Over 25 000 recycled bottles ingeniously cemented together to create the Bottle Houses, a must-see tourist attraction situated in Cap-Egmont, Prince Edward Island, Canada. They were built by Édouard T. Arsenault. He gave birth to these houses after having received a postcard of a glass castle from his daughter in 1979, an attraction she had visited on Vancouver Island in British Columbia.
That same summer, he started collecting bottles from his community, mostly from a local restaurant, community dance halls, friends, relatives and neighbours
He spent the winter in the basement of his home, cleaning bottles, removing labels and dreaming of his project. In the spring of 1980, at the age of 66, he began his construction, a mere hobby yet.
As his six-gabled structure was taking form, visitors started coming in. Impressed by his work, they encouraged him to continue and to advertise it as a tourist attraction. And so, in 1981, the first Bottle House was open to the public.
From 1980 to the spring of 1984, he cleverly cemented over 25,000 bottles of various shapes, sizes and colours, into three fantasy-like buildings.
The site offers a multitude of angles for the photographer to capture the wonder of what an individual built out of recycled bottles. It is also truly an inspirational spot for anyone who cares for the environment.
Who is Édouard Arsenault ?
Edouard was born in 1914, son of Emmanuel and Roséline Arsenault of Cap-Egmont where he lived all his life, except for the years he served in the Second World War with the 8th N.B. Princess Louise Hussars in the United Kingdom, the Central Mediterranean area and Continental Europe (1941 - 1946).
Fisherman by trade, at first with his father Emmanuel and later on his own, Édouard also worked as a carpenter during the non-fishing seasons most of his life, including boat building and construction work.
In 1948, he married Rosina Leclerc of Urbainville, P.E.I. For several years, they resided in the Cap-Egmont lighthouse where Edouard served as the last resident lighthouse keeper. Their two elder children, Yvette and Réjeanne were raised there for a few years until such time as the lighthouse was automated in 1957; the family then moved to the residence presently on the grounds of the Bottle Houses and two sons, Maurice and Pierre, were born shortly afterwards.
Edouard's strong Acadian roots also led him to contribute greatly to the development of the Evangeline area, his home community. Even after his retirement, his creative energy and his sense of humour, very much Acadian, were channelled in his architectural project of transforming over 25,000 bottles into the colorful souvenirs he has left for all of us to admire.