From June 21-24, 2018, Bradan Press president Dr. Emily McEwan attended the L. M. Montgomery Institute Conference at University of Prince Edward Island in Charlottetown, PEI. This biennial conference is devoted to the work and life of L. M. Montgomery, author of the Anne of Green Gables books. Conference attendees included academics, independent scholars, librarians, fiction authors, Anne fans, museum board members, descendants of Montgomery, and more.
Three days of presentations were capped with a bus tour of many Anne-related and other Montgomery-related sites on Sunday afternoon. As part of the tour, we attended the dedication ceremony for a new plaque by Project Bookmark Canada featuring a poem by L. M. Montgomery at the site of her grandparents’ homestead where she was raised after her mother died. There I had the privilege of meeting Mrs. Jennie Moore Macneill who restored the site with her husband. Mrs. Macneill told me that her mother’s mother was a Gaelic speaker from Scotland, and L.M. Montgomery’s husband Rev. Ewan MacDonald would come to her house and pray the Lord’s Prayer with her in Gaelic.
Elizabeth Waterston, a biographer of Montgomery, told me that her (Elizabeth’s) father attended Baptist church services in Gaelic in Ontario.
Gaelic was the third most commonly-spoken language in Canada at the time of Confederation. Gaelic is a heritage language of Canada. It’s just under the surface in nearly every province, often only one or two generations back.