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Lucky Ontario family enjoys free - but short - fun-packed P.E.I. vacation


It was “Anne” day like no other for the Beckett family.

Chris and Jenn Beckett of Waterloo, Ont., and the couple’s children, Delphine, 14, and Quincy, 8, packed a full Anne of Green Gables-themed Tuesday together on Prince Edward Island.

And the Family Channel picked up the tab.

The Becketts were the winners of the Family Channel’s inaugural contest called Dream Day Vacay.

The Becketts secured their memorable day in P.E.I. by garnering the most votes in a contest that saw roughly 2,000 families enter for a chance to win.The winning family was able to pick a special day-long excursion to anywhere in Canada.

The day, says Jenn, did not disappoint.

“Above and beyond,’’ she says. “It was absolutely the perfect dream day for me, and I think, everyone.’’

Her daughter agrees.

“So, it was all just really crazy…it was like a dream I had since I was four,’’ says Delphine, who adds she was thrilled to see her younger brother, who has autism, so engaged throughout the busy day.

Chris and Jenn Beckett of Waterloo, Ont. and the couple's children, Delphine and Quincy, considered their whirlwind, Anne-themed visit to P.E.I. a smashing success. The family won a new contest put on by the Family Channel called Dream Day Vacay.
Chris and Jenn Beckett of Waterloo, Ont. and the couple's children, Delphine and Quincy, considered their whirlwind, Anne-themed visit to P.E.I. a smashing success. The family won a new contest put on by the Family Channel called Dream Day Vacay.

Chris, who read “Anne of Green Gables” two weeks ago for the first time to help get primed for the trip, was overwhelmed by the friendliness of P.E.I. and all the special touches.

As for young Quincy, the trip seems to have been more about the journey than the destination.

“I love flying to Prince Edward Island,’’ he says.

Jenn, who adores the story of the fictional redhead and has longed to visit Prince Edward Island, says her family never could have afforded such a trip.

The day started early for the Beckett clan. There were up at 4 a.m. and on a plane in Toronto four hours later for a direct flight to P.E.I.

The family arrived around 11 a.m. and did a quick check-in at The Holman Grand Hotel in Charlottetown before getting down to the fun-filled itinerary, all captured by a film crew to be edited and shown on the Family Channel on Aug. 13.

Before getting into all things Anne, the family enjoyed “amazing food’’ at The Preserve Company in New Glasgow, where they also paid a visit to the Butterfly House.

The family crammed a busy 90 minutes making their way around Green Gables Heritage Place, touring the grounds and going for a stroll through the Haunted Woods.

“It was so great,’’ says Jenn. “I saw all the things I always wanted to see.’’

Then it was back to the hotel for 30 minutes to freshen up, followed by another great meal, this time in a private area at Mavor’s in the Confederation Centre of the Arts building.

The family did not have far to go after finishing dinner to sit down for the much-anticipated crescendo to the day, watching “Anne of Green Gables: The Musical”.

Jenn, who has seen two youth productions of the musical in Ontario, says this fine-tuned offering simply knocked her family’s socks off.

“It blew us away,’’ she says. “Every person on that stage was amazing.’’

After the show, the Becketts were invited up on the stage to meet the cast.

As a touching aside, Delphine hopes to perform on stage, not for a career but for fun. She will be going into an integrated arts program in high school in September.

“My main goal is to go into music therapy,’’ she adds, noting she has seen how helpful such therapy is for her brother.

Stephanie West, marketing manager with the Family Channel, shadowed the Becketts to make sure the dream day was just that.

The short but memorable trip, she notes, was a hit. The day went off without a hitch.

“You get to watch a family being together in a stress-free environment where they can just enjoy each other’s company,’’ she says.

West was also quick to praise Island businesses for pulling out all the stops to make the visit extra special, including upgraded rooms.

“People really rally behind a positive initiative like this,’’ says West.

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