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Iconic church finds new life as Grand Victorian wedding and events venue

Greg and Marly Anderson of Charlottetown held a New Year’s Eve Eve gala Dec. 30 at their Victoria-by-the-Sea venue, the Grand Victorian. KATIE SMITH/THE GUARDIAN
Greg and Marly Anderson of Charlottetown held a New Year’s Eve Eve gala Dec. 30 at their Victoria-by-the-Sea venue, the Grand Victorian. KATIE SMITH/THE GUARDIAN - Katie Smith

The Charlottetown couple that bought and renovated an iconic 19th century church a year ago kicked off the New Year in style.

Greg and Marly Anderson fell in love with the former Victoria United Church located in Victoria-by-the-Sea, and purchased it in late-2016.

The church underwent a face-lift, and the Grand Victorian wedding and events venue was born.

Since December is a month of celebrations, the Grand Victorian held several Christmas parties, but the Andersons wondered what other sort of events they could hold over the holidays.

The first event was a Christmas show, and the second was a "New Year’s Eve Eve" gala.

“People like to dress up, and you don’t have any reason anymore to dress up,” Marly told The Guardian as she finished up a few last minute details, awaiting her guests to arrive for the gala. “We thought, ‘why don’t we do it New Year’s Eve Eve?’”

They chose Dec. 30th because people often have their own New Year’s Eve traditions and plans, and since this year it falls on a Saturday, it made sense to have it the night before New Year’s Eve.

“We’re getting a lot of people that have those stay-at-home traditions and they are coming here tonight and this is their New Year’s Eve event,” she said, adding this year’s theme was Black and White. “So we’re going to do a countdown to New Year’s Eve Eve at midnight and (guests) get a complimentary glass of sparkling (wine).”

One couple that generally stays home during the New Year’s festivities, Isabel and Garth Delaney of Charlottetown, changed things up this year, and were the first to arrive.

“Normally we don’t go out New Year’s Eve, but I just thought the gala sounded fun.” Isabel said, adding it was the first she’d been in the church since the renovations. “It looks amazing.”

The Delaneys arrived early to hold a table for friends who were on their way in, using the transportation service the Andersons had provided for a fee.

Because of the location, the Andersons were worried it might deter people from Charlottetown from attending the event, so they hired a busy through Coach Atlantic.

“We wanted to offer that so people can get home responsibly and safely,” said Marly, adding at least 30 guests took advantage of the service.

The renovated church holds 120 people, and the couple expected a near-full house for the soiree, which was complete with cheese, oysters, appetizers and music by Justin Simard and Todd MacLean, followed by Adam MacGregor & the Foes.

“For year one, I think that’s really awesome,” Marly said. “We’re really happy.”

The venue is open year-round, with the wedding season kicking off in May.

In the meantime, the Andersons hope to hold another event over the winter.

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