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Business as usual during major reno at Green Gables in Cavendish

Renovations to the Green Gables entrance area are taking place this tourist season as part of a $9.5 million renovation project by Parks Canada.
Renovations to the Green Gables entrance area are taking place this tourist season as part of a $9.5 million renovation project by Parks Canada. - Katherine Hunt

Expanded parking lot, new visitors centre part of $9.5 million upgrades

CAVENDISH, P.E.I. - Phase two of the $9.5 million renovation project to Green Gables in Cavendish is well underway, says Parks Canada project co-ordinator Chantelle MacDonald.

The second wave of Green Gables renovations began this summer with an expansion to the parking lot and the construction of a new visitors centre. The parking lot was completed at the end of June. Construction of the new visitors centre is currently underway.

“It was in rough shape. It was 20 years old. It really wasn’t meeting the needs for our visitors anymore,” said MacDonald.

In 2016, the federal government announced $9.5 million would go towards the major redevelopment of Green Gables.

Phase one of the project was completed in June of 2017. It included an addition to the barn area.

Since the visitors centre also housed the gift shop, a new gift shop was added to the barn.

“We realized very quickly that because we were demolishing our old visitors centre, as well as our old gift shop, that we were losing some of the services on site that were really important for the site,” said MacDonald.

As renovations continue, the gift shop will be retrofitted into a food service area.

The historic Green Gables house will become more accessible in the third and final stage of the renovation project.

Door frames will be widened and the ramp for the house will be relocated to the front of the building.

“The ramp for accessibility is at the back of the house at the exit, so it was very not welcoming at all for our visitors coming in,” said MacDonald.

The second floor to Green Gables is not part of the renovation project. However, MacDonald said they are working on developing a program for visitors to see the second floor from their phones or tablets.

“It was decided that we wouldn’t necessarily have the second floor completely accessible, but we will be providing some type of application, like an app, where visitors can look at an iPad, for example, and see the second floor of Green Gables house,” she said.

Green Gables has remained open during the renovations. Work will continue into the fall and winter. The visitors centre will open by May 1, 2019.

The entire project should be finished by the spring of 2019.

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