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Cavendish park opens in presence of Japanese royalty

Japanese Princess Takamado attends the opening of the new Montgomery Park in Cavendish on Wednesday. Takamado, on the Island for a two-day tour, expressed appreciation “from the bottom of my heart” for the hospitality shown to her on P.E.I.
Japanese Princess Takamado attends the opening of the new Montgomery Park in Cavendish on Wednesday. Takamado, on the Island for a two-day tour, expressed appreciation “from the bottom of my heart” for the hospitality shown to her on P.E.I. - Stu Neatby

Japanese Princess Takamado thanks Islanders 'from the bottom of my heart' for hospitality

CAVENDISH, P.E.I. —

Cavendish received a visit from royalty on Wednesday.

Japanese Princess Takamado attended the opening of the new Montgomery Park, created to commemorate Anne of Green Gables author Lucy Maud Montgomery, as part of her visit to P.E.I.

Takamado, a member of Japan’s Imperial Family, is an international patron of the Lucy Maud Montgomery Institute. Her two-day visit to P.E.I. is part of a national tour of Canada marking the 90th year of diplomatic relations between Canada and Japan. 

Earlier in the day, while attending a performance of "Anne of Green Gables - The Musical" at the Confederation Centre, Takamado said she realized that she still remembered the lyrics of the musical performance from her last visit to the Island in 2004. 

"I watched how everyone in the audience, young and old and those in between, was enthralled by the performance. I myself thoroughly enjoyed the performance," Takamado said.

Takamado also spoke of the international importance of the works of Lucy Maud Montgomery.

“The novels show us the importance of words, the power that rests in rich vocabulary, its potential to comfort and encourage but also to hurt. And that is a lesson we should all take to heart,” Takamado said.

“Today when the world is subject to so much divisiveness, this homage to Lucy Maud Montgomery is most timely and relevant."

Takamado thanked Islanders for the hospitality shown to her during her visit.

The opening of the park included an unveiling of a bronze statue depicting Montgomery looking skyward in an intensely contented pose. 

Summerside artist Grace Curtis designed the sculpture. She said she hoped to portray Montgomery in the midst of a “flash” of creativity, captured in a moment of inspiration.

Summerside artist Grace Curtis and B.C.-based sculptor Nathan Scott stand with their sculpture of Lucy Maud Montgomery in Montgomery Park in Cavendish Aug. 27.
Summerside artist Grace Curtis and B.C.-based sculptor Nathan Scott stand with their sculpture of Lucy Maud Montgomery in Montgomery Park in Cavendish Aug. 27.

“That moment of inspiration, which she wrote about in her books, she called it 'the flash,'" Curtis said.

"There's a veil lifted from beyond and there's something there giving her this gift of creativity. When I read about that when I was a girl, that just stayed in my memory."

Curtis composed digitally-drawn paintings of the sculpture from four different angles. The designs were then sent to B.C.-based sculptor Nathan Scott, who adapted the images to a clay mold. From this mold, he cast the entire sculpture in bronze.

"This is cast in 24 pieces of bronze. And then from there, it's all welded back together again."

Scott said the entire sculpture, including four cats spread throughout the park, took him five months to complete. But it was built to last.

“Ten thousand-year warranty," Scott said, with a nod.

Although Montgomery was a known cat lover, Curtis’ original design included only one feline. Scott later added another three.

"So, yes, she loved cats. I am allergic to cats," Curtis said with a laugh.


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