Maud in Leaskdale–Part I: Our tour of the manse

August 6, 2012 at 5:20 pm 23 comments

When Ewan Macdonald,  a newly ordained Presbyterian minister, came to Ontario in 1911 from Prince Edward Island, it would have been quite a change in place for both Ewan and his wife Maud, L.M. Montgomery, the up and coming author. Away from the island where they had both grown up. Away from the sea that Maud loved to walk along. Away from people they had known all their lives.

The parishes at Leaskdale and Zephyr were probably very excited to have a famous author in their community and in their church, for the first edition of  Anne of Green Gables had been published several years earlier in 1908.








Front of  the manse with many flower plantings.

The manse dates  to 1896, became an Ontario Historical Site in 1965 and  a National Historic Site in 1997.

The manse, lived in by other ministers’ families before and after the Macdonald’s, has a strong physical structure and was restored to the period style, aided by the many detailed descriptions Maud wrote in her journals. The furniture, purchased at auctions or donated, matches the same historical period as well. According to the brochure about the site, “the landscape has not changed greatly either. This is where she (L.M. Montgomery) stood. … This is what inspired her.”









The settee in the parlour where they would receive guests who came to visit.

Maud loved to sit in a chair by the front window to write so she could be aware of people coming to the house. This room is where she sat, writing longhand, for all of the books that she wrote there.










A portrait of Ewan (above)  in the rich gold frame sitting on the organ in the parlour (below).










Would Maud have played an organ? I have yet to read journal entries to learn the answer to my question. It’s  a question I didn’t think to ask of our tour guide.










A bookcase  in the study across the hall with Maud’s published books.

Was it such a book case that inspired Montgomery to write about lonely Anne’s friend inside the bookcase?









Across the hall was the minister’s study, where Ewan wrote his sermons and where Maud typed her manuscripts for the publisher. If I remember correctly, the typewriter sitting on the desk was a vintage Underwood.

Nothing remains of Ewan’s sermons or notes, which the Historical society noted, but plenty remains of Montgomery’s journals.









Our tour guide, Lindsay, telling us about the manse and restoration that she was involved with.

Our guide said that people restoring the manse looked to LM Montgomery’s detailed journals for descriptions of patterns on wallpaper, then went to places that recreated historical patterns to obtain wallpaper that matched her descriptions as closely as possible.










The richly carpeted stairs going to the second floor.











This was Maud and Ewan’s bedroom with a special quilt,  created by people of the L. M.Montgomery Society and friends.










Replicas of Gog and Magog, Maud’s ceramic dogs as shown in one of her Anne books.













A painting hanging in the front entrance, created by artist Arnold Hodgkins, who was born in 1911 in Silverdale, Ontario.  Encouraged from a young age to draw and paint, Arnold continued to explore his talents. This painting represents Maud’s early life. Go here to learn more about the painting.

Go to Leaskdale, Ontario, and see the site for yourself. You’ll learn more about the famous Canadian author, L. M. Montgomery.

“I cannot remember the time when I was not writing, or when I did not mean to be an author.” L. M. Montgomery

Part II coming later this week about our tour of the St. Paul’s Church, one of Ewan’s first parish churches.

Photos on this blog copyright of C. Wilker 2012.


Entry filed under: authors, photography, travel in Canada, writing. Tags: , , , , , , .

Saturday Snapshots— Camping at Bass Lake Provincial Park Maud in Leaskdale–Part II: The Historic Church

23 Comments Add your own

  • 1. adaisygarden  |  August 6, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    Interesting! Thanks for sharing.

    • 2. storygal  |  August 6, 2012 at 11:25 pm

      It appears that you love photography as much as I do. Thanks for stopping by.

  • 3. Jayne  |  August 7, 2012 at 12:07 am

    What fun to see the house I once lived in. The white stucco has been removed and the bricks refreshed. Lovely. And the pump organ is still tucked in the corner! Are there still banks of orange lilies along the north wall?

    • 4. storygal  |  August 7, 2012 at 1:23 am

      Hi Jayne,

      The tour guide mentioned some of the changes. I don’t remember seeing the lilies, but then we didn’t walk all the way around the house, just the walkway at the front and walked toward the church. That’s something to ask about though. There are some lovely flowers in beds out front.I can send some of those photos to you, if you wish. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. It’s so neat to hear from someone who lived there.

    • 5. Janet Sketchley  |  August 8, 2012 at 1:03 pm

      Wow, Jayne, you actually lived in this house? How cool for a writer!

      • 6. storygal  |  August 8, 2012 at 5:02 pm

        I agree. I think Jayne and I might need to take the next tour together.

