Next stage of work at historic site includes new visitor centre and expanded parking lot
The second phase of construction at the historic Green Gables site will include a new visitor information centre and an expanded parking lot.
Construction on a new visitor information centre and an expanded parking lot will begin soon at the historic Green Gables site.
It’s all part of a four-year, $9.4-million facelift for the site that began in July 2015. Chantelle MacDonald, project co-ordinator with Parks Canada, said the second phase is next with construction of the new visitor information centre, which will include a new gift shop, ticketing, washrooms and a large exhibit area.
It will also involve landscaping around the building and extra parking.
“We definitely need extra parking,” MacDonald said. “We weren’t able to keep up with the demand this year, so we are expanding the parking lot. There will be an opportunity in the expanded parking lot to get that view to the (Green Gables) house that we were talking about last year.” Last year, Parks Canada raised safety concerns with the current entrance to the site where people often stopped to photograph the iconic Green Gables house.
“What we’ve done with the design of the new visitor information centre building is move that (picture) experience to the pedestrian (area) so when they walk out of this new visitor centre building, they will have that iconic view of the house.”
The tender for Phase 2 of the project was recently awarded by Public Service and Procurement Canada to Island contractor Williams Murphy MacLeod. Work will begin soon with a scheduled completion date of Sept. 30, 2018.
The first phase involved the deconstruction of the visitor information centre and the gift shop and an addition to the barn. The barn space was needed to create a new temporary space for the gift shop. Renovations also took place inside the barn theatre, which will eventually become a multipurpose space.
A third project phase will involve some accessibility renovations in some of the other buildings on site as well as retrofitting the space where the gift shop is currently. That will become a food service area.
The entire project is slated to wrap up by June 2019. MacDonald said they’re also working on new exhibits for the visitor centre but that’s still in the conceptual stage.
Chantelle MacDonald, project co-ordinator with Parks Canada, and Arnold Smith, former tourist operator in Cavendish, discuss changes coming to Green Gables Heritage Site in Cavendish.