already famous author (Anne of Green Gables had been published in 1908) and her new husband, Reverend Ewan Macdonald, were heading for
the St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church manse in the farming community of Leaskdale, where he was the minister.
Over the next 15 years, Montgomery would bear three boys (one stillborn), support her hus-
band’s work in the church and write 11 of her 22 books, including the Chronicles of Avonlea series. Her journals reveal that she knew her neighbours were curious about her, notes Barbara Pratt of the Lucy Maud Montgomery Society of Ontario. “I think she felt like a stranger in a strange land,” she says.