A lifelong love affair with Anne of Green Gables led to a thrilling venture
Taught to students around the world, Anne of Green Gables has been a classic children's novel and part of Canada's cultural fabric dating back to its publishing in 1908.
This coming-of-age story — about an outsider who against all odds and challenges fights for love, acceptance and her place in the world — has been translated into many different languages and adapted into various films, animations and television shows, including the latest CBC version calledAnne with an E.
But Anne is not just a Canadian classic. Her fandom has spread all over the world with fans ranging from book lovers to everything-Anne collectors. In our search for the ultimate Anne collector, we've come across an interesting story that we had to find out more about.
A museum with memories
Located in Bala, Muskoka — where Lucy Maud Montgomery, the author of Anne of Green Gables, got inspired to write her novel, The Blue Castle — lies Bala's Museum with Memories of Lucy Maud Montgomery. An authentic trove of the most unique Anne of Green Gables treasures, owned by Linda and Jack Hutton.
After an accidental discovery of Montgomery's connection to Bala while on their honeymoon in Prince Edward Island, these long time fans wanted to save the last surviving link between Muskoka and Canada's most famous author.
"It all started with a rush decision to buy the former tourist home where the author of Green Gables had all her meals during a two-week holiday in Bala, in 1922," Jack and Linda explained in one of their email replies to us.
"Had we not done so, it faced imminent demolition after six years on the market with no buyer."
The building has served as a museum since they opened it on July 24, 1992 becoming the first Lucy Maud Montgomery dedicated museum in Ontario. And in 2013, it received heritage designation from the Township of Muskoka Lakes. So we decided to see it for ourselves.
The picturesque exterior immediately brings to mind the original Green Gables farm while the interior maintains the integrity of the period when Montgomery visited Bala.
It's like a gateway to the past. The minute you walk in, snippets of history and unique, one-of-a-kind collectibles draw you in and from there you are immersed in a magical story of Anne as the Huttons bring it to life and take you on a captivating journey that makes you want to find out more about Anne's story.
Along the way you see carefully set up and detailed dioramas of the scenes from the book, like Anne making a liniment cake.
And just when you think you've picked up on all of it, details like an authentic little bottle of medicine that was mentioned in the book pops up as if from nowhere.