New facility opens at Skinner’s Pond
Way Up West
by Jan Cox
Stompin’ Tom Connors held a sentimental place in his heart for Skinners Pond, the people of Tignish and Prince Edward Island. Although born in New Brunswick, he returned to the Island many many times. Since 1999, there has been talks and dreams of a Stompin’ Tom Project. July 1, 2017, those dreams and ideas become a reality.
Nestled along picturesque Route 14, in Western PEI, stands the Stompin’ Tom Centre. Next to the new facility, sits the Skinner’s Pond school house, where a young Tom Connors attended. It was there he developed his love of the Island and made life long connections. His desire to travel across Canada was born from geography classes in that school. He loved to perform in the little skits that were part of his education in that tiny community—you could say, his beginnings.
One thing General Manager Anne Arsenault learned from meeting Tom and listening to many stories from his Island friends and family, was to keep things simple. “It’s the Stompin’ Tom Centre, and once you enter the lobby, your experience begins. This entire project has interpretive value,” says Anne The Connors family have donated guitars, the famous black hats, boots, platinum and gold recordings etc. now housed in the building. And if you want to sing along with Stompin’ Tom, say a duet of “The Hockey Song,” “Ketchup Song,” “Bud the Spud” or your personal favourite, there’s a small recording studio.
Over at the school house, visitors will find an interactive map of Canada. Want to know if Stompin’ Tom visited your town? Just touch the location on the map and that information will pop up. He travelled our country extensively during his “Canadian Journey,” visiting more places than Sudbury on a Saturday night.
At the new Centre there are two food service venues. The Black Hat is a take-out window. In the stage area, you will find the food creations of Chef Carol Chaisson and her partner Darlene Rayner.
The Stompin’ Grounds will offer a dinner theatre each Tuesday and Thursday throughout the summer. With a script written by Erin Dunn featuring local actors and musicians, these shows are selling out quickly. Other fun performances throughout the summer nights will include kitchen parties, live entertainment and Sunday Ceilidhs.
It will be a “Skinners Pond Saturday” July 1, as the Centre’s doors open officially. Stompin’ Tom would have been proud to see his vision come alive. The love his friends and family have for him is reflected in the energy, care and thought that has gone into this amazing project. For the schedule of events and ticket information, visit stompintomcentre.com.