The federal and PEI governments are providing almost $1.7 million in funding for a Stompin’ Tom Connors Commemoration Project in Skinners Pond to recognize the Canadian icon. The project will see Connors’s boyhood home and the schoolhouse he attended next door being restored, and a 4,000 square foot cultural centre built on the site.
The centre is to include a café, shops and a cabaret style space that will seat a maximum of 120 people.
His widow, Lena Connors, stomped her foot in glee at the official unveiling of the commemoration project earlier this week, according to The PEI Guardian. The event was pumped up with Stompin’ Tom music, Stompin’ Tom impersonators and Stompin’ Tom stories that filled the tent and grounds on the site. When she reached the podium Monday, she declared, “This is his home. He was at peace here. This was tranquil for him. He loved this area and he loved Skinners Pond.”
Connors died in Ballinafad, Ont. on March 6th, 2013. He was born in St. John, NB, but his adoptive family home was in Skinners Pond.
The Anne Murray Centre in Springhill, NS, has become a similar kind of cultural hub, although it has only attracted 400,000 visitors since opening its doors in 1989, according to a recent Chamber of Commerce report in the town. A $6 million Shania Twain Centre in the singer's hometown of Timmins, ON, was closed after 11 years of operation in 2013. At the time it was losing $300,000 annually.