Published Aug 05, 2016Fans of the late Stompin' Tom Connors will soon be able to learn more about the Canadian music figure, as a Prince Edward Island schoolhouse is currently being remodelled into a museum dedicated to the life of the "Hockey Song" singer.
Construction is already underway at Skinners Pond, PEI's Stompin' Tom Centre and Schoolhouse, which is expected to open by Canada Day (July 1) 2017. While born in New Brunswick, Connors had attended the one-room PEI schoolhouse in his youth. Originally built in the early 19th century, it's the province's oldest known school.
"He learned his love of Canada here and that is likely where he got his desire to find out more about the country," Anne Arsenault, general manager of economic development group Tignish Initiatives, told the Canadian Press.
The schoolhouse will be filled with assorted memorabilia and ephemera provided by Connors' family, serving to cataloguing Connors' life. The updated centre will also include an entertainment space that seats 120 visitors. It's their plan to have local and national artists perform at the centre.
"He thoroughly enjoyed this area. He loved it and talked very highly about it," Arsenault said, adding that plans to revamp the schoolhouse had begun before Connors' death in 2013, and he had given the project a thumbs-up.
Both the federal and PEI provincial government had pledged $1.7 million towards the $1.9 million project in 2015, though that contribution had been scaled back by $350,000 when the Department of Canadian Heritage decided Tignish Initiatives wasn't a heritage organization.
Born in New Brunswick in 1936, Connors had been adopted by the Aylward family in Skinners Pond when he was eight years old. He ran away from home at the age of 12, but despite this, he's said to have always considered Skinners Pond home. The Aylward family home, located roughly 100 metres away from the schoolhouse, is also being refurbished through the project and will be opened to the public.
It's as yet unclear what all you'll learn about Stompin' Tom at the schoolhouse, but odds are good that a visit will have you brushing up on some of the fundamentals he taught us long ago. Namely, that ketchup loves potatoes.