SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I.- History stands the test of time, and that was apparent looking around the room filled with historians, history buffs, authors and citizens who have worked to restore, preserve and protect Island history over the past year.
On Tuesday the P.E.I. Museum and Heritage Foundation presented their annual heritage awards, highlighting the efforts made in various communities across the Island.
“It’s important for Islanders to remember the legacies that have made us who we are today, but also to look to the future and continue to ensure that the historic buildings, communities, stories and people are remembered.
“We have a lot to protect on P.E.I. and keep strong for generations to come,” said the heritage foundation’s chairwoman, Carolyn McKillop.
Among the recipients were Marly and Greg Anderson for their restoration and repurposing of the former Victoria United Church.
“This is our first award. We weren’t expecting it. But it makes everything worth it. Seeing that people are supportive of the Grand Victorian,” said Greg.
The church, completed in 1877, was recently repurposed by the couple for an all-in-one wedding planning service and wedding and party destination.
The interior has been renovated, but still showcases the well-built structure and one-of-a-kind detailing.
“It shows that people appreciate the building has been restored. So much so that people have come in and shared their stories of their wedding in the building when it was operating as a church. It’s very emotional to hear their stories. That’s what changed the game for us,” said Marly.
Greg added, “When we first started planning the restoration, we didn’t think about history. But as we continued, we realized it would be a shame to see it fall into ruin and have the detailing lost. It’s true when people say they don’t make buildings like they used to. It would be nearly impossible to replicate its details.”
The foundation also presented the inaugural Boyde Beck Memorial Award.
Beck, who died in 2017, is said to have been able to make artifacts speak for themselves, so it was fitting to have fellow storyteller Ed MacDonald receive the award.
“He uses his storytelling ability and extensive knowledge to connect with young and old to share the history of the Island… MacDonald is always willing to present the Island in a way that encourages engagement, and enjoyment while sparking an interest in further research and learning in his audiences,” read the award citation.
At the end of the presentation McKillop added, “Know that you all are making a difference and you will continue to make a difference in protecting history.”