The year is 1980. The place is Cap Egmont, Prince Edward Island. The event? A man by the name of Edouard Arsenault built a house out of approximately 12 000 bottles.
In case you are wondering how he could possibly come up with such a nutty idea (like I was) he got the idea when his daughter brought back postcards from Vancouver Island bearing an image of a glass castle and then simply thought that he could do that. No problem. He got the bottles from local dance halls, the legion, restaurants and the dump. Then once people started hearing about the project they sent him the bottles that they had in support.
The inside of this six gabled house is quite a sight to see.
Today the site of the bottle houses is a tourist attraction and run by Edouard’s children (why couldn’t my parents leave me with a crazy legacy like this? That. Would. Be. AWESOME). At the site there are three bottle house buildings, plus a large bottle shaped sculpture made of bottles at the entrance and several pieces of artwork with bottles in them. As you can guess, there are a lot of bottles at this place!
The first building you see when you enter the garden with the bottle houses is the chapel.
Then you go on to see the six gabled house that is the first image in this post. The third building at the site is a tavern. Originally this building was used as their gift shop, but it isn’t any longer. This building only required about 8 000 bottles to build. A mere pittance.
In 1992 all three of the bottle houses were dismantled because they were falling apart due to the harsh winters. And because building the bottle houses once just wasn’t enough. They had to do it twice. There is a reason that houses are not always built out of bottles! Not the least because it is a time consuming and tedious process.
The buildings were painstakingly and tenderly disassembled so as to preserve the bottles for reuse. Then concrete foundations were poured and the buildings were reassembled. This process occurred between 1992 and 1998.
The bottle houses sure are a unique place to visit. They were an interesting diversion to the typical museum or other attraction you may visit while in PEI. It was a great way to end our trip, that’s for sure. And if you visit this place, just remember, he wasn’t crazy he was a “recycler.” He was just ahead of the times is all.