Dalvay, by the Sea for 127 years

Posted on March 25, 2022 | By Alexander Chafe | 0 Comments

The Queen Anne Revival style of Dalvay by the Sea’s architecture is reminiscent of another era. Originally constructed as a summer home, the historical structure has been operating as a hotel for almost a century. A popular tourist destination on Prince Edward Island, it has hosted guests from around the world, including royalty.

 

Early 1900s view of the property (photo credit: Canada’s Historic Places & Welcome P.E.I.)

 

Built from the island

Dalvay by the Sea was built in 1895 by Alexander MacDonald, a businessman from Scottland who visited P.E.I. on vacation. Inspired by the uniqueness of the island, MacDonald purchased 120 acres of land and hired a local businessman to construct a vacation home in the area. The home was built using materials from the island, including sandstone with P.E.I.’s famous iron-oxide rich, reddish hue.

The name Dalvay by the Sea took inspiration from MacDonald’s childhood home in Scotland called ‘Dalvay’, and the location’s proximity to Dalvay Lake and the ocean.

 

 

Ownership, expansions and historic status

After being passed down to MacDonald’s two granddaughters, Dalvay by the Sea and the associated land was eventually sold to the federal government in 1938, becoming part of the Prince Edward Island National Park. Since then, Parks Canada has allowed operation of the property via a leased private concession arrangement. In 1959, the Reymond family began operating the property, using their experience in the tourism industry.

Initial renovations to convert the building into a hotel started in the 1930s. Demand for accommodations led to ongoing expansions beginning in 1995, which added eight cottages to the area. A new dining room was also added in 1999.  In 1988, Dalvay by the Sea was recognized as a National Historic Site for its historic, architectural and environmental value.

A descendant of the Reymond family continued to manage the hotel until 2011 when D.P. Murphy, Inc. signed a 20-year agreement to take over. D.P. Murphy planned to maintain usual operations, but also to invest more heavily in marketing.

 

Prince William and Kate outside of Dalvay by the Sea posing with characters from Anne of Green Gables (photo credit: CBS News)

 

Royal and camera attention

Dalvay by the Sea has become a popular tourist destination, attracting guests from around the world. Among the hotel’s most notable guests have been royal couple Prince William and Kate Middleton, who stayed at the hotel in 2011 as part of their honeymoon tour. P.E.I. even made the couple’s list of top five tourist destinations from their first year of marriage.

The resort has also caught camera attention. Dalvay by the Sea was featured in Anne of Green Gables movies and the Road to Avonlea television series.

 

Modern day photo of Dalvay by the Sea resort (photo credit: Parks Canada)

 

127 years by the sea

D.P. Murphy, Inc. continues to operate Dalvay by the Sea annually from May to October, and preparations are currently underway for the 2022 season. The 25-room resort and eight three-bedroom cottages include antiqued furniture and maintain the historic elements of the property. Along with their accommodations, guests can enjoy tennis, croquet, nature walks, yoga and more.

Plus, the 127 years of history at Dalvay by the Sea.

 


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