Maud in Leaskdale–Part II: The Historic Church

August 11, 2012 at 1:55 am 2 comments

The Historic Church in Leaskdale










A short walk down the street from the manse [Part I]  in Leaskdale is the historic church, one of the parishes that called Ewan Macdonald to Ontario—St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church.

In 2006, this building was purchased by The Lucy Maud Montgomery Society soon after the congregation built a new church just outside of the community on the occasion of its 100th year.

Purchasing such a building was a great undertaking by a small group of volunteers. The Township of Uxbridge, recognizing the historic value and showing  interest in the society’s plans, extended a loan to help with the purchase.

When the society considered the loan and payments over the long term, members decided to contact donors and sponsors about fundraising to pay off the mortgage.  The nonprofit organization has since paid off the mortgage, passing a cheque to the Township of Uxbridge, and then burned the mortgage, a feat that must have felt pretty good.


Lorraine, a fellow L. M. Montgomery fan, and I had planned our trip to Leaskdale for the day’s events and looked forward to all parts of it.  After our tour of the manse, we walked over to the church for the tea and play  for which we had reservations.

The Author, L. M. Montgomery, so much a part of church and community











Lucy Maud Montgomery, or Maud, as she preferred to be called, supported her husband in the church by teaching Sunday School and being involved with arts events in the community. The Macdonald’s lived  in Leaskdale for 15 years and raised two sons, Chester and Stuart. According to a  brochure, “Her [Maud’s] journals paint this period of her life as full and happy.” She wrote 13 of her books while living in this community as a minister’s wife.

Marilla’s Cordial and other items of interest











Upon arriving at the church, we were greeted by cheerful volunteers while others scurried about getting people seated and offering raspberry cordial, reminding me of the cordial Marilla would have served to guests in Maud’s best-loved book, Anne of Green Gables.

Volunteer serving food at our table











At the table where we sat were china cups and saucers and plates with gold-rimmed edges. We ate  a small salad, scones and homemade jam, tiny sandwiches with bread rolled or cut in fancy shapes, then tiny delicate cookies of several different kinds.  We  had tea or coffee before going up to the sanctuary of the church for the play.

Volunteer Introducing the Play, Maud in Leaskdale











The play [a one-woman play], written and directed by Colin Murphy, was filmed for television to promote Jennifer Carroll’s summer-long performance at the Historic Church.


Jennifer Carroll as herself











Jennifer has been acting in Ireland for the past few years and has committed this summer to the play in Leaskdale. She’s a fine actor with a powerful stage presence and yet I found her most humble and easy to talk with. Her portrayal of Maud is impeccable. I look forward to hearing what else this young actor does in her career.

On the day we visited, we saw the shorter version of the play. Lorraine and I may go back again another time to take in the longer version, and perhaps next time we go, we will have another writer with us— someone who lived in the manse with her minister husband and family at one time. She is excited to see how the house has been restored.

I”m grateful to have had the opportunity to go to Leaskdale, to see the manse and church, see the play and learn a little more about one of my favourite authors. Any of my readers who also appreciate Montgomery’s writing, I urge to go and spend a day there, but book in advance. It’s worth the trip to Leaskdale.

All photos in this blog the property of C. Wilker


Entry filed under: authors, books, church, community, faith, family, photography. Tags: , , , , , , .

Maud in Leaskdale–Part I: Our tour of the manse Saturday Snapshot– A Cool Picnic at Bass Lake Provincial Park

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Heidi Croot  |  September 2, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    We too are eager to see what Jennifer Carroll does next in her career, but have been unable to find that information. Perhaps she’s heading back to Ireland: what a loss for Canada.

    • 2. storygal  |  September 3, 2012 at 1:14 am

      I was unable to find more information as well. As you say, it’s Canada’s loss, though perhaps when she’s made a name for herself, she will come back.

      It’s a tough market for actors to keep work contracts lined up. A friend’s daughter is in acting. They have dry spells between their contracts.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my blog.


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