Georgetown turns 100

Steve Sharratt
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GEORGETOWN - When the oldest citizen of the town arrived for the big birthday celebration here Wednesday, she was greeted at the front door of the Kings Playhouse by the town fire chief decked out in dress uniform and cap.

Francis Llewellyn and Chief Mark Gotell shared a big hug and then she stood back to size up the youngster she'd known for years.

"Hmmmm,'' said the 99-year-old checking out the polished black boots and gunmetal grey blue suit before her. "It's amazing what a bit of gold trim will do."

The woman, who is almost as old as the King's County capital, was then escorted inside the Playhouse to join other dignitaries and residents in the celebration of the town's 100th birthday.

The place was filled with neighbours and friends, the staff and students of the local school, and special guests including Lt. Gov. Frank Lewis, who praised the community on its centennial and for growing into one of the best heritage and tourism spots on the Island.

"This is a community of determination that has thrived and moved forward despite setbacks,'' he said. "Georgetown is a town of builders of history."

The lieutenant-governor paid tribute to the heritage visionaries of years gone by who rallied to rebuild the Kings Playhouse after the original structure was destroyed by fire in 1983.

Mayor Lewis Lavandier said the town would host a number of different celebrations and events throughout the year as part of the 100 year celebration. The highlights include the unveiling of a giant ship's wheel to mark the past and future of shipbuilding in the town and the eventual construction of a fountain in the town square.

"We want people to discover Georgetown and we want to see our town become a destination site, not only for visiting, but for people to come and settle down and raise a family and eventually retire,'' said the mayor. "Shipbuilding has always been important here and remember; this was the home of the Dicks brothers who were part of the lore of the famous rum runner Nellie J. Banks."

According to the most recent Canadian census report, Georgetown is the fastest growing place in eastern P.E.I. and has not suffered the rural decline witnessed elsewhere in the region.

Montague Mayor Richard Collins earned a rousing applause when he emphasized the importance of the town and its' designation.

"This is the capital of Kings County and it will be today, tomorrow and forever," he said.

Students from the local school filled a time capsule with items and memorabilia that will be locked away and not opened until the town turns 150 years old.

"This is a community of determination that has thrived and moved forward despite setbacks,'' Lt. Gov. Frank Lewis

But the highlight of the day was the presentation of the 2012 Lea Crane memorial Citizen of the Year award to Francis Llewellyn, who becomes a centenarian next February. She still shovels snow from the deck of her home and has been out this week raking leaves with her walker.

"She's just a delight and has great stories,'' said resident Marie Wood who made the presentation. "Francis always says laughter is a tranquilizer with no side effects."

But what will live on forever here, is the incredible Ship's Wheel that towers more than 10 metres in the town square. To the delight of the kids, it even spins.

It was built by artisan Tim Mair whose late parents Stillman and Margaret were heritage lovers and advocates for the recognition of the century plus homes throughout Georgetown that inspire the community.

"We are so proud of this wheel,'' said Lavandier. "It was the brainchild of Tim and Coun. Wade Williams who wanted to see something in the town square that would get people out of their cars."

 

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Geographic location: Georgetown, Eastern P.E.I., Kings

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  • DAN KING
    May 03, 2012 - 18:46

    Master craftmans work by a Master Mariner! Good on you Tim ,a ships wheel has sentimental for many people,not just seafarers. I haven't given it a spin yet but...one of these days.

  • Donna Bailey
    May 03, 2012 - 18:24

    Happy 100th Birthday Georgetown! I have many cherished childhood memories from there and will always call you "Home". It's where my heart is even though my feet reside in Florida. (My Georgetown family already know this to be true) This is a place where you can hang your hat,kick up your feet and feel the breeze on your face while the lobsters boil! Gotta love it! Congratulations !

  • pat mcgowan
    May 03, 2012 - 09:54

    Congratulations,Georgetown....a great place to visit,good food,wonderful people,what more can I say.I loved teaching there for a short time,and was honored to perform at the theatre as well as having my school musicals there.Absolutely lovely memories.Thankyou,Georgetown,,,the capitol of Kings County.

  • LowCountry Joe
    May 03, 2012 - 08:08

    Congratulations Georgetown. Loads of love and best wishes sent from South Carolina.

  • Uncle Wally
    May 03, 2012 - 07:12

    As an "urban Islander" I want to say, "Great on you Georgetown!" Georgetown has some great people, significant historical sites and of most importance, the grit to move their town into the future. Every Islander ought to do a day trip this summer, eat a supper supper, see something at the Kings Playhouse and take a good hard look at what really counts in this province