P.E.I. woman returns to houses that her father built entirely out of bottles – New Brunswick


A Prince Edward Island woman took a trip down memory lane this week, as she explored a magical place her father built more than 40 years ago.

“It’s a really special place,” said Regeanne Arsenault, whose father built the original ‘Bottle Houses’ in Cape Egmont near Wellington, P.E.I.

They were built by Edouard Arsenault to look like gingerbread houses, made from glass and have a magical feel.

“It is my dad who built them in the last four years of his life,” said Arsenault, whose father started collecting bottles in 1979 to build the unique structures after seeing a post card of similar bottle houses in BC. He started the first house in 1980 and nearly completed a chapel before he passed away at 70-years-old in 1984.

“He would have collected the bottles the previous winter and cleaned them up in the basement of the house,” she said.

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People have been married at the glass altar in the bottle chapel and have celebrated anniversaries walking through the garden that houses three buildings built with more than 30,000 mostly liquor bottles.

Arsenault joked that the bottles did not come from his own private drinking bottle collection.

“If they had, I don’t think he would have done this.”

The empties she said were collected from garbage across the island and donated by people who were inspired by his work.

Her dad was a proud Acadian, World War Two vet and fisherman by trade.

“He never had any plans or anything. It was all in his head,” she said.

The creations stood the test of time for close to a decade before the weather took its toll, said Arsenault.

“Every spring when the frost would come out, the building would kind of move a little bit, the mortar would be cracking the bottles,” she said.

Determined to save her father’s legacy, Rejeanne and her family tore down each building one bottle at a time and rebuilt them all on a solid foundation.

It took six years to complete.

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“It was quite a big challenge.”

After 34 years taking over the reins from her father, Arsenault sold the bottle houses six years ago.

The new owner is another proud Acadian, Angie Cormier, a neighbour who loves to pick out the notes in bottles left behind by the thousands of visitors that come every year.

She wanted someone local to buy it, someone who would respect the Acadian heritage, her father’s heritage. Arsenault hopes her father’s legacy will now stand the test of time.

&copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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