Sunday, March 27, 2011

Visiting Avonlea Village: Part One

I find it very interesting that the exterior sets for Road to Avonlea were constructed in Uxbridge, just a few kilometers from where L.M. Montgomery once lived in the Leaksdale Manse.  In the summer of 1992 or 1993 I had the incredible opportunity to visit the sets!

These first photos were taken before we arranged access.  Note the tiny lighthouse next to my head in the background.

One of the highlights of the visit was the Avonlea schoolhouse.  Where most of the buildings were just facades or shells, the schoolhouse was a complete interior/exterior set.  I'm just speculating but I would imagine this was because the hours you're allowed to have child actors on set are short so it would have been easier to film all the schoolhouse scenes together rather than moving back and forth from the exterior to the Toronto soundstage.  I remember clearly that the stones at the base of the building were just molded plastic but otherwise it was quite solid and realistic.

The village was built on land owned by the Nesbitt family on Concession 6 off Highway 21.  The blue Nesbitt farmhouse stood in for the King farmhouse.  We weren't permitted to get close to the house as the family actually lived there (I believe they still do).

The series had several art directors so I'm not certain who designed these incredible buildings but the work was truly amazing.  They were quite beautiful.  They came up with an ingenious idea to use crushed red brick to imitate PEI's red soil.  Near the entrance to the village was a huge pile of brick waiting to be used if necessary.

Watch for Part Two next week!

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