Sunday, August 21, 2016

Bottle houses on PEI

I know that the men that read this blog care little for the pictures and stories about vintage houses and 12-year-old storybook girls.  But this may be more appealing to them--houses built out of beer, wine and liquor bottles!

I found this little roadside attraction as I drove the coastal road from the Confederation bridge to the very Acadian French village of Abram.

This giant bottle made up of over 2,000 recycled bottles was built in 2002 by Etienne Gallant, grandson of Edouard Arsenault, builder of the three bottle houses situated on this property.

Edouard had intended to build such a structure at the entrance but his wish only became a reality twenty years after his death, completed by his grandson.

The pathway leading to the bottle houses illustrates a great care in gardening.   

(Sorry, Guys...I can not resist babies, pets and flowers)

Back in the 1980's there was little, if any interest in recycling, hence lots of bottles were left lying around.

Mr Arsenault found a very creative way to use them.

The setting alone was worth the visit...

and with two bottle trees! 

This is the first house built by Edouard T. Arsenault in 1980, using approximately 12,000 bottles.  The structure was severely damaged as a result of the yearly spring thaws and was rebuilt using the same bottles and design in 1995. 

The entire project started as a hobby but grew as did the interest in it by fellow islanders.    In 1980 there was little or no recycling for glass--it was mostly sent to the dump.  So each week, Edouard took his old truck and gathered bottles from local dancehall, restaurants, bars and of course, the dump.  People heard about his project and started bringing him bottles.  Eventually, people brought some from all over the world.

The light shining through the bottles was--well, interesting....

...but there had to be a backside.

Friends and family remember Edouard for his pride in his Acadian roots.  

When he was young, he learned to play, by ear, the pump organ.  Like the Cajuns of Louisiana,  the Acadians love  music.

From the door you could see a replica of the Cap-Egmont lighthouse. 
 Edouard was the last resident keeper of the local lighthouse. 

His houses also had a great view of the ocean.

The Tavern  

The Chapel

Edouard Arsenault started building this chapel in 1983 and used approximately 8,000 bottles.  It is his last monument as he passed away in his sleep in 1984.

Look closely at the pews and notice that bottles were not the only glass objects used in the construction.  Back in the 70s, local Catholic parishes discarded their colorful votive holders after use so Edouard collected them for his project.  

In the chapel are beer bottle crosses and a variety of liquor bottles make up the altar.  
Yes, there have been a few weddings in this chapel.

A fisherman by trade, Edouard also worked as a carpenter.  His creative energy and his sense of humor very much Acadian, were channelled in his project of transforming over 25,000 bottles into the colorful souvenirs that he has left behind.


  1. The garden is wonderful. Can you imagine how much drinking went on to produce that many bottles?

    1. If the Acadian French of Canada are similar in culture to the Cajun French of La (and of course they are) then it is not hard to imagine the revelry that produced so many liquor bottles. Laissez les bon temps roulez. (Let the Good Times Roll!)