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GUEST OPINION: Stompin' Tom: The iconic Canadian

The Stompin' Tom Centre in Skinners Pond features a variety of displays.
The Stompin' Tom Centre in Skinners Pond features a variety of displays. - Daniel Brown/Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Marlene Bryenton
Guest opinion


Have you heard the advertisement commercial slogan: "It is worth the drive to Summerside?" I would like to amend Summerside to Skinners Pond. It is a long drive from Charlottetown to Skinners Pond, but the scenery is lovely. Rolled bales of hay dot the farmers' fields and there are many picturesque landscapes.  

I knew Lena Welsh, Tom's wife, when she was dating Stompin' Tom in Charlottetown. In fact, I went to Entry Island for a visit. Little did I know that Stompin' Tom would be world famous. He is certainly a very well known iconic legend who loved Canada.

My husband and I have not driven to the western end of the Island for many years. Our first stop was a quick tour of the Mill River Resort. The flowerbeds and greens were nicely maintained.

The new owners have done a lot of work inside and out. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has decreased tourist traffic this year.

Then we set out for Alberton for a picnic lunch overlooking a duck pond. It was really peaceful and lovely. We came across a beautiful stone train station, which of course I had to photo.

Then on to our destination, The Stompin' Tom Centre for two shows. The first show at 1 p.m. was FREE, but reservations were required. Kurk Bernard plays six days a week, and there is another entertainer on Sunday. Kurk did not disappoint as he belted out my favourite Hockey Song and Bud the Spud. I read the Bud The Spud storybook to my grandchildren and they love it. There is also an opportunity to purchase food, drinks and souvenirs. The fries were delicious.

We then attended the Gordie MacKeeman & His Rhythm Boys show on stage outside from 3-5 p.m. There is a fenced in area with picnic tables. A large tent is also provided. It was an action-packed musical delight. The musicians were very versatile, moving from one instrument to another.  I highly recommend this band for a fun-filled afternoon or evening.

The grand finale was Gordie MacKeeman balancing on a cello (?) while playing his fiddle. This was a high-energy show with lots of step dancing and fiddling! The entertainers told us how grateful they were to be playing again after a three-month hiatus due to COVID-19.     

The Dinner Theatres at the Stompin' Tom Connors Centre were cancelled this year, but plans are underway for shows next year.

There are several shows slated for this fall. They include Heather Rankin on Sept. 12 and the Cory Gallant show on Sept. 19. This is followed by Michael Myers show on Sept. 26. Make your reservations early. You will not be disappointed. The Stompin' Tom Connors website says that Tom's legend is still stompin'. I believe this is so!

No trip to the western part of the Island would be complete without visiting the wind turbines. The wind was blowing and the turbines were spinning in the breeze. The shoreline was breathtaking.

Of course, we love to support local restaurants, so we stopped in Tignish at Our Family Tradition Restaurant and Take Out. Their soft serve swirl ice cream was delicious! We headed home and called it a day.   

Marlene Bryenton lives in Charlottetown. 

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