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 2000, in poor health, I retired to Belle River where I live, with my cats, in a late Victorian farmhouse, which I restored, and filled with the happy and inspiring accumulations of a lifetime. I planned and constructed an enclosed formal garden – a hortus conclusus – which, in my old age, has become too much for me to maintain, but whose geometry comforts me. I have enjoyed going out to give public lectures and trying to complete a number of manuscript projects on Island Heritage that have been “in the works” for years. For a number of years I have written about a dozen articles for RED Magazine and produced substantial manuscripts about various aspects of Island architecture. My most recent project – which I hope will bring me to the limits of my life – is this heritage blog where I recreate, with more substance and documentation, all the things I lectured about in the past fifty years. I also have a continuing passion for Island topography, and over the years have explored just about every Island road or track in my various beloved trucks.
It is important for me to point out that I have always regarded myself as an amateur in the English tradition, a person who develops powerful interests in many subjects and observes and studies them intensely, sometimes writing about these enthusiasms. The ultimate sweetness of living is sharing my passions with others.