Spe­cial des­ig­na­tion for Char­lot­te­town home

Don Messer rec­og­nized for his con­tri­bu­tion and pres­ence in the com­mu­nity

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE ISLAND -

A mu­sic le­gend’s Char­lot­te­town home has of­fi­cially been im­mor­tal­ized in the his­tory books.

The City of Char­lot­te­town has rec­og­nized Don Messer’s home by in­stalling a plaque on the house at 15 Bel­mont St.

Messer was born in New Brunswick but moved to P.E.I. in 1939 to work at CFCY Ra­dio.

Messer’s mu­si­cal ca­reer be­gan by play­ing in bands for dances and by 1929 he was per­form­ing on ra­dio CFBO in Saint John, N.B. by 1934, his band, the New Brunswick Lum­ber­jacks, was be­ing broad­cast from CHSJ in Saint John, N.B.

When Messer came to the Is­land to con­tinue his ca­reer at CFCY Ra­dio, he formed the group, Don Messer and the Is­lan­ders. It was formed around two of the orig­i­nal mem­bers, Charlie Cham­ber­lain from Bathurst, N.B., and bass player Julius (Duke) Neil­son of Wood­stock, N.B. Oth­ers would be added through­out the years, and Messer and the Is­lan­ders would later be changed to Don Messer and His Is­lan­ders.

The pop­u­lar pro­gram aired three times a week on ra­dio from 1939-58 and moved seam­lessly to tele­vi­sion as well in 1956 with the show, Don Messer’s Ju­bilee. In 1961, its rat­ings were higher than the Ed Sul­li­van Show. At one time, Don Messer and His Is­lan­ders be­came the most pop­u­lar tele­vi­sion show on the CBC next to “Hockey Night in Canada”.

Messer even­tu­ally moved to the Rock­ing­ham area of Hal­i­fax and in 1973, at the age of 63, died of a heart at­tack.

Johnny For­est, who played with Messer for a decade on his tele­vi­sion show, de­scribed him as a “fan­tas­tic lit­tle per­son, very quiet per­son and hum­ble, but he knew what the peo­ple of Canada wanted as far as mu­sic was con­cerned. That’s why he was so pop­u­lar.’’

The home at 15 Bel­mont St. was orig­i­nally con­structed in 1950. Messer pur­chased the home in 1960 and lived there for sev­eral years.

The home is cur­rently owned by Melvin and Deb­bie Ram­say.

A plug-in hy­brid car is be­ing taken to com­mu­ni­ties across the prov­ince by ef­fi­cien­cyPEI to show why elec­tric and hy­brid ve­hi­cles are a per­fect en­ergy-ef­fi­cient so­lu­tion for the prov­ince.

The tour will be­gin Mon­day, July 24. For a com­plete sched­ule of stops, visit ef­fi­cien­cyPEI on Face­book, Twit­ter or www. princeed­wardis­land.ca/events. Is­lan­ders in each com­mu­nity can see the ve­hi­cle, win prizes and ask ques­tions about elec­tric ve­hi­cles (EVs), cost-sav­ing re­bates and en­ergy ef­fi­ciency.

“Trans­porta­tion will play a key role in meet­ing Prince Ed­ward Is­land’s en­ergy and cli­mate-change goals since it makes up the largest per­cent­age of our green­house gas emis­sions at 42 per cent,” said Trans­porta­tion, In­fra­struc­ture and En­ergy Min­is­ter Paula Big­gar.

“Our prov­ince’s new en­ergy strat­egy cre­ated a trans­porta­tion com­mit­tee that is look­ing at ways to bet­ter in­te­grate elec­tric ve­hi­cles into our in­fra­struc­ture, which will re­duce our fuel con­sump­tion and our foot­print on the en­vi­ron­ment.”

Is­lan­ders drive an av­er­age of 41 kilo­me­tres each day. Mean­while, elec­tric ve­hi­cles can travel up to 400 kms and plug-in hy­brids can travel up to 85 kms be­fore need­ing to be recharged, mak­ing them well suited for the daily driv­ing habits of most Is­lan­ders.

Af­ter each stop on the tour, ef­fi­cien­cyPEI will share a sum­mary of the trip out­lin­ing the com­mu­ni­ties and charg­ing sta­tions that were vis­ited. It will also share how the hy­brid ve­hi­cle per­formed in green­house gas emis­sions com­pared to a con­ven­tional gaso­line ve­hi­cle.

Since home heat­ing is an­other con­trib­u­tor to Prince Ed­ward Is­land’s green­house gas emis­sions, the tour will also high­light how ef­fi­cien­cyPEI helps Is­lan­ders con­serve en­ergy, re­duce their en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact, and save money on their util­ity bills.

SUBMITTED PHOTO

Char­lot­te­town Mayor Clifford Lee, sec­ond from left, and Coun. Terry MacLeod, left, present a plaque of recog­ni­tion with cur­rent home­own­ers, Melvin and Deb­bie Ram­say, to ac­knowl­edge the home for­merly owned by Don Messer.

SUBMITTED PHOTO

Julius (Duke) Neil­son, left, Charlie Cham­ber­lain and Don Messer, along with Bill Le­Blanc, on drums, and Jackie Doyle, are shown with an­nouncer L.A. McDon­ald in this un­dated file photo.

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