She climbs the stairs from the tarmac, clutching a doll with red hair. Clearly, it’s too precious to trust to the vagaries of checked luggage. The man with her – her husband? – doesn’t even try to get her to put the doll in the overhead compartment. It’s travelling from Halifax to Ottawa on her lap.
But that interest or obsession is only part of the Anne of Green Gables saga. There are worldwide sales of 50 million books in 20 languages, six books focusing on Anne Shirley and three more where she is a subsidiary character, TV and radio shows, movies, a stage musical, and a museum in PEI in a farmhouse owned by cousins of the author. Maybe you remember her: Lucy Maud Montgomery.
As a young girl, I read a few of the books and enjoyed them, but they didn’t mesmerize me. But what could be more Canadian than a small-town orphan with a feisty attitude as well as a penchant for apologizing when she goes too far?
And just in case you’re into collecting factoids, here are ten about Anne that you might not have known.
This is one of a series on Canadian national treasures – my sesquicentennial project. They reflect people (living and dead), places and things that I think are worth celebrating about our country, and are done in no order of precedence.