    • 7. Denise Bruce of Ingleside  |  March 23, 2013 at 5:51 pm

      That’s so neat that you lived there, Jayne! What made you leave? I don’t think I could pull myself away lol

      • 8. storygal  |  March 23, 2013 at 6:12 pm

        I’ll save this message for my fellow writer, Jayne. Perhaps she will comment on it another day. Her blog is at

      • 9. Denise Bruce of Ingleside  |  April 6, 2013 at 5:45 pm

        I’ve been to the other sites (online) and love them too. I just love finding new sites about Maud ❤ and especially love finding new kindred spirits. BUT I so can't wait to see the Maud sites in Ontario in person! 🙂 I hope to remember to do the play and … the place to have tea in Leaskdale.. is that her home?

        there isn't a tour on PEI that I know of anymore… was that the one with Carol as the tourguide? I've been telling her to do it again for me lol I've been to all the places with friends in Mississippi as my guide… lol You'd think it'd be the other way around, eh? lol

        I esp loved seeing Maud's Aunt Emily's home in Malpeque 2 years ago… i so wish I could buy it and give it some loving.

        so nice chatting Maud with you
        Denise of Ingleside, PEI

  • 10. Heather Walker  |  August 7, 2012 at 7:02 am

    Thanks for sharing, I found the photos and your account quite interesting,

    • 11. storygal  |  August 7, 2012 at 11:48 am

      Hi Heather, Thanks for stopping by. Nice photo, by the way.

  • 12. Janet Sketchley  |  August 8, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    Thanks for the photo tour, Carolyn. I imagine this was quite the inspiring visit.

    • 13. storygal  |  August 8, 2012 at 5:01 pm

      You’re welcome, Janet. It was very inspiring. Watch for Part II later this week.

  • 14. Denise Bruce of Ingleside  |  March 23, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    I’m so glad I accidently found your site, Carolyn 🙂 I can’t wait to get to Ontario to see Maud’s homes. I hope to get there one year. But for now, it’s awesome to see these pictures and hear from the lady who lived there. how neat 🙂
    Love,Denise of Ingleside, PEI

    • 15. storygal  |  March 23, 2013 at 5:54 pm

      Hello Denise,

      There’s more than one site to learn about Lucy Maud. There’s also Norval and the archives at the University of Guelph. A friend and I have been to each of these sites. I understand there’s something in Bala too. Enjoy it when you come and be sure to take in the tea at Leaskdale as well as the play.

    • 16. storygal  |  March 23, 2013 at 6:00 pm

      Denise, have you taken the tour of the Montgomery sites in PEI since you live there? My husband, youngest daughter and I did that the first time there. Since then we went back to New London, the site of Maud’s birthplace.

      • 17. Denise Bruce of Ingleside  |  April 6, 2013 at 5:48 pm

        uhoh I replied up above instead of here. sorry

      • 18. storygal  |  April 6, 2013 at 6:09 pm

        No worries. I’ll reply there then instead. The tea was held in the church just down the road right in Leaskdale, just a short walk from the house shown in the photos I took. It was Ewan’s early post in Ontario, but the LM Montgomery Society bought the church and uses it for the play, teas and promotions. It was St. Paul’s Presbyterian, if I’m remembering that correctly.

        It’s really been so long that we had the tour in PEI that I don’t remember the guide’s name. Might have been Carol in New London though. Whomever it was, she was knowledgeable, kind and and took our photo there at the front door. We had a little chat about things Maud.

        We haven’t seen the home in Malpeque. Is it looking neglected and in need of love? Are there no tours in PEI anymore? That would be a shame.

      • 19. Denise Bruce of Ingleside  |  April 6, 2013 at 6:19 pm

        I must make it to the tea, then … it sounds perfect.

        Carol Dobson is her name. I’m sure it was her. She is extremely knowledgeable about Maud and PEI.

        Aunt Emily’s home is definitely neglected, although someone is living there… we could tell from the sunporch and all the cans on the window sills. We looked out on the cliff at the view and just watched the ocean, thinking back to a time when Maud’s Aunt Emily would have stood there with Maud herself.

        I think it was Aunt Emily who gave Maud her geranium she named Bonny, right?

        Not sure about the tours , but they do do them for the conferences. I think summer tours would be awesome.

      • 20. storygal  |  April 6, 2013 at 6:34 pm

        We had tea in lovely china mugs, tea busicuits with someone’s homemade jam and some of that raspberry drink similar to what Marilla would have shared in the first book. Yes, you must plan ahead for that and buy tickets ahead. The place was full the day my friend and I attended and all dates were sold out.

        I think your’re right about that name. I don’t remember who gave her the geranium. I plan to read the newest journal cover to cover. Haven’t done so yet. Two weddings last year (daughters) and then my latest book manuscript needed more content. I’ll watch for that.

        University of Guelph has all Maud’s papers and original photos. That’s another good place to see.

        Thanks for your message. I too love to hear from others who appreciate Maud’s contribution to Canadian literature.

  • 21. Denise Bruce of Ingleside  |  April 8, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    I’ll have to check out your books 🙂 very exciting. I’m a writer too, but yet to be published. I write children’s books.
    thanks for all the tips and the tea sounds delicious, except i’ll have to have hot chocolate 😉 not a tea drinker *shock* lol
    I’ve yet to get that new book and now I hear there’s a part 2 out. yay!

  • 22. sabian 20 inch sbr ride  |  June 12, 2013 at 5:31 am

    We have gone ahead and included a link back to your site from
    one of my clientele requesting it. We have used your blog URL: http:
    and blog title: Maud in Leaskdale-Part I: Our tour of
    the manse | Storygal’s Blog to assure you get the proper anchor text. If you woud like to see where your link has been placed, please email me at: Cheers

    • 23. storygal  |  June 12, 2013 at 1:26 pm

      Thank you. I sent an email, but it was undeliverable. I wish to see the location and how I am credited.


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