Volume 12 Week 5

Friday, Oct. 26


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Orléans Ward
Bob Monette

Beacon Hill,
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Tim Tierney




(Updated 1:30 p.m., Dec. 13)
Magical Village returns to Place d'Orléans for another year
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

The Magical Village is open during regular mall hours at Place d'Orleans until Christmas Eve. Admission is free, however, monetary donations and non-perishable food items are accepted. Fred Sherwin/Photo

If you are a kid, or a kid at heart, no visit to Place d'Orléans during the holiday season is complete without saying hello to Santa, or dropping by to see the Magical Village.

The miniature managerie of more than 300 buildings; six model railway trains including Thomas the Tank Engine; and countless figurines including trees, cars and other features, is once again situated on the second floor of the east end mall next to the Food Court.

It takes roughly 20 volunteers more than 200 hours to set up the popular display under the guidance of the Gloucester North Lions Club, who have been the keepers of the Village for the past 16 years.

The Magical Village was first assembled by former Gloucester mayor Claudette Cain in the foyer of the old Gloucester city hall building in 1998. In 1999, it was moved to the Gloucester Centre Shopping Mall where it remained until 2002 when it was moved further east to Place d'Orléans.

Over the years the Magical Village has raised over $100,000 for a variety of charities including the Gloucester Emergency Food Cupboard and the Orléans-Cumberland Food Bank.

Last year, the Gloucester North Lions Club managed to raise over $10,000 between local business sponsors and freewill donations left by visitors. This year they hope to improve on that amount.

Among the 22 business sponsors are Alterna Savings Bank; the Garlic King restaurant; Care Free Property Maintenance; Ottawa-Orléans MPP Marie-France Lalonde; and Symphony Senior Living Orléans.

Part of the Village's magic is noticing new elements that you hadn't seen before, or seeing old standbys like the Nutcracker Theatre or the McDonald's drive-thu.

The latest editions to the Village are Santa's Toy Shop, the World's Fair Carriage Race and a working cable car that was donated by an anonymous member of the public.

While the Village is normally manned by Lions Club members, more then a dozen high school students volunteer their time to help earn community service hours.

The Magical Village is open until Christmas Eve. The hours are Monday to Friday from noon to 9 p.m., Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Entrance to the Magical Village is free, but they do accept non-perishable food or monetary donations. For 2014, the net proceeds will be shared between the Gloucester Emergency Food Cupboard; the Orleans-Cumberland Food Bank; Lions Camp Dorset (provides a camping experience for those requiring dialysis) and Ronald McDonald House.

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)

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