I am an Islander who has devoted a significant part of his life to the study and preservation of Prince Edward Island heritage, especially its architecture. As I optimistically enter my fourth quarter, this blog will help me record some of those things about my Prince Edward Island heritage which delighted me over the years.
Here is a summary of the seventy-five years of my life, in case some of you may wonder where I come from.
My childhood was spent in Tignish with my grandparents, where I received my early education. I attended high school in Montreal and began my university studies with the Jesuits at Loyola College. I continued my education at Mount Allison University where I took degrees in Classical Civilisation and Education. Later, I studied Greek art and archaeology at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens.
I was Librarian and Director of the Resource Centre at Tantramar Regional High School in Sackville New Brunswick for eight years. During that time I introduced and taught the equivalent of a first-year university course in the History of Art. In 1979 I was invited by Mount Allison University to become Research Associate at the Centre for Canadian Studies, and Lecturer in Education, teaching courses in Social Studies Methodology and Audio-Visual Theory and Practice. For some years I had also taught courses in Art History in Amherst NS and Moncton NB for the Extension Department at the University.
I returned to PEI in 1982 and until 1988 worked at the Heritage Foundation as Curator of Exhibits and Public Programmes. In 1989 I became self-employed as a Heritage Consultant and spent the next ten years working in museum planning, archaeological survey and historic building restoration. Along with my day work, from 1987-97, I was a Sessional Lecturer at the University of Prince Edward Island and during that time taught 40 credit semester courses in Art History in Charlottetown, Summerside and Montague. As well as teaching the usual survey courses in various periods of art, I designed and taught a course called The Art and Architecture of Prince Edward Island.
In 2000 I retired to Belle River where I live, with my cats, in a late Victorian farmhouse, filled with the happy and inspiring accumulations of a lifetime. I enjoy gardening, giving public lectures and trying to complete a a number of projects on Island Heritage that have been “in the works” for years. For the past several years I have written articles for RED Magazine and produced substantial manuscripts about various aspects of Island architecture. Access to these as pdf files is available in the right sidebar of this blog.
It is important for me to point out that I have always regarded myself as an amateur in the English tradition, that is, a person who, outside his profession, develops powerful interests in many subjects and observes and studies them intensely, sometimes writing about these enthusiasms. I love to share my passion for my heritage with others – the ultimate douceur de vivre.
(Photograph by Trevor Gillingwater. 2019-02-20)