7:30 a.m., Dec. 6)
Magical Village enchants young and old alike
By Fred Sherwin
The Orléans Star
something about model trains, miniature houses and twinkling
lights that captures the imagination of young and old
Gloucester North Lions Club’s Magical Village has been
drawing them in for more than 15 years, and in the process,
raising tens of thousands of dollars for local charities.
Vasudev gets a close look at the Magical Village
with her grand-nephew Jonathan during a recent
visit to Place d’Orléans. Fred Sherwin/Photo
display, featuring more than 250 miniature buildings,
six model trains and hundreds of miniature lights, raised
more than $12,000. Last year, which was split three ways
between the Gloucester Emergency Food Cupboard and the
Orléans Cumberland Community Resource Centre foodbank,
and HOST, a program that provides nutritional breakfasts
and luncheons to students from financially challenged
North Lions Club member and Magical Village coordinator
Ashley Grosset, is confident this year’s Village will
generate another five figures in donations before it wraps
up on Dec. 24.
Magical Village takes 600 hours to set up and another
600 hours to put away. In between, Lion members from four
different east end clubs will contribute 440 volunteer
hours manning the display.
resident Linda Vasudev brought her two young grand-nephews
to the Village for the first time last weekend.
love this. It is incredible. I think we’re going to start
a brand new tradition,” said Vasudev who brought her own
children to the Magical Village when it was set up at
the Gloucester Centre Shopping Mall years ago.
older visitors like Gilles Lessard, 62, from Convent Glen,
a visit to the Magical Village is like a walk down memory
think it’s just great. It brings back old memories. I
especially like the old service station and the drive-in
diner. You don’t see too many of those around anymore,”
said Lessard, who was visiting the village for the first
time since it moved to the far end of the Place d’Orléans
food court five years ago.
Magical Village was established by former Gloucester mayor
Claudette Cain in 1998 to help raise money for the Gloucester
Emergency Food Cupboard.
the first few years the Magical VIllage was on display
at the Gloucester Centre Shopping Centre.
the city amalgamated in 2001, ownership of the Village
was handed over to the Food Cupboard and the Gloucester
Child Care Services, who, in turn, handed it over to the
Gloucester North Lions Club in 2005.
Magical Village was moved to Place d’Orléans in 2002 where
it has remained ever since except for 2004 when a lack
of space forced a move to the Westgate Shopping Mall,
and 2008 when a similar problem forced the Village to
close for a year.
Magical Village is located on the second floor of Place
d’Orléans next to the Food Court and is open every day
during regular mall hours. Cash donations are accepted
at the entrance as well as non-perishable food items.
story was made possible thanks to the generous support
of our local business partners.)