Special designation for Charlottetown home
Don Messer recognized for his contribution and presence in the community
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.
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.
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.